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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

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  • Reviewed December 2017
    Lorraine Matic

    Highlights of Northern India

    India is not everyones choice of trip but it’s been mine for awhile . Not wanting to travel alone Exodus was recommended by a friend . From my first phone call till the end of my tour date. I have been guided informed and surprised by the quick responses and information given, even the trip notes have been carefully thought through. Yes I was apprehensive of sharing the trip with 15 other travellers which was quashed after the first day .. We all shared a common interest and became friends .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My goal on the trip was to visit the Taj Mahal which is totally majestic . Each day held a surprise and inspired I expected to find Varanasi hectic and crazy yet I found it strangely peaceful and quite emotional . The Sikh temple in Delhi is a true inspiration and their work is very humbling

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mayank is a true ambassador for Exodus .. he took care of every single detail that was possible . I felt secure to the point of feeling quite lazy as a backpacker as he took care of every qualm . Intelligent organised and witty !!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read your trip notes .. relax and enjoy !!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you ❤️
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Desmond Smyth

    A Memorable and Hugely Enjoyable Experience

    If you enjoy your scenery,and a good variation in your cycling ( mix of road and off-road ) then this trip is for you. It is quite challenging in parts,but is well within the abilities of a reasonably fit and competent cyclist ( I am 67 years old but reasonably fit,and I managed without much difficulty,although generally at back end of a very fit group of good cyclists ! ). We were exceptionally fortunate with the weather-dry,sunny,warm-unusual in an area noted for rainfall.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to pick only one-but the first of anything generally sticks in your mind,so I will go for the first day in Puerto Varas where the views of Volcano Osorno and distant Tronador are quite stunning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yal was a really nice and likeable guy,and seemed quite efficient. His communication skills though were somewhat lacking,and most of the briefings were delivered by his very able assistant German,also a very likeable and helpful guy.The disappointment though was that there no commentary or information provided on the history,culture,economy etc of the areas visited.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took insect repellant but didn't need it ( mosquitoes non-existent here at this time of year ( November ) so this would be worth checking before you leave. Be prepared for rapidly changing weather-fortunately for us it was sunshine all the way,but we were always prepared for the possibility of rain. The final day ( Friday ) was spent at the eco lodge in Conguillo National Park-if you are not on group flight bear in mind this is a long way from Temuco ( a taxi costs in the region US $ 110 ). Tap water is apparently safe to drink throughout the trip-I drank it with no ill effects as did many others in the group.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our group size was 16,with a good international mix-everyone got on really well right from the start with plenty of humour throughout,so we were fortunate with that as well as the weather. It was a hugely enjoyable and memorable holiday,with scenery to take your breath away ( from snow-clad mountains and volcanoes to emerald reflecting lakes to majestic rivers ) . If you are thinking about it-I'd say go for it.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Darko Kapor

    In a word - excellent!

    Great value for money. The trip was superbly organised by local guides, in the case of my group led by Zuhair, ably supported by Abeed's bike team. The visits to towns were not too long, and there was plenty to visit and see outside of the major centres. The full commentary by Zuhair - including an exhaustive geopolitical and historical narrative on the last few centuries of regions - was a bonus, as was the 2-hour camel ride near Wadi Rum and a swim in Dead Sea (both included in the price). I would certainly recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Petra Dead sea Camel ride

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Zuhair was excellent
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Anna Anthony

    Trip of a lifetime?

