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 November 2017
    jill baker

    Fabulous cycle tour and bus, train, boat journeys across Vietnam from S to N.

    Overall, the trip deserves 10/10. Everything was great: the country, the scenery, the people, the weather, the group, the organisation, the guide and the support team. Danh, our guide, gets a special mention for his excellent and informative leadership.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Highlights - Cu Chi tunnels, Hoi An, Halong Bay and cycling through some of the rural landscapes - rice fields, dense vegetation, water buffalo, and the villages with local markets. The war museums in HCMC & Hanoi were poignant and at times disturbing, they were also heartening, and to me were an essential part of a visit of Vietnam.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Danh, the Happy Buddha, was an excellent guide/leader. On some trips the guide just steers the ship and perhaps does so quietly in the background, only there when needed. Not on this trip. This was very much Danh's tour. He was very informative in history and culture. He provided lots of advice for places to eat and his recommendations never disappointed. They were not the cheapest but they were good. He ran a kitty his way, which being a generous kitty, was able to supply some nice surprises (no spoilers). He explained everything we needed to know, daily. However, we were a large group of 18no, and sometimes it was difficult to hear in the bus with his rapid delivery, his accent and the background noise. Danh and the support team (total 4no) looked after us as cyclists very well indeed, by seeing us safely across junctions, servicing the bikes, and providing frequent drink & snack stops. Danh really did improve my overall Vietnam experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling was mainly flat with only a couple of days with ascents. I wondered how I would cope cycling in the heat (max 37deg) and high humidity but I'm pleased to say that whilst you're moving on the bike it is very pleasant. As soon as you stop, you're seeking the shade. The animals, often found meandering on the road...cows, water buffalo, dogs...all seemed very content and chilled. I didn't have the rabies jab before travelling and this was never a worry. If you like fresh seafood, spicy food, fruit and veg, strong smooth coffee, you'll love the local restaurants, cafes and street food. Freshly prepared eggs for breakfast. Every meal was a joy. It is generally a very cheap country to eat and drink...though as anywhere that depends where you go. We paid up to 120,000Dong (£4) for a can of beer in HCMC and we also paid 4,000Dong (8p) for a glass of fresh beer in Hoi An. And the fresh beer was the nicest! Oh yes, the overnight train is an experience, and more comfortable than you might imagine. MOV - get it booked, you'll love it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Very minor things which could be improved. The private bus was designed for local people, not the larger westerner, so many of us found the seats a little uncomfortable. A whole day was spent in Hue before the overnight train and whilst the visit to the temple/citadel was interesting it was tough going. An option to cycle in Hue would have been good or less time in Hue if the programme could be rejigged. I would have happily spent longer in Hoi An, a magical place. There is little time in either city at the start/finish of the trip but it would be difficult to cram any more into the already fast paced agenda. I added a couple of extra days at each end to explore the cities (HCMC & Hanoi) and I'm glad I did. I also managed a Mekong Delta tour before the Exodus tour started, which I'd recommend.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Debbie Henderson

    Fabulous Country!

    I booked this trip a year ago and had high expectations. I was not disappointed! Fabulous country with very distinctive regions. Seeing the Atacama was top of my list and remains my favourite. The Torres del Paine comes in second and we did get good weather there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Amphitheater, Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama. I had a picture of this as my pc wallpaper - I knew it was in Chile, but not exactly where. When it came into view I was totally speechless. It was an amazing moment!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Ignacio was a great people person, someone who loves his country and wants people to see the best. He was full of information and also amusing stories about life in Chile. Unflustered and calm. Great guy to have in charge.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do be aware there are long travelling days and the internal flight schedules can be erratic. But don't let it put you off! Food is reasonably expensive though the meals are usually big. 10% is added to bills in restaurants. Try the traditional Pisco Sour drink. If not on the group flight be aware of unauthorised taxi drivers at Santiago Airport. It should cost no more than 20000 - 25000 Chilean pesos for a one way transfer. It helps to know some Spanish but people are generally friendly and helpful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The memories will live on of this beautiful country. Not cheap but if it is on your bucket list GO...it is well worth it!
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Jan Challis

