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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 September 2019

    Too leisurely trip

    The itinerary is beautiful, except for some bits were you ride in some areas devastated by the fires in 2017. Expect a very leisurely pace, less than 20 km/h in average and four stops a day, and do some hills after lunch. You should expect to arrive at the hotel at 4 pm or more by the plan. The average age of the group is 55-65 years old. Generally, good hotels are chosen, however, the Literary Man in Obidos is not worth it, except for its breakfast.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Great to meet people from all over the world. Also, is very stunning to watch the sunset in the Atlantic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He didn't have a very good level of English and had poor organization skills.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it with self-guided if you can cycle for 30 km around 2 hours non-stop and you want to do some exercise. The group is guided at a very leisurely pace and does four stops each day at least, adding some extra photo stops.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Mark Walker

    Absolutely fantastic Portugal

    This trip was an amazing experience with absolutely stunning scenery, around every bend was a picture postcard view of the ocean. The guides were excellent and their spoken English was great. This being my first premium trip I was very impressed with the hotels and watching the sunsets over the Atlantic from our hotel balconies and resteraunt tables was a highlight for everyone. The cycling was a bit harder than I anticipated, the trip is graded a two but is as hard / a bit harder than the indochina trip I did earlier in the year which was graded as a three. The first few days are definitely leisurely, but on later days there are a couple of hills one long climb and one short but steep one, the last day is more undulating. I wouldn’t let these put you off though they are manageable by anyone that’s done a bit of prep or cycles regularly and there’s always the van or an ebike. The bikes were trek dual sport 3’s and were excellent hybrids with hydraulic disc brakes giving confidence on the way down. The trip was mainly on excellent quality cycle paths with only a limited amount of road riding to link them together. We were generally in the hotel for 330 each day with most starts about 930

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Eating a group dinner after a hard days cycling on a cliff top resteraunt as the sun set over the Atlantic & getting to the top of the hill with a smile in my face.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paulo was excellent, really great full confidence in his abilities and adjusted the plan to cope with hotter than expected days and when we wanted to stay loneger in the town or wanted an extra coffee break.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light, I took way too much stuff
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Angela Jackson

    Pleasant cycling trip

    This is a pleasant cycling trip but as some reviewers have previously highlighted despite the grade 2 we were often arriving at the hotel about 5.00pm or later and so we didn't have much time for relaxation off the bikes. This was not too much of a problem until the arrival in Obidos which is worthy of some time to look around. There are some diversions from the original route following the devastating fires in 2017. Generally good hotels are used, The Literary Man in Obidos is very interesting and quirky.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not really inspirational - but overall this is a very pleasant relaxing trip. We had great company. We had a short guided tour of Porto prior to the wine tasting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ricardo worked really hard all week and was well supported by Ruben. He took some videos of us cycling which he tried to edit each evening for viewing whilst giving the next days briefing. Both were really nice guys who were enthusuatic about the outdoors and Portugal.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The kitty for lunches worked out great and I would recommend as everything was ready prepared on our arrival with a good choice of food, this included picnic lunches as well. Book extra nights in Porto and Lisbon as they are both worthy of more time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The last group meal is really the one in Obidos with suggestions of places to go in Lisbon if you wanted to experience Fado. We did not get a guided tour in Lisbon but we were dropped off right in the centre, a guided tour is really not practical given the size of the city. I think it would be better to give everyone a city map with the hotel and nearest metro station marked on it - so you know the way back and with some recommendations of places to go depending on your interests. For the nights when group meals are not organised it would also be useful to be provided with a map and suggestions for restaurants. We can highly recommend the Wine Bar by Cristal in Figueiro de Foz which was very close to the hotel - don't be put off by the name as this was a great little tapas bar with fantastc food.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Sahara Wutzke

    Coastal views

    Portugal is a beautiful country and cycling along its coast felt like I experienced all it's best parts. Cycling: This is rated correctly at "moderate" because of the hills. However it is a comfortable "easy" ride for the average fit person. I don't ride a bike at home and felt this was very doable. I really enjoyed how the cycling increased in time on the bike and pace as the trip progressed. From the first day where we took it easy, stayed together as a group and didn’t go too far a distance, to the last day of rolling hills, go at your own pace (fast or slow) and longer distances. Since you are travelling as a group it is to be expected that sometimes you will be waiting for the last person. But it is nice since, you can have yourself a little snack and coffee while you wait a lot of the time. Plenty of opportunity to take your time or even ride in the support vehicle if you aren’t up for the hill that day. I took advantage once myself of the ‘free’ ride. The ride is on mostly flat, or rolling, paved bike paths, through forest and coastal towns. We spent little time on roads and if we did they weren’t busy. Since it is a cycling trip the majority of your day is spent on the bike or ‘in transit’. Sightseeing in the towns you stay in is limited but a part of the consistent paced itinerary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We really enjoyed the other travellers in our group. I enjoyed conversations both during the ride and at meals with other travellers from around the world. Highlight: Picnic lunches!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was an excellent guide, skilled at maintaining a group pace and had great knowledge of Portugal. He gave great directions and appreciated when we wanted to pick up the pace.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book to stay an extra night in Porto on arrival to see the sites of this beautiful city.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Denise Murphy

