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
    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
    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
    Debi Jones

    What an experience!!!!

    I hoped for a lot, but expected nothing (especially in the Amazon) but we saw more wildlife than I knew there was! And as for the Galapagos.....Sensational. Holiday of a lifetime and would recommend to anyone. Truly brilliant. Am delighted to have managed to have whittled my photos down to about 650 (and 35 videos!). The Napo Lodge was stunning with fabulous staff but the Cachalotte was possibly even better (though cabin much smaller and less glamorous than lodge). The memories will be something I treasure forever. The organisation from beginning to end made everything so easy and I will definitely be travelling with Exodus again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkeling with sealions, a turtle and penguin (never having snorkeled before!) And the animals and birds just being truly fearless and natural I could go on....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very pleasant and efficient

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try snorkeling at home first! I panicked the first 2 times in the water (although it was a deep water snorkel) but after an hour's practice in the shallows I took to it like a penguin to water. And take lots of SD cards!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just GO!!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Kirsten Andersson

    Met and exceeded expectations

    Great trip first to Napo then to Galapagos. We were delighted with the quality of service, organization and attention to details.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many moments to choose from. Highlights were swimming with sea lions, watching wave albatrosses mate and watching land iguanas battle for territory. A difficult but natural moment occurred when we watched a boa attack and absorb a parrot

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader in Napo was great. Knowledgeable and highly skilled communicator. Group leader in Galapagos was a nice young man but we could tell he was on one of his last trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready to wake up early and go to bed early. Eat everything they feed you; you’ll either work it off in activities or sweat it out in the heat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were flummoxed and frustrated with the tipping of staff. We found the suggested tip rates to be far too high and we’re concerned that the tips are being used to supplement wages which is not the purpose of a tip. Exodus needs to find a better system. That was the only thing we were very dissatisfied about
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Glenda Beale

    Great Wildlife in their natural habitat

    Beautiful Costa Rica tour with an amazing and passionate guide who expertly led us through the different geographical landscapes and wildlife. We saw so much in 2 weeks, very active, and understood what we saw. Great group of people sharing the experiences with. Highly recommend the tour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting up at 5 am to go Quetzal watching and 2 hour later actually clearly seeing the resplendent bird.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos was a beautiful person who was passionate about Costa Rica and the wildlife. He was extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife and both what we both heard and saw.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring Binoculars and a good zoom camera. My small compact umbrella was very useful. Waterproof boots a must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    14 people on the tour was enough to all see the wildlife in walks. Do the optional Monteverde Sky Walk through the Cloud Forest canopy and suspension bridges.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Annie Marshall

    Don’t miss this

    A couple of friends and I joined this trip. It’s an amazing wildlife adventure that’s not to be missed. Tropical rain forests and cloud forests, some in the mountains, by the Caribbean coast on waterways and on the Pacific coast with beach time. Always options carefully explained by Johnny our superb guide whose enthusiasm, passion for wildlife and humour made it all come alive. He answered all our questions about the history, culture, birds, animals and plants of Costa Rica with great patience! Hotels very comfortable, delicious breakfasts and the provided meals were good, the staff friendly and helpful. It was hot and humid in the lowlands and cooler in the mountains. Rain was mainly in the afternoon and in May it was dark by 6pm. I took walking poles but didn’t use them though a couple of people did. Plastic bag for camera and binoculars is wise. Rain gear is essential. There is sound daily advice about open or closed footwear, long trousers or shorts. In summary, if you’re keen on wildlife book! I intend to add the Coastal Secrets trip to my list- near the top.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Very difficult to decide as the whole point of had trip is the biodiversity. Seeing sloths, monkeys, coatis, anteater, beautifully coloured birds with such varied songs, colourful butterflies and other insects, listening to and searching for frogs were all so interesting. The range of colourful and varied plants and fungi are surprising . If I had to choose one it would be our walk in Savegre in the cloud forest where we saw our 4th Resplendent Quetzal and our second Trogon. But the optional canopy walk was incredible too. Don’t miss it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader deserved his prize 2 years ago ...Guide of gbe Year. He is nominated again this year and I have voted. Johnny Villalobos is an outstanding guide. He is a wildlife expert. He took us out to look for the shy Quetzal at 5.30 am, chatted to the farm manager and we joined a group of photographers in the field . He led us on the canopy walk and on our nature walks, checking each of us had seen each bird or animal before moving on. He was always patient and polite , has rather a wicked sense of humour, gave us options, advice about clothing to wear for each excursion and fielded our endless questions with great patience . 5 stars for Johnny.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go on the trip. Do the canopy walk. Take rain gear , walking sandals and shoes with some grip. Carry rain gear and a plastic bag for your camera and binoculars every trip. Take quick dry clothes and insect repellant. Take a small torch. I did the zip lining which was great fun. There were Howler monkeys in the trees! I did the thermal pools with lots of the girls, we bought cocktails and had great fun. I also did the waterfalls at La Fortuna. Johnny took us on a short nature walk to get there. The many steps back up are ok. I enjoyed both of these optional extras but the best one was definitely the canopy walk and bridges. This was a highlight of my trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Like- minded travelling companions who gelled, shared sightings, photos , stories and looked out for each other were another highlight of the trip. Our driver Jose was great fun, very helpful and got us safely to each destination despite some hairy driving and overtaking by others on the roads. The Costa Ricans we met were helpful and polite. However don’t wear any valuables in San Jose as they may get ripped off you- a n attempt was made on one of our group on arrival day. No other incidents. The National Museum gives a history of the country and lots about the indigenous people. We enjoyed our visit. We also went to the Jade Museum. Too big and a bit repetitive unless you’re interested in the different pots made in each region.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Alison Kett

