Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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 September 2017
    Kevin Grewcock

    Canadian Rockies Wilderness Walks

    Generally a nice holiday, in spectacular scenery. The food was varied and very plentiful (although having 10 females in the party of 12, plus 2 male guides might have had a bearing on this). Assorted dietary restrictions were catered for. The sites were fine, with the exception of the "last" one near Waterton Park (Waterton Springs Campground) which, in all honesty, was unacceptable for a holiday costing in excess of £3,000 for 11 days camping. We had a 1km walk to get hot water for anything, the toilet facilities near our tents were basic and only just about acceptable (if you ignore the lack of hot water) and the sinks for washing up in were disgusting. They had a large number (40-50) of RVs on site, all situated next to the office and all facilities. We were put as far away from there as was possible on the site (presumably so that a "noisy" group wouldn't disturb their main source of income - the RVs). There may have been another 5-6 people in tents while we were there. We were unfortunate in that, due to fires, Waterton Park was closed the day after we arrived and then totally evacuated, so I cannot comment on the walks there. This was a shame as I had visited there for 2 days last year and really loved it - there is what looked to be a reasonable site in Waterton Park itself, beautifully situated next to the village, although I can't comment on its facilities as I was in a hotel. In fact, returning there was a major factor in me choosing to go on this holiday. On the plus side, we only stayed at the poor site for one night. The tour company arranged a new site, well away from the fires (a 500km drive in fact), in a much nicer site, at very short notice.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I didn't find anything "inspirational", but I am generally not one for strong emotions.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    On the whole, good. At times he did almost seem to be showing off how good a "walker" he was - fast and very agile - but not to the point of doing anything dangerous. It did seem to take us a long while to have breakfast and out on the walk at times. Due to a combination of circumstances, the group naturally split into a faster and a slower group. The two guides handled this well, I thought. Even suggesting some alternative, shorter, routes for the slower group (which included me) on some days so that we didn't feel that we were holding up the faster group all the time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    To enjoy this holiday to the full, you don't just need a good level of fitness, a good level of experience of exercise (walking, running) in hilly terrain is almost a must. I run 3/4 times a week, up to an hour at a time, but there are not many hills near me. The first 2 days left me with very achy muscles from the amount of continuous, uphill walking - often steep and often more than an hour at a time. I sat out day 3 to recover. Although I could have done the walk, I may well have then had to rest for more than a day. If you do not travel light, you might want to pay to have a tent to yourself. Although there were 2 men in the group, the other one was with his wife, so I got a tent to myself. I found this a benefit, apart from putting up and taking down the tent. However that was pretty straightforward, even for one person. I took a 4 seasons sleeping bag, but was too hot every night. However, others were cold on some nights. The overnight temperature (Aug 28 to Sept 7) didn't drop below 10°C in my tent. Personally I think that a 3 seasons bag plus a light blanket would be a better recommendation than a 4 seasons bag.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The holiday was rated as 4/10 for fitness levels required. Not sure what a 10 would be (climbing Everest?). Personally, I think 5 would be more appropriate.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Tilly Jensen

    CAUTION: This is a '4' level of difficulty and NOT a '2'; difficulty level grossly misrepresented

    We booked this trip to have some cycling time with our son who is a novice cyclist but fit. My husband and I are strong cyclists and have done trips with Exodus that are rated as a '4' and '3'; no difficulties with cycling experienced on those trips. However, this Dordogne trip starts off the first cycling day with grades of 5% to 10% and as high as 16%. The second day of cycling has two optional rides with the same thing and even as high as 20% showing on our Garmin. Our son was not here to train for the Tour de France ... the goal was to have some relaxing cycling ... this is NOT relaxing cycling. I confirmed with an Exodus agent that a trip rated as a '2' should be relatively flat terrain. When you are continuously experiencing elevation grades greater than 6%, it's a seriously challenging ride. We ride in the Canadian Rockies ... some great but tough rides there ... this Dordogne trip is as tough as our mountain rides in Canada but not as many kilometres. The difficulty rating of this ride has been totally misrepresented by Exodus. Had we known, we would have booked an ebike. We were unable to get an ebike because we didn't realize it was necessary until we had done a couple of days of cycling ... now they are unable to get us one ... so we're stuck sitting around doing nothing. BEWARE!!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When we realized that we will never book another trip with Exodus given the misrepresentation experienced on this trip ... and we've done more than 10 to date with them!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    No group leader; self-guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    BEWARE!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I should have noticed that there were no reviews more recent than August of 2015. Exodus likely has been pulling all the bad reviews. They'll likely pull this one even though they say they post all reviews!!! We know this trip has been booked by others because the reps who greeted us on the first day told us that was the case.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Chris Shelley

