Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    EVEREST BASE CAMP

    Fantastic! Super-stupendous! In short - fab.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hearing the ice of the glacier.Seeing the mountains around the monastery Tengboche.The food at Tengboche.When the snow stopped and the mountains cleared coming down to Laboche.See I can still remember the names of places from my holiday, not something I usually can do.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Of all the group leaders I have had Lakpa Sherpa was the best.  A trustworthy, considerate and hard-working man, who was a mind of information about Nepal.  Not only did he take us to visit his father (the last known surviving member of the Hilary-Tensing expedition) he also made sure he returned to us our lost map, which we had left in a lodge near Everest.  It was arranged to be brought up by another guide who passed us, but forgot due to bad weather; finally it ended up in our hands back in Katmandu, travelling on its own special plane from Lukla. (I made the last bit up)   

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be put off by people who say this route is overcrowded.  Don't forget your camera battery recharger.Don't panic if you didn't sleep much at Gorak Shep, nobody did.  The next morning you can still do Kala Patar.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    What did Edmund Hilary say to Sherpa Tensing when they reached the top?Havearest (I know - sorry!)
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN ANDALUCIA

    A lovely holiday in a fascinating and very beautiful region of Spain. Each walk was completely different and the whole holiday gave a wonderful introductory taster to the diversity, richness and colours which make up the Andalucian landscape.    

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting and sharing some stories with my fellow travellers, seeing some Griffin vultures fly past when we arrived at the 'Pass of the Doves', and walking through some incredibly beautiful meadows of spring flowers.   

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was very knowledgeable and really upbeat. She made a really genuine effort to include everyone regardless of their level and fitness.   

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A waterproof jacket is a must on a Spring time holiday, as the weather can be slightly unpredicatble.   

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Along with several other group members travelling on the group flight from Gatwick I was slightly mystified by an extra flight payment required.  As we were joining a group flight, which we thought would surely have been blocked booked in advance we couldnt really see, or work out any real reason for this. Everyone felt that an adequate explanation of this hadn't really been provided.   Our guide arranged for us to visit the town of Ronda on our final day, could this or perhaps another trip to one of the pueblos blancos actually be somehow built into future trips?.        
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    PETRA & THE PYRAMIDS

    The trip was great, so much to do and see, all packed in. It was awesome.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Valley of the Kings and Luxor just takes your breathe away, Mt. Sinai is fabulous (if busy!!), and Petra is just amazing.... so many highlights and inspirational moments. A trip that fits in so much!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 3 different group leaders, a very nice, but not very knowledgeable guide for Jordan; a great leader for Sinai; and an awesome leader for the rest of Egypt - in fact, I think our main land Egyptian guide was the best one we have ever had!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip may say it is quite relaxing, but it is pretty full on. So dont expect a relaxing trip, there is a lot squeezed in. However, it is a great trip with so many highlights!! And definitely worth it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My hubby and I both enjoyed the trip for the variety and so much to do and see. It was quite tiring though, but so many great memories!
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    KERALA & TROPICAL INDIA

    Nice bike ride along the backroads of Kerala. Occasionally very hot and humid, what made the uphill quite a hard work. The itinerary is a very good mix.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    They did very well. It would have been nice if there would have been more oppourtunities to go / cycle your own pace.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check out on the food - our group was heavily suffering with stomach-/food-problems.
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    Trip of a lifetme

    Wonderful holiday, incredible local trip leader, lots of travelling

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many moments in the trip were amazing, Surviving the Inca Trail (Me not being that fit) and the jungle

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Holget was an amazing group leader, local from Cuzco, always helpful, gave you enough information in small amounts.Helped us on the Inca Trail when we were struggling, loads of local knowledge, great knowledge of resturants  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If doing the Inca Trail get used to walking up hills expecially steep hills, if you do the peru explorer trip altitude shouldn't be a problem as you get time to get used to it as you go along.It can be cold in the evenings on the trail, metal water bottles are useful, filled with the hot water they provide make a great hot water bottle. ** They do not supply automatically a sleeping bag (you can rent them from exodus or bring your own) ** **## Dont buy large bottles (over 100ml) of Pisco at the airport if its going in your hand luggage, they will be taken off you at the next airport if your flight isn't direct ##**

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Dont expect a relaxing holiday here, but it is amazing, a true trip of a lifetime. 
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    PETRA & PALMYRA

