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 May 2018
    rhod tibbles
    Trip:

    Exodus rate this leisurely - no... it...... aint........ but fabulous trip ... !!!!

    We were on the same tour as Christine (see Feb 18 review) Echo many of her comments and those of your April reviewer.. We are in our late 60's/early 70's.... A fabulous trip with a bit of everything , and yes, the only way to have done it was by a minibus with 14 other travellers.. but would not do this sort of tour again... averaging 6 hours daily in a minibus - one day was 15 hours across abysmal pitted roads due to teachers strike and roads being barracaded, was no fun. We are very well travelled and pretty fit for our age - but this was the most strenuous trip we have ever done... but so glad we did it.. On the first day a very frail lady decided it wasn't going to be for her.... and left.... !!!! Just to pick up on one thing from our trip - Feb 18 review - which commented re water.... Having cruised many times and stringent rules against sharing communal water facilities using personal water bottles, we were horrified that most of our group did this - obviously one tour member came with a bug and this was passsed around the group via the communal water dispenser. Obviously this saved money for some, but the cost was at least 75pc of the group had stomach bug issues for several days (NOT HEAT RELATED) - and progressed thru the whole group... We were among the few not affected - because - WE DID NOT USE THE COMMUNAL WATER FACILITIES... Exodus please note - on minibus tours PLEASE DO NOT USE COMMUNAL WATER DISPENSERS - THIS IS A SERIOUS HEALTH NO-NO.... !!!! Anyway - the tour - a fabulous mix of Mayan sites - in open situation and our favourites - those in jungles. We loved the short beach brak in Tulum with opportunities to body-board - too rough to swim... The towns and cities were colourful, atmospheric and culturally diverse . The cultural and religious mix of Catholicism and Mayan tradition was occasionally uncomfortable given animal sacrifices were part of such ceremonies - but utterly memorable ...... For us wildlife is important and it was terrific to see some wonderful birds and aguti and cotamundi up close and the howler monkeys had to be heard to be believed...... !!!! In Belize it was great to get a snorkelling opportunity and to swim with nurse sharks plus very large stingrays..... The trip had everything - but showed us why we prefer a mixed nationality group..... We get exasperated with our fellow Brits who always have to do everything asd a group and seem incapable , as on our trip, of making decisions for thermselves and allowing dominat individuals to dictate how to use what spare times there was at the expense of giving themselves memorable times as a couple.... We are sociable people but also value our times together as a couple as these are the times you remember..... ah the British herd instinct - it makes you proud.. ??!!?? Fabulous trip ...

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Actually two..... - the visit to a local church with a ceremony merging Mayan and Catholic traditions - disturbing because adnimal sacrifices formed part of the ceremony , but utterly memorable.... - The Mayan site at Tikal - wonderful jungle setting - a 6 hour trek thru jungle around the extensive site , and encountering much wildlife - several species of monkey, many birds including toucan, many eagles soaring on the thermals, the many iguanas, agouti and cotamundi.... The views across the site.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amando our guide was amazing.. Always keeping a close eye on everyone to make sure they were happy, always there to give advice and suggestions and we really appreciated his enthusiasm during our wildlife discussions......

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    AVOID USING COMMUNAL WATER FACILITIES Be aware that this is a very intensive tour with what is a full minibus with little spare room, and not much spare time outside travelling and sight-seeing...... If you are older and not very fit, consider an alternative ....
  • Reviewed May 2018
    rhod tibbles
    Trip:

    Exodus rate this leisurely - no... it...... aint........ but fabulous trip ... !!!!

    We were on the same tour as Christine (see Feb 18 review) Echo many of her comments and those of your April reviewer.. We are in our late 60's/early 70's.... A fabulous trip with a bit of everything , and yes, the only way to have done it was by a minibus with 14 other travellers.. but would not do this sort of tour again... averaging 6 hours daily in a minibus - one day was 15 hours across abysmal pitted roads due to teachers strike and roads being barracaded, was no fun. We are very well travelled and pretty fit for our age - but this was the most strenuous trip we have ever done... but so glad we did it.. On the first day a very frail lady decided it wasn't going to be for her.... and left.... !!!! Just to pick up on one thing from our trip - Feb 18 review - which commented re water.... Having cruised many times and stringent rules against sharing communal water facilities using personal water bottles, we were horrified that most of our group did this - obviously one tour member came with a bug and this was passsed around the group via the communal water dispenser. Obviously this saved money for some, but the cost was at least 75pc of the group had stomach bug issues for several days (NOT HEAT RELATED) - and progressed thru the whole group... We were among the few not affected - because - WE DID NOT USE THE COMMUNAL WATER FACILITIES... Exodus please note - on minibus tours PLEASE DO NOT USE COMMUNAL WATER DISPENSERS - THIS IS A SERIOUS HEALTH NO-NO.... !!!! Anyway - the tour - a fabulous mix of Mayan sites - in open situation and our favourites - those in jungles. We loved the short beach brak in Tulum with opportunities to body-board - too rough to swim... The towns and cities were colourful, atmospheric and culturally diverse . The cultural and religious mix of Catholicism and Mayan tradition was occasionally uncomfortable given animal sacrifices were part of such ceremonies - but utterly memorable ...... For us wildlife is important and it was terrific to see some wonderful birds and aguti and cotamundi up close and the howler monkeys had to be heard to be believed...... !!!! In Belize it was great to get a snorkelling opportunity and to swim with nurse sharks plus very large stingrays..... The trip had everything - but showed us why we prefer a mixed nationality group..... We get exasperated with our fellow Brits who always have to do everything asd a group and seem incapable , as on our trip, of making decisions for thermselves and allowing dominat individuals to dictate how to use what spare times there was at the expense of giving themselves memorable times as a couple.... We are sociable people but also value our times together as a couple as these are the times you remember..... ah the British herd instinct - it makes you proud.. ??!!?? Fabulous trip ...

