Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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17792 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lynda Branch

    Simply sensational

    My husband and I had an amazing time on this cycling trip. From the start in Mysorevisiting stunning temples and cycling through manic traffic to the backwaters of Kerala and the tranquil pace to the national parks and tiger and elephant sightings it was a wonderful experience. Safi and his team were first class guides - there to help in every way they could and to enhance each experience and always with a smile on their faces. Nothing was too much trouble and the added extra of being impromptu guests at an Indian wedding was an experience we’ll never forget. The cycling was accessible to us as occasional cyclists and sometimes challenging. Climbing the hill to Ooty was certainly physically demanding but we had plenty of time and support on route and the midway tea point provided some much needed respite. The roads are, as described in the trip notes, mostly good but with some rough patches but taking our time we all navigated these without too much difficulty. It’s hard to pick out the top highlights because there were so many varied and different experiences but for us the night on the houseboat (where we all dressed in traditional outfits) and seeing a tiger at close range were two. The food was also exquisite. However, it’ll be the smiles of everybody we met and the hospitality of people who couldn’t do enough for us that we’ll remember. We can’t recommend this trip highly enough,

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having lunch in a family home where we tasted a huge range of local delicacies all served by every member of a lovely family. We loved it so much that we went back for a cookery class.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was incredible. From start to finish nothing was too much trouble - he anticipated our needs even before they were apparent to us. His local knowledge added hugely to the trip and he knew every local place to stop at, the best places to eat, where to shop, local craftsmen who demonstrated their skills. If anybody needed anything - e g medication, insect cream - he took care of it all. He gently guided us on the cycles - always around if we needed him but happy for us to go at our own pace as well. A big shout out should also go to this two assistants - Vypin and Santhosh - who were also fantastic. As a team of three they couldn’t have been better and added hugely to our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that there’s some cycling in traffic so practice this before going. Pretty much everybody had a bit of a funny tummy - not enough to stop us cycling - so hand gel essential and supplies of Imodium.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Sarah Nicholas

    A wonderful holiday

    This was our third cycling trip in India and lived up to all expectations. There is a great sense of achievement in cycling Coast to Coast from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea. It is wonderful cycling through the countryside, villages and towns and seeing and meeting people going about their daily lives.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I most enjoyed the friendliness of the people we met. I enjoyed seeing the cottage industries of the coir rope maker and coir mat maker. I love the chaos of India and the heightening of all your senses with all the sights, smells and noises.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Shakar was excellent. His love for his country was obvious. He introduced us to many 'everyday' people and showed us many places on route. He is friendly and fun and got to know and involve the whole group in the trip. He made sure we were safe throughout the cycle trip. He was ably supported by Bevan, Franklin and Jenni who made sure our water bottles were always full and any issues with our bikes were quickly sorted.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cycling is a wonderful way to see India. Don't be put off by some of the long distances - the route is generally flat and there are frequent breaks for water, snacks and coffee. Cycling in the towns can be challenging but being in a group helps. Don't think you'll loose any weight as the food is delicious!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As other reviewers have said - this is a wonderful trip - go for it!
  • Reviewed January 2020

    Great extension to the Vietnam trips

    Five days is not really long enough to explore this fascinating country but our two bases gave a quick snapshot and a desire to know more.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In Siem Reap: 1) The sunrise over Angor Wat; which was really quite spectacular. 2) Wandering down a street away from all the bright lights and restaurants on Pub Street, finding eateries where the menus were not in English and realising why the dish we'd selected was called ginger with pork and not the other way around. A plate full of what we had thought were noodles turned out to be shredded ginger with a few bits of pork. Delicious, very warming and possibly not one for the English dinner party. In Phnom Penn: 1) Seeing the evidence of the Khmer Rouge activity, which we had heard of in the 70's at home but not realised the full extent of their effect on the country nor how long it had taken to finally defeat them. Also hearing our guides personal family experience. 2) Eating at the rooftop restaurant of our hotel over looking the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both were helpful and informative. In Siem Reap Darath was great at explaining the history of the temples and the Angkor Empire, whilst delivering a great series of jokes and knowing all the best spots to take photos from. In Phn om Penh Chanchesda was informative and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can afford the extra few days at the end of a busy holiday then this is an extension not to be missed.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    David Kempson