    What a fabulous holiday!  Syria, in particular, was much more than I expected.  The people everwhere in both Syria and Jordan were so friendly, inviting and helpful as we found in Aleppo and Petra.  Syria was amazing and inexpensive.  Jordan on the other hand, while with its own amazing sights, was more expensive and commercialised with places like McDonalds and Pizza Hut much in evidence.  Despite the troubles which were beginning to surface in Syria, we never felt threatened or unsafe anywhere.  The souks in Damascus and Aleppo were busy but were places you could enjoy without being constantly hassled, even in the evening.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was inspirational in many ways.  The highlights in Syria were the ruins at Palmyra, simply vast, the citadel at Aleppo, stunning, and St. Simeon which was so beautiful, quiet and peaceful.  The waterwheels at Hama are amazing although none of them turn any more.  In Jordan there was the incredible site at Jerash, the calm of the Dead Sea, the majesty of Wadi Mujib, Wadi Rum and then of course Petra.  We've all seen the amazing pictures of 'The Treasury', and that is indeed beautiful, but what struck us was the rest of the site with all the other monuments which rarely seem to get a mention.  The Royal tombs and El Deir, the 'Monastery', but above all the incredible scenery which surrounds you everywhere!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our two group leaders could not have been more different.  Adnan, our leader in Syria, was a university professor who inspired us all with his passion for his country and its incredible heritage.  He was above all a lovely man, quiet, friendly, very patient with those of us who kept disappearing to take hundreds of photos.  He was always at the foot of the bus steps ready to give a helping hand to anyone who might need one.  He added extras to the itinerary, the National Museum in Damascus where we saw the world's oldest alphabet tablet, and the Soap Factory in Aleppo when we asked him.  Simply brilliant and one of the reasons Syria stands out so much in our memories!Zuhair, our Jordan guide, certainly knew his history but delivered it without anywhere near the same degree of passion.  It seemed to be much more like a job to him.  He was always in a hurry and would frequently rush off at the front of a lengthening queue of his group which was often quite worrying when we didn't always know where we were going as at Petra and Aqaba.  He took us on a quite dangerous trek to a viewpoint overlooking the Treasury at Petra which he proudly pointed out that no other Exodus group leader went to.  We soon realised why!  The trek involved many very awkward scrambles up and down loose or rocky terrain with nobody available to keep an eye on the stragglers, any of whom could have been injured.  Numerous times Zuhair waited only long enough for us slower ones to catch up, then he was off again without giving us time to rest or catch our breath.  On the walk up to the Monastery he was keen to get my daughter to have a donkey but when she decided to have a go on her own we didn't see him again.  On the trek up to the High Place of Sacrifice he set such a pace in the heat that she had to give up before we got quite to the top.  After a few words he was gone and we were left to be helped by a lovely Bedouin lady who plied us with glasses of sage tea and then gave my daughter the handle from her broom to use as a walking stick for the awkward steps back down to the valley floor!  At no time did Zuhair ask later how we had got on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The one thing no one should miss is the 'extra' visit to see the Treasury by candle light.  It is just so beautiful to see the pathway to the Siq, the Siq itself and then the Treasury lit by nothing more than hundreds of candles.  It is just amazing to sit on a carpet listening to traditional music and drinking mint tea with the stars visible above.  Well worth the extra!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are a few comments, some things we felt could have been included, some 'complaints'.  On day 6, there was no free morning in Aleppo as promised in the Trip Notes and we felt, in view of this, an earlier start might have given us the chance to visit the Roman site at Apamea, rumoured to be better even than Palmyra.  You don't need much time at the end of the day to see the waterwheels in Hama.  The Dead Sea visit was so interesting but we felt it should have been possible to include a visit to the baptismal site of Bethany Beyond Jordan as it is not far off the road to the Dead Sea.  There may be good reasons for it not to be included, I don't know.  One sight that definitely should be included is a visit to the world famous 'World Mosaic' at Madaba.  You actually pass through Madaba on the way to Mount Nebo and again on the way back to the King's Highway!  Fortunately we managed to persuade Zuhair to stop the bus and take us, although he did make us all sign a waiver because it wasn't on his itinerary.  When it isn't on the itinerary we were confused by its inclusion as an apparent option in the trip notes.  Wadi Rum was a bit disappointing.  Not the scenery but the organisation.  We had a very short jeep ride which ended in anything but solitude.  Although our actual campsite wasn't too bad there were other much larger camps in the immediate neighbourhood which tended to spoil the quiet with noisy generators and much of the night sky disappeared due to their lights which lit up the cliffs around our site.  The nice 'quiet' sunset spot was spoiled somewhat by young Saudi men racing around in their 4 x 4s and eyeing up the dozens of young women who also turned up.  Aqaba was a disappointment.  Meant as a way to wind down after all the excitement of the previous 2 weeks it was a letdown.  The hotel was lovely but miles from the Royal Diving Club where you needed to be to do any swimming our diving.  The only options offered to us by our guide were limited and very expensive, such as lunch on a boat for JD40, about £38.Although all this sounds like a disaster it's a lot of words to explain just a few quibbles.  The holiday was fantastic and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in history.  I just hope that Syria can find a way out of its present troubles that will truly improve the lives of its wonderful people.  On a purely selfish note other travellers like us would then be able to enjoy it.  Thank you Exodus!
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    UZBEKISTAN UNCOVERED

