Great flora and fauna and wonderful to see all the wildlife but we covered too much ground in too short a time so it all felt a bit rushed and you don't really get to see all there is to offer.It's not enough to be generally fit to do this trip - you really do need to be cycle fit. I train in the gym for 2-3 hours each week and I also box but I still struggled with the hilly terrain and would definitely recommend a few cycle trips and spin classes before you do this holiday.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
- Not sure about "inspirational" but drinking the (world's best) pina colada whilst sitting in the thermal springs at Arenal volcano was a real highlight. It was seriously delicious! The boat trip was also amazing as we got to see so much.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Rob was absolutely first class: calm in a crisis; friendly; knowledgeable - he was a real gem and we loved his tour guiding. Sadly we only had him for the 1st week (he had a planned prior engagement) and so for the 2nd week Kevin took over - he was condescending, controlling (in terms of times to get up, have breakfast, etc) and joyless. If you have Rob for the whole trip you really can't go wrong - we have only brilliant things to say about him!
Luis (the driver), Paul and Randall (local guides) were brilliant - and I put it entirely down to Paul that I got up a very very steep hill!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
- On the first day in Nicaragua you will spend about 30 minutes at a market in Granada (not long enough in my view) - it has some great things there (in particular the leather goods and cotton clothing). It is all made locally and we wrongly assumed that we'd be able to buy mementoes later on in the trip once we'd seen a little more but you can't! If you want to get some keepsakes from your trip, these were the best we saw.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you want to go on a cycle holiday where cycling is the main focus then this trip will be great for you. If, like us, you want to see and experience different countries but doing so on a bike then this trip may be a disappointment - there is not nearly enough time to see any of the other attractions or towns and consequently didn't feel like we'd got to know the countries or their culture, which was a real shame.
For example, we would have liked to go to the waterfalls on Ometepe Island or walk around the old parts of Granada or see and have dinner in Old Panama but none of this is available and despite the trip notes saying you have free time, you really don't have enough to be able to do alternative activities. In the end we took a day off the cycling so we could walk around Arenal so as to get a flavour for it.
Overall an enjoyable trip with some real highlights but we didn't feel that we got to see the 'real' culture and therefore it wasn't value for money.
Dear Katy,Many thanks for taking the time to review your trip. We really value all client feedback as it helps us to ensure we continue to provide the best possible holidays. I am pleased you enjoyed the flora and the fauna you saw on the trip, however I was rather surprised to read some of the negative comments on your review, since the majority of our clients have given us positive feedback on the itinerary and the pace of the trip.With regard to the grading and the fitness level required, I would like to point out that the trip is a B/C grade (moderate/challenging) and is certainly in line with the other trips of this grade featured in our cycling programme. We would expect most people booking on trips of this grade to have a reasonable amount of cycling experience due to the distances travelled each cycling day and the amount of ascent and descent, which are all detailed in the trip notes. Our A and B graded trips, where daily distances are shorter, the exercise is more gentle and less time is spent on the bike, would better suit clients who are looking for a more relaxed holiday.Our Trip Notes are very detailed and an even more detailed itinerary is provided on the first day of the trip. Whilst we endeavour to describe accurately the activities for each day, the distances, and the terrain, as with all our trips, minor changes might occur once on the trip for various reasons (weather and the overall cycling pace of the group, for example) and a certain degree of flexibility is required, although generally the services provided on the trip adhere to what is advised on the Trip Notes. I believe that a careful reading of the documentation should give a clear idea of what to expect. I agree when you say that it is a very intense trip, but this is unavoidable, as we visit 3 countries in 2 weeks and this certainly involves moving from place to place at a good pace, but I do not think that it is rushed, and the majority of hotel stays are for 2 nights, allowing plenty of time to explore once out of the saddle.As far the leaders are concerned, I appreciate that it is not ideal to change leader whilst on the trip and I can only apologise for the inconvenience. I can guarantee this is not what usually happens on our trips and it has been an exception.I understand that each leader has his own style and some can be more charismatic than others. Having said that, I know Kevin as an incredibly knowledgeable person, who has run our trips with professionalism and enthusiasm for several years. The good reviews we receive for this trip prove that he can consistently deliver excellent service and I believe he did all he could to keep the group happy.Having said that, of course it is very difficult to make everybody happy and each client might prefer to spend time doing certain activities rather than others, but again our aim is to have satisfied clients, who enjoy our trips and have memorable experiences through Exodus. I am sorry if in your case the trip was not as you expected, and so in order to maximise your enjoyment of future trips I suggest that you carefully read the grading information and trip notes beforehand. Our sales consultants are very knowledgeable and well-travelled, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our trips, so by talking to them before booking we can ensure you find the most suitable holiday for your requirements.Best RegardsDaniela PontisTrip Manager