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 October 2017
    Gisela Aitken-Davies

    Exceeded high expectations!

    August is the rainy season, but the early morning starts meant that we fitted a lot in before the impressive downpours that sometimes happened later in the day. The range of wildlife we saw was astonishing; I'd picked this trip because of the visit to the Sloth Sanctuary, which was disappointing compared with the number of sloths that we saw in the wild. Our excellent guide was complemented by eagle eyed boat 'drivers' who also appeared to be keen and knowledgeable about wildlife and were ready and willing to nimbly propel the boats around to see something on the bank they had spotted: monkeys, lizards etc. The accommodation, in places, was not 5 star, but had its own charm and there is not that I would not happily revisit for one reason or another, even the very friendly one in Cahuita with its temperamental showers but very friendly owner.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It really is difficult to pick one out. After the second day, by which time we had seen sloths, turtles, golden orb spiders, howler monkeys, we wondered what could be left. There was plenty! The sheer variety of ecosystems, places we stayed and activities meant this was unforgettable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andreas' passion for and knowledge about his subject was infectious. He was excellent at pitching his information at an audience which included some very experienced bird watchers and some relative newcomers, and his knowledge of all Costa Rican wild life was extensive so our trips out were informative and interesting. Andreas was very safety aware and took this, and people's satisfaction with arrangements, into account. Going the extra mile probably sums him up, especially with those people who were delayed because of Hurricane Harvey.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take an umbrella and poncho (covers your backpack) especially if going in the rainy season.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd like to thank Exodus in London for their help with sorting out accommodation and rearranging flights back to the the UK after our flights via Houston were cancelled.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Joanne Offer

    Fabulous wildlife

    I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. The amount of wildlife that we saw was simply unbelievable - from sloths and whales, to scarlet macaws, toucans and 4 types of monkeys. We even saw animals that I'd never even heard of before. (Agouti and coati.) Tortuguero is simply magical - waking up to the sounds of the rainforest and then seeing turtles on the beach at the other end of the day. I couldn't believe the number of beautifully colourful birds we saw in the cloud forest. By the end of it, we were saying, "Oh, it's just another hummingbird." And our time on the peninsula was just spectacular. Plodging through a stream in the rainforest and swimming near a mini-waterfall were great experiences. Never mind being able to spot humpback whales while standing on the beach having a picnic lunch!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Spending my birthday whale-watching: we had 4 different sightings in just that 1 day. The guides were as excited as we were when a baby humpback pretty much swam under the boat!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andreas was extremely patient and highly knowledgeable about Costa Rica's wildlife. He spotted animals that we would have walked straight past, and always made sure we had all the information we needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring water shoes - something you can wear snorkelling or getting on/off a boat. My cheap ponchos bought from Poundland were the best bargain of the trip - they kept me and my rucksack (largely) dry. It really does chuck it down in the rainforest. Yes, the accommodation in Cahuita isn't up to the same standard as everywhere else, but it was clean and situated right on the beach. Did the job. And the cocktails in town more than made up for any shortcomings. When flying in hurricane season, it might be worth trying to fly direct to San Jose so you reduce the risk of flight disruption - our connecting flight via Houston was cancelled, although Exodus helped us to sort alternatives.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have preferred to spend an extra night in Tortuguero and had one day less in Cahuita. (Simply because of the peace and remoteness of Tortuguero.)
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Christine Meusz

    Great for wildlife

    A good opportunity to see the wildlife - especially birds - in a number of different locations across the country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm not sure I'd describe any of it as inspirational but there were plenty of wildlife sightings - aided by the sharp eyes of our guide and driver - and some spectacular scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was friendly, helpful and spoke perfect English. Eric, our driver, also deserves a mention and the two worked well together as a team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that, although this trip is described as having "comfortable" accommodation throughout, this is not the case. While most accommodation is good, and some excellent, three nights are spent in a lodge where the accommodation is no better than basic and you'll need your own towels and toiletries (and an ability to turn a blind eye to health and safety, particularly where electrics are concerned). Also take a good waterproof - it is the rainforest after all - and we had one day of particularly persistent and heavy rain. The lodge was doing a roaring trade in the sale of waterproof ponchos!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We flew direct with BA - you have to stay an extra night in San Jose at the end but it's worth it to avoid the US and a very late arrival. We stayed in the Presidente Hotel which I quite liked as the urban location provided a nice contrast, but it was a pity the roof garden was out of commission at the time.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Susi Quinn

    All about the sloths...

    ...and I mean us, not the animals! This was a very leisurely wildlife-watching trip, with very slow ambles along suspiciously well-groomed jungle paths; you'll see a LOT of amazing birds and other creatures, you'll eat a lot of great food, and probably not lose a whole lot of weight...

