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 April 2013
    Anonymous

    PETRA & WADI RUM TREK

    The combination of the desert, Wadi Rum and the historical remains of Petra made  this an excellent trip.  The food and organisation during the trip was really good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The desert trekking and camping were brilliant.  The clear sky at night was fantastic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An excellent group leader, who had very good knowledge and was very helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Choose the right time of year, depending on how hot or cold you like it!
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    ANNAPURNA SANCTUARY

    This was an amazing trek into a beautiful mountain range; We had stunning views of snow capped mountains throughout the trip.  Walking along paths used by locals, livestock and visitoors alike gave a real insight into local village life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first view of the range above base camp, including Annapurna (One & Two) and "Fish Tail", was truely memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our local tour leader was wonderful; very patient, trustworthy, knowledgeable and fun; although he did cheat at cards a bit!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take ice grips / crampons if going early season.  We walked through ice and snow on some very steep paths for the two days to Annapurna base camp.  A good level of fitness beforehand and some experience of hill walking made the trip much more enjoyable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you get a chance go for it!
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN NORTH CYPRUS

    An excellent spring break lead by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide. Some very pleasant walks, none too taxing. The mountains were greener than I expected and plenty of wild flowers to see. The views from the castles in the mountains are spectacular. Good evening meals are available in local restaurants, particularly in Bellapais.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views from Buffavento castle and on the walk down.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ros was excellent. Friendly and helpful. Thorough local knowledge, she seemed to be known by many of the local people.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes should make clearer that payment for the optional group trip/meals is better paid in sterling not Turkish lira, otherwise the exchange rate will be poor. It is a long drive to the Karpaz peninsular and if you are not a beach enthusiast, it may be better to make other arrangements for that day. The Apostolos Andreas monastery, included in the Karpaz day, is unfortunately (owing to its state of disrepair) not worth a visit. The optional trip to Salamis and Famagusta is well worth taking. You could easily spend more time in both.The group flight with Pegasus goes via Istanbul and passengers to/from N Cyprus have to stay on the plane for about 1 hour at Istanbul. This is a budget airline and no food or drink is included in the ticket and prices on board are very high. Legroom is poor. Check-in at Stansted was very slow. I would strongly advise on-line check-in for the outward flight. Seats were though allocated.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel in Onar village was pleasant, with helpful staff and good views over Kyrenia. Some on the trip had problems with noise from air-conditioning units used all night in adjoining rooms. The breakfasts were good but I would not recommend it for an evening meal. Main issue is that you cannot walk to and from Kyrenia town to the hotel, which is some distance out of town and on the wrong side of the Kyrenia bypass which has no pedestrian route across. Taxis are though readily available.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    ATLAS PANORAMA

    An excellent short trip which combined a city experience (Marrakesh) with an opportunity to walk in an area of outstanding natural beauty - the Atlas Mountains.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing on a col 2500 metres above sea level with Atlas Mountains all around you - truely a panorama.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hassan was well informed and possessed a good sense of humour.  He maintained an appropriate walking pace which allowed all members of the group to enjoy themselves.  Nothing was too much trouble for him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do take a good sleeing bag.  The nights at the beginning of April were cold.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our visit to the home of a local Berber family for tea and cakes was a must.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    HIGHLIGHTS OF NORTHERN INDIA

    A fantastic trip, full on and tiring but totally worth it! Very good value for money.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Taj Mahal was better than I had imagined - it really is wonderful.  We were also lucky enough to see tigers in Rathambore and that was also a thrill.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader, Raj was superb. He was friendly, energetic and extremely knowledgeable. I really don't think we could have done better.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you go with the right attitude, prepared for early starts and sometimes long and tiring days, you will be rewarded with a wonderful introduction to a wonderful country. Try to travel light if you can as you may have to lug your luggage around at the railway stations. Relax, go with the flow and soak up all the wonderful sights, sounds and smells of this wonderful country.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER BURMA

