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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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17910 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2020

    The trip of a lifetime

    The trip of a lifetime! My son and I joined twelve other people for this utterly amazing experience. This was our first adventure type holiday but after this experience it most certainly won't be our last. Our group bonded really well and, steered throughout the whole trip by the quite superb Roberto Aguilar, we were treated to spectacular wildlife, natural world and culture. Blessed with stunning weather for the most part, we were blessed on the two occasions that it rained as we were sitting under cover eating lunch or fast asleep in our hotel! The hotels are generally of an excellent standard. Food and drink were plentiful and pretty good as well. If I have one negative comment to make about the trip it is that I would love to go again but daren't as the first time was just too good to be able to replicate.!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many. A day out in a boat from Bocas Del Toro watching dolphins, snorkelling, lunch outdoors with the sea lapping under us and the last couple of hours on Red Frog beach. The ride from Hotel Mystica in the mountains alongside the lake...just gorgeous. Chocolate Road Panama Canal. Looking into an active volcano a the lava bubbling away two hundred metres below. Sloths Toucans Raft trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As stated earlier, Roberto is the ultimate guide. Endlessly patient. Totally organised. Cheerful. So well informed about all the areas that we travelled through. A good, strong cyclist as well, so that if you want to push yourself, he'll oblige by keeping up and pushing you too!! I find it hard to believe there could be a better guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were advised early on in the trip to 'surrender' to the itinerary and accept the regular, early starts in order that this allows you to see as much as possible during the two weeks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I miss it
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Slow burner

    It must be said this is a bit dull to begin with - the first three cycling days are not particularly interesting - but it builds and in the end it is a great experience. Cambodia is a fascinating journey from the pomp of Angkor Wat to the rat infested piles of rubbish in Phnom Penh to the anguish of the Killing Fields; I'll never forget it. Vietnam was a complete contrast - colourful, enterprising,confident, resplendent with gold starred red flags everywhere.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Quite a few: The giant recumbent golden Buddha in Wat Pho The frog sausage with green tamarind salsa from a street vendor near Siem Reap Cycling through the North Gate of Angkor Thum at dusk Being brought to tears by the guide in the Genocide museum Riding through the country lanes and bustle near Chau Doc with all the children shouting "hallo" to us

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai is a great guy - a fine advocate for Buddhism

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling is a bit of a side show and this trip is really more about imagining yourself in the heartbeat of another as Sebastian Faulks, I think, said. I felt privileged to have made the journey. The best day's cycling is the second day in Angkor Wat so don't go shopping as some of our party did. It is very hot - take lots of factor 50 sun block. Aside from the frog sausage the best dish was Fish Amok served in a hollowed out coconut - don't miss it

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not for cyclist purists but an adventure you won't forget
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Brilliant Trip

    This is the fourth consecutive year my wife and I have done this trip, initially in Trins, then Seefeld and now Achenkirch. Despite some inclement weather for the Alps this was probably the best trip of all. Great group who gelled together, nice hotel and great food. As usual all the mountain huttes were a real treat. A really nice mix of walks and the treat of a toboggan ride after great coffee at the hutte at the top of the run.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After using the Karwendel lift the views of Achensee and the mountains from the top.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The third year Paul McDermott has been the group leader. Terrific leader, nothing is too much trouble and always a smile. Joins in the evening cards which was great fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good waterproofs as we walked for a day in torrential rain.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Stunning trip

    I was well impressed with Sri Lanka - charming people, friendly and calm perhaps due to the widespread effect of Buddhism. Our well planned route took us inland, through the mountains and round the south coast with expert guide Nalaka, so we got a great overview of the island. Lovely hotels, most with pools, and superb food - buffets with the chance to try everything mixed with home cooking on banana leaves. We had the opportunity to travel in different ways - rafts, bikes, jeeps and trains; we saw wildlife close up, especially elephants of course, crocodiles, monkeys and a wide range of birds; and we explored some incredible historic sites. A very memorable and fun trip with a lovely group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was particularly inspired by the view from the top of Sigiriya rock in the early morning mist, the folk museum and the life of Martin Wickramasinghe and the cheek of the monkeys!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nalaka was an excellent tour guide - charming, well organised, informative and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No real need for adaptors - most hotels have sockets which take UK plugs. Walking boots are pretty useful - the Horton Plains track in particular is rough. And 'temple clothes' are needed - even just a sarong which can cover the legs or shoulders and old socks to wear on the hot rocks.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    A fast paced dive into Indian world heritage sites - for seasoned travellers only!!

