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 October 2017
    Heather Beaumont

    Great trip for wildlife

    Thoroughly enjoyed this trip. We had a great guide, Gustavo, and fab driver, Juan, who helped make the trip a success. We saw plenty of wildlife, including sloths, greenback turtles, monkeys, iguanas, frogs (including the iconic red eyed tree frog) and birds too numerous to list. Costa Rica is a lovely country with rich biodiversity and unspoilt countryside. The people were friendly and largely English speaking and very helpful in all the places we stayed. Our accomodation was of a good standard and the first and last lodges were particularly good. In spite of travelling in the rainy season the weather was kind to us - an added bonus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are a few moments that will stick in my memory. We were lucky enough to visit during green turtle nesting season. We were privileged enough to watch a turtle laying it's eggs then head back into the ocean which was pretty special. During this excursion a second turtle made it's way up the beach to where we were standing and nearly ran over my feet (the guide told us not to move) as it headed towards a nesting spot. A second highlight was seeing a red-eyed tree frog in the wild. In fact we saw two on one of our night walks. I even managed to get a couple of excellent photos, a great addition to my framed holiday highlight collection. Costa Rica is full of some colourful birds and we saw many. However the ones I will always remember are the humming birds. We saw many, many of humming birds and it was fascinating to watch them, and attempt to capture them on camera, at the special feeders around some of our lodges and in the wild.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Gustavo was very knowledgeable about his country, the wildlife we saw and importantly the best places to look for sloth, frogs etc. His English was good and I found himhelpful and worked hard to make our trip a success. He even organised birthday cake for those on our trip who were celebrating. It is also worth mentioning our driver, Juan. Although he didn't speak much English, he also worked hard and was humorous, helping to keep us entertained. He also kept the tour bus very clean, both inside and out.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light, the luggage all went on the roof of the tour bus so needed to be hauled up there (by the driver, guide and hotel staff). Be prepared to get wet - they don't call them rain forest and cloud forest for nothing! An umbrella is very useful, it also helps keep the camera dry when taking photos in the rain. Otherwise the trip notes were pretty accurate.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Sue C

    Discover Costa Rica

    This was my first Exodus trip and it reminded me why I love to travel and how I have missed travelling. It is a good trip to show you some of what Costa Rica has to offer and in comfort from travelling to accommodation, the daily drives are not to vast and are broken up with a visit here or there. You go from travelling through mangroves to witnessing turtles nesting, to volcanoes, rain & cloud forests with a beach thrown in as well - with evening cicada and frog calls to being woken by the roar of a howler monkey with sights of sloths, untold colourful birds including the fabulous Quetzal, 4 species of monkeys and much, much more, what more could you really want?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I can't single anything out, it was great simply being away from it all and in such amazing surroundings, there were many "wow" moments for me

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gustavo was fantastic, he certainly knows his stuff and is excellent at spotting wildlife from afar, thus ensuring that we saw all we could. The trip was v well planned and organised

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect rain, a sturdy poncho is wise although you may find it's simply easier and more fun to get wet and blend with the locals!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is a definite must Pura Vida!
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Philip Bao

    A truly fantastic experience in Costa Rica

    Discover Costa Rica is a fantastic holiday that is suitable for all ages. The itinerary is expertly put together, meaning you really get a sense of the whole country and the various different ecosystems. 6 lots of 2 night stays with the bookends in San Jose and a comfortable mini-bus for the entire trip (with wifi) take you from the Caribbean ocean and sea turtles in Tortugero, to the volcano and hot springs of Arenal, to the cloud forrests of Monteverde and Savegres, and the nature reserves of Manuel Antonio and Esquinas. Each of these locations present their own individual highlights and the travel in between is well planned and not overly long (4 hours on average on a travel day).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a three toed sloth on the edge of the road at extremely close quarters as she tried to cross the road has to be the highlight of the trip. Such amazing creatures!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was our group leader and great from the beginning to the end. Knowledgeable, always willing to go the extra mile, he really made our trip special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No real need to bring much cash. Good to change a couple of hundred pounds into Colons in San Jose to get the best FX but otherwise you can pay with mastercard throughout the entire trip. Bring suncream and plenty of insect repellent. Waterproofs are essential too - good walking shoes and comfy sandals important too - flip flops for the beach.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Small group of 16 maximum means you meet some fantastic people who become real friends over the two weeks.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Jamie Higgs

