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 October 2017
    Nigel Copestake

    Cycling Albania

    Didn't know what to expect, but it didn't disappoint. Really excellent tour guide. Fantastic scenery. One of those trips that just went smoothly, almost certainly due to the guides organisation. The cycling is described as moderate to challenging. At the time I would have said it was more challenging. However, upon reflection, I was pushing myself, which almost certainly made it feel more challenging. However, the last day of cycling was definitely challenging. It was also very rewarding and as with all of the Exodus trips I've been on, there's always the option of the bus, which for various reasons, some of our party took. The food was really good. Plenty of choice for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. There are plenty of mountain springs for water top-ups which was brilliant - tasted great! A fantastic trip which I won't forget with a guide who really did look after everyone!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I like the challenge of a hill climb, so I would have to say the last day, cycling up and over the pass.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was truly amazing and really did go the extra mile. As previously mentioned, a trip doesn't run that smoothly without a lot of planning. He was also without a doubt a group leader you would want in any unexpected situation that might occur!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The mountain spring water is fine to drink. You get a bit of a taste for it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Another tick for Exodus! Really excellent! I knew very little about Albania, which has now changed. A beautiful friendly country with fantastic scenery and food! Did I mention the spring water :)
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Anthony Turner

    Sun, sea and castles

    A really enjoyable week in Northern Cyprus which is a fascinating place to visit with a rich history and culture and beautiful mountain scenery. An ideal place to escape the cold weather back home!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed the five walks and the three mountain castles. For a major tourist destination, it was very peaceful up in the mountains with some amazing views. The optional trip to Famagusta is also highly recommended.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gizer was excellent and very knowledgeable about Northern Cyprus. A very experienced leader who seemed to know everyone.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was very disappointed with my two flights with BA. Very poor value for money with a significant delay flying back and because it is classed as a short-haul route (despite the 4.5-5 hour flight time) there was no entertainment and you had to pay for food and drink. I would recommend shopping around for alternative options. Despite the advice in the trip note you also do not need to bring shoes to swim in. Our guide was not aware of any problems with sea urchins and the beaches visited are all sandy beaches with no sharp rocks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An excellent mix of fairly easy walking (although even in October it was very warm) and fascinating archaeology. Highly recommended.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Gisela Aitken-Davies

    Exceeded high expectations!

    August is the rainy season, but the early morning starts meant that we fitted a lot in before the impressive downpours that sometimes happened later in the day. The range of wildlife we saw was astonishing; I'd picked this trip because of the visit to the Sloth Sanctuary, which was disappointing compared with the number of sloths that we saw in the wild. Our excellent guide was complemented by eagle eyed boat 'drivers' who also appeared to be keen and knowledgeable about wildlife and were ready and willing to nimbly propel the boats around to see something on the bank they had spotted: monkeys, lizards etc. The accommodation, in places, was not 5 star, but had its own charm and there is not that I would not happily revisit for one reason or another, even the very friendly one in Cahuita with its temperamental showers but very friendly owner.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It really is difficult to pick one out. After the second day, by which time we had seen sloths, turtles, golden orb spiders, howler monkeys, we wondered what could be left. There was plenty! The sheer variety of ecosystems, places we stayed and activities meant this was unforgettable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andreas' passion for and knowledge about his subject was infectious. He was excellent at pitching his information at an audience which included some very experienced bird watchers and some relative newcomers, and his knowledge of all Costa Rican wild life was extensive so our trips out were informative and interesting. Andreas was very safety aware and took this, and people's satisfaction with arrangements, into account. Going the extra mile probably sums him up, especially with those people who were delayed because of Hurricane Harvey.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take an umbrella and poncho (covers your backpack) especially if going in the rainy season.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd like to thank Exodus in London for their help with sorting out accommodation and rearranging flights back to the the UK after our flights via Houston were cancelled.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Bill Thornton

    'Albania' why go there!