    Some amazing sights punctuated with some fairly long bus journeys.  Hotels better than I expected, although food was at times a bit of a challenge.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A lot to choose from, but the desert fortresses were much better than I'd expected (monumental in a desert landscape) and the silence and brilliant skies and solitude of the yurt camp were to be savoured.  The blue tiled architecture is fantastic against a blue sky - the photographers in our group had a field day.  There's a lot of history here and very little evidence of the nastier sides of the regime picked up on in pre-holiday reading (no soldiers/tanks etc). 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I think we may have been both lucky and unlucky here.  Our leader had excellent knowledge (mentioned by name in the Lonely Planet guide) but wasn't used to leading groups - she'd been given the gig at the last moment and was struggling with it a bit e.g. there was never a welcome meeting as she felt uncomfortable with holding one, but that meant she never really found out the temperature of the group and what it wanted.  As a group we needed more advice on places to eat and she didn't seem to acknolwedge that lunch existed!  Pretty clear she wasn't one of the usual leaders though so probably (?) not representative.  It didn't spoil the holiday but was a frustration for some.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Veggies really should stock up on supplies or reconsider Uzbekistan, it is a concept that doesn't really compute!  Otherwise, just the usual safety stuff - no one on our trip was affected by tummy troubles, but we were all taking sensible precuations, and take plenty of entertainment for the long road trips.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't expect quick service.  My advice is go for the smaller family run eateries where they take you into the kitchen and show you what's cooking rather than bigger restaurants where they cater for the big coach-sized trips and won't be bothered about smaller groups.  Better to support smaller operations anyway I reckon.  Ask locals where they eat (one of the best places we went to we were shown to by a man selling postcards).The Uzbekis seem to just love having their photos taken, especially with Westerners.  We are as much of a curiousity to them and they are to us, which is great!
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    HIGHLIGHTS OF NORTHERN INDIA

    I absolutely loved it! Great start as that was not only my first trip with exodus but also my first trip of this type, never thought of visiting India but I'm really glad I did. Its a great trip if you want to see all the sights in a short trip or if your looking for a taster to help plan a longer trip around India. Be warned there is a lot of traveling and the roads aren't great.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Couldn't pick one instance, the trips still a massive blur, but all the sights were amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gopal was a great group leader, he has a wealth of knowledge on all the sights and the history of the country. He arranged every little detail so there was never a need to worry. We were all apprehensive about the sleeper train but Gopal was up several times a night on both trips to ensure we were ok (Not that I noticed as I was well away in dream land)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try and get sleep at every free opportunity, dont expect to sleep on the coach between destinations as the roads arent in great shape and the routes are extremely bumpy. Also make sure you keep well hydrated, re-hydration sachets and Imodium are a must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The overview states moderate / leisurely but there is alot of traveling over the 10 days so be wary of this (approx 20hrs train and 30hrs coach)
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    From the hustle and bustle of Antananarivo to the remoteness found within Andringitra National Park, this trip offers ever changing scenery and thought provoking experiences for all. I would unreservedly recommend this trip to anyone interested in walking in unspoilt and peaceful scenery