    Fabulous trip

    This was one of the best trip I have done. Its a fabulous mix of cycling, culture and wildlife/flora and you get to stay in some lovely hotels and guest houses. Its pretty full-on - every day was packed out - and the cycling is challenging. Its hillier than I anticipated (or undulating inclines as our guide described them) and although we used back roads they are still very busy with traffic. Our group was small (8 people) and ranged from good club cyclists to occasional/recreational cyclists. We stayed together as a group most of the time and had numerous snack water breaks

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many great moments on this trip.... Attending the ceremony in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy was very moving. Seeing wild elephants on the road as we cycled through the jungle. The fantastic massage in the spice gardens after a long days ride. Ruwan's cookery demonstration and the feast we enjoyed afterwards. All the birds, wildlife and beautiful flowers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ruwan and his team were fantastic - I can't praise them enough. Ruwan's knowledge of the wildlife/fauna and enthusiasm to share the culture of their country was infectious. Nothing was too much trouble and they all went out of their way to ensure we had an amazing experience. It's the little things that make such a different. Coming round the corner and seeing the drivers at the side of the road with a huge smiles and plates of fresh fruit. Taking time on the free day to show us around Kandy. Organising meals at some lovely local restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take extra cycling kit - there's not a lot of time to wash stuff and in the humidity it doesn't dry quickly. We opted out of the long ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and got the train, which was a wonderful experience. We travelled 2nd class which was crowded, takes hours and you risk not having a seat but the views are fantastic and having the chance to talk to local people and share food was very special.
  • 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.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Diana Usher

    Tour of Chile called Discover Chile

    I was very impressed by the choice of destinations. I would have liked to be able to add Chiloe on to my holiday in a similar way to how you suggested Easter Island. I liked the way Ignacio Hewstone went out of his way to give us a Chilean experience in the restaurants he suggested. He was an excellent guide, with knowledge, enthusiasm, humour and attention to individual problems, a very good candidate for the leader awards. The "native" guides were also very good, especially Miguel at San Pedro, with the possible exception of the lady at Puerto Varas who seemed very harassed. The accommodation was clean and very adequate wherever we went. I would recommend the trip to anyone and was very sad when it came to an end.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Osorno with its summit covered with snow at sunset from the aeroplane. The views of the Andes throughout made my trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent as above.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take any medecines you might have the remotest need for. Prepare for extremes of weather eg:32 degrees + in the Atacama and Santiago to a snow blizzard in Patagonia.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I just loved it and have already made a convert!
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Neil Foulkes

    Contrasts and variety

    A trip combining traditional sightseeing with trekking (and a large range of temperatures) sure makes packing a challenge, but it is this variety that can satisfy a seasoned traveller. Yangon is like many big cities, it has some real treasures (the Shwedagon Pagoda is amazing) but lots of people, traffic, fake monks and touting guides. Sunrise over Bagan's endless temples with a sky full of hot air balloons is a sight to behold, but the town is a back-packer haven, so retreating to the hotel pool was a welcome break. The trekking was quite challenging at times with lots of up and downs, heat and cold and very basic accommodation, but we didn't encounter any other tourists and we gained a good insight into rural life. In contrast, Mandalay is full of tourists, but the cruise on the Irawaddy is a chance to chill-out and sunset at U-Bein bridge is a must-see event.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sunrise at the summit of Mount Victoria. At first it was cloudy but then suddenly the view cleared and all of the effort to get up there was justified.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sai is a very experienced, friendly and knowledgeable leader, which is what is needed in a country where you cannot speak the language.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I used my rain jacket, over-trousers, down jacket, down sleeping bag, trekking poles, hydration bladder, trekking air-mattress, closed-toe sandals, flip-flops and swimming shorts on this trip. My heavy leather hiking boots had to be worn on flights, but I was glad of the protection that they gave me on the trek. The e-visa was easy to apply for (the official website even allows you to re-size your electronic photo) and worked well. I took malarone tablets for malaria (although some travellers didn't bother) and there are a lot of mosquitos in Mandalay (including inside the hotel). Be prepared for some kind of stomach upset, taking soft toilet roll and hydration sachets. I felt perfectly safe in Myanmar, even when walking the streets of Yangon late in the evening and I ate freshly cooked street food with no ill-effects, but do watch out for unsolicited guides who may ask for a large donation to their monastery. Costs vary from a street meal at 1200 MMK to a posh restaurant meal at 20000 MMK and souvenir prices should be negotiated.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Myanmar is developing fast and the trip notes, some guidebooks and information on the internet can be outdated, so go with an open mind and ask questions. Credit cards and ATMs are starting to be used, but I took Dollars cash and changed at Yuan airport on arrival. Advice about pristine notes seems to apply to the hard currency, so I wouldn't worry too much about the condition of the 1000 MMK notes and below that you are given. Wet wipes are useful for cleaning feet as well as hands, so take plenty. Yangon is walkable but hot and humid, so when taxis only cost about 3000 MMK they are a good option.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Julie Sutton