    'Albania' why go there? was something we heard many times from friends and family when we told them of our plans. Well firstly its off the beaten track, it isn't full of mindless tourists and its got some sense of mystique still. But mostly it is such an interesting place with such lovely people. My third Exodus cycling trip and the most challenging, it is more challenging than moderate in my opinion. We went in September and it was still fairly hot so the long climbs were a bit of a 'push'. I was tail end Charlie for most days, partly due to my frequent stops to take photos and I was not going to be rushed, all at my own pace. The point is that this trip allows this to happen, no pressure whatever you capability. The rear-guard van is never far behind so you are not on your own. The scenery here is amazing, both mountains and the coast. Albanians we met were lovely and you always felt safe and welcome. Bikes were good and days were planned well. Hotels were varied but all were more than adequate. There was a bit of culture thrown in which was interesting but not overdone. We were a large group of 16 but in no time at all we had all gelled and were supportive of each other and had many laughs and shared experiences. We have all shared our photos so we have a great bunch of memories. Most of my memories are of quiet roads, no people anywhere and incredible views made more amazing by people still living in a bygone age. Apart from start and end there are no significant transfers so this is a positive. Food was excellent and plenty of it too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first and last days are the most challenging climbs and so to finish them (last) I did feel I had achieved the challenge I knew lay ahead when I booked. Also to see real Albanian subsistence farming in action, people actually supporting themselves without food imports, selling food at the side of the road.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dhimo was 1st rate, very friendly, easy going and good at communicating. He was well organised and had all the food/snack stops well organised. Seamless all the way! He has a good knowledge of Albania in many ways and answered all kind of questions put to him. He worked well with our van driver as well. It was nice they both ate and socialised with us, something I didn't always witness on other trips I have done. Safety and accommodating everyone's wishes was always top priority.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with the Group Leader suggestion to pool money for group meals, it saves so much time and works out cheaper too. Waterproofs may well be needed and long sleeve top for down hills. If you are partial to white wine then perhaps take a couple of bottles as there is none available on a couple of nights early in the trip. Also black tea is a rarity in some places so bring you PG Tips! Agree with Exodus/guide up front to go to Tirana for a short tour and lunch after arrival. This is a real bonus. Either bring £cash with you and change a lot on first day or use an ATM in Tirana. Food and drink is relatively cheap in Albania so for a 'full on' week week I only spent £200!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't be put off by the challenging nature, but try to be as fit as you can before arrival, spinning classes helped me. Remember its a holiday, take your time if necessary. Padded shorts a must as are gloves. they will provide a pannier if wanted but a small handle bar bag would be better for phone, camera and money etc. We arrived a couple of days earlier and hired a car and went to Berat, well worth the effort. We then met the group at the airport for the transfer.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Amanda Wiggill

    Highlights of Morocco

    This was an amazing adventure and a great way to see as much of the country as possible, experience the culture, learn about the history, and meet the friendly locals. We had a great tour leader and driver and stayed in some authentic accommodation sites from an auberge in Merzouga, a bedouin camp in the Sahara Desert, a kasbah in the High Atlas Mountains and a riad in Essaouira.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many amazing and inspirational moments that it's hard to choose. The Medina in Fez was fascinating and a true maze of local artisans. Riding a camel in the Sahara Desert and spending the night under the stars was fun and the beauty of Todra Gorge and the High Atlas Mountains were breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Tour Leader Lahcen was brilliant and obviously loved his country, people and culture very much and was keen to share this with us. He had a great sense of humour and and did an amazing job of entertaining and bonding the group as well as sharing his knowledge. Lahcen went out of his way to ensure that we all got as much out of our time in Morocco as possible even inviting us to visit his moms house who graciously welcomed all 15 of us tourists into her home with mint tea and almonds. He also went out of his way to try and find shops for us to buy drinks and snacks from and a pharmacy when some needed imodium, to stopping for ATM's and banks when we needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the heat if travelling from April through to September. Temperatures were just under or over 40°C each day when we went in September. Take Imodium as some of our group developed dodgy tummies though Lahcen was great at ensuring we visited a pharmacy for those who did not bring any. As advised by our local leader be careful when tipping or giving money to beggars especially children as this encourages their families not to send them to school.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great way to get a taste of Morocco and to experience the highlights this amazing country has to offer. Go with an open mind and attitude and you won't be disappointed.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Mary Ziebell

