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Turtle, Ecuador

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

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637 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jane Traveller

    Great trip!

    A well organised trip with lots of variety to keep everyone interested.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finally seeing a leopard!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.... intuitive to everyone’s needs, can resolve any problem that arises, works tirelessly to make sure everyone’s happy, all with patience and a great sense of humour. Nothing is too much trouble. The support team were also excellent, going about their jobs efficiently & discretely.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack very little.... there are several laundry opportunities, I needed needed half of what I took. Train hard for the hills. Drink lots. Don’t expect to lose any weight.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Eileen Luther

    Superb trip

    This trip was so much more than expected. Our guide, Suresh, and his team were superb, seamlessly organising every aspect of our trip - snacks, luggage into hotels, tyre changes and even a shelter to get changed under when the rain became too torrential to cycle in! His knowledge and love for his country and the extra events he organised (e.g. dinner ‘al fresco’) combined with his great sense of humour made this a trip we will never forget - definitely an amazing way to experience the scenery and local life of this beautiful country. Other than one hotel, where we had no running water (this could have been due to the torrential rain), a mattress on a concrete slab and insects galore, the majority of hotels were good and some were very good. The cycling for me (a regular but non club cyclist) was tough in places but generally manageable other than the long uphill ride to Nuwara Eliya where I managed to cycle to the lunch stop. My advice to anyone in the same situation would be to take the train - it would give you the advantage of having the afternoon in the hotel and time to see the surrounding area, rather than travelling in the support vehicle. All in all, an experience not to be missed!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Riding through the rural villages and seeing a leopard at Yala NP. Completing most of the tour on bikes rather than sitting in a car or bus. Eating ‘al fresco’ at two hotels.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Terry Knowles

    Wonderful experience

    This was our first organized cycling trip, and it was very enjoyable. The group was larger than I expected (18, whereas I had thought we would be about 12), but everyone got along well and our tour leader, Tung, was very efficient and attentive, friendly, patient and entertaining. There was also more city riding than I expected, through some rather hairy motorbike traffic and roundabouts. Tung and Lee, our tail gunner, shepherded us through them, but it took some guts at first to weave through the scooters and cars and buses. Note that red lights apparently don't apply to motorbikes; they just sail on through. We got used to it after a couple of times and in the end it was rather exhilarating. Some riding on main city streets and bridges, too, and through towns and suburbs. All in all the tour was a bit more urban than I'd hoped. But I suppose if you want to see all aspects of Vietnam... Riding through the rice paddies and the countryside and along back lanes, on the other hand, was quite enchanting. Little children ran out to call "Hello!" everywhere. I see this tour is rated as 3/9 for activity level. I would say more 5/9, and that's without the (very enjoyable, if you're up for it) 10-km uphill ride one day. On the other hand, the bus is always available and there was no shame in taking a day off. We missed the Whale Island tour because of a typhoon, but Tung and Exodus rearranged everything seamlessly. The Halong Bay overnight boat tour was a real delight, as was the overnight train to Hanoi. And Hoi An and Hanoi were wonderful, particularly the pedestrian streets (no motorbikes!) on the weekend in Hanoi. We could easily have skipped the boat trip to the overcrowded beach and hike up to the viewpoint on Halong Bay, however, and the kayaks were uncomfortable, at least for the person in the stern with no back support. The meals were good, even for us vegetarians, the bikes were clean and very well maintained, and there was lots of juice and water and fruit provided at the frequent rest stops. Nice that they didn't insist on handing out plastic bottles of water! The bus was comfortable and the driver and bike mechanic were friendly and very competent. Definitely a 10/10 for organization.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One day they drove us up to the top of a mountain and let us off to ride 35 km downhill. Just fantastic!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tung was terrific. Tireless, funny, patient, informative, enthusiastic and efficient.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above regarding the activity level. Take a look at the distances to be covered every day and make sure you're comfortable with that. You may want to bring a small bike bag (e.g. to fit on handlebars or under the frame) for suntan lotion, camera, etc. Padded bike shorts a must, although they provide optional extra padding for seats.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The (very intense) War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is worth a visit, and cooking classes in HCMC or Hanoi, if you have the time, are always fun.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Mark Springthorpe

