Turtle, Ecuador

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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 May 2019
    Jen S

    A taste of a lesser known region of Italy

    This trip gave a flavour of the region of Puglia in more ways than one... Staying in four different locations across the week, we learned about the importance of olives and wine in the region with visits to a an olive grove for olive oil tasting and a factory for wine tasting, and were encouraged to try local specialities by our leader who at group meals ordered a range of typical dishes so that we could try a variety. Although not specifically a food tour, food has to be a major part of any trip to Italy...

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Exploring the alleyways of white-walled hill-town Ostuni as the sun was going down.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walks (I can't speak for the one from Otranto, which we were unable to do due to bad weather) were fairly flat and easy. The guided town tours are if anything more strenuous as they are longer! (Note, the one around beautiful Matera does involve a few steps and sloping paths, the only way of seeing this town built into the sides of a gorge). Walking trainers or even walking sandals are appropriate for all walks on this trip. My personal advice - take your coffee the way the Italians do, stood at the counter with an espresso cup and a glass of water. It's quick, nice, local, gives you a caffeine boost, gives free access to a toilet, and usually there's cake available too! To nut allergy sufferers - be aware that in this area hazelnut is commonly mixed with chocolate in pastries and desserts. There is a great love of Nutella! Always check before ordering!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    David Cowan

    Enjoyed but could be better

    Didn't get off to a good start because exodus didn't inform us and several others of an itinerary change, although some others in the party did hear about it. Although the reverse order for the visits is better we ended up with a 1/2 day on Paros with not much to do and no useful suggestion from the tour leader. He was generally a very good guide but occasionally not as flexible as one might wish. The walks were generally good and not hard apart from the odd steep climb. Just wish there had been more of them (see above). We were recommended to go to the buried town of akrotiri, which was well worth the trip together with the museum in Thira. Can't understand why Exodus don't make this part of the trip if time permits. If we hadn't gone we would have had another wasted morning on Santorini, to add to that on Paros. Hotel beds generally rock hard and in 2 out of the 4, some of the smallest shower cubicles we have ever experienced. I think we would have preferred to pay a bit more for a better hotel on Santorini & Paros Ferry journeys were always longer than anticipated but luckily weather was OK so we could go on deck apart from Naxos to Rafina on the catamaran where you have aircraft type seats

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    walk on naxos

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See above but generally good but did tend to lecture us a bit. Extremely knowledgeable and very pleasant. Could do with a bit more understanding on the needs of a diabetic in the group but soon caught on when we pointed out it wasn't a "gippy tummy" but low blood sugar. Probably helps that we are familiar with this condition due to previous job. Some small kindnesses to the group were also appreciated and he did try hard. But having him deal with other groups that exodus has in the region while guiding us was not optimal. Exodus need sto emply more staff to cover their local needs

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have plenty to read for ferry trips, be prepared for hard beds. Good walking shoes a must but boots probably optional
  • Reviewed May 2019
    David Byers

    Full on every fay

    A full on safari/trip through Botswana and Zimbabwe - not for you if you need 10 hours sleep every night. The highlight without doubt is the trip via Mokorro canoe and camping trip into the Otovango delta. Some long days travelling in the mini bus but all very worthwhile.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Otovango delta

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely one of the best

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Liz Hesnan

    Good Varied hiking, but need to be fit for the scrambling involved

    Excellent , Confident and friendly leader who coped well with a wide variety of fitness levels Good food served by the hotel, I personally found the beds very hard! Shame about the weather, but not much anyone can do about that!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visit to the cave was spectacular

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent friendly leader, felt very safe, and he coped well with a wide variety of fitness levels / and experience of the other hikers

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare for all weathers, and assess your level of fitness to cope with the scrambling and uneven rocky hiking, and Some steepish climbs/descents
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Sasha Heriot