    Probably the best holiday we have ever had

    The whole trip was inspirational, from the pilot pointing out 'the smoke that thunders' - Victoria Falls original name - as we made our descent, through camping at fabulous sites by rivers and in the desert, seeing the Falls close up, the vast National Parks, the Namib desert, kayaking 13km down the Orange River, meeting the Himba people, chatting to locals in a Namibian village (very handy that English is the official language there) and ending up walking over the cliffs at Cape Horn.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being the first group up Dune 45 in the desert at Sesriem on Boxing Day morning, owning the sunrise over the dune. Christmas morning with thousands of flamingoes at Walvis Bay. Enjoying Timon's brilliant braai cooking of our Christmas meal. Experiencing Victoria Falls as a rainforest with electric blue swallowtail butterflies fluttering around. Watching hippos and crocs from dugout canoes. Seeing so many types of birds on a rivertrip on the Chobe. Watching lions and hyenas, catching sight of an African wildcat hunting, as well as a rock lizard and a water monitor. Dancing with our guides and the locals at Marcos African Place in Cape Town on New Years Eve.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Timon was brilliant, really well-organised and very knowledgeable about every aspect of the tour, from the administration necessary to cross three borders in the most trouble-free manner, to the ability to explain and illustrate local politics, economics, and social issues, animal and bird spotting, and helping and instructing in the practicalities of camping. Best of all, he is the most magnificent cook, able to provide marvelous vegetarian food as well as catering fantastically for carnivores. Further, he ensured that he, alongside Malifie, our principal driver, and Jonathan, our additional guide/back up driver, worked seamlessly and tirelessly as a team to give us the best experience possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The standard tours are Cape Town to Victoria Falls, but the reverse itinerary, which we did, enables you to finish in a lovely guest house, which is a much better place from which to sort yourself out for flying home than camping at Victoria Falls Rest Camp. The tents are great (and you don't need to bring a mosquito net, as the fine meshes on the door and windows mean that the tents provided effectively have integral mosquito nets so long as you keep them zipped up) but with two beds inside them, you don't have much room, and we found that the less room we had, the more difficult it was to find anything or to sort ourselves out.
  • Reviewed January 2020

    A Fascinating trip

    Fast paced trip from north to south Vietnam yet with time to explore the places we stayed in. We slept in a great variety of places from lovely hotels to sleeper train via three great homestays and overnight on a boat and enjoyed the varying sights and tastes of the country as we travelled.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say; there were so many. Experiencing the street life in Hanoi where traders carried their wares on paniers balanced on their shoulders as they wove between the traffic. Sharing a long house with all the other members of our group on only the second night of the trip. Wondering why there was a large boat travelling towards an end of the Da River reservoir and then later finding in moored by our homestay and discovering it was the mobile supermarket; stocked with almost anything you might wish to buy. Kayaking amongst the rocks in Ha Long Bay. Eating in a restaurant across the road from our hotel in Hoi An where we were the only western diners, live fish swam in plastic bowls at the side of the restaurant and we enjoyed the best seafood noodles of the trip (and we had enjoyed quite a few) Trying the many variations of Pho. The cooking lesson in Hoi An and helping to prepare dinner at our wonder Mekong Delta homestay ……………………………...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tuyen was fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble. He opened his country up to us with great enthusiasm and supported all of us throughout the trip. The mix of history, culture, food and personal experience was amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I ignored advice from other travellers to take your own bike saddle and regretted it as I couldn't cope with the narrow saddles and had to give up after a few miles; which was a shame as I had been very much looking forward to the bike rides.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Expect some hot weather and some humid. Take lightweight waterproofs for the occasional wet day, we had one but it was a great day nevertheless, and then enjoy it's a great trip.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lucy Hockenhull

    Extraordinary landscapes and fabulous snowshoeing.

    Loved the snowshoeing. Each of the walks held interest and the challenges increased as the week progressed. We enjoyed the opportunity to sled down from Taistner Alm near Lutterkopf. Hotel Adler is wonderful with a lovely spa, fabulous 4 course dinners, picnic packed lunches and extensive breakfast buffet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every walk was unique and had its own appeal, but we especially enjoyed Monte Piano as the weather and views were superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Jenny had extensive mountaineering experience but was new to this area and trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Anyone with reasonable fitness can enjoy the walks but you really do need to be pretty fit to make the most of this trip.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Katie Szkornik

    A wonderful , relaxed week of walking on the Almalfi Coast

    I really loved this trip to the Amalfi Coast, and it was just what I was looking for in terms of a relaxing, but active, New Year break. A nice mix of walking and culture, with no early starts or late finishes and plenty of time for a relaxing coffee or two after walks had finished. The Hotel Due Torri where you stay for the whole week is a family run hotel with a nice atmosphere, delicious food, and a fabulous range of cocktails (the limoncello spritz was the 'drink of the holiday'!). Enjoyed the opportunity to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as a trip to the crater of Vesuvius. Thanks also to our tour leader Teresa for helping to make this a fabulous week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to Pompeii. Fascinating guided tour and Pompeii really exceed my expectations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Teresea was great. I especailly enjoyed all the local food treats she shared with us during our walks! It was also nice that she sat and ate dinner with the group every evening, and made an effort to really get to know everyone.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is not always warm in southern Italy! I wore four layers the day we went to Pompeii and was just about warm enough. If you go over Christmas and/or New Year make sure you pack some warm clothes, and hats and gloves.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be great if Exodus could offer a greater range of trips over New Year. I've met many poeople who want to spend Christams with family, but then like to get away shortly after for a week or so. Most companies only offer a limited range of trips at this time of year.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    JENNIFER WOODHAM