    Unforgettable Trip

    First time to Africa, didn’t know what to expect, but loved every minute, honestly cannot recommend enough. These are two very beautiful countries with such contrasting scenery. It was great to explore whilst still having the comfort of staying in beautiful lodges. Each one bought its own quirks, character and wildlife and I really liked being able to relax by the pool or at the bar in-between activities and in the evenings.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were just too many incredible moments to single out one. Two stand-out moments for me include being within a few metres of five white Rhino and coming across a male and female lion by the side of the road. The absolute highlight of the trip though was our time in the Delta. I was apprehensive before going (camping/toilets/showers) but was blown away by the whole experience and wish we had stayed longer. Being able to hear lions roaring in the distance, having around 15 elephants wading through the water within metres of our camp both during the day and at night, coming across painted dogs running around and playing on one of our walks, learning to pole a mokoro and meeting the lovely people from a local village who looked after us so well. I especially loved visiting their village afterwards and they were so grateful for the stationary and toys that we took for the children.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The whole trip was flawlessly executed and that was down to Rowan (our leader) and Sifiso (our driver). Rowan was very well organised and always helped us to get the most out of our experience . He kept us well entertained on the long drives with quiz games and spotting wildlife, had excellent knowledge of all the birds and animals we came across and if there was anything he didn’t know he had many reference books to look up information. He also cooked up some delicious food when we camped in the Delta (my favorites being the “Delta” cake). Sifiso drove superbly the entire trip over what were sometimes very rough roads. We all really enjoyed Rowan and Sifisos company and can’t thank them enough for making such an unforgettable trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take more money for tipping. There are so many lovely people who can’t do enough for you and we got slightly caught out by not having enough cash and it wasn’t easy to get hold of more. If you decide to do the night safari in Hwange, invest in a really good torch.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was an unforgettable experience. Writing this review three weeks on, and I’m still suffering from “holiday blues”.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Shelley Napper

    Amazing Adventure

    It’s hard to put into words how amazing the Exodus’ Botswana & Zimbabwe Lodge Safari experience is. I knew this would be a trip with a difference, but this African adventure went beyond my wildest dreams.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The two nights wild camping was, for me, the most daunting part of the trip and ended up being my absolute highlight – elephants water-crossing near camp, wild dogs playing and of course the smooth relaxing, mokoro trips. However, wild camping in the Okavango Delta is only one of a multitude of highlights that this trip has to offer -every day offers something amazing!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    While I’m sure any trip in Africa could be amazing, it was the Exodus team members that made our extraordinary trip what it was – unforgettable! Rowan (our leader) and Sifiso (our driver) went above and beyond to ensure that this once in a lifetime experience was beyond all expectations. Their wealth of experience was demonstrated through their expansive local knowledge, smooth organisation and the ease with which everything was accomplished. Rowan’s energy, generosity and wide array of interests meant that many experiences had a personal touch – just one of many examples being the drone footage he generously took and gave to our group, recorded memories of something so special I cannot thank him enough. Sifiso’s calm, friendly nature and superior driving skills made comfortable and safe driving days and provided the relaxed atmosphere a trip like this deserves. Rowan and Sifiso, I cannot thank either of you enough!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I look forward to future Exodus adventures.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Linda Kirby