    Quite simply breathtaking. Whales, albatrosses, seals, and penguins, penguins, penguins - all set in stunning icy scenery underneath beautiful skies. Expertly guided, extremely well looked after on board and some great company. I say trip of a lifetime, but it will be very difficult not to go back.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Impossible to pick just one.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He's great :-)
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Jayne Potter

    Manasulu Trek

    I have just returned from this trek and after many years of travelling with Exodus I have to say that this trip is second to none and is far better than the Everest region, or Nanda Devi. Being a circular trip you are able to have an amphitheatre of high peaks over 7,000m+ nearly every day, once out of the initial valley. The daily walks were very varied with steep ravines, village life and extraordinary mountain ranges in front and behind you. The days are long in the beginning but you always have something to look at that makes you smile. Some of the tea houses are very basic the higher you go and make sure you have warm gear for the evenings. Gaining altitude is gradual with half days and afternoon walks to acclimatise you. The very early start to get over the pass was very cold and a tough day but if the weather is good the scenery is superb. Be sure to have a good working head torch with lithium batteries. If you area seasoned trekker do this one. You will not be disappointed. Do not lave it too long as the Nepalese are likely to get the road built and this valley will become like Annapurna and possible spoilt for those that like remoteness with beauty.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Beginning to descend after the Larkye La pass and looking across at the Annapurna mountain range.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valley was, as usual brilliant in all aspects.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Have very warm gear for the tea houses over 2,000m and the high pass. Ensure you bring Lithium batteries with spare ones and a good head torch. You will need quite a lot of cash as you buy everything including hot water.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think Exodus need to take a little more care in choosing the airlines they work with. Some of the budget airlines are not performing well and problems can detract from the good holiday experience. In the past two years I have got caught in Argentina for nearly three days and recently I took 39 hours to get back from Nepal. Both due to local airlines being extremely poor at coping with problems. Passengers are dealt with very badly by the cheaper companies.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Susan Barnes

    Highlights of Nicaragua

    This is a wonderful holiday. Nicaragua has it all, lovely beaches, wildlife, history, cloud forests and volcanoes. I never felt unsafe at any point on this holiday and in fact people were friendly and welcoming and thanked us for visiting their country. As tourism is not really developed there yet, there aren't coach loads of tourists everywhere you go. Usually we were the only group at places we visited. The itinerary is full and interesting. The hotels were all comfortable and air conditioned.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Nearly every day we had a magical experience. These included watching ospreys on lake Nicaragua at dusk, walking on a volcanic crater in the cloud forest, seeing the glowing lava lake on Massaya volcano in the dark. We also released baby turtles on the beach and saw a dozen adult turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. We watched the sun go down behind the volcano on Ometepe from our veranda with the lagoon in front of us full of birds and howler monkeys in the trees. We then watched the fireflies glowing in the dark and the fishing bats fishing in the lake. We climbed volcanoes to beautiful viewpoints and saw rocks with carvings from 3000 BC on the way up. We swam in the waves from a pristine Pacific beach. At Leon we saw the museum of the revolution and met Marcelo an original Sandinista. We climbed Telica volcano at dusk, watched the sunset, then saw the glow of lava in the dark before descending to a remote village for a traditional meal. The next day we descended the volcanic sands of the Cerro neggro volcano,the braver ones amongst us running down. Nicaragua is a beautiful welcoming country don't hesitate to book this trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan was an excellent leader, full of enthusiasm with a good knowledge of wildlife and birds and spoke excellent English The trip was well organised and Juan did everything he could to help us enjoy our holiday. His nature walks were wonderful, he was quick to spot birds hiding in the trees and he even showed us a baby porcupine. He explained the history of Nicaragua and talked about the traditions and customs. He made sure we were looked after at all times briefing us each evening on the next days itinery.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a head torch for night walks and turtle trip Take long trousers for volcano walks and walking boots Take dollars not pounds Keep your case light as it has to be lifted by Juan and Jose the driver on to the roof of the coach at each stop Beans and rice featured on every menu but the food was well cooked and safe to eat. The local fresh fruit juices were lovely particularly the sour orange.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just book the holiday and go and see for yourself, you won't be disappointed.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Dave Tyas

