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 December 2017
    Ros Preuss

    Ros Preuss

    An interesting and varied trip which gives a real insight into the way of like in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Although the coach journeys are fairly long (mainly down to the congested Indian roads), there is plenty of walking and visits to various kinds of production, from bricks to fabrics and matting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was not really 1 powerful moment here. I really enjoyed the long walk and the houseboat trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam is excellent. 1 of the best leaders I have experienced on such trips. He was knowledgeable, considerate, conscientious, friendly. We covered many aspects of Indian life on our trip. He had a good sense of humour, but could also deal admirably with what ever cropped up. He was very aware of our needs and took a lot of trouble helping us make good choices on the menus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The pace of this trip is not as leisurely as suggested, especially the first part. The walk is moderate not leisurely, and you will need good walking shoes, or better still walking boots, as the paths are uneven and slippery in places. I had boots and a light walking pole, which were appropriate for this. Depends if you feel it is worth taking boots for 2 walks (also the nature reserve walk). There is not much time to relax other than on the coach, though you do get some free time to yourselves towards the end. This suited me fine, but maybe not everyone. You will not be disappointed in the wonderful insight you get into the way people live, their customs, how things are made. Also the unforgettable sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    John Hirons

    Highly recommended

    I cannot recommend this trip enough. Everything was organised to perfection. We saw pretty much every animal available (apart from a jaguar which i believe the chances of seeing are zero)! The hotels were all pretty much first class - food delicious, staff so friendly, rooms comfortable and the towel art! Transport - comfy, driven very well by Felix, arrived on time everywhere. Andreas - the best tour guide you could ever hope for. It was a passion for him to ensure that we all made the best of the holiday and he ensured that we see everything he saw. He was so knowledgeable with everything Costa Rica had to offer. He was careful to ensure i was feeling okay after a run-in with a raccoon :-) Activities - all spot on and the hot springs were amazing. I only wish i was brave enough to do the zip wire instead of the coffee tour. Fellow travellers - all were amazing and made everyone feel welcome. i am sure we are going to keep in touch with everyone in the future.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hatching turtles on Torteguero beach. The whole reason i booked for November and i was not disappointed. The friendliness of the Costa Rican people. Everywhere we went we were made to feel very welcome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First Class! Could not have hoped for a friendlier, more knowledgeable tour leader

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take an umbrella and do not forget to take a fleece or something for the Savegre Lodge - it is a tad chilly at times!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Ken Norman

    WUC171115 Costa Rica

    A superb comprehensive magical not so mystery tour of fabulous Costa Rica with Johnny Villalobos as our tremendous could not do enough for us guide and super driver Wilmer too.Small party of 13 of which at least over half were infectious bird lovers that could not fail to inspire all of us. Well planned and very well managed throughout. Sensible to have two nights at each location... we could settle and become at ease and accustomed to each location and take the early morning start schedule in our stride.Great overnight stay locations with spacious accommodation and all services. Only a few 'dodgy' but usually ease of use loos. Great beds. Very good meals.Would have liked a bit more of an adventurous volcano trip to satisfy my 'exploration adventure' gene but ideal for my wife !!! whose gene is more dormant.Well planned superbly executed and managed and sorry it had to end.If we had known of Costa Rica's adoration of all things Christmas we would not have stocked up at Aldi before we went.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most 'wow' moment the eventual Quetzal bird sighting... two males competing for one female in one tree some 60ft from us.Priceless

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos was unquestionably dedicated far beyond any reasonablecall of duty. Leader of the year material and faultless in every single way.Outstanding and inspiringly informed and informative. Clearly a great lover of birds but demonstrated an infectious love of his country that we easily and justifiably 'caught' too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good walking shoes/boots but no need to go over the top. Good anorak style waterproof.Good bird watching binoculars.Hand sized effective torch.For good bird photos bring a 'good' camera.Alarm waker-up in kit as you'll have some early starts.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just really fabulous in every way... thank you. Finally if possible avoid British Airways... it might be flying the flag but they are a tired line and do the flag no justice at all.. just not up to the long haul task other than bare minimum and pretty basic food.... cramped seating that was reminiscent of Monarch trips from Luton BUT did best Kenya Airways to Nairobi that I have experienced !!!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    George Frier