    We didn't have a great experience

    Our experience was that there were a number of significant issues with this Exodus tour; - The tour lead was quite poor and we had issues with poor communication, being rushed from place to place, pressure to cycle quickly and therefore unable to enjoy the sights/views. - Bikes provided were basically 'end of life' and we had issues with poor gear changes. It contains quite a bit of bus time (4-5 hours at a time) and you feel like you are being rushed around all the time - the result is that it isn't very relaxed, and we were frustrated that we didn't have time to enjoy many of the places we visited/went through. We were told that demand for this tour meant that Exodus had increased from 1 to 4 tours/week, but it looks like the bike maintenance/replacement hadn't taken this into account, and possible why we ended up with a Tour Lead who was below par (as they didn't have enough good tour leads). We think Exodus need to take a good hard look at this tour and make sure that the quality is massively improved.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The inspirational moments didn't happen on any part of the Exodus tour, but in the extra days we booked ourselves in Saigon and Hanoi - basically because we had time to relax and enjoy the places.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nice bloke, but very lacking in confidence and lacking the core management skills, e.g. clear communication, managing the group, managing his team etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check before you go what you are going to get in terms of condition of the bikes, and what feedback has been for the tour lead you are going to get - make sure you get the 'A' team. Definately book 1-2 extra days in Saigon and Hanoi if you can - the hotels are cheap, they are fascinating cities and the tour just doesn't give you any time to explore them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Been on lots of Exodus cycling tours, and sad to say that we'd heard great things about the Vietnam tour - just unfortunate that it seem like the tour has become a victim of its own success. Hope Exodus can sort this out.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Louise Goodwin

    Amazing Adventure!

    If you are in two minds about booking this trip, book! The cycling was not easy at times due to a combination of hills, non paved roads, distance and heat. However, this added to the challenge, adventure and achievement and our expectations were well managed by our fantastic Costa Rican guide/leader, Jackie. The journey through three countries provided some amazing rides. Personal highlights were those ending with swims in the Pacific and Caribbean oceans where we would literally cycle on to the beach and jump in for a swim! There were also rides through cloud forests to rain forests, to and from volcanoes, through local villages and through banana plantations spotting monkeys, toucans, sloths and other wildlife along the way! Along the trip we also enjoyed a couple of optional non cycling days and exciting pit stops. I loved our tour round a chocolate farm, canopy walk through a rain forest, zip lining, red frog island trip and walk through a butterfly nature reserve. The non cycling activities allowed us to experience more of the three amazing countries we visited. Nature and wildlife feature highly on the trip but the start and end in Granada and Panama City provided a great contrast and are beautiful places to spend a few days. The amazing feat of the Panama Canal was also fitting end to the trip. The trip was exceptionally organised from start to finish. There were no issues and I cannot think of any areas of improvement. Travel is with a group leader, mechanic and driver who were all fantastic and fundamental to the success of the trip. Our Costa Rican guide Jackie is a real gem! She provided interesting and informative information about the history, culture and environment of the places we visited and an infectious sense of fun and positivity. She provided excellent briefings about the cycling before each ride, she had a genuine love of Central America and she was a joy to be around. She was also a very good cyclist. The hotels and restaurants selected by Exodus were well chosen and some were so good they were highlights of the trip. I will remember this trip and the lifelong friendships I have formed for years to come. Thank you Jackie and the Exodus team and book if you are considering this trip! I will be coming back for more!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sharing the challenge of cycling and beautiful sights of three contrasting countries with an amazing group of people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fundamental to why the trip was so good and a great asset to Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book! A bit of pre- training on hills might be sensible although the rides get progressively more challenging meaning you do improve as the trip goes on! Cycling gear is not essential but I would recommend padded shorts, breathable tops, gloves, arm covers (to keep off the sun) and a light weight rain jacket. I washed my clothes at a laundry half way through the trip which Jackie pointed out. This was quick and cheap and did a good job. Also, if you have the option of going to extra activities, definitely do them as they were all worthwhile. Even the extra imax cinema show at the Panama Canal was good!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Jackie and all of her team were key to the success of the trip. The mechanics were quick, knowledgable and nothing was too much effort for them. The drivers were safe and on continual hunt for wildlife to show us along the way. Jackie was exceptional and shadowed by Andrea who I’m sure will also be a great future leader too! This was my first exodus, cycling and group trip and I would highly recommend it as a solo female traveller in my 30s. The group was a good mix of backgrounds, ages, solo/non solo travellers, sexes and nationalities and was a fantastic way of sharing adventures with common minded people.
  • Reviewed November 2019

    Good 'ole Exodus!

    An interesting blend of Vietnam from north to south including an o/n sleeper train. The success and enjoyment of these trips is usually down to the blend of fellow travellers and team leader and this one was no different. The weather,early season, was mixed with a little more rain and cloud than hoped for but did not detract from the enjoyment but a little more sunshine would have enhanced the countryside. A read of the brochure and trip notes will give a very accurate picture of the breadth and variety of the trip. The daily riding distances are mainly governed by the fitness of the participants and their ability to cover the miles in a reasonable time and for the first time in my experience of 7 trips we were delayed by some participants who frankly were not cycling fit and I wonder if they had read and understood the pre - trip advice!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What I like about Exodus is that they come up with a blend of tourism and cycling that is inspirational itself. The Viet Cong tunnels from the war and the brief visit to the 'museum' were highly informative as was the knowledge of the tour leader which was outstanding. The visit to Halong Bay was outdtanding too - I'd seen films and photos of the huge 'Rocks' in the Bay but to cruise among them was vividly fascinating - although I could have passed on visiting one of the islands with a tiny overcrowded beach on a Sunday afternoon!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was excellent. An educated, well informed local person. He constantly referred to us all 'as my family' and I think most of us bought into his philosophy. As I noted earlier we had 2 'difficult' participants who were not up to cycling the distance within the required timings but understandingly felt that they had a right to complete the same distance as everone else. A conundrum that requires careful management that took a while to resolve. Presumably Exodus has a policy to address this but it was somewhat absent early on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A really fascinating, interesting and at times challenging trip - BOOK it!
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Andrew Moncrief

