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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

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  • Reviewed August 2010
    Anonymous

    MONT BLANC CIRCUIT - an unforgettable trek

    This trip really exceeded my expectations - I was expecting long walking days and views over beautiful valleys to Mont Blanc, which I got, but I also got some amazing added extras. A lovely group, a great leader and some fantastic luck with the weather!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the optional high point of the trip, the Tête Nord des Fours at 2756m from which point we could see the Matterhorn. We had been about 2-3 minutes on the top and the distant clouds on the horizon parted for us to see the unmistakeable point miles away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Graham was fantastic, he really kept it interesting, offering a few added excursions from the normal route for those who wanted to. Klaas was also great - preparing great veggie food for me and the other two vegetarians in the group on top of catering for everyone else.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can, go in July so you can catch the amazing alpine flowers. The sheer array of colours and varieties was amazing. I went on the 3rd July trip and they were really at their best. Also, try to train (in the hills) before the trip as it really does help with the longer days towards the end of the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my first 'organised' walking holiday and it certainly has got me thinking about doing some more. I have been telling everyone about this holiday - everyone who enjoys hillwalking should do it!
  • Reviewed August 2010
    Anonymous

    SPITZBERGEN IN DEPTH

    A true experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Arctic and the Svalbard Archipeligo is simply a magical place. The wild life, serenity,and the feeling of "adventure" makes this a very special experience.  Put this on your "Bucket List"

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First Class.  A bit bossy at times but he had to be, especially when our safety was / could be under threat from Polar Bears.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, GET OFF THE SHIP AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY or you will miss a lot of the magic.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All of the Exodus planning worked well for us ...everything was where it should have been.
  • Reviewed July 2010
    Anonymous

    TUSCANY SINGLETRACK

    Tuscany has long been renowned for being Italy’s most evocative destination for villa holidays and walking trips but doesn’t readily spring to mind for cycling holidays. As you probably know, at Exodus we like to dig a bit deeper and head off the beaten track rather than follow the herd. Garfagnana is a fine example of this; wild and rugged, devoid of mass tourism and perfect mountain biking territory.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was experiencing a mixture of excitement with perhaps an air of overconfidence as I joined the Exodus group for a week of singletrack biking in this beautiful region of Tuscany. After meeting up with our leader Rupert at Pisa airport, we drove to the small town of Villetta. The scenery en route to our accommodation at Casine di Braccicorti was a blend of picturesque villages and small towns, lush green forests with some rather daunting looking mountains in the distance. Braccicorti is a real hidden gem - a family-run working farm with all the character you would expect from a Tuscan family - passionate and proud of their lifestyle and idyllic surroundings. On arrival the aromas of ripe plum tomatoes and fresh oregano wafting out of the kitchen were a welcoming delight. Casine di Braccicorti offers lucky tourists access to the best of the local area on foot, two wheels (or even cross-country skis in the winter). It boasts two guesthouses, a swimming pool and even a 6-hole golf course - a rare find in Tuscany! Not to mention all the mouth-watering homemade Italian meals freshly prepared each day. I cycle between 45 and 65km a week on pretty flat roads in the mean streets of south London, but having been an active mountain biker in years gone by I was really looking forward to getting off road again. So once equipped with my bike, and with all that delicious homemade pasta inside me from the night before, I was carbed up to the max and ready for action. As we set off on our first full day of cycling, I began to think I might have over estimated my cycling prowess as we began ascending into the rugged, undulating woodland. It was not too long before we came to the first incline, at which time it was a case of find a comfortable gear and keep going safe in the knowledge that what goes up, must come down. In the back of my mind I kept thinking about the fact that this was just the first of the five off-road singletrack routes we were to take during the trip. The streets of London might be mean, but they are generally quite flat and this was a shock to the system.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our expert guide Rupert was a cool, calm veteran with many kilometres of Tuscan terrain under his belt. Although there was a fair amount of uphill involved (a particular 7km switchback incline comes to mind!), the sense of achievement the whole group felt was immense - and what stunning scenery.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On average we cycled around 50-60km each day, but some days were easier going than others. Cycling off road allowed us to venture into wild Tuscan countryside untouched by vehicles and walkers. We cycled through villages that most tourists never see, where the locals bore a puzzled expression as we whizzed by all Lycra-clad and a blur of colour before getting out into the open forest trails again. The many downhill tracks were thrilling - fast and frantic, perfect for adrenalin junkies to satisfy their need for speed.The routes we took each day were varied with the scenery alternating between woodland and open tracks, interspersed with stunning views of the Ligurian Sea and the imposing Alpi Apuane – the marble mountains; truly wonderful whilst tackling the terrain on two wheels. Off-road cycling really is the best way to explore this region and appreciate its rugged natural beauty up so close you can smell the fresh flowers and musky earthiness of the chestnut forests.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All in all, the trip was a fantastic test of my fitness and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys cycling. My top tips would be to hit the spinning classes in preparation for the hills and make sure you take cycling gloves to absorb the vibrations that come from the exhilarating downhill sections. Back on my bike in London the pedalling was certainly a lot easier but I’d gladly slog up a hill in instant for scenery that was even half as beautiful as Tuscany.
  • Reviewed July 2010
    Anonymous