    Excellent

    This was a joint celebration of our 70th birthdays so we wanted it to be extra special. It was an amazing experience, with a wonderful group of people, led by an extremely professional, knowledgeable and proficient guide, Johnny Villalobos. Thanks to Johnny's extensive knowledge of bird calls and habitats, we were able to see a huge number of birds, including the elusive Quetzal. Johnny also had a wide knowledge of the many mammals we encountered. Apart from overnight stays in San José, we stayed 2 nights in each destination which was enough to enable us to explore what each habitat had to offer. Johnny ensured that we maximised our time in each location, though you always had the choice to opt out of an activity. Each location was well chosen in terms of being a representative sample of what Costa Rica has to offer, from hot steamy jungle, to cool, high altitude cloud forest. The accommodation was excellent in each place but we particularly enjoyed the remoteness of Esquinas Lodge, surrounded by the sounds of the forest, especially the frogs. An added bonus was the stream fed pool and later, a night walk in the forest, led by a guide from the lodge who was able to identify the many frogs contributing to the incredible cacophony of frog calls. We were given a warm welcome in each location by the hotel/lodge staff and served some delicious food. However, crucial to the success of this holiday, was Johnny's enthusiasm for what his country had to offer and his exceptional knowledge, organisational and people skills.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Experiencing the huge diversity of flaura and fauna in such a relatively small country. Seeing the vital work being done by Costa Ricans like Johnny, to protect their environment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We couldn't have wished for a better group leader. Johnny Villalobos was extremely professional, very knowledgeable about birds and mammals and was passionate about caring for the environment. His enthusiasm for his country, it's people and Costa Rica's biodiversity, was infectious. He ensured that every aspect of organising our travel about the country and the transport of our luggage ran most efficiently. Johnny was attentive and caring to two group members who felt unwell. Also, he did his best to maximise our experience of Costa Rica and often gave over and above what was reasonable to expect from a group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good poncho, insect repellent (We used Picaridin), binoculars and a camera. Make the most of the time you have there, the plants and wildlife are amazing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The enjoyment of the holiday exceeded our expectations.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Ann Dowson

    We saw tigers!

    We travelled to India solely to see tigers in their natural habitat and we were not disappointed. We saw tigers in each of the three national parks we visited as well as many other animals, most notably three sightings of a leopard. The accommodation used on the trip was, we felt, of a good standard. We appreciated the pool at each of the hotels and went to the pool every day after the morning game drive.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In Kanha National Park our jeep drew up to a crossroads to see a tiger walking along the road on the right. The driver turned the jeep so we were facing this big, male tiger. The tiger continued to walk along the road towards us and the driver reversed the jeep a short way, the tiger continued his walk towards us and we reversed again. This went on for 1km! We saw the tiger scent mark and casually stroll along. This was just an incredible encounter with only our jeep present. It was beyond our greatest expectation and when we saw how excited the driver and guide were after this experience we knew just how special it had been.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was very well organised and efficient. He was always approachable and we were happy with the manner in which he organised the group briefings. He was friendly and easy to get along with.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Even when travelling in April I still required a thin fleece for the early morning game drives. You do not need to pack a lot as clothes dry so quickly in the heat. Remember to take a small bag for your camera, tissues etc on the game drives.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We should have been informed before the start of the trip that the arrangements in Nagpur were changed. We did not receive the notification and it was only by luck that we returned to the hotel for the rescheduled transfer to Pench. In Agra we would have preferred more time at the Taj Mahal. The trip prior to this to the marble shop did not interest us. Although the hotels in the National Park were of a good standard the hotel we stayed in on the last night in Delhi fell short. Initially we had planned to stay on in that hotel as our return flight was not until the following morning. We were so glad they could not accommodate us and we found a much better hotel at a very reasonable price near to the airport. We think that Exodus should use a higher standard hotel for the last night.
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