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

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3243 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2020

    Fantastic experience

    Week long tour of western Cuba stopping off at loads of interesting and enjoyable locations: just some were Cienfuegos, Trinidad, pottery studio and 'have a go', Vinales Valley and tobacco/coffee plantation with fascinating demonstrations and of course not forgetting the wonderful Havana. Lovely places to stay and very very good food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Can't narrow it down to 1! but including visiting the traditional house of a couple who lived via their coffee and plant production, overwhelming hospitality of the places we stayed in, Cuban friendliness and seeing how they manage their lives so well despite some hardships.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous. The most informative, entertaining and helpful person we could have wished for in that role. The coach driver who took us everywhere was wonderful too, and made sure we never ran out of fuel!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to live out of a suitcase, it's not nearly as difficult as we thought!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would wholeheartedly recommend this tour. It gave us a great holiday, wonderful experiences and plenty of great memories!
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Amazing experience

    From start to finish, I cannot fault this trip. The temples and Ancient Egyptian remains speak for themselves and are stunning. I had no idea that they were so well preserved. But the trip was made especially enjoyable by our super efficient and friendly guide, Sayed. His commentary covered both ancient and modern Egypt, and I have been reading books about Egypt ever since!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sun going down, while sailing down the Nile is quite magical. In the valley of the kings, being able to explore with very few other tourists, brought home the splendour of the tombs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sayed managed all the logistics to perfection, and at the same time shared his passion for Egyptology. He struck exactly the right balance between serious, informative guide and being friendly and approachable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cost of the optional trips does mount up - but most are really great experiences - so I would advise factoring them into the overall cost of the holiday before you go.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Excellent trip and guide

    Booked very late and was lucky enough to have single room option still available. The trip is superb. More than Petra. So much in one week and very well organised. We had every season going including snow on our week, and still had a dip in Dead Sea at the end of our holiday. Pack layers for jan feb trips, and a warm jacket! Our guide, Ibrahim was superb. Great knowledge, good fun, and helpful with useful advice. Pick your choice of walks in Petra as it is massive. My highlight was the walk to high sacrifice in Petra, stunning ,even with my dislike of open heights on one spot. I would recommend Jordan for it’s friendliness, people, culture and it’s a short haul flight to a completely different landscape/culture. Brilliant trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Petra high sacrifice walk. Jerash? So unexpected.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ibrahim is a real credit to exodus. His passion for his country and history is authentic. He loves his job. Something to be envious of. He is really knowledgeable about all the sites we saw. He knew how to bring the best out in the group. One of the best guides I’ve had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Plan for four seasons in winter. I thought I was ridiculous taking a padded jacket to Jordan. Nope. I needed it for three days . Feb tour 2020. Lightweight walking shoes are a must.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Busy itinerary packed with highlights

    This is a busy itinerary that covers all the major sights in the 'Golden Triangle' of Northern India, plus two tiger safaris and Varanasi, in only 7 days off work. Most itineraries on offer for this part of the world won't give you so much in such a short time period. This makes it a great option for travellers with little time to spare and who want to see as much as possible of this part of the world. There is little 'down time' and it can feel a bit rushed at times, but for me this was far outweighed by the opportunity to see so much and visit places I simply couldn't have fitted in at all any other way. The trip was very well organised and run and I enjoyed everything we visited.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Taj Mahal was so impressive - it really is worth seeing it in real life. Pictures and TV can't do it justice. The whole trip was worth it just for that. Seeing a tiger in Rathambhore was thrilling especially as many groups aren't that lucky (but the safaris are worthwhile and enjoyable in their own right even if no tigers appear). Varanasi was fascinating and an unexpected highlight for me. Also visiting the Sikh Gurdwara and its communal kitchens in Delhi was a really interesting trip and gave an insight into an aspect of a religion I knew little about.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was very well organised and efficient. He did a fantastic job keeping a large group together and getting us through an incredibly busy and tightly timed itinerary in sometimes difficult circumstances. He made the trip run smoothly which must have been a mammoth undertaking.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It really does get very cold in February, particularly on the game drives and sunrise starts. You can't wear enough on the early morning safari to keep warm. So pack accordingly! Layers are best as later in the day when the sun's out you won't need your jackets. Most days you have access to a bus so can leave things like coats. European plug adaptors are the most useful to take and can be used in the majority of the hotels. The train does have power points by the bunks. You can purchase a chain and padlock to secure your bags on the train very cheaply at the station - so if you don't already have one, don't splash out in your home country on one. As with all Exodus trips, a softer, smaller bag will serve you better than a big hard suitcase, particularly when trying to fit it under the train bunk beds. There are a number of optional excursions and these aren't always listed in the trip notes. The cost was generally around 1000-1500 rupees per person for a group of 16. It would be higher for smaller groups. The excursions offered were a cooking demonstration on the first evening, a hot air balloon ride on the second morning (this would be more expensive than the cost above), watching a Bollywood film at a local cinema on the second night (this was about 700 rupees and was well worth it, really enjoyable), a sunrise cruise on the river in Varanasi to see the burning ghats (highly highly recommended), a trip to Sarnath on the second day in Varanasi (miss-able, but does pass the time if you don't want to wait around at the hotel), and a sightseeing trip in Delhi on the last day. You won't necessarily see the standard sights on the Delhi trip but the places we went were well worth visiting, especially the Gurdwara. If you do all the trips and eat with the group, you need at least £200 spending money. The shopping trips can't really be avoided despite what the trip notes say as they are done 'en route' to other things, although you can opt to stay on the bus if you prefer. Take a kindle or phone or something else to amuse yourself if that's the case. The items you see are all high-price and outside the budget of some travellers, so if you're going to have to watch your money and find temptation hard to resist, you might also want to sit these out. If you're a keen photographer or historian, planning ahead for your visits is a good idea as you'll get very little time at some of the sights - in particular, those in Jaipur, and Fatephur Sikri. Reading up in advance will help you make the most of the time you get and ensure you don't miss anything you particularly wanted to see/photograph.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Stunning trip