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Actually two..... - the visit to a local church with a ceremony merging Mayan and Catholic traditions - disturbing because adnimal sacrifices formed part of the ceremony , but utterly memorable.... - The Mayan site at Tikal - wonderful jungle setting - a 6 hour trek thru jungle around the extensive site , and encountering much wildlife - several species of monkey, many birds including toucan, many eagles soaring on the thermals, the many iguanas, agouti and cotamundi.... The views across the site.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amando our guide was amazing.. Always keeping a close eye on everyone to make sure they were happy, always there to give advice and suggestions and we really appreciated his enthusiasm during our wildlife discussions......

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    AVOID USING COMMUNAL WATER FACILITIES Be aware that this is a very intensive tour with what is a full minibus with little spare room, and not much spare time outside travelling and sight-seeing...... If you are older and not very fit, consider an alternative ....
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Sally Jones
    Trip:

    What an adventure

    Well if you are expecting a relaxing holiday forget it! Full on from the minute we arrived in Guatemala. True it is not for the faint hearted travelling wise, a lot of places to get to in a short time but if you want to seen Mayan culture in all it's forms this is the trip for you! A very special mention to our guide Amando - brilliant! Such a considerate guy with a real talent for organisation, diplomacy and truly appeared to enjoy his job, love his smile. Couple of brief periods of down time, loved the snorkeling and white beaches so all in all a great success. We need a holiday now for sure

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing our first Mayan site.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Faultless

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of books, music etc for the hours of travelling

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nope
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Christine Holyhead
    Trip:

    La ruta Maya

    Amazing discovery of an ancient culture. Well balanced mix of activities and personal times but long distances for travel were more tiring than the leisurely code implied. Wonderful scenery seen from our little bus as we jolted along. Guide involved us in all decisions but leaving at 6 am before the heat and crowds was clearly the best option on many days. Our hotels and food mostly exceeded our expectations. The itinerary will always attract those who want to know about the social, cultural, political history of such a hidden group of people. Pack your best grip, lightweight walkers and insect repellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tikal needed bigger time allowance

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well at first I thought he was a joker but later saw a man who looked after us EVERY DAY for food activities. Careful in difficult situations. 2 people shot dead in A village we’d been to ten days earlier!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good grip light weight shoes, rubber end stick? Lots insect repellant. Travel sickness tabs for boat and occasional bumpy road.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Guide should remind group of need to drink more. Water was always available but we forget how hot it is. Half of us were sick probably due to heat
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Neil Frankum
    Trip:

    Ruta Maya

    With all trips where you are visiting lots of temples etc there is the potential to loose interest after seeing too much of the same. Luckily on this trip the sites visited have been carefully chosen to keep the interest because of their differences, each with its own distinct flavour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Palenque and Tikal for the Mayan history. Snorkelling on the Belize Barrier Reef for the wildlife. Lake Atitlan for the scenery. Seeing Volcan Fuego erupt for a reminder that mother nature is bigger than all of us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the long bus journeys. Be prepared for the heat in the lowlands (mid-30s most days, and one day was into the 40s).
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Gyan Fernando
    Trip:

    Mayan Adventure

    As described and we started off from Antigua, Guatemala on Easter Sunday. Then on to Lago Atitlan and the colourful Mayan Culture, border crossing into Mexico to visit Palanque and other Mayan sites, cross the border into Belize and back in to Guatemala.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots of them but I thought the distant volcanic eruptions were rather inspirational in that they reflected the fragility of life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando Barraza at first did not seem a good leader. Maybe he was rather careful with the new Conquistadors that we were and was very careful with the choice of drinking water, restaurants etc. On the way we came to like him and vice versa and he was with us until the last day. If anybody was at fault in the day to day details it was not him and maybe it was us. He would make sure that our rooms were in good condition, within minutes of us getting into our new accommodation, and with a discrete knock on the door. I was the last in the group to fly out of Guatemala and he made sure that everything was fine.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is a very hot country. Do drink a lot of electrolyte fluid not just water. Look up salt depletion etc on "Doctor" Google. There are a lot of re hydration fluids available locally and do take a lot of salt with your food. Our tour leader Armando, in his own way, did persuade us to drink coconut water based fluids. Good shoes, long trousers of a light-weight kind and sensible upper clothing of the non-offensive kind will help with mosquitoes, churches and snakes!
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Richard Muia
    Trip:

