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 April 2019
    John Duxbury

    Only suitable for experienced photographers with top quality equipment

    I went on this trip when it was led by Paul Goldstein. The accommodation was superb, I like the setting and Paul is unquestionably an outstanding wildlife photographer, but I was disappointed by several aspects of this trip. The area really isn't "teeming with wildlife", so we struggled to find a lot to photograph ending up spending about 7 hours (2 half days) photographing sea waves. Whilst some of the group enjoyed that, I didn't. Because of the weather we weren't able to photograph whales, which is understandable enough, but I was disappointed to discover that it would have been at an additional cost anyway, something that is not mentioned in the Trip Notes. I was expecting the leader to circulate round the group to advise on how we might improve our photographs, but he concentrated on taking his own photographs which he then shared with us in the evening. That is a perfectly valid way of operating, but I was expecting more individual help so I think it is important that you do not book this trip if you are expecting to be tutored. Finally, I would say that this trip is really only for experienced photographers with top quality lenses - Paul told me that both of my lenses were not really good enough. (I did hire a lens, but that adds to the cost.)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Fantastic setting. Great food. Loved ice fishing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding wildlife photographer who leads by taking his own photographs and then showing you what he has taken.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have top quality lenses able to cope with the low light levels. Ideally you need a wide angle lens with a large aperture (f.18 or faster) and good quality telephoto lens.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is not a lot of wildlife to photograph, so be prepared to spend a lot of time photographing waves.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Richard mackenzie

    Great holiday

    Had a great trip as a lone traveller I was a bit apprehensive on the food as dairy intolerant but the chef's were really good and the choice for me was really good. The only downside was that some people got jealous of the special desserts they made for me each day (as well as soya ice-cream) We had a great group and had lovely sunny weather although a bit hot on a few days Conditions were great the first 2 days then a bit warm Skiing was harder than a remembered but enjoyable Hardest bit of the trip was knowing what and how much to wear I packed lots of thin long sleeved items and a few bike tops which proved very useful. I found liner gloves were really helpful too

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just being out and about each day in the beautiful countryside

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mary and albert were great. Not sure they were too impressed by the groups skiing skills, but they changed and chose a good variety Evening films and entertainment were an added extra, and gave me some knowledge of the region

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Liner gloves really useful as well as a selection of hats Mary had a cap on which would have been helpful to take with me. Buff was also really handy,so have a few of these Accomodstion had a drying room which worked well

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nope
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Robert Dredge

    SOME GREAT, SOME NOT SO

    First the good. One leader was beyond outstanding and really showed empathy, knowledge and understanding and really took everyone to a higher level. The food and staff at the accommodation were exceptional. The accommodation itself a bit cramped but adequate. Overall accommodation was very good and not. problem. The ski hire equipment was very old and dated, but worked OK. Transfers were efficient and pretty timely. Now the not so good. As excellent as one leader was the other was beyond poor. No empathy, limited apparent knowledge of technique and minimal interest in teaching beyond follow me and catch up sometime, even if you fall and are struggling-you were left on your own which affected confidence of some less confident people.. Annoying that I was told in answer to specific request to fly from other than Gatwick that it was not possible( as were at least 2 other couples) on arrival in Oslo we waited for others to fly in from Manchester and Edinburgh. Petty but annoying-expectation that all may be required to buy own wax throughout the week . Surely at £1500 it could cover £50 a season for leaders to have this-in the event the good leader did wax skis when out if she saw it was needed. Quite. bit of pressure put on to attend the evening lectures etc-which were variable in relevance and quality.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Skiing with Ilse Alt

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ilse -as above beyond exceptional in all she did, attitude, patience, knowledge and ability to improve me, as well s enthusiasm for country and magnificent guiding. Other leader was simply indifferent at best and seemed uninterested and not up to the job.( a view shared by others). She showed no interest in teaching or looking at individuals.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check who is leading the group.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This really was a holiday of 2 halves. Early part really frustrating and unsatisfactory. Change of leader meant 2nd half was outstanding. Staff and food at resort should be commended.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Liz and Alastair Bradshaw

    Fantastic!