    Good overview of Peru

    A lot of travelling by coach (3 full days, including a 5am start, in a coach) that gives you a good insight into three distinct areas of Peru. The desert, the trail and Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. Inca Trail pace set by weakest, so be prepared for a slow pace!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoying the mountain scenery on the Inca Trail.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He's very sweet and amiable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not a good tour for walkers - or that will depend on your group. There's only one leader and he will set the pace to the weakest walker, which is right as he has no support and can't leave someone struggling behind. We were walking at a glacial pace for 20 or 30 mins and then taking a 10 minute break. I found it excruciating and frustrating. They should really have some kind of release form for the leader for people who want to walk at a reasonable pace. The trail is very clear and impossible to get lost on and lots of people around, so I'm sure they could say go on if you wish but the tour leader can't be responsible for you. I did this and the leader wasn't happy but I'd paid to enjoy my holiday too I figured and so strode out.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't expect to come back rested. Some of the hotels are incredibly noisy (particularly Machu Picchu town and Puno). Exodus are absolutely upfront about the amount of travel by coach but 4 days on a coach a lot and so be really sure you want to see the Nazca Lines.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Amanda Jackson

    Walking in Andalucia

    A fantastic week of walking through various landscapes and looking out to some spectacular vistas. The cortijo is perfectly based; the staff just lovely and waking up each morning with the sun rising over the hills was really special. As a solo traveller I can easily recommend this trip, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the company of a great group of strangers that became friends through the week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the Caminito del Rey and getting over the bridge in one piece!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alexis is a brilliant guide, very knowledgeable, well organised, considerate and has a great sense of humour. He made the whole group feel welcome from the start

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are vegetarian/vegan don’t worry about the food; the staff made some fabulous dishes for me throughout the week.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The cortijo is a great base, with two very friendly dogs; Chico and Churro. They really are very much part of the place and I sincerely hope they stay when the ownership of the place changes.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Pam Douglass

    Mont Blanc Highlites

    hiking was wonderful and loved every moment - even the hard parts

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday hiking was inspirational for me

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jim our guide was good but Sarah and Rich were our hosts at the chalet and they made our trip. Sarah was always full of stories and her dinner meals were fabulous

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring snacks as most of us felt that breakfast and lunches were not that great. Something hot for breakfast would have been nice and some fresh fruit - not days old fruit for lunches. It would be better if they could provide clean towels throughout the week - we had them all week. No place to wash or dry clothes - we were lucky we had room 4 so we had the balcony so we could dry clothes as hiking clothes needed to be washed out daily.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    see above - great trip I would recommend but a few improvements as mentioned would be great
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Gabriella Butler

    Manali to Leh July-Aug 2017

    The trip is really an unforgettable one. The cycling itself is difficult but the people on our trip were very supportive of each other; even the locals shouted encouragement to keep us going! The clashes of different cultures, from the chaos in Delhi to the serenity in Leh, show you the vastness of the country and so you are able to experience India more than you would by simply visiting the main tourist attractions. The landscape was very diverse featuring Alpine-like forestry, red rocked valleys, and misty snow-capped mountains.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment was reaching the top of the Khardang-La, the highest motor able road pass in the world, standing at 5603m. The sense of achievement from reaching the top, especially with new friends that have completed it with you, is a euphoric feeling. All the people in our group were different; we had people from Australia, Belgium, Holland, and the UK, but it was very inspiring to push out of our comfort zones throughout the trip, and achieve conquering the final mountain together. The people you meet on this trip, whether from India or elsewhere, will be people you won't ever forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our trip leaders, Valerie and Raj, were very knowledgable of the area and so you gain an understanding from the landscape and culture more than you would by simply admiring the beauty of India. They were very encouraging when anyone felt under the weather or was struggling with the cycling and ensured that everybody was enjoying themselves. Both were very inspirational.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just to add, I was the youngest on the trip at 18 years old. This was not a problem at all. The range of ages and abilities across the group were all catered for and, although you need some basic fitness, there is no need to worry. To sum up, the trip was amazing. The camping is basic but perfect and makes you come back feeling very humble for what you have. Also the stars at night make the lack of showers worth it! If you're thinking about going on the trip, go. You will not regret it.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Vittoria Doyle

    Excellent overview of Serbia.