    La Ruta Maya

    A great trip to soak in the Mayan culture across different regions and to see the ancient Mayan civilisations greatest creations. A good way to see parts of Mexico and Guatemala not on the main tourist trails.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    waking up at Lake Atitlan and wandering down to the lake side; watching the clouds skim the top of the volcanoes. Diving at Tulum and snorkeling in Belize; the reefs are teeming with life. Swimming with nurse sharks and sting rays was an unforgettable experience. Climbing the Mayan temples in the rain forests and upon reaching the top, surveying the dark green canopy backdropped against the bluest sky.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando was an excellent leader and very knowledgeable about all the countries we visited and the Mayan civilisations. He would plan ahead to make sure we got to the sites before the coaches arrived and got too busy; as well as making sure everyone was doing ok and had plenty of water, sunscreen, insect repellent etc. All the drivers were great too, especially Javier our driver for the Mexican Leg.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long days travelling in the bus. It was comfortable but some roads were a little bumpy. Stops were made every few hours. Plenty of mosquito repellent; my ankles were the favourite spots that I got bitten. No need to overpack, washing can be done at a few stops on the way, I got mine done in Belize for a reasonable rate, done same day.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    David Potts
    Trip:

    La Ruta Maya

    An excellent adventure ,no hard slogs . My companion had major surgery on her spine four months before tour,and with the help of guide Armando Barraza, she really had a great time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All of the trip was inspirational,among the ruins ,swimming in the caye,and the cenote,resting and having a few drinks at Tulum beach.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A great guy,helpful in every way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    leave half your luggage at home.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus ,you did us proud
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Mandy Davis
    Trip:

    La Ruta Maya

    I could not have asked for a better introduction to the countries visited in the itinery. The areas we stayed in Guatamala were surrounded by volcanoes, but due to crops being burned there was always a smoggy haze that obscured their beauty. Mexico exceeded my expectations, a beautiful country with the people to match. As we were out of season, many of the visited sites up to Chichen Itza were uncrowded which added to the delight of the group. On the Caribbean coast we stayed at a lovely all inclusive resort for 2 nights which was a bit of a shock as it was only rated as a standard hotel, we all thought it should have been classed a comfortable hotel. Belize again was a stunning country where we stayed on the island of Caye Caulker. I can highly recommend the snorkelling on the island. Alcoholic drinks were expensive on the island though. The trip notes tell you about some of the long drives, the longest was about 11 hours, but there were stops every 2 hours of so, giving time for bathroom stops and stretching of legs which was greatly needed. I also believe that there are more speed humps in Guatamala and Mexico then anywhere in the world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Learning to swim in some of the hotel pools and going snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea. Watching the sunset as a group also over the Caribbean Sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amundo was an excellent leader, he sorted out a couple of problems that the group had. He ensured my luggage made it back to Guatamala city at the end of the trip when it had been stuck in Florres. He was always smiling and ensured that those wishing to join a group meal every night were made welcome and took us to local restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    After all the travelling to get to Guatamala, I wish I had booked an extra night at the start to get over the jet lag. Be prepared for the long drives. Weather is very humid, there are places to get laundry done along the way but not every stop.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do it, one of my trips yet!!
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Stephen Brierley
    Trip:

    Experience the Indigenous Way

    This trip is an excellent way to learn about the Mayan ways from the Pre-Classical period in antiquity all the way through to the struggles of the Mayan people in today's world. Be prepared to swat up on some amazing history along the way. The tour begins in the UNESCO-listed city of Antigua and then proceeds across various settlements with significant Mayan populations in Guatemala and Mexico . The marks of civil wars of the 1900s are never far away. Our guide Armando seemed to be a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of local life and history. The ruins are well-selected and interspersed with great sights. Highlights for me included swimming in Cascadas de Agua Azul and in a cenote in Yucatan. I loved the groove of Caye Caulker and snorkelling on the reef is a must. Tikal was the climax of the tour with a walk in the jungle accompanied by birds and monkeys. The panorama over the landscape from the highest pyramid was marvellous.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the local people in the Indian villages - especially the union of local and Catholic religions into a unique indigenous way of life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armando was experienced, generous and kind. It was difficult to believe he could maintain such enthusiasm after 12 years in the trade.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Despite Exodus advice to take US dollars, ATM's are widely available and efficient. Juggling the different currencies can be difficult. It is not as easy to use US dollars in Mexico as it is in Guatemala and Belize.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some days are very long with very early starts. There is still discontent in Chiapas with the Zapatista movement making frequent nonviolent protests.
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