    Excellent taster of Japan

    This trip was an excellent way to experience many different aspects of Japan, although I feel like I have only touched the surface, and I want to go back! Japan, the people, and the food are all truly wonderful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved being out of the cities and experiencing more of the countryside and mountainous regions. One of the highlights was seeing Mount Fuji appear over the hillside whilst ascending in a cable car. We did this on one of our "free" days. This day trip was suggested by our tour leader who also accompanied us for the whole day. Another highlight for me was the thermal baths experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our first leader, although very pleasant, was very inexperienced. I was grateful to Exodus that they changed our leader on day 3. The new leader was excellent and ensured that we all had an enjoyable holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not expect a relaxing holiday. The days are very long and you will do lots of standing on very crowded public transport and a huge amount of walking almost every day. Although it is very popular in blossom season, I would have much preferred to go when the weather was warmer. We have blossom in the UK after all! Knowing now how easy it is to get around Japan on public transport, I would be very happy visiting there independently. I flew with KLM (connected in Amsterdam both ways), which seemed a much better choice than the group flight - no long mid-night connections, more "direct" route and shorter flight time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The country is very easy to get around using public transport, however it would have been much better to have had a minibus/coach to get around the sights in the cities, as the local public transport "experience" made the days very hectic, somewhat stressful, and much longer than they needed to be. I feel that if local public transport is used, the trip should be graded higher than a 2 as some people on the trip did struggle with the long days. and the huge amounts of standing and walking.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Peter Day

    Sicily Food and Culture Trip

    A great balance of food and culture - all of the highlights covered, and no food specialities left untasted. The itinerary was a perfect blend of food and culture, and the itinerary itself was perfect - nothing could really be improved upon.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Roman villa mosaics

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rosario was excellent. He looked after every detail of the trip, was always available to assist with any question or problem that arose. Incredibly enthusiastic, and a native Sicilian, he acted as our entree to Sicily.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    While classified as level 1, there was a great deal of walking on some days - up and down stairs in most locations, and while detail is provided under "Is this trip for you?", the word "leisurely" is a little misleading, and it would be worth reclassifying the trip to at least a 2! That said, in many places, there were options to do more or less strenuous activities. e.g. at Mount Etna, there were three grades of activity possible. While nothing more could have been included within the 8 days of the tour, travellers may consider adding two-three days on their own to visit Cefalu (including a trip to one or more of the Aeolian Islands) which is easily accessible by train from Palermo. The other locations visited relied on in-depth local knowledge, and some of the attractions are only accessible by private transport, so it would be impossible or impractical to visit most of the places we went to if you did your own thing in Sicily.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The tour is at least as much about culture as it is about food, and while this is detailed in the trip notes, it might be worth reflecting this in the title of the trip.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Helen Bouchami

    Wonderfully varied trip

    Loved Peru. Land of contrasts and dramatic scenery, from the soaring peaks of the Andes to the world's second deepest canyon and the highest navigable lake, from the simple lifestyle of the Titicaca islands to the sophistication of Miraflores in Lima. The surprise of a desert oasis with towering sandunes. Basking seals among rows of pelicans and boobies on the offshore islands, majestic condors in the canyon, and cute alpacas and even cuter vicunas. Impressive Incan structures - from Machu Pichu to terraced mountainsides, and the elegant colonial architecture of the Spanish. The trip notes mention the early starts and long hours on the bus - this is true, but the spectacular scenery provides an excellent distraction. The bus itself was large, and although it lacked a little of the camaraderie I've experienced on smaller mini-buses with Exodus in the past, the space to spread out and the on-board loo were appreciated. My attitude is that the hours of travel are the price you pay for seeing so much, and those are the memories that remain. I loved the variety of scenery and activities on this trip. I thought it was very well put together, including allowing for a gradual adjustment to altitude.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Pichu lived up to expectations, a highlight of not just this trip The condors were a wonder. Some came really close, but so quickly that I had no time to adjust my zoom. The home stay, whilst not the most comfortable experience, was fascinating - the weather there was cold and rainy, but our hosts, the mamatis, were a delight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Giuliano was an excellent organiser and very personable. So hard working, he was constantly checking ahead to ensure that everything ran smoothly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes say no walking poles are allowed in Machu Pichu, so I had left mine at home. On our first, guided visit I found many people, even the young and fit, using them, so I bought one for the next day (c£10) and found it much easier to move around the site which has steep steps, uneven surfaces and few handrails. . It is definitely worth the second optional entry. RE. gifts for the homestay hosts, food from the San Pedro market in Cusco, fruit, cheese etc. was very acceptable if you can't fit anything from home into your case. Don't be overly concerned about altitude. Most people felt some effect, but a little breathlessness is not altitude sickness. Take the advice re. hydration and not overdoing it. It was curious - I climbed up to the Sun Gate with no problem, but found myself (as did others) gulping air occasionally when lying down, or bending to put on shoes - mainly on the Lake as this was our highest overnight stay. BTW I am in my seventies