    Excellent tour around this little known country. Included are many varied activities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Eating lunch with the local family. Touring Novi Sad and Belgrade.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Snejzana was one of the best leaders i have ever had. Her local knowledge was outstanding. Her english was excellent and as she has travelled widely her knowledge of our needs as travellers was exceptional. Her patience and people skills were amazing too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You have some long days travelling but you have plenty of different activities to keep you occupied. Nice hotels and lots if meals provided. Its a very cheap destination. You can change pounds, euros or dollars very easily.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    J. Thomson

    Land of the Jaguar - and other wildlife

    The trip provided the wildlife viewing we had hoped for - five jaguars, plus giant otters, armadillos, anteater etc etc and a wide variety of bird life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a jaguar cub emerge cautiously from its den before playing with its mother.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was very good at spotting and identifying wildlife, both mammals and birdlife. All the trips and transfers ran smoothly due to his involvement.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On my visit the weather was dry, sunny, and hot, up to 40ºC. It cooled to about 20º around dawn. Go prepared for a range of temperatures - check the Caceres weather forecast. The trip notes do not make it clear that at the lodge activities such as horse-riding and canoeing are part of the programme. You may wish to check that your travel insurance covers these.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Balbinder Sidhu

    Fantastic Holiday!!

    I would highly recommend this trip if you are considering a trekking holiday. The views of the Alps from Switzerland, Italy and France were beautiful. The trek itself was hard but doable if you train ahead and it's far more enjoyable too. Camping was fun. Really helps to bond with the group. I'm glad I took this option over the Hotel version.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing up the Cols and witnessing the magnificent views of the surrounding Alps was jaw dropping. A real motivation to plod along knowing you will be subjected to some beautiful views. The final day up to the Brevent was fabulous. Sat eating my lunch with the Mont Blanc Massif around me will remain in my memory for a long while.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    John was a terrific leader and team builder. He was so chilled and unregimented I strongly believe this attitude resonated down the group. It made us all feel relaxed and un-pressed to go marching forth. Instead he would pace us all at a leisurely comfortable way stopping quite often to share his knowledge on the surrounding environment. He would teach us how to trust our boots when walking and encourage us to take 5 smaller steps than to waste energy by lunging up one step with greater exertion. He would share local knowledge of flora and fauna. History of the mountainsides and even an impromptu berry tasting session. John was a brilliant teacher who clearly showed great enthusiasm and huge respect to the environment that he was show casing to the rest of us. John was almost host-like rather than our guide. Wonderful chap who made the tour far more enjoyable. You could truly trust he was looking after you.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Four seasons sleeping bag and comfortable mat for a good nights rest.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Both John and Egle (camping support) really made the trip enjoyable. Egle's support was truly appreciated. Flask of hot water were on the ready after a long days trekking. Egle would have breakfast ready each morning and then all the delights placed out for us to make our endless bundles of sandwiches for lunch. Dinner on the campsite were three courses, plentiful and restaurant styled gourmet cuisine!! Unreal for camping. I strongly believe my holiday was a success as a direct result of having both John and Egle taking care of us. Thank you to you both!
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Jo Cuttell

    Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn 505A

    A great walk with fabulous scenery. The group was very supportive and friendly and this added to the enjoyment of the holiday. The food was amazing, delicious and filling. The camp manager was brilliant - very efficient, and a great cook.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at the col after climbing up the ladders at the Pas de Chèvre. I've never done anything like that before. Exhilarating!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader really added to my enjoyment of the holiday. He was very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the area and pointed out interesting plants that I would have missed otherwise. We even saw an eidelweiss on the mountainside. He also shared his interest in the geology and history of the area which I found interesting and helpful in understanding the mountains. He was a thoughtful leader and took time to help people who needed support over the more difficult terrain. His route finding was impeccable and when bad weather came in the group felt complete confidence in him to get us to the campsite.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take an inner sheet sleeping bag for the night in the huts.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's a great holiday- get fit and do it.
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