    I was well impressed with Sri Lanka - charming people, friendly and calm perhaps due to the widespread effect of Buddhism. Our well planned route took us inland, through the mountains and round the south coast with expert guide Nalaka, so we got a great overview of the island. Lovely hotels, most with pools, and superb food - buffets with the chance to try everything mixed with home cooking on banana leaves. We had the opportunity to travel in different ways - rafts, bikes, jeeps and trains; we saw wildlife close up, especially elephants of course, crocodiles, monkeys and a wide range of birds; and we explored some incredible historic sites. A very memorable and fun trip with a lovely group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was particularly inspired by the view from the top of Sigiriya rock in the early morning mist, the folk museum and the life of Martin Wickramasinghe and the cheek of the monkeys!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nalaka was an excellent tour guide - charming, well organised, informative and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No real need for adaptors - most hotels have sockets which take UK plugs. Walking boots are pretty useful - the Horton Plains track in particular is rough. And 'temple clothes' are needed - even just a sarong which can cover the legs or shoulders and old socks to wear on the hot rocks.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    A fast paced dive into Indian world heritage sites - for seasoned travellers only!!

    A presumptuous title for the trip - there's a lot missing for a Grand Tour! However, it does cover a great number of very interesting historical and religious sites over 4 weeks. and as such is an efficient way to see a lot of Indian world heritage sites in a fairly short time. It is also good value for money. Accommodation was of a varied quality but always acceptable. We'd have liked to see a couple of home stay's included though, and we didn't feel that we had enough exposure to modern Indian culture or local communities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    More than one! I had completely discounted the likelihood of seeing tigers in the wild so it was astonishing to see four over our two game drives - one at extremely close quarters! However many photos you see, there is no substitute for seeing the Taj Mahal first hand. Truly magnificent. Witnessing cremations of the Ganges was a surreal and humbling experience, as was our visit to the cradle of Buddhism, also in Varanasi. Lots more as well!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jatin had great organisational skills, navigating us successfully around stations, trains, hotels, and restaurants and holding strictly to the itinerary in the trip notes. He also had a pleasant, affable personality. However, he deferred extensively to local City guides (who ranged from excellent to average) in terms of local information, and we thought he could have done more to introduce us to the cultures of India. In our view, too much time was spent in very average restaurants in the evening - it would have been great to have had the chance to see things like cookery or clothing demonstrations, insights into Indian marriages, etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a trip for seasoned travellers only - it is long, hot and at times uncomfortable, with the possibility of stomach upsets,etc. The group composition is important as you spend a month together - no room for big egos or uncooperative/insensitive souls! We'd suggest an extra night or two in Kovalam at the end as it's an interesting place to explore and unwind (a major centre for Yoga and Ayurvedic massage). The food is relentlessly spicy, but vegetarians are extremely well catered for (many Indians are vegetarian). Take a warm layer for winter departures as the north can be chilly. Extra loo paper, wet wipes are mandatory, also basic medications for stomach upsets, coughs and colds etc. A filtered water bottle will help eliminate the use of single use plastic bottles.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    India has rather belatedly embarked on a major road building programme, which means that at present road journeys are inevitably very slow. In the light of this we've suggested to Exodus that it is worth exploring the use of low cost regional air flights as an alternative to both trains and coaches. I'm not convinced that some sights merit the very lengthy road trips - some itinerary reorganisation would likely benefit the overall experience. Spending less than a full day in Mumbai is in our view a serious error - we came away wanting to see a lot more of this interesting, vibrant and exciting city. Similarly, what is the logic in missing Kolkatta from the itinerary of a "Grand Tour"? As with all our trips, we benefitted from and greatly appreciated the company of our guide and Group (more than usual on a trip of this length), so we'd like to say a big thank you for that.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Stupendous!