    Lovely country, friendly people.  Amazing sights from temples to rivers to countryside.  A peaceful. unthreatening place, despite all their difficult past.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

     Inspiring?  Difficult to pick one place from so many - sunsets and sunrises over temples, rivers and bridges. The wonderful trips on the river and lake - the involvement in local village life experienced whilst cycling on very bumpy roads - all great.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nay Lin was a lovely young man - always calm, helpful and with a great sense of humour especially with a group of variously aged English people with different types of humour!  He had great knowledge of his country and a great love of it and pride at what it hopefully will become in the future. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were initially a bit concerned owing to the past history of the coun try but need not have worried.  We had a great trip, everything exceeded expectations - hotels were very good,clean and well equipped.  The food everywhere was excellent and very varied.  Also we took far too much money  and actually had quite a bit to bring home and that was wthout "watching the pennies"   Also we didnt have a ghastly toilet anywhere which must be a first!  A great place which I fear may change due to us tourists going in greater numbers - so go NOW and enjoy!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Overall the trip was good value for money, well organised and with a variety of places to visit - covered the big sites but also village life and countryside - no complaints.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    Fun in the Slovak slopes!

    A brilliant week of varied activities, great food and drink, fantastic people and a thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Funnily enough my personal favourite was the last day - sledging (down a ski slope)  - although made more exciting by 5 of us joining hands and going down backwards! Probably the most simple activity but due to the relationship of the group and the fact that everyone was willing to try anything fun and new it was such a good laugh and really rounded the holiday off in a way we couldn't imagine beforehand. Dog sledding was also a must not miss activity (unless it's too hot for the dogs, possibly in late Feb - March).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. Altough it was clear she was inexperienced at leading a group on this particular trip, she was very pleasant and made us all feel very welcome. Her only failing was not knowig all the locations and activities 100%, but this quickly proved not to be a huge problem. I particularly enjoyed discussing the history of Slovakia and her fascinating youth with her - a very interesting and warm person.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, go on this trip! Excellent value (I spent a lot less than I budgeted for). I took Eu 350 with me and only spend 200. Plus the actual cost os pretty low  for a trip of this kind. Food and drink is the only expense and it is very good value and a complete pleasure at that.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you have never skied and are interested or simply like the idea of a winter snow break, this is for you. My only reservation would be for seasoned downhill skiers or snowboarders, this may not be as exciting as you are used to - saying that I had been on 4 previous dedicated skiing holidays and totally loved it.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER COSTA RICA

