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.

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’!

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  • Reviewed January 2018
    Richard Salewski

    Discover Costa Rica

    Fabulous holiday - due in no small part to our guide Katia, she went over and above what could have been expected. It included early morning and late evening walks to watch wildlife that weren’t included in the tour. Also travelling with a great bunch of people absolutely made the holiday. Can’t wait for my next Exodus trip. Richard

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tortuguero was brilliant and Esquenas Lodge

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Couldn’t have done more to make for a great holiday

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a poncho
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Sarah Humphreys

    Discover Costa Rica

    Holiday exceeded expectations - due in no small part to our excellent guide, Antonio, who went out of his way to ensure that everyone had a great time and their individual interests were catered for.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the first close up sight of wildlife, iguanas in the trees beside the restaurant in Laguna Lodge

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Can not speak too highly of Antonio; professional, knowledgeable, excellent communicator and a wicked sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need for any smart clothes for evening wear - casual and sportish fine

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Good value for money. Would suggest that Exodus does advise GB travellers that there is now a direct flight from London GTW to San Jose
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Steve Ingleby

    Discover Costa Rica

    An excellent introduction to Costa Rica, and in particular its wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many, although we particularly enjoyed the night walks that were available at the lodges. The forests come alive at night and provide opportunities to see wildlife that doesn't normally appear during the day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - Antonio was a superb ambassador for Costa Rica. He organised additional walks to ensure the team got the most out of their visit. He is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of Costa Rica, and is particularly good at identifying the many different birds we saw and heard on our travels. Mention should also be made of our driver, Alex. Despite limited English he was always friendly & enthusiastic, kept the coach spotless both inside and out, and must know the width of the coach to the nearest millimetre!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a universal sink plug - few hotels and lodges have them. Ponchos (and perhaps over-trousers) are more flexible than a conventional cagoule as it covers cameras & rucksack also. For people enthusiastic about photography, take a flash (if not fitted on camera) and a tripod. There is little light under the canopy even at midday and so shutter speeds are slow. For taking photos of specific species (e.g. amphibians) you may find that use of flash is not permitted (sometimes for all species on night walks) and so a tripod is the only way to get good photos. Make sure you protect your camera from moisture ingress. Rain is exceptional at times and a couple of our party had camera damage as a result.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is no need to change dollars to colones at the airport. Dollars seemed to be accepted everywhere and you will normally get change in colones.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Laura Jones

    Captivating Costa Rica

    This trip was varied so provided something for everyone. It was an easy trip - there is excellent infrastructure in Costa Rica, the standard of accommodation was good and the walking was not difficult.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wildlife viewing by boat in Tortuguero Zip lining in Monteverde

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic and organised. He provided an amazing amount of information about the flora and fauna of Costa Rica and his love of the country really shone through. He went above and beyond the call of duty by accompanying us on walks during free time and by always being on hand to answer questions. Antonio's english was exceptional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When it rains it really rains so take a poncho - that way it covers you and your rucksack. It is difficult to dry things out once they get wet so consider taking some 'proper' trekking clothes that are quick dry material.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We thoroughly enjoyed this trip. There is regular moving about but lots of time to relax and take your time to see amazing animals and take in the atmosphere. The trip is very easy.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Deborah Terry

    Fabulous Costa Rica

    A great trip with a group of 16 which gelled really well and an inspirational guide and excellent driver. The itinerary was well-planned and we saw some varied parts of the country without endless bus journeys. All the lodges and hotels were good, and some very good, as was the food and of course the coffee. There was an occasional lack of hot water indoors, and too much rain and mud outdoors, but that's the rainy season for you. We saw a simply extraordinary variety of bird, animal and reptile life, often spotted by Chico as he drove the bus. Jorge's knowledge of birds and pride in his country were constantly evident. He arranged far more walks than the itinerary suggested so that we saw as much as possible. Overall a really excellent trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing baby turtles hatch and make their way across the beach into the sea at Tortuguera. Sloths ran them a close second. And then there were the quetzals....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge loves his country deeply and made a great job of showing it to us and telling us about it. Among other topics, I came back very well-informed on the education system in Costa Rica! And his knowledge of birds was wonderful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Two of the hotels are at quite high altitude and in late November it was wet and cold. Take warm clothes and bedsocks. A walking pole was useful on muddy walks, and decent boots are essential.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Exodus - another great trip.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Stephen Lindsay