    A presumptuous title for the trip - there's a lot missing for a Grand Tour! However, it does cover a great number of very interesting historical and religious sites over 4 weeks. and as such is an efficient way to see a lot of Indian world heritage sites in a fairly short time. It is also good value for money. Accommodation was of a varied quality but always acceptable. We'd have liked to see a couple of home stay's included though, and we didn't feel that we had enough exposure to modern Indian culture or local communities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    More than one! I had completely discounted the likelihood of seeing tigers in the wild so it was astonishing to see four over our two game drives - one at extremely close quarters! However many photos you see, there is no substitute for seeing the Taj Mahal first hand. Truly magnificent. Witnessing cremations of the Ganges was a surreal and humbling experience, as was our visit to the cradle of Buddhism, also in Varanasi. Lots more as well!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jatin had great organisational skills, navigating us successfully around stations, trains, hotels, and restaurants and holding strictly to the itinerary in the trip notes. He also had a pleasant, affable personality. However, he deferred extensively to local City guides (who ranged from excellent to average) in terms of local information, and we thought he could have done more to introduce us to the cultures of India. In our view, too much time was spent in very average restaurants in the evening - it would have been great to have had the chance to see things like cookery or clothing demonstrations, insights into Indian marriages, etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a trip for seasoned travellers only - it is long, hot and at times uncomfortable, with the possibility of stomach upsets,etc. The group composition is important as you spend a month together - no room for big egos or uncooperative/insensitive souls! We'd suggest an extra night or two in Kovalam at the end as it's an interesting place to explore and unwind (a major centre for Yoga and Ayurvedic massage). The food is relentlessly spicy, but vegetarians are extremely well catered for (many Indians are vegetarian). Take a warm layer for winter departures as the north can be chilly. Extra loo paper, wet wipes are mandatory, also basic medications for stomach upsets, coughs and colds etc. A filtered water bottle will help eliminate the use of single use plastic bottles.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    India has rather belatedly embarked on a major road building programme, which means that at present road journeys are inevitably very slow. In the light of this we've suggested to Exodus that it is worth exploring the use of low cost regional air flights as an alternative to both trains and coaches. I'm not convinced that some sights merit the very lengthy road trips - some itinerary reorganisation would likely benefit the overall experience. Spending less than a full day in Mumbai is in our view a serious error - we came away wanting to see a lot more of this interesting, vibrant and exciting city. Similarly, what is the logic in missing Kolkatta from the itinerary of a "Grand Tour"? As with all our trips, we benefitted from and greatly appreciated the company of our guide and Group (more than usual on a trip of this length), so we'd like to say a big thank you for that.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    A good trip but.....

    Good points. A very varied trip. Plenty of cycling but other things too. A taste of real life in Vietnam as well as tourist destinations. Lots of interesting food. Interesting culture Good Hotels Highlights are whale Island and Hoi An Bad points Too fast paced to spend quality time in some of the places visited - Arrive at dusk, leave at dawn. Trip notes are full of things that there would never be time to see or do. Overnight train is a low point! Too much cycling in dangerous city centre traffic. Lots of time in the bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 30km descent on day 5. Also the general friendliness of the local people considering all that the country has been through over the years.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tiet was a real joker who tried hard to make sure everyone in the group got what they needed from the tour. Nothing was too much trouble and he took us to some great dining experiences.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sure to take a small overnight bag for whale Island in particular, but also the hideous sleeper train.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Trip of a lifetime

    The whole experience exceeded my expectations. . The guided outings ashore at the start and end of the cruise, the accommodation and food on the Caledonian Sky, the officers and crew of the Caledonian Sky, the expert Zegrahm staff/guides/lecturers, the company of fellow passengers and above all the spectacular wild-life of the Sub-Antarctic combined to produce an unforgettable experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Landing on Macquarie Island surrounded by thousands of penguins Watching not one but four orcas surfacing in front of the ship Meeting so many people all of whom care passionately about wild-life