    Porto to Lisbon ride

    Excellent hotels apart from first and last because they were not in the Center of Porto and Lisbon. We had to travel by Exodus transport. We did not have the walking tour of Porto as advertised despite arriving early afternoon just the port tasting. We would rather have had a walking tour. We understand it was not the usual tour guide on that particular week, could that have been the reason?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The cycling along the Atlantic coast, the scenery and all the hotels apart from first and last as mentioned above.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Understand that Rafael usually works in the office so was not very informative although very pleasant. He also kept us cycling at a very slow pace a lot of the time, keeping us all together, not letting us ride on ahead and wait which a lot of us found extremely frustrating. Our hands were constantly on the brakes and therefore most days didn’t arrive at our hotel until late afternoon and it could have been much earlier, especially the first two very flat days. Daniel was the driver and he looked after us very well and organised excellent picnics.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes arrive in Porto a day early to see this beautiful city, and perhaps have an extra day in Lisbon because our group flight involved us getting up at 4.15 am.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    None of us had the Fado dinner on the last night as we were not told about it on the previous night. We did t get a briefing. Everyone therefore ate separately on the last night so it was a sad ending to the holiday. Also when arriving in Lisbon we were dropped off at a petrol station and given directions on how to walk into the tourist area of Lisbon. We were told we had to make our own way back to the hotel, luckily some of the others had noted the name and address of the hotel we had just dropped our bags off.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Denise for her review, although we are very sorry that she was disappointed with certain aspects of her trip, and that the orientation tour was not offered on this departure. The orientation tour is dependent on the time available after the arrival of the group flight, and we will review timings of each activity to maximise the opportunity to enjoy a short walk in the city centre before or after the wine tasting, whilst still ensuring enough time is given for check-in and the main trip briefing. For those wishing to spend more time in Porto, we recommend considering an earlier flight or pre-tour accommodation to allow more time to visit the city and its many highlights independently, as mentioned in our Trip Notes.

    We regret that Denise was disappointed with the leadership on this tour. Rafael works in our local operator’s main office but he is fully trained, leads trips every year and knows the route well. A group’s pace will often depend on the difference in each client’s ability and, whilst there are some sections during which clients can cycle on their own, generally the tour leader must keep the group together for safety reasons. The pace is therefore tailored according to the trip grade, which is 2 (leisurely/moderate). 

    We were sorry to learn that Denise was disappointed with the final day of the tour, and we will ensure that every group is offered an optional guided tour in Lisbon from now on. Those wishing to explore independently will be provided with detailed information regarding highlights, maps and directions. Tour leaders have also been briefed to offer an optional farewell dinner from now on. Marta Marinelli – Product Manager

  • Sunshine and cycling with the wind behind us

    Good cycling beside the Atlantic Ocean. Blue sky and sunshine with wind behind us. Lovely hotels, great beaches and lots of surf. Nice bikes, and fun cycling.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view of the Atlantic Ocean as we cycled, particularly if we came round a corner and saw it below us blue with the white surf and the cliffs ahead.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nino was great. Good leader. Assessed the Group on the first day, and let people go at their own pace, so if they wanted to race ahead they could but had to wait. Gave enough time for those of us who didn’t want to race to get our breath back before setting off again.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for 80 euro lunch kitty. It also paid for drinks at the cafe stops and saved a lot of time, and the picnics were great, as well as the buffet lunches we had. When they say there may be a point that vertigo sufferers may not like, don’t worry, you’ll be fine. I hate edges and drops, and it was ok. It was only one small part one day. There is a barrier at the worst bit. Only slightly hairy bit is coming down the road, with cars behind you. Just stay in the middle of the road and make them wait! We were given the option of going in the van to miss it out, but I’m glad I did it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were given the option to cycle to Nazaré on the last day rather than transfer. Added 20k and another hill but worth it. Also worth going down to the fort, even though it is another hill.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Barry Thompson

    Portugal Cycling Tour

    Lucky that we had a late Oct ride with 25 C temperatures. Great guides and well working bikes. The mostly flat terrain was pleasant and interesting. The meals were excellent, like a gastronomic tour!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The really steep hill to the Obidos castle on the last day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    J.P. was organized, kind, thoughtful and considerate of all guests. A little more historical/cultural information would have been nice.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are a couple of high bridges that persons with height issues (me) may want to get a van ride across.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels were fine and the many Atlantic beaches were interesting. Lots of stops for excellent coffee!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Mike Howard

