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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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  • Reviewed August 2019
    Susan Steed

    Baltic states tour

    Lovely people, good tour guide. A really good mix of places to go.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Really enjoyed Kovoian spit, it was a break from the hustle and bustle of the trip and truly beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was good a d got the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it. I have some long term medical problems and I could do it by pacing myself. Everyone is of a like mind and for my first trip abroad on my own it wasn't scary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel in Vilnius is a bit far out, some of the single rooms were a tad snug for some. As we had local guides we did hear quite a lot of the same info many times. Also three hours is too long for a walking tour without a stop! It wasn't just me either that felt that way.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Craig McGarrity

    Andes to Amazon

    Gret indroduction to ecuador (Land)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Amazon Jungle

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cloud Forest only really for bird watchers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Trip to Cotopaxi would be more widely appreciated than Bellavista (I think)
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Phil Watson

    Impressive and full of variety whilst still feeling welcoming & friendly

    This trip ticks all the boxes to immerse yourself in Chinese culture and history.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Terracotta army in all its glory was a lifelong ambition and didn’t disappoint

    What did you think of your group leader?

    From the first minute to the last, Avan was a perfect ambassador for his wonderful Country - full of knowledge, always resourceful and flexible to our needs as well as having a great sense of humour which made the trip swing along - we had lots of fun along the way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Whilst the advice was to prepare for steps and long platforms, in reality wheeled suitcases were absolutely fine and negotiating the train stations was easy even in the busy summer holiday period.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip is quite demanding with the heat in the summer and large crowds, but the variety of options are huge and the sights keep rolling along for the whole trip - a total immersion in China which was unforgettable!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Kim Norton

    Awesome Vietnam experience

    The whole experience exceeded my expectations. The trip had a great mix of experiences, my personal favourites being the Halong Bay boat trip and Mekong delta homestay with added birthday cake (surprise from our guide, Tung) for the August birthday celebratees.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is hard for me to choose one, but I am inspired by how welcoming and friendly the people are and their resilience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Tung, had an amazing knowledge of the region and always ensured everyone was in their happy place 😊. Vote Tung for guide of the year!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Stay an extra day or two after the tour ends, to rest. Although the tour is well paced it is still tiring if you are not used to the busy city travel.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Catherine Arter

    A wonderful trip!

    I travelled with my 23 yr old daughter and we had a great time. Lots of superlatives which have been covered by reviewers below, so I will not repeat them, but suffice to say that this trip exceeded both our expectations in terms of the amazing variation in landscape in the iconic National Parks visited, and the diversity of activities - ranging from exciting hikes, to laying on the ground in Death Valley looking at the Night Sky. Never a dull moment - and our guide inserted little surprises at regular intervals.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Perhaps meeting our inspirational Navajo guide in Monument Valley and learning about her childhood and culture. But lots to inspire both of us ....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph Spaid was an incredible leader. He was so knowledgable, approachable, engaging and fun. He was very interesting to chat to, and worked so hard to make sure everyone’s needs were met. We were quite a disparate crowd of 11, some very experienced hikers, others recovering from recent injury, but he found ways to embrace that - I wish I had his energy!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a brolly as sun shade for Death Valley! And rehydration tabs/powder when it's really hot. We all used it and had no problem with overheating even in August. You get dusty walking so plenty of walking gear - it is a busy trip and there wasn’t much time for washing. I was pleased to have my poles in Zion and the Grand Canyon for long (albeit beautiful) uphill stretches. I would definitely advise a few days in San Francisco before joining the trip. It is an incredible city. Our flight from Heathrow was delayed by 28 hours, so we missed one of our three planned days, but we still were well able to meet up with the Group on Sunday. Las Vegas didn’t appeal to us, so we didn’t stay at the end, and we in time to fly out on the same night. The helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon was just extraordinary!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As an introduction to SW America, this trip takes some beating. It was fantastic. Thank you Exodus and Grand American Adventures!!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Sandor Burslem