    Galapagos Wildlife Cruise

    I thought long and hard about booking a this trip as it is not cheap! However it proved to be the best holiday that I have ever taken and well worth the money. We snorkelled twice a day on most days, with the turtles, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas and great shoals of multicoloured fish. Every island that we visited was different and the naturalist guide that accompanied us was a fount of information. On land we saw the giant Galapagos tortoises, land iguanas and a myriad of different birds. The boat that we were based on was first class with excellent food and attentive and friendly crew

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming with sealions

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, could not have been bettered, Gandy was efficient, knowledgible, kind and fun

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have your own full length wetsuit, then take it with you if you are travelling, as I did in November as the water is fairly cold then and the wet suits provided on board are short ones. On the other hand I understand the sea is much warmer in Feb/Mar.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Keith Burrett

    Myanmar

    I will start with a sore note which otherwise was an excellent holiday. We visited Bagan House lacquerware, the demonstrations and products on display where amazing. So much so I purchased a gold inlaid box which was a bargain at $45 which was nicely gift wrapped. To my horror on arriving home I discovered it had been replaced by a heap of worthless junk. So be warned if buying from them. The people in Myanmar seem very friendly and always smiling. One of the highlight is visiting the villages and workshops. It like beening transported back 300 yrs, before the time of the industrial revolution. The other highlights are the temples and monasteries. The only annoying part is having to keep taking you shoes and socks off. At times the trip was a bit hectic but well worth it for there is a lot to see. I would recommend this trip for the cultural experience, but don't wait too long for modern technology will eventually take over.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational part of the holiday was the Myanmar people. They seem very happy yet compared to us they have nothing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader Khti Maw was excellent. Very knowledgable and a good sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Only advice from experience if buying anything from Bagan House don't allow them to wrap your purchase.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food in Myanmar restaurants is not too expensive and good quality. Although be careful when ordering duck or chicken because it contains a lot of bones.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Alan Colgate

    Trekking Borneo and Beyond

    Although aged 80 I was probably at least 15 years older than anyone else, however this in no way spoiled my experience of this holiday. The group was fantastic, the best I have experienced over the last 20 years of trekking. It was certainly added to by the local 'guides' who were excellent and very friendly to all the group. I and 2 others were not able to get to the summit of Mount Kinabalu as we ran out of time although we had passed the last checkpoint. We should have left the Laban Resthouse earlier. We did not sleep anyway! The whole holiday experience was far better than I expected although I did need to buy a new camera in Kuala Lumpur (a waterproof one). The humidity and going through the 'rapids' on the river was too much for my old camera!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was full of new experiences and I suppose the lasting highlight was the time at the end spent at the complex by the sea. I have never experienced such warm seawater!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As I have said above the 2 we had, the first at KL and the second on Borneo could not have been more encouraging and friendly to all the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Humidity and shooting the rapids is not good for cameras unless waterproof. I was not alone with the problem! Insects were not a problem even in the evening, in fact I don't think I got bitten at all - not like in the garden at home in the UK!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lastly I did feel that the climb was more difficult than what I experienced 18 months earlier in Ethiopia although not so high. In Ethiopia there was plenty of time to get aclimatised whereas in Borneo there was none at all. Yet this was graded 4 and the climb of Ras Dashen in Ethiopia as Grade 5. The altitude there did not seem a problem as we reached the height of 4543m over a period not 2 consecutive days as in Borneo.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Penny Houghton

    HIghlights of Tibet

    Excellent trip with outstanding leader, Keshar KHADKA

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Potala Palace and first sight of Everest Kathmandu - Bhaktapur

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take things slowly in Tibet Take Lavender essential oil to impregnate a kleenex for the toilet breaks - this saved us at the Everest Base Camp Monastery! If you have time while in Kathmandu, take a taxi to Bhaktapur and Patan, its really worth it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wish I had done the trip back to back with Highlights of Nepal - now I'll have to go back!
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