    Tropical Delights

    This was a fantastic trip and a great way to discover the delights of Costa Rica. From the lush tropical rainforests of the Caribbean coast to the misty cloud forests to the fascinating pacific coast. A truly memorable trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably our zip lining experience in the cloud forest, which was just fantastic and something I will never forget, but we also loved the volcanic hot springs, and of course seeing sloths, monkeys, toucans, crocodiles, scarlet macaws, etc, etc...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic. Knowledgeable on the flora and fauna and on Costa Rica generally and managed the tour to perfection.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The optional activities (zip lining and volcanic hot springs) are really worth doing and I would highly recommend them. Make sure you buy your souvenirs before you get to the airport, as the prices at the airport are more than double the price outside.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My only criticism of Costa Rica is that the airport needs serious investment to cope with the number of passengers. There was only one stand that could take an aircraft of our size, and we had to circle for ages waiting for the berth to become free. When we got in the terminal the queues were horrendous and then the air conditioning failed. We queued for over an hour in stifling conditions, which wasn't fun.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    david sibley

    Discover Costa Rica

    This was our first Exodus trip and it won't be our last! It was a well paced holiday, moving on after two days in one place, but we managed to see a range of different environments in this amazing country. There was such a number and variety of animals and birds wherever we went! It must have one of the richest natural habitats in the world. The scenery was stunning too - from beautiful river systems to volcanoes and cloud forests and tropical rain forests. What an experience!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's difficult to pinpoint any single moment, but waking up to the sound of howler monkeys in the trees above our chalet on the first morning was something that will live with us for a long time!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We chose this trip as the guide was a bird expert. Giullamo did not disappoint. He was professional throughout, making sure we all got the most out of the holiday. His knowledge of birds and animals was encyclopedic and he had an instinct for spotting the wildlife before any of us were aware of it. He took the trouble to explain about the different environments we visited and his pride in his country shone through. The research he had done before the trip paid dividends, down to booking good restaurants; in one case reserving seats to watch a sunset before we sat down to eat. We all agreed we could not have had a better guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We went to Costa Rica in the "dry" season, but the rain forests lived up to their name on a couple of occassions. Our waterproof ponchos proved invaluable to cover ourselves & our backpacks until the rain eased off. Having a pair of binoculars each was a good thing too.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I could not fault the holiday itself - hence the 5 stars. However, we went for the flight inclusive option, assuming Exodus had found the best way to reach Costa Rica. The journey turned out to be a nightmare in both directions - flying from Heathrow to Toronto, Canada, then connecting to another Air Canada flight to San Jose - the latter being a 5 hour flight with no entertainment or food provided. Similarly, the return journey was with Delta via Houston and again the first leg was without food or entertainment. We discovered afterwards there was a direct flight from Gatwick with BA. I feel Exodus should have informed us before we made the final booking/payment.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    kenneth farge