    SPITZBERGEN EXPLORER

    What a fantastic place.  We were very fortunate to have near perfect weather and loads of polar bear sightings of a very high quality allowing us to appreciate many aspects of polar bear life and behaviour, including some intimate and very gentle scenes between mother and cub that brought some close to tears.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Where do I start - perhaps the polar bear that came to look at the ship, standing up to get a better view and then embarrassing himself by slipping on the ice - or the polar bear mum suckling her poor wee infant - or the polar bears feeding from the whale carcass and spin shaking themselves dry - or maybe that fantastic day at the Monaco Glacier with the sea calmer than a village pond and perfect reflections of the stunning scenery.  Each day just seemed to be perfect.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Woody was great mixing knowledge and humour perfectly.  Paul used his endless energy to ensure we got the best photographic oportunities and was always willing to give advice. The combination of the two was a sure recipe for success - and some great banter!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't think twice.  If your enjoy nature and wild scenery and accept that your are on more of an expedition than a holiday then book it now.  Be prepared for the cold with warm gloves and particularly warm socks for the wellies.  Photographers should ensure they have a polarising filter for their wide angle lenses.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Vavilov is a very well stabilised ship and the cabins are very comfortable.  The food is great - don't expect to lose weight! The staff and crew are all very helpful and friendly.  If you have the good fortune that we enjoyed with weather and wildlife sightings then you cannot fail to have the trip of a lifetime. 
  • Reviewed July 2010
    Anonymous

