Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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.

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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

Lots of our clients also like to post handy tips and advice about their travels. It’s great to know what to expect on an Exodus adventure before you go, so make the most of their experience and you’ll make the most of yours!

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After you have returned from your Exodus adventure holiday you will be emailed a link to the review page. Any feedback collected is posted straight onto our website - totally unedited.

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  • Reviewed July 2018
    Pamela Downes

    Wonderful wildlife adventure

    This was one of the best holidays I’ve ever had, combining walking in the mountains with the opportunity to see and learn about bears in the company of a true expert and bear enthusiast and a great group of fellow travellers. I really can’t fault this trip, the scenery is stunning, the wildlife is all around you, and the food, accommodation and hospitality of the local people are a delight.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to pick one! Walking along mountain trails and finding evidence of bear activity all around us. Seeing bears from the hide. Walking through alpine meadows filled with wildflowers and beautiful butterflies.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julian is an excellent guide to the bears and wildlife of Rodopi. He is passionate about his subject and has built up his learning over so many years, I know and understand so much more now about the lives and habitat of brown bears. He is also an amusing storyteller and we all had a lot of laughs along the way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the trails can be challenging and I found walking poles a great help. Otherwise, just go and enjoy yourself, you will have an amazing time. I spent a couple of extra nights in Sofia at the end of the trip. It’s an ancient and interesting city and well worth the time spent there.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Annie Thompson

    A wonderful walking and wildlife experience!

    This really is the best walking and wildlife combination I've ever been on. Loved that we did good mountain walks in the day time through varied and stunning scenery whilst focusing on wildlife along the way. Visiting the bear hide in the evenings was really fantastic, loved seeing so many bears in their natural habitat, so exciting! Julian was such a brilliant guide, so professional, knowledgeable, capable and fun, thanks Julian!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspiration part of the trip was witnessing bears during the day, a mother and her cubs foraging around in the open! This was truly amazing!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julian really is such a great guide, he certainly knows his stuff and is extremely passionate about it. Julian obviously loves his job and therefore he's such fantastic company to be around. As a group we were all traveling on our own and Julian really helped gel the group together, it was a really fun and informative week, loved it so much! Julian was also extremely professional when it came to safety and giving us information in great detail about each walk for the day ahead. Loved that he offered us little snacks just when we needed them! Thanks so much Julian, you're a really great asset to Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would suggest don't go with expectations that you're definitely going to see bears in the wild then you'll be really excited when you do! Make to most of going to the bear hide, try not to miss a night...... when will be your next opportunity be to spend the evening in a bear hide! Make sure you've got a good level of fitness and these wonderful walks are hilly. Take binoculars!
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Emily Vickery

    Unforgettable Trip!

    This was the best trip I've been on in years. It's so rare to have a trip which includes both walking and wildlife, but Julian created the perfect combination of the two with this trip. The scenery was spectacular, and it was just the right level of challenging for a townie who doesn't normally do that much walking! The locals in Yagodina are absolutely lovely, and the hotel staff couldn't do enough for us. The food was nearly all homemade and was so delicious. We certainly didn't go hungry! We were also so lucky to see as many bears and other wildlife as we did, and to have such a lovely group and guide who got on as well as we all did. We didn't stop laughing all week! I highly recommend this trip to anyone who likes walking, wildlife, stunning mountain and meadow views, delicious food and lovely people (what's not to like??)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the bear sightings - especially the cubs! I was also blown away by how spectacular the views were in the mountains.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julian was a truly excellent group leader. He's a real expert in bears and other wildlife in this area, and it's very evident how important their welfare is to him. He has also had such a fascinating life so far, and has a lot of amazing and hilarious stories to tell! We had a real laugh with him during our week in the mountains, and I really think that this trip wouldn't be the same without him. He really made it special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect to walk a lot, and some of the peaks are quite high if you have issues with heights. The food in Yagodina is delicious, but the portions are huge so don't expect to lose any weight! Also take some binoculars - I didn't and I really wish I had!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Julian and the rest of the group for an unforgettable week :) I hope this trip is still running for years to come.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Anne Balfour

    Beartastic!

    This is a thoroughly enjoyable holiday if you enjoy the outdoors, walking, sampling local cuisine and of course tracking and even seeing bears! Our week could hardly have been better, from the very comfortable and friendly hotel, which served local dishes for every meal, to our expert guide and to the stunning scenery and wildlife which surrounds the lovely village of Yagodina. It was great to be able to walk from our hotel and experience such diversity of habitats, including lush open meadows filled with wild flowers, a mind boggling diversity of butterflies and even Corncrakes, beech woodland, rocky escarpments offering fantastic views of the countryside as well as raptors such as Hobbys and Peregrine Falcons and of course pine forests where the evidence of bear activity is all around you. Seeing bears during the day is extremely difficult but we had great success up at the hide where we saw big, solitary males and mothers with their young cubs. We even saw a sounder of Wild Boar complete with a young family of beautifully marked piglets. However the highlight was undoubtedly when we were fortunate enough to spot a mother bear with 2 of this year's cubs in an open area below us. They were entirely oblivious to our presence and we could watch them behaving entirely naturally. Something I will never forget.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to see the bears behaving entirely naturally was something I'll never forget. I realised just how gentle they are. In Bulgaria, where they are fully protected and therefore not hunted, it is possible to see them behaving as they should. Simply minding their own business and quietly eating their berries.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julian is a wonderful guide. His knowledge of the bears and the local wildlife is second to none. His sense of humour and friendliness contributed to making this a very enjoyable tour.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Shane Brackenbury

    Rodopi bears!