    A week of incredible contrasts

    A wonderful week encompassing a huge variety of experiences in Jordan, from Bedouin tents to a swimming pool on the edge of the Dead Sea, very well organised and covering a lot of ground.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A toss up between Petra and the Wadi Rum; seeing the Treasury at Petra first appear between the rocks of the Siq probably takes the prize. Also taking in the Grand Canyon-esque view of the Wadi Mujib, of which I'd never heard before.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ibrahim was knowledgeable, great fun and very well organised, e.g. changing the day's activities to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The heat in the South and the Dead Sea was intense in August, I managed about ten minutes on the beach at the Dead Sea resort before having to go inside. The temperatures were more comfortable in Amman and Jerash. The week has some early starts so take an alarm with you, and in the Wadi Rum camp you'll need a torch to find the toilet block after sunset! The days in Petra are more akin to a walking holiday than pure sightseeing so you will need walking shoes (though you inevitably see people climbing to the High Place of Sacrifice dressed for the beach). Most of the sites visited have people selling postcards and handicrafts etc though it's nowhere near as aggressive as in Egypt.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The night at the Holiday Inn resort hotel at the Dead Sea, though very pleasant, did seem a bit off kilter with the rest of the trip and Exodus's ethos of supporting local businesses and communities, although looking at the surrounding area there perhaps isn't any alternative form of accommodation if you want to experience the Dead Sea.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Michelle Claxton

    So many 'wow' moments

    I returned from this trip having experienced many moments which will last a lifetime, from seeing numerous animals in the wild or at watering holes to seeing the vastness of the Namib desert and the changing colour of the sand dunes. It really is a trip that is a photographers dream as you want to capture each and every moment. We were a group of 12 with ages ranging from early 20s to 70s and we all got on very well. Yes there were lots of long drives but these were broken up well. Accommodation was good and food often excellent. It certainly is a trip of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a large number of elephants at the watering hole at our lodge in Etosha. Having just finished dinner and thinking 'we'll just see if there are any animals at the watering hole' only to find around 25 elephants of various sizes and ages all drinking water alongside some zebra, springbok and oryx was truly magical. Also, seeing a pride of 12 lions on a game drive. Although not too close to our truck, it was still fascinating to watch them interact with each other.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ronney was an absolute superstar! Nothing, literally nothing, was too much trouble. He had a fantastic sense of humour and laugh, and went out of his was to ensure each and every person on the trip enjoyed themselves. I never saw Ronney without anything but a smile on his face; he really is a man who loves his job. With a group of 12 with a range of dietary requirements, Ronney made sure that everyone was catered for and happy. Ruben, his assistant was also fantastic, creating amazing and huge lunch selections at the side of the road or BBQs of an evening. They are a great team and anyone getting the Ronney and Ruben combo on a trip will have struck it lucky!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    During the end of July and beginning of August the evenings and mornings get quite chilly - I underestimated how cold it could get - so bring lots of layers to cope with this. Swimming pools are not heated so unless very brave do not count on swimming. Money- Bring SA Rand as this is pegged 1:1 with Namibian Dollars and is easier to change back to Pounds Sterling if needed. Be aware of the cost of the flight over the dunes - many companies quote for this trip but often they outsource your business to another company and then the price goes up. Ensure you decide on optional excursions early so that you get to go on the ones you want. On this note - the quadbiking was excellent! The drives are long and sometimes on unmade roads. The truck does get very bouncy! Similarly on the game drive in the Waterberg Plateau. Female travellers may wish to pack a sports bra for comfort! It also gets quite dusty - a Buff or similar is useful to help keep the dust out of your lungs. When purchasing things from markets etc, listen to the starting price and then begin your offer very low, they trader will eventually meet you at a price that they judge fair, often 25% or the starting price. Don't be afraid to haggle hard.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    SF Ho

    Madagascar

    "Madagascan Discoverer" was a truly wonderful, very enjoyable, multi-faceted trip with a really excellent guide, Rija. I am writing this review to inform future customers about 1 less-than-good aspect because it might be a safety issue for some people booking this holiday. In addition, Exodus has failed to respond to the comments I made in my on-line post-holiday evaluation about this, so I do not know if Exodus has read the evaluation and is going to do anything to improve the situation. My criticism relates to the harnesses provided for the walk in the Grands Tsingy. Mine was too big for me, even when the smallest harness the company had was adjusted to the smallest possible size. This same problem also affected another person in the group. Both of us are slimmer than most other British adults. Fortunately, neither of us fell and came to any harm. If we had fallen and had had to rely on the harnesses to keep us safe, there would have been the potential for an accident or injury. If you are slim or if you have children who are intending to do the Via Ferrata in the Grands Tsingy, please consider bringing your or their own harness(es) that fits you/them. A harness that does not fit the wearer is of little use. I climb regularly and know how important this piece of equipment is and how a proper fit is necessary for safety. This deficiency on the part of Exodus is made worse because I had actually queried with Exodus BEFORE the trip whether I should bring my own harness to Madagascar. The reply that the Exodus rep gave me was that we would not be doing Via Ferrata and there was no need for the harness. This reveals that the Exodus representative does not know her product: we definitely did a Via Ferrata and we used climbing equipment. Other than this failing, and one or two things which were beyond the control of Exodus, the holiday was very good, hugely interesting and varied and I had a great time. I fully recommend this holiday and in particular, commend Rija for her excellent guiding.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    .
  • Reviewed August 2019
    John Massey