    GORILLAS & MASAI MARA

    An amazing adventure that we will never forget! This has to be the best way to experience some of East Africa's most breath-taking scenery and meet some extraordinary people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the Agashya group of mountain gorillas! Getting all tearful as 3 baby gorillas came helter-skeltering over one another to get to within 2 feet of our group - per magic! You cannot help but be moved by the presence of these truly magnificent gentle giants. Remember to listen to them too - the noises as they communicate with each other are absolutely delightful!Visiting the orphanage which is a short walk from the Adrift camp-site in Jinga and meeting Justine who provides shelter for 29 children there. She is an inspiration! She has little money for food and to pay the much-needed teachers to come and educate the children, but she has barrels of affection and a desire to make life better for the orphans in her careComing within a couple of metres of a family of lions and having the utter privelege of watching and listening to them interact, play and have the occasional grumble. All this as the sun slowly sets over the Masai Mara. Bliss!Travelling along the roads of Uganda and especially Rwanda and being greeted by bright smiling faces and enthusiastic waving from children and grown-ups alike. The are wonderful and just thinking about them still brings a little tear to my eye!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Often is a SUPERSTAR! He was so helpful, organised, supportive, informative, flexible and good fun! He always provided us with clear guidance on the day ahead and we all genuinely looked forward to his post-dinner talks! He is clearly passionate about the people and places we visited on this trip, always urging us to interact with the locals and experience their culture. He also goes the extra mile - we adopt a gorilla who was a member of the Agashya Family. We were desperate to meet her and Often ensured we were included in the group visiting this family. Not an easy task when 50+ people turn up at the visitor centre in the morning all with their own preferences on how far they want to trek and which family they want to visit!JJ and Bernard were also fantastic! Bernard is the chef who every night informed us that 'dinner is calling for you to attack/terrorize it...'!! He never made the same meal twice and everything was fresh and well-prepared! He also has the best sense of humour!This team work SO HARD throughout the trip - they do everything to make sure your trip is perfect. They are a huge credit to Exodus!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long bouncy drives along rough dusty roads - we made some great friends on this trip so much of the time travelling was spent chatting, giggling and waving at the local people and children who never tire of smiling and waving to the passing 'muzungos'! Sleep is tricky on these journeys but not impossible!Bring books/pens/football/bubbles for the children in the orphanages - there are two which you can visit. The children absolutely love to play and the teachers are very grateful for any items that will help educate them.Try and 'muck in' and help your tour leader and his team. This is not expected at all but we found it impossible to sit back and let Often, Bernard and JJ do all the running around for us. We helped get the chairs out and put away for meals; preparing the vegetables/fruit; keeping the truck tidy; washing up and clearing away, etc. It generates a great team spirit!Enjoy every hot shower you can along the way! Showers are available in most campsites...but they may be nothing more than a lukewarm drip at times! Pack your wet wipes and be prepared to have a more basic approach to your morning routine!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't think about this any longer...BOOK IT! If I had the holiday time available and the money I would do this all over again tomorrow! I guarantee you will have some of the best experiences of your life!
  • Reviewed July 2010
    Anonymous

    SPITZBERGEN EXPLORER

    Way beyond my expectations. Dreams are made of this. I went thinking we may see polar bears but it was fab. We had 31 sightings (not 31 different bears) One day we had six or seven bears in sight. Mother with two cubs who walked across the ice towards the zodiacs and came very close. You could not repeat this trip or ever describe it to give it justice. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip to Monaco glazier was my highlight (apart from the bears). Surrounded by icebergs of varying shades of blue and weaving through them. Then sitting there in a zodiac in complete silence. The only other place I have managed silence is Lake Louise in Canada. I thought of home. In the evening when Woody was talking about our day I became very tearful. I hadn't realised just how wonderful this place was and what lasting effect it would have on me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Woody is fabulous, funny, calm, smiley, knowledgeable and just great. Felt very easy in his company and obviously is great to work with as this reflected through the rest of the team. We shared the trip with Paul Goldstein who is unique in his own way. The relationship between Paul and Woody was good with lots of banter.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We took small foam gardening kneelers with us. They were excellent for using in the zodiacs as they have metal bottoms and this can get your knees cold and can become very uncormfortable. Also good for landings and kneeling to take photos. The other thing we took were hand and feet warmer that you slip inside your gloves and socks. Cheap to buy, disposable and did the job. Don't miss an opportunity to go out on a zodiac. We took two trips that people did not join in the evening and saw mother with cub one night and then the two cubs the next time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would not do this trip again because I don't feel I could ever beat it and it would ruin the memories that I have. However I recommend it to everybody. The ship was comfortable and the food was good with lots of choice. Be prepared to get tired and view it as a trip and not a restful holiday. 24 hour sunshine takes alot of getting used to and you find you are taking photos in the early hours. If I could have 'bottled' Kathy's wake up call for breakfast I would have. "good morning, breakfast will be ready in 30 minutes and today we have banana pancakes" sure beats the beep beep beep of my alarm clock.......................................
  • Reviewed July 2010
    Anonymous

    JEWELS OF UZBEKISTAN

    A brilliant holiday.  A time spent amidst a multicultural, friendly people.  Varied landscapes.  A holiday full of interesting places to see and things to do.  