    A wonderful trip

    This 16 day trip in November 2017 covered much of the Costa Rican countryside and was focused on bird watching. It was very well organised, tour leader (see below) was excellent, accommodation and food were fine. We stayed in 6 lodges close to or within National Parks on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. We saw in excess of 250 bird species including the Resplendent Quetzal. It was everything I wanted and more. Thank you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Several things stand out. 1. Seeing baby turtles hatch and make it to the sea in Tortuguero NP. 2. The variety of birdlife and their stunning colours. 3. The attempts Costa Rica is making to encourage tourism and protect its natural habitat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos. Such a nice guy, hugely knowledgeable, hugely enthusiastic nothing was too much trouble. He could identify the majority of the native birds along with their call. Up every day by 5am to lead the dawn walks and still around at 8pm in the evening.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Weather. It can be very hot and humid: 30C and 92% humidity, to 6C at altitude in the rain forest. So be prepared for both extremes. Consequently in the rain forests it can be damp and your clothes are damp. 2. Photography. If you are a serious photographer you need 400mm zoom for the birds.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is graded as a 1 Leisurely Trip. A number of the activities are really a 2 - 500 steps down and back to the La Fortuna waterfall, Manuel San Antonio NP some of us walked for 8 hours, a good 5/6 miles of varied gradient tracks. But please note there are gentler options if you wish.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    John Hirons

    Highly recommended

    I cannot recommend this trip enough. Everything was organised to perfection. We saw pretty much every animal available (apart from a jaguar which i believe the chances of seeing are zero)! The hotels were all pretty much first class - food delicious, staff so friendly, rooms comfortable and the towel art! Transport - comfy, driven very well by Felix, arrived on time everywhere. Andreas - the best tour guide you could ever hope for. It was a passion for him to ensure that we all made the best of the holiday and he ensured that we see everything he saw. He was so knowledgeable with everything Costa Rica had to offer. He was careful to ensure i was feeling okay after a run-in with a raccoon :-) Activities - all spot on and the hot springs were amazing. I only wish i was brave enough to do the zip wire instead of the coffee tour. Fellow travellers - all were amazing and made everyone feel welcome. i am sure we are going to keep in touch with everyone in the future.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hatching turtles on Torteguero beach. The whole reason i booked for November and i was not disappointed. The friendliness of the Costa Rican people. Everywhere we went we were made to feel very welcome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First Class! Could not have hoped for a friendlier, more knowledgeable tour leader

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take an umbrella and do not forget to take a fleece or something for the Savegre Lodge - it is a tad chilly at times!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Fran and Alvar SWAINSTON

    Beautiful Costa Rica

    We have just returned from a fantastic holiday guided by Johnny Villalobos. He made the experience memorable for our group of 13 travellers. He gave 100% to us, walking early to see as much as possible, owl hunting at night and working all hours to enable us to ' maximise' our holiday ( his word ) ! The itinerary was well put together and all the lodges and hotels were carefully chosen, all different but all excellent. We particularly loved Esquinas Lodge, its remoteness and the birds of course! We saw a huge number of bird species and Johnny helped us to check the 'list' every evening in happy hour!!! We had the good fortune to be travelling with a great group of people which really made for a fun time as well. We did see quetzal too. We saw at least two males and two females and they did us the honour of performing a memorable flying display! All in all a really wonderful holiday. My only query might be a question of its rating as Leisurely 1!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Baby turtles hatching and making their perilous journey from nest to sea. The Resplendent Quetzals! Getting very wet in Monteverdi cloud forest! Visiting a local school and the home of Aurora for a Costa Rican lunch.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing group leader. His knowledge, love and pride for his country Costa Rica shone through.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you love birds, mammals, nature and beautiful scenery book this trip.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Eleanor Freckleton