    A Brilliant Week in Portugal with Great People

    Who could ever have imagined just how fantastic a week long experience cycling (plus laughing, drinking,eating, talking and laughing a bit more) from Porto towards Lisbon would turn out as a new group assembled , on time (in house story), in Porto on Saturday September 22. For me - well I had one of the great experiences of my life and I could say the same for my wife , Ali. There was a sense of apprehension at the initial meeting but most of that pretty quickly dissolved as we went on our tour of Porto (on foot) and then to our first dinner. We quickly realised we had a great team - and to make a great team we had to have great leadership. That we did in Jaoa ( Zoom Zoom) and Oscar - absolutely brilliant and more on them later. The tour was everything ("more or less" - there is a story there) we could have hoped for - scenic even breath-taking at times, a huge variety of different landscapes from coast to farmland to colourful villages and picturesque lakes and seaside towns, mainly very good surfaces but nothing un-expected, great accommodation, great camaraderie and ultimately friendships and very good equipment. The tour was, as advised, mainly flat with a couple of good challenging short hills which did take a good bit of energy. If you have reasonable fitness (e-bikes are always available if you want) and enjoy the benefits of good exercise, connecting with new acquaintances and being blown away with scenery this is a "bucket-list" trip for you. And, to finish in the castled town of Obidos (yes, with a bit of final climb - 200-300 metres - "more or less eh Jaoa") was a wonderful experience as was the time to enjoy that fantastic city of Lisbon when we arrived there by bus for our final day. We will never forget our week long cycling experience on Portugal for all the very best reasons!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Impossible to mention just one. Everyday was inspirational! From getting back onto the bike each morning, to eating the best Portuguese tarts, breath-taking views, finishing "the road to hell" - not that bad really - just 15km of straight road at the end of the day, the first Super Bock of the day and the evening dinner - there was something to savor all the time. For me there were 3 key inspirational features. We had great weather throughout so that helped but also helped enjoy some spectacular views. None more so than ascending the short,steep hill before Figueira da Foz and the beautiful views across and city and coastline far below. There was inspiration everyday in the form of our tour leaders who tended to our every need at any time and always wore great smiles. There was inspiration in the way the team bonded together-16 people from 4 different countries and one more little one for me - the wonderful way the whole team gave me a birthday i will never forget!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jaoa ( Zoom Zoom) and Oscar were/are the very best. Capable, experienced, gracious, on top of everything ,hospitable, caring and understanding. Hard to get all the right words to describe all attributes. These guys were at the core of why our tour was so good. We may not have been the fastest group but we never missed an opportunity to enjoy every possible experience and our leaders allowed that to happen. Always in control - they are the epitome of what great tour guides should be - and always with a smile!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Spend a little time on a bike before you arrive in Porto for training - just helps you to enjoy the tour a bit more. It is not that it is difficult - it is just getting back on the saddle 5 days in a row!! Hopefully you can get a group like ours and hopefully you can have Jaoa and Oscar as leaders

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd do it again. Hi to all the team of the September 22 2019 tour.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    J KEYSE

    Porto to Lisbon 22/9

    We had an excellent cycling holiday with great leaders and a very sociable group of fellow travellers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our favourite aspects of the trip were: • Good cycling with relaxing stops at many cafes to enjoy coffee and pasteis de nata • Comfortable hotels • Great choice of restaurants with excellent fish • Very friendly locals wherever we went • Spectacular coastline, especially the huge waves at Nazaré • Great weather (if maybe a little too hot!)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide was João (JP) and assistant guide was Oscar. We can’t compliment them highly enough for the tireless work that they put in to make sure everyone had a great time. They coped with all adversities thrown at them, including making sure everyone stayed hydrated in very hot weather, rescuing people with punctures, coping with a broken down ferry, travellers who couldn’t decide what they wanted to do (!), all with smiles on their faces.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We really enjoyed having an extra night in Porto, which allowed us to see more of the city. Don’t underestimate the undulations, there are some!
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Stephen Bond

    Porto to Lisbon Cycling Tour

    My wife & I have joined cycling tours in Italy, Croatia & USA & unfortunately the Exodus Tour rates very poorly against the other tour companies We have been used to excellent guides, well rated itineraries & plenty of free time upon arrival each day...none of this was achieved with the Exodus tour The guides were very pleasant but out of their depth with regards to understanding the customers needs

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Nil

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Guides were pleasant but inexperienced

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try another tour company if taking this route

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus are at the top end of pricing but deliver a very low end product

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Stephen for his feedback, although we are sorry that his trip fell below his expectations, especially with regards to the tour's leadership. Whilst we were confident that the tour leader had the necessary skills to lead this  departure, we would like to confirm that he is no longer working for Exodus, and for all 2019 departures only experienced guides that have been trained on our standards and expectations will be used. Additionally, following client feedback, we have made changes to both the itinerary and the accommodation used on this trip, which we trust will improve the tour and we hope will be well received by our clients.

    Marta Marinelli - Product Manager