    A brilliant trip in all respects! Scenery, group leader, wildlife, hotel, food all get top marks Great walking and was lucky to be with a lovely group of just 6 of us plus Julian our leader

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots of best moments- seeing brown bears and wild boar from the hide, forest walks and beautiful meadows full of flowers and insects. Just the unspoilt scenery and rarely seeing another human being on the trails. The Yagodona hotel was also a great example of Bulgarian hospitality and generosity with comfy bright rooms and tasty home cooked meals and great local wines!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant Julian was full of passion and knowledge not just about bears but also the wildlife of the region, Bulgarian tales and the culture of the mountain people. His positive attitude and sense of fun was also appreciated. Long may he continue to lead these trips!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for rain as well as sun, Maintain your sense of adventure and you will have a great time.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Ryan Marsh

    Walking walking walking

    This was my first walking holiday and must admit it was a title too much for me. But to put that into context I had a pacemaker fitted 5 weeks prior to the trip and didn't want to cancel. The holiday was mostly walking up and down mountains looking for signs of bears - including trees, paw prints, log movements, and the obvious thing all bears do in the woods! So if you like walking and hiking then you will enjoy this part of the holiday. The hotel was fabulous, food was lovely, staff were excellent, rooms great, and overall much better than expected. The expert guide Matthew was great, helpful, funny, knowledgable and looked a little like a cuddly bear (don't tell him that) The hide you get to go on an evening to have the chance to see the Bears feeding is perfect. We were very lucky seeing bears on both evenings I went. The other half of the group saw bears also and this can't be guaranteed but was great. One thing to note is the journey to the hide was fun but very bumpy and so not great for anyone who is injured or getting over surgery. Organisation of the trip was perfect, everything ran to plan and very well put together and organised. So overall really good holiday, but be warned you will need to enjoy walking lots!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears from the hide was fabulous. Main reason for going and I was lucky to see them.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous guide. Did everything expected.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack walking boots and make sure they don't rub.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Anne Thirkell

    Bulgaria Rodopi Mountains: beautiful and brimming with wildlife

    I am so glad that a friend suggested this holiday to me, as it surpassed all of my expectations. The Hotel Yagodina is a splendid base: the staff are very friendly and the food from local sources is served in generous portions. Some of the local specialities cooked for breakfast were eagerly taken in lunch boxes to supplement the sandwiches and salad (which we made up ourselves from a table of ingredients, including fresh fruit and chocolate bars!). Maria's cheesecake and apple strudel were memorable. All of the walks were enjoyable in themselves, for the beautiful scenery, the diversity of flowers and butterflies, however having Julian as our leader took this holiday to a higher level. Every day he showed us evidence of the bears living in the area and told us interesting facts about brown bears; he is also very knowledgeable about birds, butterflies, moths, reptiles and amphibians, as well as the plants unique to the Rodopi Mountains. One of the best holidays I have had.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears from the hide, and especially the evening a herd of wild boar entered the clearing, followed by a female with six tiny piglets.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julian is an excellent leader, very knowledgeable about the Rodopi mountains, he is passionate about the bears and educating people about these gentle animals and their true nature. He was very patient and good humoured at all times of the day and night.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walks involve some steep ascents and descents on some of the days and limestone can be slippery at times. Good walking boots are essential. On the free evenings, do walk up to the chapel on the hill and sit quietly enjoying the sunset; you may spot roe deer or even a hedgehog.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Ruth Hawkins

    A great introduction to the wildlife and way of life in the Rodopi mountains

    A brilliant and unusual combination of great walking and wildlife interest. On holidays these are usually separated but this worked so well, as you really came to appreciate the environment in which these animals,plants,reptiles etc flourished. Julian did a fantastic job in explaining everything and I think we learnt a lot in a week - he went over and above what was necessary in a leader. The hotel was lovely and everyone very friendly and helpful. The bears and wild boar were the highlight, also the short cut in the truck on the way home from the hide!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the blue Rodopi mountains for the first time

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent leader, good people skills, kind and knowledgeable, passionate about his interest in the wildlife and local culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I found a walking pole useful on the steeper slopes. I think a good level of physical fitness is required for this trip if you want to do all the walks. The distances are not long, but we had quite a lot to cover during the day and then the bear watches at night.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Ruth Hawkins

    A great introduction to the wildlife and way of life in the Rodopi mountains

    A brilliant and unusual combination of great walking and wildlife interest. On holidays these are usually separated but this worked so well, as you really came to appreciate the environment in which these animals,plants,reptiles etc flourished. Julian did a fantastic job in explaining everything and I think we learnt a lot in a week - he went over and above what was necessary in a leader. The hotel was lovely and everyone very friendly and helpful. The bears and wild boar were the highlight, also the short cut in the truck on the way home from the hide!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the blue Rodopi mountains for the first time

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent leader, good people skills, kind and knowledgeable, passionate about his interest in the wildlife and local culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I found a walking pole useful on the steeper slopes. I think a good level of physical fitness is required for this trip if you want to do all the walks. The distances are not long, but we had quite a lot to cover during the day and then the bear watches at night.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Matthew Butcher

    Bulgaria Bears. Excellent walks at a steady with informative breaks

    Inspiring views with Julian who was very well informed and put the information across in any easily understood and entertaining way. Only saw one other group in the week and the occasional person on the walks.. Hotel and food was plane and good

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears from the hide. The views were a close second

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Friendly and well informed and a good communicator

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take good boots and a walking pole for on the screed.
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