    Manaslu Circuit

    I came on to write a review of the trip I have just returned from and found that two other group members, Irene Neilson & Steve Terry have already submitted reviews. What they have written is almost exactly what I intended to write so there is no point in simply duplicating. I travelled with my wife & son. We have travelled & trekked extensively for many years but consider this particular trek to be one of the very special ones. It was truly superb, with every day a new experience. Manaslu isn't as well recognised as the Everest or Annapurna regions and is all the better for it. We travelled towards the end of the trekking season and on some days only saw two other trekkers. Near the high pass where routes & itineraries converged we saw more people, but then only around 20-30 trekkers per day. Most of the time we felt we had the trail to ourselves except for the occasional mule train carrying goods to outlying villages. We were particularly pleased to pass through many villages which seemed to have changed little since medieval times, with weaving, spinning, winnowing & haymaking abundantly evident. We also saw several monasteries and many chortens, stupas & prayer wheels. Several villages had tea shops & lodges, suggesting the route had capacity for many trekkers, but we certainly didn't see large numbers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Almost every day was superb, but perhaps the morning walk on the rest day to Ponkar lake was the best. It is one of those walks where the views are largely hidden until you are almost there, but when they reveal themselves they are truly breathtaking. Glacial valleys, moraines, seracs, ice fields, frozen lakes, soaring mountains literally surround you.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our trip was lead by Valerie Parkinson who has worked in the Himalaya for Exodus for over 31 years. Most people in our group had chosen this departure because they had already trekked with her before. We had too, but 30 years ago! Valerie is an absolutely outstanding person to lead group in this region as her knowledge is unparalleled. She is also extremely friendly and sociable both to trekkers and the guides and porters.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a remote area and as such, conditions can be fairly basic at times. The term "lodge" could be misinterpreted by some. There is no element of luxury here and some can be extremely basic. Although a more comfortable option than camping expect no more than a flat bed with a foam mattress (which might be rather thin) and a shared squat toilet which might be frozen. The menus at all the lodges are virtually identical with generally bland hi-carb dishes based on potato, pasta or rice. Standards of cooking can be extremely variable. We found pizzas to be constently the best option. On two days the food was exrtremely poor and on one day so overcooked it was inedible. This isn't the fault of Exodus, just a consequence of the area you are travelling in. Take plenty of chewy bars to compensate and keep several handy for the long day over the pass. This is not a strenuous trek, but the timings on the trip notes are accurate. Several days involve many hours walking and there are no opt-outs. A reasonable degree of preparation is essential in order to properly enjoy the trip. Also, be aware that the journeys between Kathmandu and the start/finish points are quite long an arduous.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Annapurna Circuit route has suffered a lot from encroaching "roads". The neighbouring Manaslu route is not nearly so affected and, according to Valerie, resembles the how the Annapurna route was 20 years ago. However, there are new roads already under construction which will ultimately have a detrimental effect on the route, but they will take many years to complete. There is still a chance to visit a relatively unspoilt part of Nepal, but don't leave it too long or the opportunity will be lost.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Irene Neilson

