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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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2400 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    Will Hamilton

    Wonderful experience

    This was a fantastic couple of weeks. Joseph and his team are absolutely first class. The cycling is easy apart from that climb up to Ooty! Lots of magical memories.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the temple at Guruvayoor. Farm walk and chai at the farmhouse. Seeing elephants in the wild. Home stay lunch. Houseboat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First class.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    wendy fairhurst

    Great trip overall - a real journey

    Just returned from this trip . Myself , my husband and 3 more friends went on the trip - we are all keen on cycle touring. For myself and my husband, our overall experience was very good . Our guide, Chai was the best we have ever had . He dealt with a varied group with humour, fantastic organisation and always a smile. The group we were with was made up of British , Canadian, American and Australian cyclists . The group was great and bonded well under Chai's expert guidance. Culturally the trip is very interesting - Angkor Wat is fascinating and beautiful and the Killing Fields in Cambodia were life changing. Travelling through the 3 countries and seeing the various levels of development, political situations and living conditions was interesting and sometimes disturbing. However the cycling itself was sometimes disappointing - in the first few days there is rather a lot of cycling along straight, featureless , flat roads in 35 degrees of heat. Being taken out to eat local food in the evenings was very enjoyable and welcome after this. Cycling around Angkor Wat and the various temples which make up the complex was beautiful and the cycling in Vietnam is amazing - cycling through communities , hopping on and off ferries - everywhere a riot of colour and interest.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hearing the story of our young female guide in Phnom Pen give an emotional and personal account of the Polpot regime and life in Cambodia nowadays moved me to tears . Cycling around Angkor Wat Hearing our guide talk about his humane and pragmatic approach to Buddhism Cycling through villages and communities in Vietnam

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai was quite simply one of the nicest human beings I have ever met and an inspirational guide and leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the first few days of cycling which are long , scenery is not spectacular and it is very hot. It does get better! We are reasonably strong cyclists and were able to find enjoyment in blasting down the long, straight, quiet roads but still found the heat a challenge. Chai managed it well though and arranged stops every 8-10 miles to re-group and cool down. The team were always waiting with very welcome and delicious snacks and drinks. Go easy on them if you don't want to gain weight. Cycling around the Angkor Wat temples and in Vietnam is lovely. Go out with the guide to eat in the evenings - the local food and experience is fantastic and hotel food often very average. We did not get ill.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was a journey rather than a holiday and overall a very positive experience. Most people on the trip who had never done Exodus holidays before were inspired to do more trips like this. However be prepared for some of the cycling in the heat and seeing the poverty of some of the communities, particularly in Cambodia.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Howard Reece-Smith

    A Mixed Bag

    First things first,this is hard cycling,long and steep gradients,and hot weather. The team of Paolo,Gustavo,Jonathan,Hernan and Caesar were sensational.Helpful informative,kind,supportive and excellent cyclists. The accomodation was patchy with the Mirador hotel in Ansema easkly the wlorst.Tiny double bed suitable only for 2 midgets.The bed rock hard and the room tiny and airless.Whoever could have approved it had obviously not spent a night there. The Food was cheap and often excellent but could fall to earth with a bang,when a tepid lasangne was served still in the silver foil.Unsxurprisingly one of our number spent the night vomiting with food poisoning.No suggestion of bubbling hot there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Achieving the climbs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As above, a paragon of virtue,as were the whole team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready for a very hard ride or accept that you will have to take the bus,sometimes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The scenery is spectacular,the roads vary from sublime to ridiculous.Some of the wayside trips are very good ,but English is pretty much not spoken.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    David Hindley

    Excellent, probably the best yet.

    This was an amazing trip. Totally fell in love with Vietnam, We did so much in such in two weeks. The cycling, somehow. only felt like a small part of the experience as there were so many other things that we did. Each day was full on, exceptionally well organised, great food, etc Been on a few cycle trips, and I think this was the best one so far.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many, how could I choose? I'd always wanted to go to Hoi An and the Hai Van pass. Both did not disappoint. The whole trip was inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Linh was a perfectionist in all he did. There was no waiting around for buses to turn up, bikes to be made ready, trains to catch, boats to board, meals to eat. etc Everything was there at the time stated or when we just happened to turn up. He was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the places we visited. A great leader. The support team was great too, fixing my puncture on one occasion, and replacing the whole gear system on another. Just great, great and great!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I stayed an extra day each end, and depending on how you counted my stay, I was in Vietnam for 15 or 16 days (if you counted the part days at each end as whole days). I asked Exodus if I needed a Visa, they said no. I emailed the Vietnam Visa website also, but got no reply. Vietnam Airlines, flying from Paris, did see this as a problem, and I needed to sign a disclaimer form before they would let me fly taking all responsibility. The Visa counter in Ho Chi Minh also saw this as a problem, where I was questioned at length, but they did eventually let me in. Personally, I would have preferred to have paid the Visa, so I did not have this uncertainty. Others in the group, staying the same length of time, did not have the same problem. So your choice if extending your stay, but you may want to be aware that some see 15 day visa as counting a part day, as one whole day! The accommodation throughout was excellent, but I found the "1st class" train compartment very claustrophobic and far too hot and spent some of the night sitting on a small plastic chair in the corridor. The 2nd/3rd class carriages were far cooler and more spacious. I would probably decamp there if I did this again.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lynda Branch