    Beautiful hikes, beautiful sea and sky

    Coming back to Due Torri was really nice after hiking and exploring all day. The family run hotel is comfortable and they took great care of our group. The cooking demos were really fun and the food and wine was really good. The hikes were good physicial work outs, not to mention the scenery was spectacular. This tour is rated properly as moderate, but I would not consider the hikes as walking tour. Being a hiker in the mountains where I live, I was able to negotiate and feel physical good, but some people in our group did struggle. The 'path of the gods' hike was the highlight for me.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 'path of the gods' hike was the best. Standing up above the sea, looking out, knowing I had got there on my own two legs was a thrill. The view just filled my heart with such joy. Also, the hike around the crater at Mount Vesuvius was unbelievable. What an experience.....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Severio was our group leader and I did like him. At times his pace was a little too fast and there were a couple of occasions where we had stopped for a rest and he just took off again, leaving a couple of us still sitting. Other than that, was a good leader, he did take care of us and lead us on some awesome hikes. My friend Beverly's luggage did not arrive in Naples with us and I'm pretty sure Severio and the Due Torri staff did some Italian/connection magic to get her luggage to her the next day

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is my first trip with Exodus and was pleased with how it went.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Carlo b

    MWV - Cycling Puglia and Matera

    This was my 8th cycling trip and my first time in Puglia and it was a very enjoyable tour. The overnight towns were all very beautiful each with their own special charm. All the hotels were located in or within a 15-20 minute walk to the historic centre. Our group was lots of fun and got along well. The cycling was fairly relaxed overall but there were some short hills and one day was quite windy so it was more challenging than other days. Highly recommend this tour for the fabulous food, wine and sights.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many but here are a few: 1) view of Matera during breakfast and at night from Il Belvedere hotel 2) Matera at night 3) group dinner at "Soup Kitchen Ristorante" in Matera 4) Ostuni 5) the picnic lunches 6) so many great views of the sea 7) gelato 8) staying in a trulli home in Alberobello 9) coffee stops 9) last but not least: Italian caffe

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuele was great. He was very organized with a calm and laid-back demeanour which made the trip a true vacation. He kept an eye on everyone and dealt gracefully with all requests for bike adjustments. Nothing fazed him. The coffee stops and restaurant suggestions were all wonderful with excellent Italian food and wine and great-tasting espressos. And Piero, who drove the support van, prepared very tasty picnic lunches with plenty of local Italian delicacies and even took special requests -straciatella!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I always tell people who want to do a bike tour that they will enjoy it a lot more if they are at least comfortable riding a bike - it's not the time to learn how to cycle. We were lucky because the weather was perfect for cycling every day but one day we missed a potential rainstorm so rain gear would be a good idea. Arrive in Matera a day early to explore the town and stay in Lecce an extra day to explore that town too.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this guided bike tour. Puglia is a beautiful region of Italy and I am thankful I was finally able to see it - and cycling seemed the perfect way to explore it. My only suggestion is to make the trip longer so that one could stay 2 nights in a couple of places; I felt there was not enough time to wander the towns, especially Ostuni and Alberobello, but also Otranto and Gallipoli - they were all beautiful towns. Although I realize this would make the tour longer and it would end mid-week. I would do the tour again if this was offered - yes, it was that much fun!
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Lesley Prosser