    Absolutely Brilliant trip

    The title of this holiday is Discover Costa Rica, and that is exactly what it delivers. During the break, you get to experience the beauty and the wide diversity of the country from Mangroves on the Caribbean coast, to volcanic regions to rain forests, cloud forests and beach resorts on the Pacific coast.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, the best part of the trip was Tortuguero on the north east, Caribbean coast. We stayed in La Laguna lodge which, although fairly rustic was nevertheless very comfortable and crammed with opportunities to see various forms of the beautiful wildlife to be found in Costa Rica from wading birds to sloths, to raptors, frogs and howler monkeys and many many more. Other areas such as Monte Verde cloud forest, and Esquinas Lodge were also extremely beautiful and interesting places.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was Guillermo Arrieta who was absolutely outstanding. His knowledge of and passion for his country, it's wildlife, industry and beauty was palpable. His attention to detail to ensure that every member of our group got everything they wanted from this holiday was superb. I can honestly say that having experienced many other group leaders with other high quality travel companies, Guillermo is by far the best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of memory cards for your camera (my wife and I took in excess of 10,000 pictures!), good quality waterproofs (it is a rain frost after all and it certainly doesn't disappoint!), good quality binoculars and stout but comfortable walking shoes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was the first time my wife and I have been with Exodus, but it certainly will not be the last. The group size was 16 which was about right, enabling everyone to get to know everyone else so that by the end of the trip, we were all good friends. Having been with other quality organisations who have much bigger groups we found we didn't get to know people as well and of course getting on and off coaches and other transport became frustrating. No such problems here! This holiday is described as leisurely. However there was a fair bit of walking, often uphill, and sometimes quite steep and at higher altitudes than we're normally used to but we never found it to be unattainable and it was always done at a sensible, leisurely pace. But be prepared! The journeys between destinations can be long and sometimes on bumpy roads but there are plenty of stops for comfort breaks and to stretch legs etc so they do not become arduous.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Richard Knipe

    Contrasting regions of Costa Rica

    This was a really good and varied introduction to the country, taking in both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and a number of types of forest in between. We saw a wide variety of birdlife, flora and fauna and enjoyed the different types of accommodation, all of which were very good or excellent in different ways. The food was generally first class and served with a smile by friendly and helpful staff. The visits to a village school and a local cheesemaker on the final day were both interesting and enjoyable, in spite of our misgivings beforehand about this sort of activity when we saw it in the notes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Even though we aren't avid bird watchers, the sight of six scarlet macaws circling, playing and landing in the trees as we watched them from the roadside (spotted by our driver en route), and the early morning trip from the excellent hotel at Savegre during which we saw beautiful quetzals were two of the best moments of the trip. Seeing a crab-eating racoon crunching its way through a large dead crab outside our cabin at Tortuguero was also a highlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Katia was an enthusiastic, informative and helpful guide. She was happy to tackle any topic thrown at her. She and the driver, Juan Jose, formed an excellent team and it was nice that they joined us for meals etc. She also organised and led, with Juan Jose when the bus was needed, a number of extra walks and trips over and above the activities contained in the trip notes. Nothing was too much trouble for her, to the extent that, after the tour was over and we stayed longer on our own in San Jose, she contacted us to tell us that our plans for a visit needed amendment because of a change in the timing of a local festival.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We couldn't understand why dollars are recommended. Everything is priced in colones, apart from the trips in Exodus' trip notes, and if you use dollars in shops and restaurants, you not only get your change in colones but you also tend to get a poor exchange rate. We had no trouble at all in using colones. We travelled with BA direct to San Jose, so had an extra day before and a couple afterwards on our own in the capital to fit in with flight times. It was good to have time to acclimatise before the trip proper started and to wind down and do some exploring at both ends of the trip. We felt we saw a bit more of Costan Rican life as a result than we otherwise would have. Our criticism of the trip would have been that you see very little of the towns and villages of the country. The Presidente Hotel in San Jose is excellently situated, well appointed and with a good breakfast and staff and there is a great little bar in the street just to the left of the hotel where you can unwind with a beer among the locals.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Alan Hunton

    First Visit to Costa Rica

    An excellent introduction to the wildlife around Costa Rica. The focus was on birds but there were plenty of flowers, mammals and invertebrates to add interest. A little more strenuous than suggested by the rating but the guide did give the option not to go on some of the walks. The country is safe and reasonably clean (water in hotels was all potable) and the accommodation was of a good standard throughout.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing rare birds in a tropical forest setting which is being safeguarded by the government of Costa Rica.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very helpful. Excellent personal skills and good knowledge of birds and mammals. Willing to offer a few extra walks at some locations