    Simply sensational

    My husband and I had an amazing time on this cycling trip. From the start in Mysorevisiting stunning temples and cycling through manic traffic to the backwaters of Kerala and the tranquil pace to the national parks and tiger and elephant sightings it was a wonderful experience. Safi and his team were first class guides - there to help in every way they could and to enhance each experience and always with a smile on their faces. Nothing was too much trouble and the added extra of being impromptu guests at an Indian wedding was an experience we’ll never forget. The cycling was accessible to us as occasional cyclists and sometimes challenging. Climbing the hill to Ooty was certainly physically demanding but we had plenty of time and support on route and the midway tea point provided some much needed respite. The roads are, as described in the trip notes, mostly good but with some rough patches but taking our time we all navigated these without too much difficulty. It’s hard to pick out the top highlights because there were so many varied and different experiences but for us the night on the houseboat (where we all dressed in traditional outfits) and seeing a tiger at close range were two. The food was also exquisite. However, it’ll be the smiles of everybody we met and the hospitality of people who couldn’t do enough for us that we’ll remember. We can’t recommend this trip highly enough,

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having lunch in a family home where we tasted a huge range of local delicacies all served by every member of a lovely family. We loved it so much that we went back for a cookery class.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was incredible. From start to finish nothing was too much trouble - he anticipated our needs even before they were apparent to us. His local knowledge added hugely to the trip and he knew every local place to stop at, the best places to eat, where to shop, local craftsmen who demonstrated their skills. If anybody needed anything - e g medication, insect cream - he took care of it all. He gently guided us on the cycles - always around if we needed him but happy for us to go at our own pace as well. A big shout out should also go to this two assistants - Vypin and Santhosh - who were also fantastic. As a team of three they couldn’t have been better and added hugely to our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that there’s some cycling in traffic so practice this before going. Pretty much everybody had a bit of a funny tummy - not enough to stop us cycling - so hand gel essential and supplies of Imodium.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Sarah Nicholas

    A wonderful holiday

    This was our third cycling trip in India and lived up to all expectations. There is a great sense of achievement in cycling Coast to Coast from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea. It is wonderful cycling through the countryside, villages and towns and seeing and meeting people going about their daily lives.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I most enjoyed the friendliness of the people we met. I enjoyed seeing the cottage industries of the coir rope maker and coir mat maker. I love the chaos of India and the heightening of all your senses with all the sights, smells and noises.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Shakar was excellent. His love for his country was obvious. He introduced us to many 'everyday' people and showed us many places on route. He is friendly and fun and got to know and involve the whole group in the trip. He made sure we were safe throughout the cycle trip. He was ably supported by Bevan, Franklin and Jenni who made sure our water bottles were always full and any issues with our bikes were quickly sorted.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cycling is a wonderful way to see India. Don't be put off by some of the long distances - the route is generally flat and there are frequent breaks for water, snacks and coffee. Cycling in the towns can be challenging but being in a group helps. Don't think you'll loose any weight as the food is delicious!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As other reviewers have said - this is a wonderful trip - go for it!
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Mike MacRae

    Fantastic scenery, challenging cycling

    A challenging 3 with plenty of uphill. Some quaint places to visit and stay. Luckily the majority of the group were like minded people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the section over Chapman's Peak.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bradley did a good job of keeping a difficult group together and was flexible in his approach to the itinerary. Sifiso, the driver was a great support to him. Bikes were fine tuned daily.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to read the trip notes before signing up. People on our tour potentially ruined this through lack of preparation. If need be I.e being more than an hour behind the leaders get in the bus and listen to the leaders advice.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy the experience come with an open mind.
  • 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 January 2020
    andrew bole

    An amazing trip, a couple of tips

    This is a really wonderful trip. I would highly recommend it. You get a unique view of the people, country life and see very few other tourists, outside of the big cities! A good balance between cycling and transfers on the bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide makes the difference between a good trip and an amazing trip. Our guide, Nut, was excellent. He was calm, efficient and is vastly experienced so easily managed the large group (18) and so we were all relaxed and could enjoy the trip. Simple things were done very well. We visited lots of different artisans along the way but were never pressured into buying things. They guide handled tipping, meals etc

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some tips not in the trip notes: 1. It is hot and very sunny. Over xmas, there were no cloudy days and no rain. 2. Take lots of high factor sun cream. We used more than expected as you are out in the sun most of the day. You can only buy it in the big towns, Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Saigon. 3. Wear white or light coloured tops when cycling. Dark colours absorb the heat making it even hotter! 4. You move most evenings, so can only visit the laundry in the big towns where you stay for more than one night, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Saigon. 5. Take a water bottle that fits in a standard bike water bottle holder. 6. We took our own clip in pedals (MTB prob best as in and out of them in the towns), which worked well. The bus is always close by so you can change shoes if you need to walk round a temple 7. To go into most of the temples you need to wear trousers or shorts/skirts that cover the knee. Applies to men and women. You can leave them on the bus, so dont need to wear them when cycling. 8. Take some electrolite tablets for your water, as you are out on the bike in the heat sweating alot!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Spend a bit of time looking at the flight routes/options as there are lots of possible routes you can end up on, which vary considerably in terms of duration and connections.
  • 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.