Turtle, Ecuador

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

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  • Reviewed February 2019
    Paul Tunnah

    India Tiger Safari

    I agree with all of the previous tiger trip review comments so I am not going to rehash them.. I saw 10 * Tigers, 3 * Leopard, 4 * Sloth Bears, 1 * Jungle cat & lots of other wildlife, deer, birds etc. I didn't see a tiger until 8/15 game drives so don't panic as everybody on my trip eventually got a great tiger experience. The morning game drives in February are cold so definitely bring Jumpers, hats, gloves etc. I would finally like to tell you the best months to see tigers according to the drivers which are April / May when the Tigers cool down at the water holes. Of course the temperature then is 45 degrees Celsius.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing your first tiger in the wild is amazing. I still don't know how our driver spotted him driving at 20 kmh & seeing him through the brush. The Tiger was 30 foot in the brush & just watched us as we took photographs. My digital camera struggled to auto focus (Did eventually & great photos) so I would advise anybody else to have knowledge of focusing methods for there camera. I certainly had to read the manual.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Vijay Chansoria & he war brilliant. Honestly he couldn't do enough for the whole party. His knowledge of wildlife was amazing, especially birds.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you go on this trip in February then wrap up warm for the morning game drives as it is very cold for the first 2 hours.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just enjoy the 3 NP's & all of the wildlife in them. NOBODY is guaranteed to see a Tiger ( 2 people in my group only had there tiger experience on the optional extra game drive) although in my tour party we all good sighting of a tiger.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    nik koehli

    Lapland wilderness

    A fun packed long weekend in the heart of nowhere.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the northern lights against all the odds in the evening of a cloudy snowy day in the wilderness with no light pollution! But in addition the dog sledding, ski-doing and reindeer rides were really enjoyable. The scenery was amazing with the forest trees laden with snow.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very organised and coped with the group well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was -23 C whilst we were there and had in previous weeks been -35 C . The kit worked very well for me on the body but I found hand/feet warmers very useful. If you remove gloves to take photographs try not to drop them in the snow and put them back on quickly!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was fine, but with limited options and not as good as on our previous Exodus trips.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Susan Baxter

    A fabulous trip for wildlife lovers

    The tour is well planned with a mix of early mornings and full days, with down time to spend around the pool or strolling. If you like a tour to be more like a holiday than a frenetic series of hotels, then this is perfect. If you are an activity junkie then it is not for you. It covers a huge variety in a couple of weeks, boat trips, walking, sightseeing and snorkelling, and we saw an amazing range of birds, reptiles and mammals with our fantastically knowledgeable and lovely guide. The accommodation was good, ranging from Tortugero where the individual chalets were in a stunning setting, to Cahuita which was rather in need of TLC but in a convenient location behind the beach. The rooms are as described in the details - comfortable rather than luxurious. The beds everywhere were extremely comfortable, I slept incredibly well! The included meals were all good, the hotels were very accommodating catering for a vegan diet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a sloth crawling along behind the beach in Cahuita, we stood and watched while he unsteadily clambered up the tree and around the branches. A lovely meal in a restaurant right on the beach that evening made for a fantastic day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jorge was extremely knowledgeable and amazing at spotting things. His knowledge of birds was incredible. He was always there if we needed anything and provided information constantly about the wildlife, the country and the activities. He was well-planned and organised, everything went like clockwork -if we were meeting a driver, he was always there waiting for us, if we were meeting a boat it was there without us having to wait in the heat. Checking in and out of the hotels was done extremely speedily, and you overall just couldn't fault him as a group leader he was fantastic!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take binoculars, take insect repellent, take a hat, take a torch, pack as light as you can and have a case with wheels as you are often moving your case about yourself to/from rooms and boats. Don't expect that you will be on your own with wildlife. Costa Rica is popular. There are many boats doing the same thing in Tortugero, the walk in Cahuita NP is a family stroll with lots of people around (everyone looking slightly puzzled that we were in walking boots, hiking trousers and rucksacks when they were all going past in bikinis and flip flops), the Osa peninsula is not wilderness any more, there were lots of other small groups doing the walking trails, and several other boat-loads of people snorkelling and having lunch on the beach. But the wildlife is still incredible.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    From an ethical viewpoint I have huge questions about the sloth "sanctuary" and I strongly urge exodus to re-consider the visit there. These animals are enchanting close up, but having seen them in the wild, viewing them in wire cages with pretend branches, a tiled floor, no enrichment, and no hope of any other existence was heart rending. Keeping them alive in these conditions is not necessarily the kindest thing to do.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Grant & Paula Reed

    First multi day cycle trip & certainly not the last!