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I just wanted to add my appreciation of the drivers used on the trip. Mountain roads with their many bends, and lots of lorry traffic, don't make for easy driving. They waited patiently for a safe place to overtake, which allowed the group to relax and enjoy the scenery.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Malcolm Mahony

    Fascinating and beautiful country

    The desert landscape and Petra are stunning. The scrambling is exciting. The archaeology is outstanding. The culture is fascinating.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See above.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abdullah worked hard to make the trip successful and enjoyable. He was totally unflappable!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You should be aware that the trekking area is heavily used by 4-wheel drive vehicles taking tourists on day trips. This compromises the wilderness feel. Unfortunately they also leave behind a lot of plastic litter.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was very impressed by the generally tolerant and supportive attitude of Jordanians towards the 3 million plus refugees who live there. What a contrast to most other countries! Excellent service by Exodus staff.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Barbara Baker

    Monkeys, caiman, snakes, giant otters, sloth and multiple birds!

    A great extension to our Galapagos trip. We used the extra time in Quito to see more of the city and visit the Equator - found it easier and cheaper to use a hotel booked taxi than the official tours. The journey from Coca is very much part of the experience - lots to see especially when you transfer to the paddled canoe for 2 hours along small blackwater creek to the lodge. Parrots aren’t guaranteed at the licks but we were lucky enough to see a troop of peccaries instead! All the activities, apart from the night hike, involved a trip in our canoe from where there was always lots to see. Our guides were helpful and brilliant at spotting animals in the mass of green, but there is also plenty to see around the lodges.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely the wildlife including a baby anaconda, 6 types of monkey including grumpy capuchins, rare woolly, and iconic golden mantled tamarin; a family of giant otters resting by the creek, a pair of roseate spoonbills and the noisy prehistoric “stinky turkey birds”.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both leaders were excellent- Jose was the bilingual guide, he also ate with the group of 6 and helped paddle; Shayan the local who spotted things we needed binoculars to see- and also helped with photos and paddled. William was the official paddler - and also helped with spotting. It was good to have the same team from arrival in Coca to departure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It’s hot and humid, rains most days but the wildlife is fantastic- not as close to you as Galapagos but much more varied. Take binoculars if possible and long lens (waterproof) They loan you wellingtons for all the off site activities- if you don’t fit standard size such as muscular calves then consider taking your own! And take long socks. Long sleeves and trousers are best but I was bitten through the material at the parakeet lick - use plenty of deet even where covered. No mosquitoes at the lodge as the lake is too acidic for them to breed. Leave a suitcase in Quito if returning to same hotel - everything is paddled up river.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you have the time then do it!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Alan Colgate

    Undiscovered Trails of Cape Verde

    The trip was different from what I was expecting but very enjoyable at the same time. Some of the trails were difficult for me especially when going down steep slopes and I was not the only one who felt it should have been graded 4 not 3. As I am interested in geology I found the island of Santo Antao particularly interesting with the frequent evidence of its volcanic past. Also the local guide was passionate about 'his Island' and very informative. One problem which could have been avoided was that when we were at Cha de Morte (I think that it was the name) we were kept awake all night from 9pm to 7am with extremely loud broadcast 'music' as it was their annual 'festival' just that night. To sum up I am glad I went!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    1. The exciting ferry crossing to Santo Antao (the sea was quite rough), and 2. the coastal walk on Day 5 to Ponta do Sol. The cliffs are geologically extremely interesting. Although the walk is very hilly there is a decent coastal path the whole way so the slopes did not bother me at all.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A very friendly helpful person.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    To note that many of the paths require a good balance going down and the later suggestion by Exodus of bringing walking poles was necessary for those not so agile.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Island are anything but 'green' as the name may suggest. It never rains but relies on moisture from clouds on the higher points similar to Madeira and the other Atlantic Islands.
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