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The marine life around the Osa peninsula was incredible - seeing dolphins and boobies compete to take out a shoal of flying fish near Drake's Bay, or the snorkelling at Cano Island, or the beaches covered in tiny hermit crabs, so hard to pick just one.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gustavo was very knowledgeable about the wildlife we spotted, and gave plenty of information about the local culture too, including a trip to his delightful local pub for our farewell feast.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This really isn't a "Leisurely/Moderate" trip, it is 100% leisurely - and the demographics trended to the older end of the spectrum (there was a 15-year age gap between me and the next youngest, and most of the group were retired) - so be warned that this isn't exactly an adrenaline-filled adventure, and you'll need to be very keen on birds. March was HOT on both coasts, but the cloud forest was very cold - you won't regret packing that jumper even if it looks like a waste of space at first!
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Jenny Watkins

    Costa Rica Coastal Secrets

    A great trip where we saw so much wildlife and diverse habitats, enjoyed walks and ate some excellent food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the Sloth Sanctuary where we we given a brilliant talk on the sloth. Seeing sloths in the wild, seeing the Quetzal in Savegre Cloud Forest, getting close to the birdlife on the waterways of Tortuguero.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gustavo was a friendly yet professional leader. His English was excellent and his enthusiasm and knowledge of his country and the wildlife unsurpassed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    All our group flew out the a day early on the direct BA flight. It avoided travelling through the USA and gave you time to recover from the flight and do a local tour. We just took US dollars which were accepted everywhere. The food and drink not included were quite expensive The trip notes accurately reflect the prices. None of the walks were too physically challenging although the heat and humidity were challenging at times. Insect repellent and sun screen a must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Like another reviewer I agree that Atlantida Lodge was very much in need of some repairs and maintenance. Another night at Villa Florencia would have been appreciated to explore the surroundings. Our favourite lodge was Trogon Lodge in Savegre cloud forest. Exceptional food, hot water bottles and gas fires!
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Gail Madeley

    Costa Rica Coastal Screts WUR

    Excellent Guide - Antonio, lovely scenery, varied wildlife, big difference between east and west coast and with the inevitable long periods of travelling in order to see so much.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a sloth in the wild at breakfast on our first full day of the trip, the beautiful pacific coast at Drake Bay, the food at Savegre and seeing a quetzal at 6.00am, especially when they are so rare!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was very knowledgeable, as was Eric the driver - their eyesight meant they spotted the wildlife which was made all the more special when viewed through the scope.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take the BA direct flight and avoid the USA, but you will have to stay for an extra night - opt to stay at Country Inn and Suites rather than the Presidente Hotel if you do do this, as it's nearer the airport and has a pool - it's not worth it for the first night. On the hikes, be prepared to stop every few steps to see the birds and wildlife - it takes about an hour to walk 1/2 a mile. Take a sink plug, you don't need a hair dryer, plenty of T-shirts - it's very humid, make sure you have plenty of insect repellent and sun screen. You don't need the local currency - everywhere takes US dollars. Be prepared for long rides on the minibus, with early morning starts - it's worth it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    East coast was too touristy for me - but the lodge was beautiful, although there is not much to do when it rains. Although all the accommodation is described as "comfortable" the Atlantida Lodge did not live up to this description. The food and staff there were great and it had a pool, but the accommodation was less than basic - 2 single beds, a towel each, a door that didn't fit properly, sockets hanging off the wall, electrics showing in the shower, cracked tiles and an unstable fan - it's a shame really as the next accommodation - Villa Florencia and the staff could be described as far better than comfortable and I would have liked to have stayed there for more than one night.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Thank you for taking the time to review the Costa Rica Coastal Secrets holiday. We are sorry to hear that you were disappointed with one of the properties used on this tour. Unfortunately the area visited is remote and there are very limited accommodation options to choose from, however, we are following your comments up with the lodge to see where improvements can be made. Kind regards, Vicky (Product Manager)

  • Reviewed March 2017
    Cornell Grierson

    Costa Rica coastal secrets

    From the coasts of the Caribbean to the highlands in the middle ending with the Pacific side we swam and walked to see amazing wildlife like sloths, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, a variety of birds, turtles, crocs, snakes and a variety of fish.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a male Quetzal was wonderful in the wild so to sloths and toucans. Nice walks in the rainforest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good Antonio spoke good English was informative friendly and funny.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just relax and go with the flow and enjoy all that wild Costa Rica has to offer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I took my snorkelling stuff but didn't really need it as they gave it to you without cost and they were at a good standard. You can get Costa Rica colons there currency in U.K. I did that I thought was better overall but take some dollars aswell.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Stephanie Williamson

    Costa Rica delivers!