    Very well-run tour of a great destination

    This was a fascinating insight into a country I knew little about. The pace was good, and both the sites and the sights were interesting and varied. With one exception, the accomodation was better than my expectations. We were 15 people in a full-size coach, a real luxury for the several long drives. It was great to be able to swap sides to see a better view, or join others for a chat. The group were a pleasant assortment of people who got on well with each other and were enjoyable company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What can one say? The Registan at Samarkand. Just when we thought we were all mosqued out, there it was...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I generally prefer solo travel, as I like to go my own way, but Dilshod had made a convert of me. He is a brilliant leader. His long experience shows in the effortless ease with which he performs this very demanding job, but nonetheless, he injects his presentations and information sessions with a freshness and enthusiasm that never, ever sounds like he is just playing a tape recording in his head. He is an immensely likeable person, and a pleasure to chat with out of hours. He is the first leader I have come across who was willing to spend dinner with his group every night to make the ordering and paying a painless process in restaurants where English was rare.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    While standards of hygiene are generally good, some public toilets really require you to have a supply of tissues and sanitiser. Oddly, if you wanted to buy a roll of toilet paper, it would be easily found in any little local shop. Kleenex, on the other hand, is hard to come by - you really need to find a pharmacy to buy that. So take plenty of Kleenex.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Alicia Bjerkseth

    Surprisingly Disappointed

    Armenia & Georgia were countries #36 & #37 for me...I have never been so disappointed and discouraged by group travel, thus I am re-thinking all future travels as independent or highly-active tours only. While both countries are absolutely beautiful in their own ways, and working hard to recover from Soviet times, a better experience interacting in these countries, other than just sight-seeing, would have been a welcome opportunity. The majority of each day was spent in the bus traveling long distances between locations, with little time offered at the actual site being visited, compounded by the tour leaders using the majority of that time to give historical explanations. I was truly disappointed to finally reach some of the sites I had read about, and having little time to explore, for example...a very rushed hour at the Armenian Genocide Museum, and ten minutes in almost-darkness at Noratus cemetery...two places I really was looking forward to exploring fully. The days in Georgia were equally long in the bus....arriving after dark to mountain villages that were likely beautiful places to explore, but really only being there to sleep in a chalet and leaving the next morning. While I'm sure this provides income to the locals, the visit to Gergeti Church with jeeps destroying the mountain-side terrain and the monks feeling worried about the large number of tourists visiting their site does not feel like responsible tourism to me. I honestly think a better itinerary with more meaningful experiences could be developed for these two countries....with exceptional time in great locations....quality versus quantity. Maybe seeing the whole of the country is not what matters. There is little interaction with the people who actually live in these countries....one of my favourite and really brief moments were those where locals showed us how they made breads in both countries and the lunch visit to the Molokans. I grew bored with the numbers of daily church and monastery stops...some of them really were not fascinating or unique and could easily be left off the itinerary....unless seeing 3-4 churches every day is your thing. I originally purchased this trip through Imaginative Traveler, and did not realize until the first day of the tour that it was being operated by Exodus....the travel group was a completely older demographic than I am accustomed to traveling with and activity was a slow pace. The tour leader for Armenia was exceptional with his historical knowledge and concise explanations that made sense, while the tour leader Nik for Georgia had a very confusing tangential way of giving information, so I never really knew what he was talking about. I would have appreciated meeting instructions in Armenia at the hotel for the morning of the tour, but none were left for guests who had arrived earlier on day one....I made several trips back to the hotel to continue checking in, and only found out we were meeting at 9am the next morning when my roommate barged in at 2am from her flight....unacceptable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I arrived to Yerevan a few days early and did my own visit to Karahunj...the Stonehenge of Armenia...this place should be included in the trip....and the bus goes right past it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Daniel, the tour leader for Armenia was exceptional with his historical knowledge and concise explanations that made sense, while the tour leader Nik for Georgia had a very confusing tangential way of giving information, so I never really knew what he was talking about.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Shannah Murland

    Machu Picchu combined with rugged peaks

    This tour spends a few days in the "big" mountains and then joins in to the Inca Trail, so you get a bit of everything. You also arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon, so you avoid all the groups who get there for sunrise. Instead, you have some time in the afternoon and then camp down by the river (instead of leaving right away like the other tours do), and then you go back up for the majority of the next day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Camping up near the glacier on Mt. Salkantay.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She had amazing knowledge of history and culture in the region.
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