    Truly spectacular mountain scenery

    Wonderful trek that far exceeded our expectations. Our enjoyment of trekking comes from a love of the high mountains so while the walk up the valley was enjoyable albeit hot and a bit dusty, for us, day 8 onwards was truly fantastic - pristine mountain scenery set against azure blue skies, all enhanced by Tibetan stone houses, yaks and remote village life. The mountains- from Manaslu onwards - were breathtakingly beautiful and the weather excellent. The acclimatization walks from Samagaon/Samdo to monasteries and a lake were both enjoyable and interesting. The climb over the Larkya La pass began at 4am and was tough with high winds buffeting us but again the mountain scenery and the starry sky overhead was breathtaking. Fortunately, there wasn't much ice on the descent from the pass so, although long, the scree slopes weren't too bad and one was easily distracted by more wonderful mountain views. Bimthang proved a comfortable lodge for a two night stay. Our rest day incorporated a walk in the morning to Pongkar Lake, a lovely glacier lake set in an amphitheatre of mountains and a bonfire singsong in the afternoon. We were lucky to have several musicians in our group so we could match the porters’ renderings of Resham Firiri with UK favorites. The combination of surrounding mountains, fire and song made a slight feeling of deflation after crossing the pass disappear. The descent to Tilje continues to move through lovely mountain scenery then attractive forest. It's really only when you hit Dharapani and the dust tracks of the Annapurna roadworks that the mountain magic disappears a little. We were lucky with wildlife - Himalayan Tahr, blue sheep, pika, lammergeyer, griffin vultures, golden eagles, red monkey, langur monkeys, musk deer, barking deer were all spotted.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Day 8: wonderful weather made the mountains truly spectacular and we had our first glimpse of Manaslu. The mountain scenery at the heart of this trek is phenomenal and remains so over several days.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our trip was led by Valerie Parkinson. It was great to hear Valerie’s first hand account of climbing Manaslu and have her point out the ascent route from base camp. Her willingness to share her knowledge of Nepal and the changes in its culture over the last 30 yrs makes walking with her extremely enjoyable. Her account of climbing Everest and having to turn back after the South summit and suffering severe frostbite in her feet was also amazing. She is an extremely nice, kind person.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Beginning of the trek really is very hot and dusty but at altitude, particularly late November it can be very cold so a range of trekking clothes is needed. It certainly surprised us how cold it could be in the evenings. Some of the more basic high altitude lodges really were drafty. Curiously we found the fixed tent at Dharamsala warm. Lithium batteries coped best with the cold. Several people brought hot chocolate sachets that proved a rather nice treat. Some also had duck tape wrapped on their walking stick which proved handy. Excellent trail mix for snacks can be bought in the Supermarket opposite the Royal Singhi. If you stay in the Hotel Ambassador, as our group did, the hotel restaurant on the first floor -the Diplomat- serves excellent South Asian food- the homemade kulfi was fantastic. We bough the new Qantum steripen and bag as it does 4 liters of water at a time but found it was more convenient just to use the steripen with a Nalgene bottle. We forgot that hydration bladder tubes freeze in the cold and this was a problem on the Larkya La pass. Guess best bet is to have some form of insulation for the tube at altitude. Few lodges had functioning wifi and some had no electricity - power packs are useful. Ncell local sim does not work on the Manaslu circuit. Exodus have replaced elephant safaris with jeep based safaris in their bookings for the Chitwan extension. If you want to go to Chitwan and experience elephant safaris and bathing -which we personally would highly recommend- you may want to consider booking direct with Safari Narayani Hotel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This really is a great trek taking you into remote mountain scenery and fascinating traditional village life. Do it now before roads and dams are built.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Kingsley Barlow

    What an Experience!!!!!!

    From the moment we landed in Lukla and started the long journey to Base Camp, we were in awe of the scenery and the atmosphere of the mighty Himalayas. It is very much like going back in time. The nepalese people life very basic lives and are so hardworking, this adds to the experience. it was a demanding trek, And we were affected by altitude sickness at times. Overall one of the most rewarding things we have ever done.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The immense size of the Himalayas.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tenzig was brilliant - he was caring, personable, organised, with a great sense of humour. Always having our best interest at heart. Ably assisted by Pindu, Pema and Nima. They were truly a great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A reasonable level of fitness is a must. Do not under estimate the cold. The tea houses only have heating in the dining room, the bedrooms are very cold so be prepared to sleep fully clothed. It is very dusty so a buff around your mouth helps.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy!!!!!!!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Mary Ellen Platt

    Sudan; a desert explorer.

    I have never had a worse value for my travel dollar. The first 8 days were spent driving endlessly in the desert and they refused to turn on the air conditioning! . We chocked on dust all day long. We only stopped for nominally interesting sites for 15-30 minutes. There were 3 adults in the rear seat, way too uncomfortable. You set up and dismantle your tent every day. I have no idea how you charged more than $4000.00 USC for this trip!! I am outraged. The days were long and monotonous. It was the most boring and expensive (for what you got) trip I have ever been on.. I will not use Exodus again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the stars at night.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fine

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready for boredom and being uncomfortable and eating cold food all the time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I will never use Exodus again!
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