    Such a brilliant trip! We went hoping, but not expecting, to see the Northern Lights; we did and they were amazing. But the trip is so much more than seeing them. The scenery is stunning and the itinerary allows you to really get a taste of the area. The activities were varied- ice fishing, visiting the space centre, whale watching, open campfires, lots of stops to photo the views and local wildlife whilst in the minibus, a dip in the hot tub, a trip to a local gift shop that makes and sells their own goods, as well as time to do your own thing. Nigel, his wife Ingvild and team at Andøy Friluftssenter are the most welcoming of hosts. The accommodation is excellent and the food was amazing, most of which was sourced or produced locally. Nothing was too much trouble. Their knowledge of the area and enthusiasm for what they do was first class. Having our last evening meal together in the ‘lavvo’ was a perfect way to end a glorious few days in a very beautiful part of the world. Can’t recommend highly enough- thank you!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See above!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was fab! (Part from his choice of football team...!!!) As above- an exceptional host. Made you feel very welcome. Great knowledge and nothing was too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not really!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus communication was great, thank you for good organisation.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    JENNIFER SCHWARZ

    Lofoten in winter

    Do you want to stay in a comfortable cabin with glorious views from the back terrace? Do you want to see amazing sunrises and sunsets in beautiful locations? Then this trip is for you. We had to do some serious hunting of the light in unexpectedly dramatic weather conditions for the time of year but this just added to the experience. Photographer Stig and support Stevan found us gaps in the weather and glorious locations especially secret ones unknown to all but the locals. Both photographers gave generously of their time and expertise to ensure that we all came away with some amazing images. Thank you both for a memorable time. Add to that Mother Nature was kind to us and gave us a fabulous display one night.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a truly remarkable Norther Lights display seemingly bursting above us and all around us, spiralling round the mountain and reflecting in the water at our feet then sending shimmering curtains of light across the view eliciting oohs and ahs from everyone. And the best bit---it was just our group in the location---we had it to ourselves.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As well as being a great photographer himself, Stig is a very patient and willing teacher and ready to share his expertise with everyone. He knows the area well so can take people to the best locations. He gave generously of his time, up early and to bed late to ensure everyone had the best experience. This is the second time I have been with Stig and would very happily go with him again as well as strongly recommend him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel with an open mind, accept the things you cannot change (like the weather!) and embrace all that the location has to offer including local industry (mainly fishing) as well as scenery which changes all the time. Watching the light drawing veils across the mountains from our cosy cabin was just such a pleasure.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would I go again/ recommend it---of course!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Jackie Freshfield

    Lights, Camera, Action!

    Caveat: I have given this trip a 3-star rating but that's because it is very much weather dependent (Northern Lights and Landscape Photography) and we had appalling, freak weather conditions, and I came home disappointed that we didn't have more opportunities for lights/photography. However, we had one superb day of sunshine and an amazing Northern Lights show with excellent photographic opportunities, and if I was reviewing this trip just on that one day, it would be 5 stars as the light show was INCREDIBLE! The Lofoten Islands are remote and beautiful but it's a long way to go for a short duration (6 days in total with 2 full days of travel bookending 4 days in the Lofoten Islands). We had mixed fortunes on the weather front – we traded a beautiful first day of stunning blue skies and an AMAZING Northern Lights show for 3 days of utterly filthy weather, which was a shame, particularly as there is really nothing you can do when you have 48 hours of rain/hail/gales/sleet etc. Stig did his best to find alternative things for us to photograph in 'interesting' conditions but it was a rather tough gig for him. However, the light show we DID see was just incredible and I feel priviledged and lucky to have witnessed it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Northern LIghts show on our first full day in the Lofoten Islands was simply incredible, better than I thought possible. We were wowed by swathes of irridescent green and purple lights shimmering across an inky sky full of twinkling stars and a blood red moon. Even better, we captured it in camera thanks to excellent tuition and tips from Stig and Steven. Unforgettable!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stig Brondbo is an excellent leader; very helpful, patient, enthusiastic and fun. His passion for the natural world and for photography shines through and his patience with us rather more amateur photographers was very welcome. It must have been very stressful to have 8 people on the trip desperate to see the Northern LIghts and to be faced with a terrible weather forecast; but Stig did his best to find 'filler' stuff for us to do. However, I think we wasted the only 'good' day we had with faffing about with food shopping when we could have been enjoying the amazing landscapes instead, and perhaps Stig could have directed the timings on that day that a little better. However, the lights came out that night and we were just about ready for them, and he and his colleague Steven were hugely helpful to us on the photographic front. I have photos to treasure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Weather-dependent trips are fraught with the danger of disappointment, so keep a positive attitude even when it is chucking it down, and if possible bring stuff to do in down time, and hope for good cabin mates (I give them 5*!). If photographing the Northern Lights bring the widest possible lens (I hired a Sigma ART 14mm which was superb) and a heavy-ish tripod. If staying self-catering then bring a few staples (eg pasta, pesto, salt, pepper, porridge) as it's not cheap in Norway! We stayed at Sakrisoy Rorbuer which was the perfect location, as well as warm, comfy and well-equipped, plus gorgeous views from the balcony (one of our party sat on the balcony photographing the Northern Lights for 2 hours!) . Bring hand-warmers for inside your second pair of gloves; they last for ages and I found them essential items. Pray for good weather!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Lofoten Islands are remote. Two plane journeys and a 3-hour ferry away. It's a long way to go for a short trip which is so weather dependent, and the return journey – after 3 foul-weather days – was not great, taking 17 hours as flights were delayed and we missed a connection, and should have been on the earlier flight from Bodo as we hung around there for 5 hours in total. If you are considering a Northern Lights trip then read the journey times carefully!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Cathriona Lawlor