    “The best tour so far”

    A really enjoyable trip with a charismatic tour leader, and superb scenery, wildlife and food. The support team were great, always trying their best to look after you, and the driver had nerves of steel negotiating the chaotic traffic. Sri Lanka has emerged from some dark times, and is once again a terrific place to visit, with great variety and vibrancy and a lovely, friendly vibe. Plenty of smiles and high-fives as you ride through the landscape, shouts of “Bye!” Following you down the road.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Fantastic, often unexpected, wildlife encounters! Seeing how elated my wife was after becoming Queen of the mountain at Nuwara Eliya ! (Good battery life!)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Top man! Suresh was a great guide, knowledgeable and organised to a fault, forever considering the needs and preferences of the individuals in the group. For example, knowing I was keen to get in the waves, he arranged an early morning tuk-tuk so I could fit in a surf prior to a late departure-a real bonus! He has tweaked and finessed the itinerary over the years, and has established a wide network of contacts to create authentic and unique experiences for the clients. No spoilers here, just enjoy the value added!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t expect to lose any weight on this trip, despite the activity-the food is amazing! There are LOTS of dogs alongside and on the road, most of whom are docile, but some really don’t like cyclists. We were chased on a few occasions , and I would have felt happier if i’d had a rabies vaccination before the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    E-bikes! Three of our group had these, transforming their experience of cycling and making the trip a holiday! In mixed ability groups, some riders will really benefit from electrical assistance on the hill days, especially with the humidity. Our three were delighted to have ridden the entire trip for the first time, rather than getting well acquainted with the driver on the more challenging hill days! Congratulations to Exodus for making them available, and hopefully this option will extend to other trips- there is a huge potential customer base out there!
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Daniel Morris

    Croatian Delights

    Fabulous cycling on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast Islands. Lovely roads, unspoilt villages, scenery to die for and good food. Hotels were unfortunately the exception- exceptionally poor.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Scenic rides along coastal tracks

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dino was excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Insist on better hotels
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Rachel Christie

    Excellent

    A really lovely holiday a good balance of cycling and relaxing/socieliting time Can’t wait to choose another

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The freedom of cycling along the coast

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent Alan was friendly open and helpful but still in control

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you do plenty of hills in prep I wasn’t quite fit enough or get an e bike

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Really beautiful place
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Christine Clampett

    Girls on Tour

    This trip was a bit too "timed" for me. Whilst really well organised and hosted we seemed to be always on the move with little time for a reasonable lunch or a look around especially the first 2 days. I feel we could have spent more time on the island of HVAR - this is a truly lovely place - and HVAR town especially where we only had an hour. The hotel at Jelsa was in a fantastic location - however, a bit basic and in need of a good upgrade of facilities and a breakfast menu review. Sadly we had a terrible night here with 35 knot winds and shutters rattling. I had to stuff newspaper up the side of the main door to stop the wind blowing in through the large gap. the next day everyone was exhausted from lack of sleep. Korcula was fab - hotel great - and here we had good food and a few days rest electing not to do the trip to Mleet or the ride the following day. My job is a physical one so the lack of sleep had used all my resources up! Last ride to the ferry to Dubrovnik was really beautiful and our stay in Dubrovnik at Hotel Vis was very comfortable. The hotel is right on a beach so we swam and chilled on both days. Best bit here I think was the tour of the City with a super guide and then supper in the old City. The free day is fantastic for a good look around and the cable car ride to view the City and see how it is laid out is well worth the money. Our host Marin was great! Very good at helping when needed and not in any way intrusive. He had great knowledge of the area and kept us on schedule to catch the many ferries needed to get from island to mainland etc.. As a vegetarian I did struggle a bit with the food available. Marin helped immensely as my friend also cannot eat Gluten so we weren't the easiest of guests to feed. The quality of the restaurants booked was really good and everyone was really helpful. The group of people on the trip gelled really well and on the last night on Korcula stayed up into the small hours singing songs from Queen to Ilkley Moor Bar Tat!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The time in Dubrovnik - looking around in the evening.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our host Marin was great! Very good at helping when needed and not in any way intrusive. He had great knowledge of the area and kept us on schedule to catch the many ferries needed to get from island to mainland etc.. He was good company in the evenings and had a great sense of humour especially when reporting on the weather - which was very wet at times!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Always pack a set of waterproofs! We had a couple of days of rain and started the ride to Dubrovnik wearing bin bags as waterproofs!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think you could extend the time on HVAR as it felt really rushed.