    Highlights of Georgia and Armenia 2019

    This is an very good tour if you are fascinated by ancient churches and monasteries. You will see many on this tour. Although some are situated in amazing locations there are far too many to remember them all. I felt that the tour could benefit for a little variation in itinerary. The food and wine were excellent as were the very friendly people and our superb tour guides. All of which made this a very memorable trip to what is an interesting and relatively undiscovered part of the world for western tourists.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was very impressed with Tibilisi. Clean city with lots of open spaces and a mix of modern and old architecture. Especially like the cafe culture. The food throughout trip was excellent and very reasonably priced. Really impressive scenery in the Causcasus mountains

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armenia is developing it's tourism industry and I suspect that is why our tour leader wasn't a tour guide by profession. Taguhi was by profession an English lecturer at the University in Yerevan and you could tell. She had done lots of research and sometimes delivered her commentary like a lecture with far too much detail. Having said that, she was competent and kept on schedule, organising meals as we went along. It was actually nice to have a leader who wasn't a trained guide, just a local who is passionate about her country, it's history and culture. Taguhi is intelligent and she will quickly learn how to refine her skills as a guide. I had no problems. Just a little less detailed information please. In Georgia, our guide was Ia Mikiashvili. . Ia was in her early twenties and not long out of University where she studied tourism . Ia said she was little nervous at first as this was her first English group but she proved to be an excellent tour leader in every sense. She is a very friendly person with good English and she got on well with everyone. Ia has a good knowledge of the itinerary and can advise on places to visits, restaurants etc. She made herself contactable at all times and she has good organisation and problem solving skills . I think she will do very well in the tourist industry. Very well done Ia.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are interested in Georgian and Armenian churches and monasteries you will love this trip but be prepared for some long days travelling. Make sure you check in on line. Either print your boarding pass or download to your phone

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    1. Coach transport in both countries was very good. Both coaches were clean tidy and comfortable with good microphone systems. WiFi and USB charging on the Georgian coach was very well received by everyone. 2. We had free water in Armenia but none in Georgia as we were told it was Exodus policy. Confused? 3. Hotels were very good throughout. I was expecting some standard and budget accommodation but all hotels were good, clean and with full amenities. 4. The food included as part of the tour was very good in both countries. It's a good idea to have group meals provided especially early on as it brings the group together. 5. The itinerary in Georgia was fine but in Armenia there is a need to introduce some variation so guests can experience other aspects of the history and culture other than churches and monasteries. Perhaps needs to be more balanced.. for example we spend what seemed a long time looking at ancient manuscripts and books, which wasn't so interesting and not a lot of time in the genocide museum which was. We seemed to be rushed sometimes trying to cover everything in the itinerary. On the last day we asked if we could miss out the last part of the itinerary other wise we would have been back for our final meal around 9.30pm. Perhaps need to revise the itinerary and introduce some more free time en-route. 6. Our hotel in Tibilsi was very nice but not good for those who are a little infirm and have difficulty difficulty walking uphill. There is also disturbance from a disco across the street which goes on until 5 am. 7. In Armenia we were asked by the tour leader for copies of our passports. Taguhi didn't know why her company wanted this just that she had been asked to get copies. Privacy and security are big issues in the West and so without any explanation I don't think anyone provided their passports.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Tony Bees

    Exactly what we wanted

    Good group dynamic with a friendly knowledgeable leader

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The lunch in an old hut overlooking the sea after a good walk

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Virginia was great, attentive and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just enjoy it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think the hotel should put a room at the disposal of departing guests for showering, given the late afternoon departure. This is common practice in some other hotels. Having said that the staff were truly excellent and really friendly, particularly when offering us a drink and a piece of Giovanna's birthday cake.
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