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be reasonably fit. Although walks are not very long, the humidity and heat is potentially an issue for some travellers. Take US dollars with you and use as little of local currency as possible. When booking try to get a direct flight (Gatwick - San Jose) and if possible avoid transfers through USA. The transfers between locations were long (but very scenic) and many roads were not tarmac so may not suit anyone with back pain.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Anne Morden

    Discover Costa Rica Tour was Wondeful

    We chose this tour because it visits areas of Costa Rica that a lot of tours don't reach. Having returned home and reflected on the experience we could not have made a better choice. Every lodge or hotel we stayed in was perfectly placed, comfortable and relaxing. Where food was included it was always good to excellent. The gardens surrounding all the accommodations were wonderful, with birds, mammals, frogs and reptiles as well as beautiful flowers providing fantastic photo opportunities. Coming home with such a great feeling about the trip would not have been possible without the company of such a lovely group of people. All 14 of our fellow travellers were great company and got along without any problems. However, without a great tour guide, holidays can fail to achieve the magical tour that we had. Johnny Villalobos was tremendous and went out of his way make sure we saw everything we possibly could in the time available. I have said more about him below. We loved every part of this tour and we are so glad that we chose this tour over all the others that were available.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing at least three quetzal birds when we knew the chances of seeing any might only be 50:50. I was not prepared for just how beautiful they are.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos was probably the best tour leader I have experienced. His knowledge of wildlife and all elements of Costa Rican history was phenomenal; to top it off he arranged a 50th anniversary surprise for one of the couples which included a cake and presents which was an emotional moment for everyone. He went above and beyond the normal expectations for a tour guide and should be considered for tour guide of the year.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were able to pay for almost everything on credit cards, even tiny amounts. Using credit cards that charge no fees meant we could buy anything in the most effective way. The rest of the time $US were accepted everywhere. Sterling is not always accepted even just for converting to Colones. Be prepared for high humidity, especially at Esquinas Lodge. The humidity everywhere makes drying washing difficult despite the high temperatures.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Consider staying a bit longer to see other parts of the country around the San Jose hinterland. We went on a day trip that included Irazu volcano and wished we could have done more, such as visiting the Poas volcano
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Terence Hickingbotham

    Incredible destination

    We have just returned from the most amazing trip of our lives, Costa Rica is a stunning destination. From start to finish our party was enthralled not only with new discovery's at every turn but also by the knowledge & obvious love of nature shown throughout by our guide Johnny, he was amazing. Costa Rica has so much to offer with every destination offering new & exiting discovery's everyday. The lodges are all top class with good food comfortable rooms surrounded by nature. The rain forests visited are stunning with an incredible diversity in plant & tree life, add the wildlife & you are in heaven. I would recommend this trip to anyone of any age or ability as all paths are manageable for anyone with reasonable mobility. But it is the wildlife that makes this trip, be it birds, reptiles, mammals, they are all there in abundance. You will need a poncho, you can guarantee rain & these slip on easily to keep you dry & protect your Camera & binoculars, raincoats are to cumbersome & the humidity will drain you Costa Rica is a paradise waiting to be discovered for anyone that has a love of nature, enjoy

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 5.30 am call to see the Resplendent Quetzals, we were not disappointed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had Johnny Villalobos, if you are lucky enough to get him you are in for a treat, he is amazing with his knowledge of everything & his obvious love of nature will keep you captivated throughout. He is by far the best guide we have ever had

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Eating & drinking in Costa Rica is not cheap as taxes add a huge amount to the bill as we discovered eg, basic bill as shown on menu 24,050 colones(around 43 Dollars) at till 29,582 colones (around 54 Dollars)so beware.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My tip, I would take all local currency (Colones) I took Dollars as is suggested but every time you pay in Dollars you always get the change in Colones so you are juggling two currencies all the time
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