    This was an excellent trip which has certainly encouraged us to look at another cycling holiday. Our guide, Rit, who was with us from Bangkok to Saigon was excellent, forever patient, informative and professional, he was a pleasure to be with. As we entered Cambodia & Vietnam we were joined by local guides for the journey through their country & they were also equally professional, as were all members of the support teams. Their humour certainly assisted us through some warm days.The cycle days were split quite well, with timely stops with lovely snacks & drinks supplied in some memorable settings. The trip covers some of the iconic places to visit in all three countries but also includes quite a bit of low key mixing with locals which was equally memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Whilst Bangkok, Ankor Wat, Seim Reap, Phnom Penh, Mekong Delta & Saigon are certainly places to tick off a ''must visit'' list, some of the cycling through villages, stopping at local establishments & the general friendliness of the locals was equally inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rit was brilliant, as were the local guides who assisted in Cambodia & Vietnam. The bus drivers were always where they should have been & the cycle support team were very supportive! We appreciated the Exodus leaders more so after joining another trip with another company immediately after this & had a very poor, disinterested leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We would both consider ourselves fit despite being in our 60's. However don't underestimate the first three days; 28 miles, 55 miles then 52 miles is quite a challenge especially in warm conditions, fresh onto a new bicycle. Put the miles in before you go & you'll benefit. DEFINITELY take cycling shorts!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whilst we did have free evenings, some group members mentioned that another couple of free evenings (without an organised meal) wouldn't go amiss. Everyone mixed well & we met some lovely folks but being together from first thing in the morning to last thing at night on so many days could have been cut back slightly.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Rex Yetton

    Wow, what a trip

    Wow, I'm still buzzing a week after getting back from this trip. I have done several cycling trips with Exodus and this was my first one solo. The whole trip was amazing, along with a lovely group. We all got on really well and had lots of laughs. The cycling was flat and easy going. Cycling through the crazy Indian towns was surprisingly straightforward. 'Good bell, good brakes and good luck' is the motto! The Indians use their hooters and bells for spacial awareness and are very good at it. The friendly Indian children waving on their way to school has left a lasting impression. We cycled from 8am and only in the mornings. We stopped for tea and samosa, then for lunch. The hotels had lovely swimming pools. Swimming in the Indian Ocean waves on the last two days was lovely. None of us had any tummy issues. Joseph always had nice restaurants and the best seats reserved for us.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling with relative ease through the crazy Indian towns. The friendly waves as we cycled along. Seeing the sights, sounds and smells of the Indian culture. Swimming in the hotel pools and Indian Ocean. Coping relatively easily with Indian food. Getting on so well with my group The lovely warm weather.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph was perfect. He was very patient. There were various dietary and other issues for him to cope with. He always told us about the Indian culture and food. He would stop along the road and showed us various fruits growing. The back up crew, Bevan, a young lad at the back and Franglin our driver who never gave way for anyone!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to see India and have a relatively gentle cycle ride too, this is absolutely perfect. There is plenty of down time to swim or take it easy. The homestay and houseboat were both an experience. The week just flew by unfortunately. Before I knew it we were saying our farewells and on the flight home.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wish it had been longer. The week just flew by. Most of the group stayed on longer or went to other resorts which is a good idea.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Elena Jeffery

    Discover Costa Rica

    For anyone that loves birds, Flora and Fauna Costa Rica certainly does not disappoint. The itinerary is well put together, not quite as frantic as some I have been on, with the luxury of two nights in all locations apart from the start and finish in San Jose. Some of the walks are perhaps better described as Moderate, rather than Elementary but all are optional. The scenery is just stunning and we were, in the main, so lucky with all the lovely birds and wildlife we saw. It is a lottery and matter of luck but we were helped by our fantastic guide Eduardo and our lovely driver Victor. Even if the wildlife was elusive some days, the plants, flowers and trees are just so glorious, whether you are walking or travelling in the bus, that there is always something to please the eye. There is really nothing I would change about this trip spent with a great group of people. It was awesome and I loved every minute of it. Having said that, and being a self confessed foodie, Costa Rica is not exactly a gastronomic delight and the cooking mediocre at best. The fruit is wonderful and fish is probably the best option but I am afraid I found myself eating rather more sea food pasta's than is good for me. My favourite was probably Ceviche, raw, marinated fish. Local wine is not recommended so it was either beer, South Amrican wines and the odd cocktails.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was simply captivated by the stunning scenery everywhere you look but have a few favourite living creatures that we saw. The sight of three male Quetzels was sensational in the early morning light, I loved the tiger heron, the pelicans, especially twenty or so flying in formation as well as the Toucans and humming birds that flit from tree to tree but there were so many splendid species, in glorious colours, it is hard to single them out. The whole trip is wonderful and I would not hesitate in recommending it to anyone that is wavering.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Edward Sanchez (Eduardo) who I would be at a loss to fault and I am not a novice on group tours and their leaders and can be a stern but constructive critic. His organisation, incredible knowledge of every aspect of his country and the wildlife, his excellent English with a fantastic sense of humour, not to mention his enthusiasm and the calm way in which he cared for each and every one of us made this holiday just one of the best, most unforgettable experiences ever. As you can tell, I loved it, every minute of it and having such an amazing leader and great driver was just the icing on the cake. Thank you so much Eduardo and Victor, a serious contender for Leader of the Year I would say!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you arrive on a Saturday, in particular, be prepared for a long haul through immigration. The organisation is not best and slow! For the trip stay well protected against the sun (although many of the walks are in the jungle shade) and mosquitoes although in our experience, in February, there didn't seem to be too many. We were also lucky, being dry season, to avoid nearly all the showers but do take or buy a poncho. I got caught out as after the first few days the locations were quite remote and no postcards were available for about a week, let alone would you want to post them, until the last day in San Jose. It was hot and I did find the humidity, for about 3 days, in the humid rain forest, quite hard to take while in one of the most magical places I have ever been. Take plenty of t-shirts as you just drip and everything takes for ever to dry.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go, you'll love it!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Elizabeth Moxham

