Turtle, Ecuador

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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24 Reviews

  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

    A wonderful trip with some excellent experiences.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming with Sea lions, penguins and rays!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Extremely knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't think twice - do it!
  • Reviewed May 2012
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

    A totally unique place. The Cachalote crew were amazing and did everything they could to make the journey very special. Our guide, David was the same and full of knowledge about every aspect of the islands and the wildlife. We had many interesting encounters, seeing a swallow tailed gull hatching her chick from its egg, two iguanas fighting, waved albatross walking along the path towards us, then others flying so close over our heads we could have reached out and touched them. Every morning we were filled with excitement as to what the day held, and were never disappointed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See the comment above.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Enthusiastic, kind and extremely knowledgeable. It was obvious that he loved the islands and wanted to share his enjoyment with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a specially insulated water bottle to keep the water cool as it does get warm when walking around on the islands and in the high temperatures. A hiking stick could be useful on some of the terrain. A telephoto lens is handy for capturing the birds in flight, but all the wildlife is so close that a compact camera is adequate.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a complete adventure and although you might be prepared for seeing the wildlife, nothing can prepare you for the masses of birds, sea lions and other species completely relaxed with us walking around in their habitat.
  • Reviewed April 2012
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

    I had high hopes for this trip, having read previous reviews, and was not disappointed. Tourism on the islands is carefully controlled, which allayed any concerns I might have had about encroaching into the natural territory of the abundant wildlife. The opportunity to see these creatures in their natural habitat ane experience their environment was truly wonderful. The accommodation, food and hospitality - both on Cachalote and in the jungle (we did the rainforest extension) - was excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many great moments on this trip. Walking amongst wandering giant tortoises, stepping over myriads of marine iguanas, watching sea lions at play......Seeing a whale and calf breach the surface of the ocean ahead of the yacht - even momentarily - ranks pretty high. As did cruising with a pod of Dolphins at our bow - who remained with us, leaping and dancing, for some minutes - especially as our guide had assured us Dolphins don't do that in the Galapagos! Also not forgetting the snorkelling with large numbers of turtles, sea lions and the occasional penguin.Generally, it was the wildlife that provided the highlights - which is what you would expect and the reason we chose the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I would single out Esteban, our mainland guide in Quito, for special praise. Nothing was too much trouble for him. He is clearly passionate about his country and went to great lengths to ensure we got the most out of our time in Quito and had the opportunity to see as many of the highlights as possible while we were there.The joining instructions advised we would be meeting Darwin (who has received many good reviews) in the Galapagos Islands. Our guide in fact turned out to be Franklin, who was knowledgable about the area and the wildlife, and keen to share his knowledge - and his opinions. We were a small group (initially there were just five of us) joined part way through by others (a family of three) and we felt Franklin could have done more to stimulate group cohesion. He also had his own views about what we should want to see, rather than group members' specific interests. We also all felt a little bit abandoned on the first evening on board Cachalote after Franklin left to go to a meeting and the crew retired leaving us to our own devices!In the jungle David was knowledgable but the real star there was Hugo, our local guide, whose wildlife-spotting capabilities were amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go - you won't regret it, but don't forget the seasickness pills. (Better to be safe than sorry.)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The rainforest extension is well worth doing. It would seem a shame not to take advantage of the opportunity having gone all that way! It's hot and humid (as you would expect) but the lodges are comfortable and it provides a contrasting wildlife spotting experience after the Galapagos Islands. A minor word of caution, though. When you arrive at the Napo Centre you are "grouped" with the people you arrive with. We were the only two Exodus travellers with two other couples, both of whom were considerably older (and less fit) than ourselves and, bizarrely, seemed to have little interest in wildlife. In order to get the most out of this short extension we had to persuade the guide to split the group for some activities.
  • Reviewed April 2012
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

    A great holiday that delivered on what was advertised. A must for any wildlife enthusiast.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    - swimming with sealions- watching the sunrise from the deck- listening to all of the wierd and wonderful sounds of the wildlife- being surrounded by wildlife on Genovesa and Espanola- watching sealions in the towns

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Juan was very friendly, informative and approachable. He was able to answer all of our questions and took good care of us throughout our trip on the islands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    - be prepared for sea sickness and the strong sun- take an underwater camera and binoculars- don't bother with a beach towel one was provided- take socks with you for the first day in the highlands- I wished I had filmed more of my trip so I could replay my experiences- make the most of your first day in Quito and take a day trip out of the city. Half a day was fine to explore the city

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a great trip and it really lived up to my expectations.The flight was long and the Iberia was not great. There were no seat back screens and food was poor. On the return flight we travelled from Quito to Guayaquil where we had to get off the plane for an hour before getting back on the same plane and then flying back up past Quito! This added a good couple of hours to the already long flight. If I ever did this trip again I would not book the group flights through Exodus.  The hotel in Quito was ok but a bit Faulty Towers at times. None of us really suffered with the effects of altitude. We arranged a trip to Bellavista cloud forest for the following day and really enjoyed this. The 'easy'walk was tough at times but enjoyable. A full day with a nice lunch and hundreds of humming birds.The flight to Galapagos was straight forward and we were collected without any problems at each end.Each day on the boat started with arriving at a new island. We would watch the sunrise from the deck and then have a hearty breakfast and set off for our first desination. Each island site would offer something slightly different. Each special in their own way. After returning to the boat we would usually go for a snorkle before a three course lunch. After lunch we would usually have about 3 hours on the deck while we sailed to our next site before we set out exploring again. I managed all walks in walking sandals but many people had walking boots. They could be hot and uneven but at a steady pace with a lot of stops. We would then return to the boat at about 6 in time for a snack and to see the sunset before having a meal at 7. We would then run through all that we had seen in the day and set the plan for the following day. I was usually in bed by 8.30 as we would sail to the next island over night. we saw most of the wildlife we expected and were able to get up close and personal to everything. There were usually one or two other boats at each island.The boat was full with 14 adults and 2 children for our trip but space was not a problem, just be prepared to get up close to the other travellers as well as the wildlife! The crew on the boat were hard working and very safety conscious.If you love wildlife and photography you will love this trip.With better flights, Quito hotel and a guide with you in Quito (as a solo traveller I prefer to have a guide each day of the trip so I can be sure not to be left on my own)  I would give 5 stars. The Galapagos aspect was 5 stars without a doubt.