    More than lives up to the title "Highlights" - 10 days concentrated on the best of Patagonia (with a half day in Buenos Aires before and after). Stunning views, great treks, towering glaciers, turquoise icebergs, and penguins too. What's not to like?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many! Both the two treks - hard work (about 13/14 miles but very do-able if taken at a steady "patagoinian plod"), steep / rough trails in places but very rewarding especially finally getting to the top for the fantastic picture postcard views. The literally endless skies driving across the plains The towering ice wall of the Perito Moreno glacier - listening to the cracks and and trying to spot the ice calving off. The pengiuns - walking so comically on land but shooting like torpedoes through the crystal clear water And the warm medialunas at almost every hotel at breakfast (yum)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was brilliant - more than lived up to great ratings from previous trips

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Argentina - despite what the trip notes say, don't change lots of money at the airport on arrival - the exchange rate is very poor (58 to the US$ in Jan compared with up to 75 to the US$ if paying in hard currency). All the additional trips could be paid for in US dollars cash. There are change places in BA which offer better rates than the airport You'll need cash for meals but larger / touristy restaurants often took US$. Go on the optional trips - the full day iceberg trip from El Calafete and the half day penguin trip from Ushuaia were well worth while. And cost less than the trip notes if you don't eat meat... vegetarians (especially strict ones) will have relatively thin pickings, but no worse than other meaty countries. You won't go hungry but bring a stash of oatcakes / nuts / similar (surprisingly not too plentiful even in larger supermarkets) if needed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were INCREDIBLY lucky with the weather - it was often windy but we only had one day of rain (when we arrived in Usuhaia). January may be their summer but it's the southern equivalent of northern England / southern Canada, with similarish temperatures. Make sure to take plenty of layers to cope with any eventuality.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    An outstanding trip

    We were a big group of 15. Everyone got on well. Our leader, Petro Pretorius, was exceptional. Her knowledge was encyclopaedic and she was warm, open & resourceful. At all times we felt safe & confident in her care. She really went the extra mile for us. The food & wine was outstanding and also ridiculously cheap. Our itinerary was well thought out & enjoyable. Accommodation was always clean & well appointed. Accommodation hosts & local people were unfailingly friendly & helpful

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to choose between Robben Island, Table Mountain, the wildlife or the township visit. The incredible seafood & wine was up there too

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Petro really was a gem. We were so fortunate

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Use mosquito spray at night

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An outstanding trip that exceeded our expectations
  • Reviewed February 2020
    Louise Straw

    Garden Route - to Cape Town

    This was my first time as a solo traveler and I had some reservations. I can honestly say that i had a fantastic time. The whole group were so friendly - we had couples and singles - and everyone was incredibly friendly and inclusive. Our guide, Jan, was excellent and went over and above in ensuring the whole group had a wonderful trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to say what was the most inspirational moment as there were so many different events. The lion looking into my eyes (maybe not quite but it seemed to be), the elephants close by the Land Rover - the fantastic views from Knysna Head - Robben Island - the amazing food - and the friendly people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I can not praise Jan enough. From first to last he went over and above. What more can i say!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it! Enjoy!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my first time as both a solo traveler and with Exodus however i would recommend this trip and i will certainly be looking to use the company in the future. many members of my group had used the company on a number of occasions - one member was at no 21! The only disappointment was the first accommodation which is in need of an up grade. The itinerary should make more about the culinary experiences along the way - the food was fantastic and i now need to go on a diet! Well done to Exodus and huge thanks to Jan!
  • Reviewed February 2020
    Lindy Fozard

    An amazing country

    Recently returned from a wonderful trip , travelling with a friendly set of companions and Kibrom as our guide. It is a deeply spiritual country with amazing scenery and lovely people. The accommodation is generally good although not everything works ! The Ethiopians don’t have a culture of eating out so restaurants menus are simple and somewhat repetitive - and I didn’t really like Injera which is a classic staple in the Ethiopian diet. Our guide was very knowledgable especially about the church and Ethiopian history and it was interesting to discuss cultural differences with him, which often challenged the Western way of looking at life. Some of the days are very long , with early starts , toilets in restaurants can be a bit grim and you have to accept that “ bush stops” ( girls to the right and boys to the left ) are often required . I think the Exodus assessment of activity levels is an under estimate and a reasonable level of fitness and agility is required especially as many of the sights are at high altitude which can make you feel tired and breathless with minimal activity.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the mountains, sitting with the baboons, and the walk to the waterfall on market day. We were humbled to be part of the Timkat festival and share in the excitement and fervour of the local people.The boat trip on Lake Tana was very relaxing and enjoyed stopping off at monasteries hidden on the islands.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kibrom was very knowledgable and once he got to know us was able to share jokes and stories about himself and his family . I wasn’t at the Timkat accident( when a neighbouring stand collapsed with multiple injuries to local people) but I gather he got everyone to safety very quickly. His religion is clearly very important to him and he was able to talk about the churches in great depth.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are lots of visits to various holy sites - so please bear that in mind when you book if you are not particularly interested in the religious part of the trip . You need to be fit and agile as lots of climbing up and down steep rocky paths, walking poles are a good idea. The suggested amount of spending money on the Exodus trip notes is too low, most people ended up looking for an ATM ( not that many available) Food , drinks and shopping are not expensive but there is a strong tipping culture .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Addis Ababa airport is very security conscious, we had to go through security checks 3 times. Don’t buy water in the departure lounge to take on the plane- there is another security check to get to the departure gate , and the water is confiscated immediately ( even when the bottle hasn’t been opened) Tourism is in its infancy and we feel privileged to have visited when we did.