Turtle, Ecuador

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

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112 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Anne Ferguson

    Deep South - the story of the Blues and music of America

    If you're into music (especially The Blues) and want to understand where it all started and developed, this is the trip for you. Starting with the background of the Civil Rights movement and visiting iconic sites such as the bridge at Selma and the museums in Atlanta and Birmingham, we followed the development of the Blues from New Orleans through Clarksdale, Memphis and finally Nashville. We experienced a wide range of live music - gospel, blues, jazz, country, rockabilly, bluegrass etc and saw the places where it all began. It was a truly entertaining and memorable trip from the beginning to the end made even more special by our awesome guide, Jay.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Historically - walking over the bridge at Selma, which although not on the original itinary, was made possible by our guide. Musically - listening to great Blues band at a Juke Joint called 'Reds' in Clarksdale.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Top bloke. On a scale of 1-10 we would score him 12 Jay Burleson knew his music, knew the history and did all he could to make the trip special for us. (eg he found out one of the worlds best blues guitarists was playing in a cafe on the outskirts of Nashville and helped us get to see him play!)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Embrace it all - every day and every night - you can always rest when you get home!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Sue Jarvis

    Varied trip showing off the best of the Rockies

    The Rockies are magnificent and this trip includes the famous areas around Banff and Jasper but also takes you into the mountains away from the crowds. The group was a mixture of ages but we were all quite experienced walkers. There is little flat so although the distances aren't great the ascents are strenuous but you get into the heart of the mountains. The camping was very well organised and the food was excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are many great moments but for me the highlight was the first view of the mountains reflected in Landslide Lake. Although we had poor weather at the "wilderness camp" at Landslide the group spirit, led by the guides, made it a special part of the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Charles and Priscilla both worked tremendously hard all the time. They were always cheerful and supportive. Charles was an amazing chef and produced excellent meals, catering for several specialist diets. Their love for the mountains was obvious and they wanted to make sure that we all had the best experience possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes - it is correctly graded so make sure you are happy on steep ascents and descents. It can be cold at night in the autumn so you will need a good sleeping bag.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Kerry Clough

    Outstanding scenery and hiking in truly stunning US National Parks

    5 National Parks, each with something different to offer, but all share magnificent natural beauty. Our leader Jeff was also outstanding and his knowledge of not only each park, but the US in general and it’s nature and history added to the whole experience. Jeff was able to get us away from the crowds (walk more than half a mile from car parks and suddenly you feel you have escaped the crowds and your experience changes for the better). Going in early September was perfect as it was glorious weather. We enjoyed beautiful sunrises and sunsets, both easy walks and more challenging walks and a memorable barbecue under the stars, with our Navajo guide, in the less visited areas of Monument Valley with its glorious red rocks and silence as you’re far away from people and traffic. Returning to the brashness and noise of Las Vegas at the end of the trip to fly home was a shock to the senses and made you appreciate the sense of escape you have on the National Park treks even more!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Barbecue under the stars in a more remote part of Monument Valley with our Navajo guide.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jeff was absolutely outstanding. His leadership, energy levels, can-do attitude, knowledge, humour and nothing is too much trouble attitude were first class. He drove us everywhere, was our guide everywhere except Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon (guides can’t accompany you), explained clearly what would happen each day and how long it would take to arrive at our destinations, organised group dinners and did everything he could to ensure we had a memorable and trouble free experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light. There are a number of opportunities to wash your clothes. I only took hand luggage on the plane so avoided having to wait for my baggage. Go. You’ll love it! Consider arriving a day or two before the trip starts to acclimatise to the heat if you’re going in summer. Las Vegas was 41 centigrade by day and when we all got to our first National Park, Zion, it was 35 centigrade. I loved the heat but was glad I got their 2 days early to get used to it.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Suzanne Rosser

    Whales & Bears

    This trip combines the highlights of the Canada’s landscape in particular Vancouver Island with wild life both on land and in the sea. All in all I had a lovely experience with a really nice group of people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife was the highlight for me. Two encounters specifically: Firstly a large male Grizzly wandered along the shoreline, weaving between the trees and the river’s edge. Slowly, it approached us as we stood as a group shoulder to shoulder (forming one large object). It continued aware of us, until it was 20m away, and then passed by and headed further up the road. Also, on returning from the bear trip we meet a pod of Orcas - maybe five or six. The large male had a dorsal fin approximately six foot tall! We watched them for maybe 25 minutes keeping the required distance of at least 200m. Then they disappeared. Suddenly, they appeared just off the bow of the boat like dolphins do surfing in the bow wave (maybe 10ft away). Quickly, we turned the engine off and watched in awe as they disappeared again off into the distance

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eric our group leader was in my opinion not as knowledge, friendly and enthusiastic as previous leaders. He did however manage to organise additional trips for our groups as and when requested and taxied the group about making sure we were at the correct destination at the correct time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This, as far as I know, is this first time this trip has run as early as it did. We left on the 19th August. Although the salmon ran early last year that was not the case this year. If possible I would recommend to travel a little later maybe mid September - in order to maximise the chances of seeing the grizzlies fishing in the river. We did nevertheless still manage to see all the wildlife.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although this trip is called ‘Whales and Bears’ there were only two full days in the itinerary viewing theses amazing creatures. A half day with the Grey Whales; a half day seeing the black bears and a full day on the grizzly bear trip which included the boat trip with likely sightings of Humpback Whales and possibly Orcas. Having travelled all that way I booked additional trips, in Tofina $125 Canadian for an extra whale and $125 Canadian for black bears. Also Campbell River $400 Canadian with ‘Go Wild’ for and extra grizzly trip. Finally on the final day in Vancouver I visited Grouse Mountain which I felt filled the day well- without being too tiring. This cost $60 and included: lumber jack show, cable car, ski lift, wild bear flights, owl talk, eco walk, two hand raised grizzly bears and much more.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Catherine Arter

    A wonderful trip!