    South Africa walking and Wildlife

    Really excellent trip with great variety of walking and wildlife, wonderful scenery, great accommodation and fantastic guides.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I have to name two, one travelling through Kruger and the other being in the Drakensberg

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marco was excellent, well organised, worked extremely hard to make sure all our needs were well catered for and was extremely knowledgeable about wildlife and different geology. He was ably supported by Jojo, the driver and Roman who was training. All three were absolutely great.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lot of travelling in the minibus. The trip notes make this clear but I’m mindful not everyone fully takes everything in. Also, some of the walking is quite strenuous on uneven ground and involves some scrambling over boulders, river crossings so make sure you have appropriate sturdy footwear.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I loved staying in the two private reserves, particularly Zululand Lodge which was a change in the itinerary from staying in St Lucia. The settings for most of the accommodation was absolutely fabulous.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robin Rawson-Tetley

    Absolutely brilliant

    This was my first time in Scandinavia and I absolutely loved it. The Swedes were fantastic, the food was excellent, the accommodation was of a very high standard and in a lovely setting by a frozen lake. The activities were all great fun (it's hard to pick my favourite between dogsledding and snowmobiling across the frozen sea!). There was still a good amount of relaxing downtime, but with something new to do every day. I enjoyed every minute of it and would unreservedly love to visit again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After a 3 course dinner cooked on an open fire outside a cabin in the middle of the frozen sea, the northern lights appeared for us, it was spectacular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eric was a wonderful character, funny, personable and really knew his stuff.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It got down to -37C at one point in our trip, so take a couple of pairs of gloves for under your mittens and plenty of thick socks as the cold really gets you on the hands and feet. Ski goggles are handy for the dog sledding and the snowmobiles. Don't bother changing any money - you can pay for all the optional activities and any drinks/extras with one card transaction at the end of the trip when you leave. Contactless and card payments are accepted everywhere for everything.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Penelope Lockwood

    it was relavant

    a fabulous trip. It met my expectations. The group just by some luck were primarily great. The guide Kevin Legout was outstanding. His guiding together with his assessment and care for our group was amazing. The chosen area was stunning. Our luck was in, with a snow fall one day before our arrival, plus the sun was shining most days.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sight of all the snow. I pushed myself to manage this trip, though enjoyed the daily challenge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Exceptional in every aspect. He had plenty of underpinning knowledge. Kevin was very caring. On the first day he gave a clear assessment of our individual fitness in preparation for the week ahead.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure that you have moderate fitness in preparation for walking up mountains

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jane Wilson

    Beautiful scenery

    Lucky to have so much snow making the scenery very beautiful. Challenging walks led by very good guide, sara, she worked very hard to ensure everyone was supported and also to find us safe routes as high avalanche risk this week. Stunning region, will definitely return. Hotel clean and comfortable, breakfasts and packed lunch great with good choices. Evening meals good most nights. Spa was very welcome at end of the day. Our group were all lovely we had a great week. Enjoyed the free day trying cross country skiiing. Snowshoeing is great way to explore mountains and challenge yourself. Thank you

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All walks were good and reaching the peaks were a highlight, Bonnerhutte 2340m,and Durrakopf 2275m,

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was great very experienced and interesting to learn from. She works very hard to ensure all have a great holiday

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try to do some hill walks to prepare
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