    Costa Rica may be a small country but it is one with a big heart. With its volcanic landscape, dramatic coastlines on both its Carribean and Pacific shores, lush tropical rainforests, and diverse flora and fauna, it has so much to offer its visitors. An inspiring example of how people can work within the natural environment, preserving it for all to enjoy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip stops in seven separate locations around the country, offering a variety of experienes - each with its own charm, as our team-leader Johnny Villalobos would often say to us. For me, it was our time in the very first location - Tortuguero National Park - that was the most inspirational, and however good our experiences were in the remainder of the trip, none matched the feeling of awe that I felt as our small boat drifted silently on the waterways beneath the towering trees of the rainforest. It is like a pocket-sized Amazon, and neither the occasional drenching from a tropical storm or the itching from numerous mosquito bites could detract from the tension as we all strained our eyes looking for the varied animals, reptiles and birds that were all around us. We were not disappointed, and an incredibly close encounter with a river otter was probably our best reward.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos could not have done more to ensure we all got the most out of our experience of his country, about which he talked with great knowledge, insight, and belief. There was no aspect of Costa Rica about which he could not enlighten us. He was very much as one with the group, and we felt he was a true friend to us all, sensitive to our individual interests and needs. Johnny showed endless patience and consideration at all times, and was tireless in his efforts to maximise our opportunities of seeing the best that Costa Rica has to offer. There were times on some of the forest hikes when birds and animals were simply not there to be seen, and then Johnny would always find something - an unusual plant, or tree, even the effects of bacteria! - to show to us and explain its significance to us. He wanted us to be aware that enjoying the natural world is not just about the big and spectacular creatures, it is also about all the little things that go to make up an ecosystem. Right up to our last night, when he suggested the perfect venue (Times Bar & Grill) for our end-of-trip gathering, Johnny offered us all the right choices. A great team-leader, and a real gentleman.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The natural world is not a theme park with its many wonders ready and waiting for you. What you see on this trip so often depends on sheer luck, on being in the right place at the right time. We were not lucky with our sightings of many of the natual inhabitants I expected to see in Costa Rica: our views of toucans, caimans, macaws, and snakes were mostly fleeting or distant. At times we seemed to walk for long periods in the rainforests without seeing very much. So you have to be patient and manage your expectations. Out team-leader Johnny told us that people go to Africa to see the Big Five, but you come to Costa Rica to see the Little Thousand! And there is always the magical peace and splendour of its rainforests. Photographers be aware that natural light in the forests is very low and this makes it particularly challenging to get decent photographs. You should not use flash when taking pictures of the tree frogs or reptiles, as it blinds them, so you may need to be satisfied with seeing some of these amazing creatures without capturing the moment on camera.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I must mention the food. I don't think I have ever eaten better abroad, certainly not on an Exodus trip (this was my seventh). The quality of the fresh fruit, the fresh fish and meat dishes, a range of vegetables with potatoes, rice, yucca ... and not forgetting some perfect desserts to round off many a meal - all of this was superb wherever we ate. Most places used local produce and it tasted so good. The food at Tortuguero Lodge and Cloud Forest Lodge (Monteverde) was particularly praiseworthy, and I must also mention the excellent ice-cream at the cheese factory in Santa Elena! At most of the hotels and lodges you could serve yourself, so beware of over-indulging! With food this good, it is hard not to. Finally, I must say that some of the incidental stops on the road between locations gave me some of the most memorable moments of the trip: seeing the crocodiles at Rio Tarcoles, the sculpted granite spheres in a magical park in Palmar Sur, our visit to the school in La Trinidad and the farmstead in the village. Each gave a glimpse of a different aspect of Costa Rica.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER COSTA RICA

    This was a stunning trip for a wildlife enthusiast, particularly one with a camera and binoculars! Costa Rica is a country of contrasts; within a few hours of travel you go from a lowland tropical rainforest to a cloudforest in the mountains, from a volcano to a beach. Not for one instant were we ever bored or disinterested; the wildlife metaphorically throws itself at you wherever you go. I never dreamt we could have seen so much in such a short space of time. This trip exceeded all my expectations and I recommend it highly!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The highlights for me were the boat safaris from Tortuguero, walking over the bridges through, and on top of, the cloudforest canopy at Monteverde and the night walks at the beautiful Esquinas Lodge set deep in primary tropical rainforest (paradise!).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was Giovanni Madrigal and the driver was Geraldo - both were lovely guys, equally passionate about Costa Rican wildlife and culture and anxious to show it off in all its glory to us travellers. Gio was knowledgeable and very approachable, answering our many questions with patient good humour, even when he was trying to eat his breakfast! We couldn't have asked for a nicer, more professional trip leader!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As for do's and don'ts. Do take clothes suitable for a hot climate (plus sun screen and head covering) but also a good fleece for when you are at altitude in the cloudforest. Include long trousers and closed shoes i.e. not sandals for night walks or sorties into the forest. An umbrellas is handy for a quick shower. It rains, sometimes unexpectedly, so take light waterproof jacket and trousers. There are lots of walks you can take and some of them are uphill and can be a bit slippery so you might find a Leki stick useful - none of it was too arduous for our group though, including the older members. Don't worry about washing clothes yourelf as most of the lodges have laundry facilities, besides which you'll never get your washing dry with the humidity! Take some mosquito repellent (you do NOT need a net) and use it in the evening in the lowland rainforest areas; I was never bitten anyway. Do take binoculars and a camera - there will be a lot of stops for wildlife viewing and the guide carries a telescope. I took a lot of photos with my compact camera through his telescope and this turned out to be a better strategy than clanking around with tons of unecessary SLR equipment. You'll never have time to set up a camera anyway as much of the wildlife is quick and sometimes a bit distant i.e. monkeys in the trees don't hang around for you to change lenses! Take a head torch as the grounds at some of the lodges are darkish at night and you may often catch sight of interesting things - we saw a nine-banded armadillo one evening at Monteverde. All the lodges are comfortable and quite luxurious with hot water, towels and often shower gel, soap and shampoo - we came back with most of ours unused. The bedding is always sufficient so don't bother with sleeping bags, liners or the like. The currency used everywhere is the US dollar but make sure you have some low denominations for tips &c