    I travelled with my 23 yr old daughter and we had a great time. Lots of superlatives which have been covered by reviewers below, so I will not repeat them, but suffice to say that this trip exceeded both our expectations in terms of the amazing variation in landscape in the iconic National Parks visited, and the diversity of activities - ranging from exciting hikes, to laying on the ground in Death Valley looking at the Night Sky. Never a dull moment - and our guide inserted little surprises at regular intervals.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Perhaps meeting our inspirational Navajo guide in Monument Valley and learning about her childhood and culture. But lots to inspire both of us ....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph Spaid was an incredible leader. He was so knowledgable, approachable, engaging and fun. He was very interesting to chat to, and worked so hard to make sure everyone’s needs were met. We were quite a disparate crowd of 11, some very experienced hikers, others recovering from recent injury, but he found ways to embrace that - I wish I had his energy!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a brolly as sun shade for Death Valley! And rehydration tabs/powder when it's really hot. We all used it and had no problem with overheating even in August. You get dusty walking so plenty of walking gear - it is a busy trip and there wasn’t much time for washing. I was pleased to have my poles in Zion and the Grand Canyon for long (albeit beautiful) uphill stretches. I would definitely advise a few days in San Francisco before joining the trip. It is an incredible city. Our flight from Heathrow was delayed by 28 hours, so we missed one of our three planned days, but we still were well able to meet up with the Group on Sunday. Las Vegas didn’t appeal to us, so we didn’t stay at the end, and we in time to fly out on the same night. The helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon was just extraordinary!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As an introduction to SW America, this trip takes some beating. It was fantastic. Thank you Exodus and Grand American Adventures!!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Catherine Mclaren

    Fantastic trip

    Lovely holiday in the Rockies, varied walks, great guides who cooked 3 course meals every night on a 3 ring gas burner. Bus time kept to a minimum but we covered a lot of ground. Just remember, you are in the mountains and the weather can be variable, the averages given in the trip notes can be deceiving!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Camping in the back country was fabulous, including the helicopter trip in.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both leaders were great, Vincent had a lot on his plate on this particular trip and Maggie was a great second in command, doing the majority of the cooking - couldn’t fault either.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It will probably be colder and wetter than you might think,
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Maria Filancia

    Beautiful Hawai'i

    The tour allows you to visit 3 Hawaian islands. It is a good way to get a flawour of life, food, nature and culture in these beautiful islands. Recommended for solo travellers who want to cover lots in short time. It is a share that Kauai is not included!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Learning about life and culture in Hawaii.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tim was really knowledgeable and friendly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Add one or two days in Honolulu and add Kauai at the end of the trip.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Patricia Arlt

    MEXICO is great !!!!

    My 3rd trip with Exodus and they just keep om getting better !! The itinerary was really diversified and days were all extremely interesting. May was a great time to travel as we missed the rainy spell. Highly recommended!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Quite a few: Archeological sites, cooking course, BIG TREE visit (extra stop bonus), canyon trip, Concote SWIM in sink hole (another extra stop bonus).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    HIGH PRAISE & THANKS!!! Artero was an absolutely fantastic Tour Leader, passionate about his work and devoted to well being and care of his group. Went the extra mile on more than one occasion. Miguel, the Driver, always kind and cautious!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take 100 dollar US Notes. You get better FX rate at the exchanges

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Saving for the next trip !!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Trudi Kaye

    Hawaiian paradise

    A well organised trip visiting 3 Islanda. Very educational. Our leader Tom had excellent knowledge. Volcanoes, snorkelling, great accommodation. Could have done with more free time and beach work however.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Dolphins joining us for a swim at the snorkelling coral reef

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tim was amazing. Faultless. He was professional, knowledgable, amenable and kind. We rated him highly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Have a few days afterwards if you want the beach scene
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Dennis Jenkins

    Mexico: Mayans, Aztecs and Conquistadores

    This was a very comprehensive tour from Mexico City to the Yucatan Peninsular visiting many amazing archaeological sites, colonial cities, markets, churches and seeing different local products being made. It also gave us the opportunity to sample a wide range of different Mexican foods including a lesson on how to prepare, cook and present a typical Mexican meal. Also interesting to see the varied wildlife and often stunning scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As always very difficult to highlight just one inspirational moment in such a varied trip but the optional visit to the Sumidero Canyon which also included a visit to the Mayan community of San Juan Chamula, particularly witnessing some of the pre hispanic ritual in the church.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arturo was excellent in every way. His knowledge of his country, which he obviously loved, was phenomenal and he was always cheerful, enthusiastic and always showed great concern for the welfare of all the group. A first class tour leader!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long days and some early starts as distances are generally quite large or in the case of some of the mountain roads, quite slow. The trip notes do make this quite clear. I would strongly recommend the optional excursion to the Sumidero Canyon and visit to the local Mayan communities.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Accomodation was generally very good in terms of location and character with some delightful colonial establishments. Although the trip is classified as "Leisurely" and it is entirely optional to climb the pyramids at the pre Hispanic sites, with the early starts, long days and with some of the places visited at medium altitude, I would think the classification should be "Leisurely/Moderate" as the tour is certainly"Full on". Again, this is outlined in the trip notes in which case I would question the "Leisurely" classification. I would also recommend may be extending the trip by staying 2 nights in Campeche rather than just 1 night. Campeche is an interesting city with a calm atmoshere and would give some relaxation after the long drive the day before from Palenque