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was much to be inspired by - the welcome of the people, the cities of Tashkent, Khiva and Bukhara; we also enjoyed the train journey, even though it was 16 hours (to have a compartment of four shared by two only was an enormous benefit) and the time spent in the Yurt camp and at the private family home.  But the most inspirational part was Samarkand and we really needed another day there, not necessarily to traipse around more buildings but simply to enjoy and absorb the atmosphere.  However if this is taken on board for future trips it should not be at the expense of any other part of the holiday.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Davlat was exemplary.  A young man with extensive knowledge of his country and full of enthusiasm.  Very caring also for the group, especially when the inevitable tummy trouble hit two or three people.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take dollars - easy to change (often with very beneficial exchange rates, and because this is the preferred means of payments in most gift shops and the like).  And remember that the highest denomination of Uzbeki notes is 1000syr (about 40p in April 2010) so any ATMs that there are will only give you small amounts.Read up as much of the history as you can before you go.  It's quite complicated. We went in April which was nice and warm; I imagine that July and August would be very hot.Be prepared for travel on roads that are much worse than ours.Go soon.  The numbers of tourists seem to be increasing, and I'm not sure how well some of the cultural sites will cope with large numbers. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were too late to be booked on the same aircraft as other Exodus clients but the alternative arrangement via Prague worked very well, and we met up with people on the same holiday but who had booked with one of Exodus' partner companies.  The holiday was organised by Peregrine, Exodus' partner in Australia, and of the 16 people, 9 were Exodus I think; the holiday was enhanced by how well the group got on together, including three from Australasia and one from Belgium.   
  • Reviewed June 2010
    Anonymous

    PICOS MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE - SPAIN FAMILY HOLIDAY

    We all had a great time. Activities, hotel, surroundings and company were all fabulous.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view out of the hotel dining room was awesome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was a very interesting guy and told us about the history of the area and his family. He was always very aware of members of the group and his attention to the safety aspects especially during climbing and canyoning were very reassuring.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember you're in Spain - 10am start doesn't necessarily mean 10am!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus hadn't passed on to the hotel the fact that we were in a hire car, so they were expecting to pick us up from the airport. Not a problem in this case but we were a bit disappointed with Exodus on this front.
  • Reviewed June 2010
    Anonymous

    THE TURQUOISE COAST

     A great mix of  walking, interesting historical sites and relaxing on beaches and cafes. Hotel was comfortable and my  room was a spacious  double with its own balcony well worth the single  supplement. Food was excellent and the group was great

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dave was knwoledgeable about the area and  sensitive to the needs of the group. he was easy to get along with.
  • Reviewed June 2010
    Anonymous

    TUNISIA DESERT EXPLORER - FAMILY HOLIDAY

    The trip is very well-balanced: there is a right amount of history, culture, natural landscapes and active pursuits to keep children and parents interested. I enjoyed every minute of it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day had its most inspirational moment… For me, that included: the ancient synagogue El Ghriba (read a lot about it);the fortified granary Ksar Ouled Soltane (I saw pictures of it in my childhood);troglodyte dwellings (read a lot about them);camping in the Sahara (something to remember for the rest of the life);the salt lake Chott El Jerid (a salt lake is one of my favourite types of landscape);quad biking and 4x4 excursion in the desert near Nefta (adrenaline rush in beautiful surroundings);wandering in Sidi Bou Said (feel yourself like a French civil servant in the colonial times ;-).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    You can't find a guide better than Sonia! She has a profound knowledge of Tunisian ancient and recent history and is keen to answer any questions about the country. Besides, she has a special talent of organising picnics in the most unusual places: you MUST be there to appreciate that!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Spring is a season of sand storms in the Sahara. Sonia says that winter is a better season for camping in the desert.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I highly recommend the trip and Sonia as your guide: you will see truly unique places in a country which is mostly known as a beach-holiday destination.
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