    A Winter Treat in the Mountains

    This mid-winter festive season trek in The Anti Atlas transported me into an unspoilt world of spectacular beauty with a extraordinary sense of isolation. We wandered these mountains without any sign of tourist life and only Berber life when reaching our lunchtime oasis and evening camps. We experienced beautiful sunny days, perfect for comfortable walking and in contrast very cold nights in this mountainous terrain that each day brought a different rock formation, landscape and views. A great group of people led by Youssef our guide and fed by Hasan the chef and his 2 helpers that managed to surprise us for 7 days with delights from his simple portable kitchen.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sense of achievement at the end but probably the most memorable image is the clear and glistening star-filled night skies seen on essential night wanderings!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Youssef is a highly experienced guide who managed our group with diverse ability and age with great skill. As the oldest member of the group I would especially like to thank him for the attention he offered me during the times that I was struggling. Youssef was happy to talk about Moroccan history and culture and proved to be a great ambassador for his country. This was my first visit and I feel inspired to return.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A thermo-rest to aide sleeping on sometimes uneven terrain.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jonnie Treharne

    Annapurna, Thorong La and Excellent Guide

    Completed the Annapurna Circuit in December 19, as I had previously done the EBC trip and was aware of just how great Nepal is. The ACT did not disappoint and I was again amazed by the scenery, wildlife and the friendliness of the local people. The trek uses tea houses for accommodation with hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhora at the start and finish of the trip. All of these provide good accommodation with acceptable amenities and I could not fault the food. 3 weeks in duration, it contains about 17 days of treking. Despite being graded “tough” it is the crossing of the Thorong La pass at 5,416m that gives it this rating. The trek to Gohrepani and Poon hill are less difficult as they are not at altitude. Therefore, it is eminently achievable, even if you are not that experienced at altitude. Most days are between 5-8 hours treking, but the pace is sedate enough to allow you to acclimatise and get the most from the environment. Our guide - Dorjee Sherpa was outstanding. A young man full of enthusiasm and knowledge Who enhanced the entire experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing the Thorong La pass. This is a demanding climb if starting from Thorong Pedi (base camp) and can be made more difficult by the weather conditions. Therefore the sense of achievement in attaining the pass is well deserved. It should be tempered by the realisation you still have 8 hours of treking left to reach Muktinath!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorjee Sherpa was a very knowledgeable and capable guide. He fostered an excellent relationship with all of the group and also facilitated the development of relationships between the group and porters. He was hard working and ensured the experience of each individual within the group was enhanced. He provided an excellent service at each and every tea house ensuring that the needs of all were met. He imparted his knowledge of the area, fauna/flora, religion and legends and was simply outstanding. He conducted dynamic risk assessments when required and I even witnessed him carry the rucksack of a struggling tourist across the pass! He has a bright future in this field and I cannot sing his praises highly enough. Well done!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring snacks for the long walking days - despite good food and multiple tea stops I could have done with carrying more carbohydrate/energy bars such as H5. I would carry a few travel squashes as you need to drink a lot of water which becomes boring Read the trip notes concerning tipping and allocate the appropriate funds for this - this is only moral and just for the work that has been done to support you. Bladders and tubes will freeze so Nalgene bottles are essential

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The strength of any tour company is in its people, particularly those indigenous employees who deliver the holiday and enhance the experience through their knowledge, approach and good nature. Dorjee Sherpa and his team were second to none and without them the ACT would not have been the success it was. They were outstanding and should be given just recognition for their efforts from Exodus.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Mike MacRae

    Fantastic scenery, challenging cycling

    A challenging 3 with plenty of uphill. Some quaint places to visit and stay. Luckily the majority of the group were like minded people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the section over Chapman's Peak.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bradley did a good job of keeping a difficult group together and was flexible in his approach to the itinerary. Sifiso, the driver was a great support to him. Bikes were fine tuned daily.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to read the trip notes before signing up. People on our tour potentially ruined this through lack of preparation. If need be I.e being more than an hour behind the leaders get in the bus and listen to the leaders advice.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy the experience come with an open mind.