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Perhaps the most inspirational facet of the trip for me was the moment of realisation that 'personal wealth' cannot in any way be attributed to, or influenced by one’s own economic status. Having taught Geography for many years here in the UK, I have discussed with students on many occasions the principals behind GDP, First/Third World Classifications and the importance of trade on a Nations economy, but perhaps all this was in some way flawed because my own preconceived notions of Madagascar (The world’s 4th Poorest Country, limited power supplies/transport infrastructure, unstable politically and high levels of depravation) were all for the most part completely and utterly wrong. Yes Madagascar is economically poor on a scale developed by western societies, but in the remote villages away from the hubbub of emerging tourism routes, there is evidence of strongly cohesive and stable communities, who have ample food, well built homes and a passion for family and community that the West can only dream of.So while travelling South on Route 7 in an air conditioned mini-coach, I recognised that although I may have some higher degree of economic wealth than many citizens of rural Madagascar, I was able to appreciate for the first time that I do not have their social wealth, and within the society we live in today, this would be almost impossible to achieve. Trekking in Madagascar has thus afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the importance of my own family and friends in my daily life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Upon arrival at Antananarivo airport we were greeted by the usual pandemonium and confusion surrounding passport control combined with an intense stale heat that no ceiling fan was able to cool. Yet beyond the etched sécurité glass panels stood an individual wearing a pristinely ironed black exodus polo shirt waiting to meet us. Solofo welcomed us with a broad smile, impeccable manners and an enthusiasm that is rarely seen. He immediately took care of our luggage and helpfully directed us to the windows of the Bureau de Change. I was once told as a child that you can only make a good first impression once, and following our brief encounter I was left considering my own politeness as it had been totally eclipsed by that of our group leader Solofo.Throughout the whole tour Solofo ensured our every desire and need was catered for with an unflappable enthusiasm and unfaltering energy. He took time to ensure that our knowledge of local customs and traditions was kept sufficiently full and helped us to decide from many an endless menu which zebu dish would be best for dinner. Perhaps for me my abiding memory of or group leader will be the term ‘Congratulations’, which he often imparted upon us at each evening briefing, yet it is with hindsight, that I think it is I who should had said ‘congratulations’ to Solofo each evening for his wonderful daily efforts, his patience and meticulous attention to detail.Solofo is a wonderful group leader whose realistic enthusiasm towards Madagascar is enchanting.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As a first time traveller and a real novice of global travel I’m not sure I can offer a seasoned traveller any meaningful or useful tips, so apologies in advance if you have already considered all of these points, but they are specific to this trip;1.       Consider what bags you take on the trek. I opted for a small Osprey day sack and an Osprey Transporter 65 holdall. This worked out excellently well as it can be carried by hand and easily converts to a rucksack should your porter prefer. This provided me with more than enough luggage space yet was compact at the same time.2.       Cable-tie everything you check in or leave out of sight. One small cable tie can secure your bag and offers you peace of mind against opportunistic theft. Some of the airport connections are a little lengthy especially in Nairobi.3.       Espadrilles are an excellent choice of footwear for this trip at all times when walking boots are not worn. Mine started off light grey but through constant use are now much more of a ‘well used brown’ in colour. 4.       Madagascar is a very beautiful country and you may want to capture its many facades but ensure you spend time enjoying the scenery through your own eyes and not just through the lens of the camera.5.       At the top of Pic Boby is a small note book where you will have the opportunity to write a short note to say you’ve made it. I would advise everyone to think about what to write on the way up to take your mind of the endless steep steps J

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can only hope you enjoy your trip Madagascar as much as I have.
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER NAMIBIA

    Great trip, wonderful group and marvelous guides. Be prepared for early mornings and long drives but the pace of the trip is about right with plenty to see and do with "down time" when you need it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Has to be seal colony, smelly, noisy but utterly brilliant could have stayed there all day!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tour leader was great, he came across as quiet at first but worked tirelessly to help us all get the most out of our trip and was always helpful and knowledgeable. First rate.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Early mornings and long drives in the vehicle but the trip is well balanced to prevent boredom setting in and also to prevent you being on the go all the time. Access to charge points for cameras never a problem neither was mobile phone coverage for those that wanted it. Namibia is a well organised country with a good infrastructure, I've been in parts of Europe that felt more remote so if this is your first to Africa it is a great introduction with stunning scenary and wildlife. Loved it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would have preferred an extra night at the Wartberg plateau campsite even if it meant a longer drive the day before and missing the previous nights campsite. It would have given us a bit more time to rest up and relax before a long drive home and flights the next day.
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