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All the staff were first class
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Highly recommended

    I can't recommend this trip enough. Having twice done its predecessor in Seefeld and also its sister summer trip, I had high expectations and wasn't disappointed. The scenery is spectacular, the hotel comfortable, the food excellent - we worked our way through a long list of Austrian and Tyrolean specialities each evening. Cosy Gasthauses and sunny terraces provided perfect surroundings for lunching on soup and strudel, a cable car gave stunning views over the lake and the more adventurous of us (not me!) took the chance to try toboganning down from one afternoon cake stop. Plenty of options for the free day - visiting Innsbruck was popular with our group though I went for the snow-shoeing over the pass in a blizzard option, fabulous but exhausting. And card games full of laughter and banter after dinner rounded off each day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing at the top of the pass, as a novice snowshoer on the free day, realising I'd made it up there on sheer willpower and the encouragement of my companions when half an hour before I'd wanted to just lie down in the snow and stay there..... A group who kept on laughing despite the weather......Watching a fabulous lady fight her way up a hill despite being exhausted and toboggan down in triumph.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a conversation about good leaders and great leaders and that the great ones go the extra mile, make you think you can do things , work tirelessly to see everyone has a great time. Oh, and let a couple of novices tag along on their one free day when they head off on snow shoes...…. This one is definitely in the 'great' category.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're dithering about whether it's for you, book it and have a go. And take a kettle if you like an early cup of coffee, Austrian hotels don't have them in the rooms.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Stupendous!

    More than lives up to the title "Highlights" - 10 days concentrated on the best of Patagonia (with a half day in Buenos Aires before and after). Stunning views, great treks, towering glaciers, turquoise icebergs, and penguins too. What's not to like?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many! Both the two treks - hard work (about 13/14 miles but very do-able if taken at a steady "patagoinian plod"), steep / rough trails in places but very rewarding especially finally getting to the top for the fantastic picture postcard views. The literally endless skies driving across the plains The towering ice wall of the Perito Moreno glacier - listening to the cracks and and trying to spot the ice calving off. The pengiuns - walking so comically on land but shooting like torpedoes through the crystal clear water And the warm medialunas at almost every hotel at breakfast (yum)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was brilliant - more than lived up to great ratings from previous trips

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Argentina - despite what the trip notes say, don't change lots of money at the airport on arrival - the exchange rate is very poor (58 to the US$ in Jan compared with up to 75 to the US$ if paying in hard currency). All the additional trips could be paid for in US dollars cash. There are change places in BA which offer better rates than the airport You'll need cash for meals but larger / touristy restaurants often took US$. Go on the optional trips - the full day iceberg trip from El Calafete and the half day penguin trip from Ushuaia were well worth while. And cost less than the trip notes if you don't eat meat... vegetarians (especially strict ones) will have relatively thin pickings, but no worse than other meaty countries. You won't go hungry but bring a stash of oatcakes / nuts / similar (surprisingly not too plentiful even in larger supermarkets) if needed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were INCREDIBLY lucky with the weather - it was often windy but we only had one day of rain (when we arrived in Usuhaia). January may be their summer but it's the southern equivalent of northern England / southern Canada, with similarish temperatures. Make sure to take plenty of layers to cope with any eventuality.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    An outstanding trip

    We were a big group of 15. Everyone got on well. Our leader, Petro Pretorius, was exceptional. Her knowledge was encyclopaedic and she was warm, open & resourceful. At all times we felt safe & confident in her care. She really went the extra mile for us. The food & wine was outstanding and also ridiculously cheap. Our itinerary was well thought out & enjoyable. Accommodation was always clean & well appointed. Accommodation hosts & local people were unfailingly friendly & helpful

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to choose between Robben Island, Table Mountain, the wildlife or the township visit. The incredible seafood & wine was up there too

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Petro really was a gem. We were so fortunate

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Use mosquito spray at night

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An outstanding trip that exceeded our expectations