    Wonderful Costa Rica

    This was a wonderful holiday from start to finish, with so much to see and do. Our first stopover at Tortuguero was very enjoyable - the lodge was superb and we saw a lot of wildlife both on the boat trips and walking around the forest. It was also refreshing to have a swim in the pool at the end of a busy day. I thought the holiday may have gone downhill after that - but it didn't! The lodges we visited subsequently were just as good, and I continued to be amazed by the flora and fauna that were in abundance at all locations on our trip. Add to that a couple of relaxing days on the beach at the Pacific, and it truly was the recipe for a superb holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As already noted, this was a holiday of many experiences, and put them all together to get a whole that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. I would highlight the following however: - I did the Sky Trek at Monteverde, which is an optional extra - it's billed as the ultimate zip line experience and it certainly lived up to its reputation. I loved the thrills from zip lining at speed through the forest. - As a contrast, I also enjoyed the rest and relaxation on the Pacific coast. Our walk there at the Manuel Antonio national park was packed with sightings, including sloths and monkeys. We then had the rest of the day if desired to spend on the beach within the park itself, which was much more peaceful than the public beach back in the main resort area. - And finally, I need to mention the Esquinas Lodge. The main building is open plan which adds to the experience and you truly feel that you are away from all the hustle and bustle, and it is just you and nature.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gio(vanni) was top class. He had a very easy-going manner and really helped to make the group gel and to engender our enthusiasm throughout the holiday. Nothing was a bother for him and he was always eager to please (although I did like his comment at the start of the holiday that it does rain in the rain forest and it is one complaint he can't help with!). He was also superb at spotting wildlife, and he kept up his 100% record on our trip of always managing to spot a quetzal in the Savegre cloud forest.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    - Accept that it is likely to rain at some point during your trip and enjoy the experience for what it is. Our trip was the latter part of November and we were lucky as most of the rain fall was during the night. However, when it rained during our stay at Esquinas, we got the brollies out and enjoyed our walk in the rain, and slightly muddy paths (!), through the forest. - The cost of food and drink throughout the trip was relatively expensive and I ended up spending more than the average noted in the trip notes. However, the food was good quality and in particular I enjoyed the fish and seafood. - We made time on our last morning to visit the Gold Museum and it was very interesting. We were in it for over an hour but could have spent much longer going round all the exhibits.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like variety then I would highly recommend this trip. This was my first nature spotting holiday so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it didn't disappoint. And there was so much more to the trip than just the wildlife though - waterfalls, volcanoes and hot springs to name but a few highlights.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Iain Shiels

    Discover Costa Rica

    In my opinion, this tour is the perfect blend of wildlife, nature, activities and perfect introduction to Costa Rica. They say a guide makes the trip and in this case Andres did, but everything ran perfectly from meals to accommodation, and activities to free time. I was surprised just how much wildlife we saw including sea turtles hatching and making their way towards the Pacific Ocean, hiked in cloud forests and watched the forest below from canopy bridges. Exodus did a fantastic job in selecting eco-lodges which worked with the environment, as opposed to leaving a carbon footprint. I couldn’t have asked for a better Costa Rica experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tortuguero National park is an incredible place. Where else can you navigate the intricate river channels and waterways, spotting wildlife during the day, and watch sea turtles hatch and inch their way down to the Pacific Ocean in the same day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andres was the perfect guide. He had all the expected traits of an excellent guide: professional, knowledgeable, intelligent, able to read the needs and ability of the group. He gave us lots of information and kept us up to date with the daily activities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Costa Rica tends to be quite wet so an umbrella and decent (breathable) light rain jacket will go a long way. Take a waterproof bag for your electronics and anti-moisture gel packs. Binoculars will be a huge help in spotting different wildlife.
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