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an absolutely stunning wildlife experience! Costa Rica is a country of contrasts; hot and humid, cold and windy, beaches, mountains, rainforest, cloudforest. Pacific on one side and Caribbean on the other. In two short weeks we saw mammals (four species of monkeys, armadillo, squirrels, coatimundi, agouti, kinkajous, sloths and racoons) birds (countless brightly coloured beautiful things including the resplendant quetzel, toucans, parakeets, trogons and humming birds) loads of amphibians and reptiles (at least eleven different frogs including the lovely red-eyed tree frog, crocodiles, caymans, lizards, basilisks, snakes and iguanas) as well as spiders, butterflies and a host of pretty bugs and beetles. During this trip, you spend two night at each lodge; the drives between are only four or five hours long and always enjoyable as there are sometimes very interesting stops along the way. The transport is a very comfortable, air conditioned mini-bus. Most roads are fine; we were never uncomfortable or bored. Can't think of anything else.... just enjoy :-)
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    COSTA RICA COAST TO COAST RIDE

    Because the country is small our bikes enabled us to see a variety of scenery, far more than a walking trek,  and gave us time to visit National Parks, Botanical gardens, coffee and pineapple plantations.We also saw a huge number of birds, all beautiful, and ate the most delicious fruit I've ever had.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When we first arrived at the Pacific coast my husband and I did a short exploratory walk down a backroad and came across a small area of water teeming with tiny fish, and expectant and exotic birds. Sitting next to us on an overhanging branch was an exquisit American Pygmy Kingfisher. The most wonderful way to start our holiday

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a great and very fit leader who, as a 25yr. old Amertcan dealing with a variety nationalities other than his own, coped brilliantly. Our group ranged from people in their 30's to us in our 60's but at no time was he intimidated by people senior in years to him. He remained curteous and considerate to all and made decisions easily  without any fuss. He also provided us with a very detailed day to day itinery so that we always knew what to expect. Definately a born leader!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Anyone contemplating this trip ought to have a keen interest in wildlife; and with so many wonderful birds to see I would suggest going armed with 'The birds of Costa Rica' by Richard Garrigues and Robert Dean. We bought a second hand copy cheaply and in excellent condition from a bookseller in Chicargo.Its important to take a range of clothes as we encountered tempretures of 36C on the pacific coast, followed by very cool tempretures in the mountains where I needed to use my drinking bottle as a hot water bottle one night.  On the Carribean coast it continued to pour with rain and although warm we needed very effective waterproofs; however, these were unusual conditions for the time of year we were there, early March. We took a travelling washing line which we used all the time sometimes resorting to the room fans to dry clothes in damp conditions. It saved us a lot of money as laundry bills  were rather high.In order to get fit for this trip we used a turbo bike trainer which worked very well as we were unable to train on our very snowy/muddy/icy lanes in January and Febuary.Which reminds me:+ the roads in Costa Rica are not of the single track variety but much wider and some were often busy with trucks.  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great trip for anyone of any age who rides a bike!
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