    Wow! What a trip. Everything I hoped for and a little bit more. Can't believe how much we packed in. Can't believe I got into bird watching (or sighting really). Can't believe I was so willing to rise at unearthly hours.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Going to sleep to the choral sounds of the rainforest. Waking to find we had our very own house bat!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erick was passionate and emotional about his country. He had fun with us. He educated us and he fed us exotic treats.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mosquitoes are a reality. Laundry services are very good value and free at Drakes Bay. Jade museum in San Jose is impressive and right next door to a great market. Horse riding at Savegre is really good value. Don't bother with local currency. Stick with dollars.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only disappointment was the trip to see the stone spheres, many of which have been artificially relocated. If you are going to see them , find a better site.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Myra Johnson

    If you care about conservation this trip will bring a smile to your face

    Costa Rica has clearly learned that conservation and habitat preservation bring benefits not only to wildlife and the environment but also to local populations and the national economy. The guides who support Costa Rica’s ecotourism industry are nothing short of inspirational; their training, level of knowledge, understanding of ecosystems and their enthusiasm to impart their knowledge bode well for our planet. Anyone who cares about the natural world and its well-being cannot fail to love this trip which will bring a smile to their face every single day. The trip takes in just about all of the biomes of a country which can rightfully boast to be one of the most biodiverse in the world. To achieve this, it’s a busy trip which covers a lot of miles with stays at some very attractive lodges on both coasts and in the mountains. It also features some wonderful destinations which are off the well worn tourist track. The September trip had some rain on most days, although never for long and although it was hot and humid a lot of the time, our air-conditioned coach with wifi and Carlos, a brilliant driver, made the travelling comfortable for us. We loved the trip and came home with memories (and photographs) to share and to last through many years.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The two weeks had inspirational moments every single day so it is impossible to single out just one. Humpback whales feeding with their calves, nesting sea turtles now protected by law, quetzals breakfasting in avocado trees in the early morning light, a flock of scarlet macaws lunching in a beach almond tree, sloths sleeping in trees in the jungle or relaxing at the Sloth Sanctuary, monkeys swinging from tree to tree, a boa constrictor looking down at you (fortunately with a stretch of water between you), massive crocodiles (again at a safe distance), fascinating and brightly coloured birds, snakes, frogs, spiders, snorkelling on a coral reef, the prolific, incredible vegetation in the rain forest, reflections in the mangroves. They were all inspirational, as was the information from our eagle eyed guides which went with the sightings.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Group Leader was extremely knowledgeable on biology, ecology, culture, national industry etc. etc. His enthusiastic commentary kept us very well informed and taught us a lot; his sense of humour kept us entertained; he looked after us all extremely well. Put simply, Johnny is a great Group Leader and guide!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is an active trip which packs in a lot of experiences and covers a lot of ground, both physically and figuratively. The trip involves some very early starts, some long journeys, some longish walks in humid conditions and some boat journeys and beach landings which you will remember for all sorts of reasons. Make sure you pack waterproof materials to keep the camera and rucksack dry if you get caught in the rain and pack some extra plastic bags for when you have to pack damp items in your luggage!
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Jennifer Brown

    Bugs, birds and whales.

    Our 2nd visit to Costa Rica, and it surpassed our expectations in all areas. The itinerary is very well planned to give an experience of the great biodiversity of Costa Rica from both coastal areas, Caribbean and Pacific, up to the high regions of the beautiful Savegre. The lodges were excellent, Drakes Bay Wilderness Resort is particularly amazing - including the 'interesting' boat ride out to it. If you enjoy wildlife.....it's definitely the place to go.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 5am howler monkey alarm clock...... seeing so many humpback whales and dolphins so close to the boat.....the amazing frogs..... and who couldn't forget the green sea turtles coming out of the sea to lay their eggs...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny was extremely enthusiastic and passionate about all things Costa Rica. He gave a running history, geographic, political and social commentary during the drives which was extremely useful. The group had quite a mix of interests, and he was able to manage them to keep everyone satisfied with their own experience. If there were any queries that he didn't have the answer to, he would find out and give the answers later. He also had a great eye for spotting flora and fauna on the walks, nothing was too small or insignificant for us. He was great fun too, and always smiling, nothing seemed to faze him!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Getting on and off some of the boats was potentially tricky, particularly if you had any mobility issues and some of the walking could be a little challenging if not anticipated.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Costa Rica is back on our bucket list!!
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