    Hunting the Light

    We travelled to the Lofotens for a photography holiday to capture the northern lights and the beauty of the islands. I really enjoyed this trip; the Lofotens are beautifully scenic. We weren't hugely lucky with the weather, but the company was great and this more than made up for the storm and the wind.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This was definitely seeing the Northern Lights on the first night of the trip, it was amazing; we were treated to a fabulous show. Also, a chance trip out to the balcony resulted in a fly-by of local eagles, which was a surprise treat. I was also really lucky with my cabin-mates; we were very well matched, which meant that no matter what the weather or delays, we could still share a laugh, joke and good conversation.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stig and Steven went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we got the most out of this trip. Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate and we were caught in one of the strongest storms to hit the area in years. This made the leaders' job even harder as they tried to maximise our opportunities to get out and about during breaks in the weather. It was my birthday on the trip and I received a beautiful, hand-made cake from Stig, which was promptly devoured! This was a lovely surprise and I definitely think it should be encouraged for all birthday travellers...

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    LOTS of layers. Hand/foot/pocket warmers and one cabin mate had USB-rechargable hand warmers, of which I was very jealous. A sturdy tripod in case you're treated to the same winds we were... As the trip was self-catering, some thought beforehand could be spent thinking of the food situation/cooking etc. Nothing is cheap in Norway.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were delayed on the Bodo - Oslo part of the trip and as a result, I missed my additionally-booked return flight to Dublin. Due to the fact that Exodus does not book flights from Ireland, this meant that the cost and problem of re-booking this flight was solely up to me. Whilst I appreciate that the delay was not Exodus's fault, the exacting timings for this trip meant that I felt that I had to go with Exodus flights and book add-on flights myself. Delays happen very often during travel and this situation was very frustrating for me at the end of what was already a very long day of travel. This will unfortunately have to be factored into any future trip with Exodus, as I did not feel supported or particularly valued as a customer coming from Ireland. They just weren't interested in those not travelling from the UK.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Pete McLeod

    Away from it all

    The snow conditions for the week I was there were not conducive to great cross-country skiing - deep powder and rising temperatures, which made for arduous progress. Even so, we were taken on full-day tours on every day and the visibility was usually excellent, so we got some wonderful views of the area. I hope to be able to return in the near future to ski up and explore the beautiful mountains surrounding the lake. I have to make some mention of the catering at Mosstrond: it was quite simply wonderful and despite the daily exertion I am pretty sure I have lost no weight!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the quiet location and the informality of the set-up at Mosstrond. A truly unique place.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Neil and Philip have a great love for the place and considerable knowledge of the area, which they are happy to share. They both gave freely of their time to those of us there and went out of their way to make sure we were both well looked after.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a wine box or a few beers! There is no other way to get a drink at Mosstrond.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Having come from a background of hut-to-hut ski touring in Norway and Sweden (over many years), some of which have been self-organised and others with hut-to-hut tour providers, I was surprised not to be asked by Exodus about my previous ski experience when I booked this trip. The grades provided do give some idea as to what skills are expected, but this self-vetting appears to be the only check on suitability. I can appreciate that client choice is important, but groups need to have a fairly similar range of skills and stamina for group day tours to be a success for all.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Stella Thompson

    Off track cross country skiing at it's best

    This is some of the best off track cross country skiing you will ever find. A wonderful wild environment, with varied terrain and a variety of challenge, the best leaders you can ever meet and a great place to stay with a lovely friendly atmosphere. It is very special. I would have given up years ago if I hadn't come here and have been coached to steady improvement over the years. I have been on other holidays with other leaders, but no-one has ever come up to the standard of Ilse and Mary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting high up on a bright day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The best

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you get the grade right for you!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Louise Holstein

    XC Skiing Norway

    Really great trip thanks. Lovely location, excellent guides who were terrific hosts as well. I feel transformed physically and mentally after this fantastic break.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Ilsa's proud face as I skied down my first big slope

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing and inspiring

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Come ready to be tired and happy at the end of each day
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