    Best of the Circuit

    The AP mini circuit has to be considered as a viable alternative to the full circuit(which I have not done) - if you have a fortnight and are confident of your trekking abilities, you will get all the thrill of the trek up the Valley and over the 5416m pass , a descent through the incredible Mustang valley on the other side followed by a memorable flight past the AP range back to Pokhara .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Without doubt the dawn trek up the to the Thorong La pass - summit reached at 0926 am! to find a small hut selling hot chocolate -and the views behind us of the amphitheatre of the mountains we had left behind and the vast sweep of the Mustang valley ahead. Truly memorable as we all danced around in front of the flags in the very strong winds which sweep across form the west.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - ex nepali army, a natural leader who told us clearly what was what, when, but with a friendly smile and sense of humour. He would take decisions that weren't always obvious to us but then you would see why.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it now! Biggest concern must be whether the route can remain special when there is now a (dirt)road up the Valley from the start point, and now evidence of 4 x 4 tours and the like. That coupled with increasing westernisation of the trek offering -- some of which is welcome (western toilets !) some of which is not ( There was an advert for English breakfast at one place in Menang which cannot be a necessity....) Make sure you are pretty fit and leave your prejudices behind - chill . Literally , as you get higher - but also use it as a reason to do a digital detox as i did and you will enjoy it all the more.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    James De Souza-Gomes

    A wonderful experience

    A varied and interesting itinerary covering the length of the country, with numerous sites of historic and biblical interest, busy to begin with but more relaxing after Petra. A great introduction to the Middle East and one to change your preceptions of the area, we were always made to feel really welcome in Jordan, 'Welcome to Jordan' was a constant throughout the trip and we never felt unsafe on the tour. Highly recommended, we all came away awe inspired and wondering why more people don't visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Petra was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip with so much to see and stunning views at every turn, you could quite easily spend more than the two full days allocated here. Jerash is surprisingly extensive and varied in scale and not unlike Pompeii but without the crowds which made it all the more enjoyable. The Dead Sea was fun, mosaics at Madaba & Mt Nebo great and the views at Wadi Rum lovely.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide who was never short of a story (or two!) to tell, clearly passionate about his country, it's people and history. Did well to manage a large and diverse group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure you have a comfortable pair of shoes as as there is a lot of walking in Petra but don't let this put you off. The walk to the Monastery involves a lot of steps but is worth the effort as is the Jabal Haroun Trail to view the Treasury from high above. If going in late season be sure to either reserve a sleeping bag for the night at Wadi Rum (BEFORE departure) or take thermals with you. If you're not making use of the beach resort facilities in Aqaba then be aware that the tourist sites are likey to be closed as it's Friday, you can none the less spend a relaxing and enjoyable day exploring Aqaba and watching the locals - we found a great cafe for a lazy lunch.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Stating the obvious but read the trip notes beforehand (!), paying attention to the need to reserve a sleeping bag if necessary for the night at Wadi Rum before you leave as they are not available once there. As at time of writing use of the beach resort facilities at Aqaba is now included as part of the trip, there is no boat trip offered. Additional cost for hiring snorkelling equipment & lunch.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    William Kerr

    Cycle through Rajasthan

    On the whole this was a very good and enjoyable trip. The participants were all good fun and melded well. The hotels, guides and support staff were excellent and the bikes were good hybrid mountain type and well maintained. You definitely need padded shorts and either your own saddle or a gel saddle cover as the saddles are hard plastic. The scenery and towns and forts we visited were often spectacular and the village people were happy and friendly. I do have some reservations. We went in November, both November and December are now recognised to have a high level of smog and this was apparent the moment we entered the airport, not only could you smell it but you could actually see it in the building. There should be a health hazard warning on trips at this time of year. The traffic in Delhi and other towns can be heavy and totally uncontrolled. I thought the inability of traffic to go faster because of its density was the principal thing preventing accidents. You should expect cars, motor cycles and tuc tucs to come up the inside on the wrong side of the road. Daylight at the tail end of the year and we didn't get much time to relax and enjoy the expensive hotels. Most days we had a 6am call and arrived at the next hotel after dark. The one day when we could have had some time off was in Jaipur but again there was no down time. That day, I thought the Ambar Fort was spectacular but I considered the carpet shop visit an imposition and the city palace just like ones we had already visited. It was interesting to visit north India again but sadly.......

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I don't know about inspirational, but I thought the the Kumbalghar and Amber forts and the Taj Mahal were spectacular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guides were very good but sometimes there were communication difficulties.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't go near Delhi in the smog months, consider a good particulate mask designed for cycling. Take your own bike seat or a gel cover for the seat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I along with the rest of the group I thought that the shopping visits were an imposition and most unwelcome. You should stop this practice. The goods are overpriced and you can get a better choice at home. The goods may also be liable to import duty. I had the impression that there was some sort of kickback going on.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Gudrun Meisl

    Highlights of vietnam

    A fun way to see a lot of vietnam

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Some great downhill, giggling children wherever you say hello

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Danh was great fun and worked very hard to make this an enjoyable trip. I would have never tried egg coffee otherwise

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's a very busy itinerary. There is hardly any time to see Saigon. If you can, book an extra day or too before and after the trip. The bikes are good but bringing your own saddle is worth considering. The traffic can look scary but drivers are very respectful. Don't hesitate or break and everything will flow around you.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    dayl dufrane

    Garden route - south africa in nov

    Two weeks at the end of November was ideal time to travel the 'Garden Route' Varied itinery. from game parks , to wine tasting, whale watching to visiting ostrich farm, museums to shopping. Includes days in Cape Town ( table mountain etc ) , lots of free time, optional extras which you could chose to do or not.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I went shark diving in a cage !! It was a must do optional extra - costs a lot but you have to do these things once in your life. Well worth all the money ( thanks credit card ) Picked up from hotel- driven to the centre - travel out on boat for 20+ mins Safety briefings given . Wet suit + mask etc Water not that cold for the Atlantic. Although not see great white saw plenty of copper back sharks - hey a shark is a shark . Had two long sessions in cage. I loved it ... Go for it

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Justin was very very good. Knew his stuff . Very obviously proud of his country. Put up with a lot of ribbing from the 16 of us. Always helpful. If he is your group leader you will enjoy yourself as well as learn loads about SAfrica - whether it be animals, plants , history, geology, even politics

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for different weather - can change - I think we were very lucky. However, did not get to Robben Island due to rough seas and were lucky to get up Table Mountain on 2nd attempt. Don't be disappointed if you not make these two trips. In Cape town go on hop on hop off bus BUT they only run clockwise - hence do not think about going all way round then doing it again and hopping off . Blue route takes 2 + hours. Take some tea/ coffee with you as a couple of apartments are ' self catering ' Apartments and hotels we stayed in were ideally situated- view over sea etc. Try all sorts of food - Ostrich, warthog, springbok all very tasty as were the fish dishes. Kayaking ( includes lilo + cliff jumping ) ok. Zip wiring - good intro as I had not done before but I think a bit tame if you had already experienced it. Whale watching approx. £40 may not be worth it especially as you can see from beach ( this opinion from group - I did not do ) Township - I did not do but there were very mixed views - many negative

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Last two weeks in nov are good time to go - still Whales around which you can see from the land Weather good 23-30 degrees. Lots of shops, markets to buy items - make sure you have room in your case Wine cheap.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Tony Glaser

    A great trip

    A great trip overall, which I would recommend. The itinerary was good, the hotels (with 1 exception) were really good, the trip leader (Le Long) was fantastic, the bikes and support team were good, the food was good, and Vietnam is very interesting. However the itinerary is very busy - although some down time is built in, there were lots of early mornings, and a lot of cycling time (good) and bus time (not so good), so there was not as much time for sightseeing and soaking up culture etc. as I would have liked - we rode past a few places I would love to have stopped an spent time exploring. There would be no solution to this other than making the trip a couple of days longer - so I am not complaining at all, just noting the reality - this is the only reason I give it 4 rather than 5 stars - 4½ would be more appropriate

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The long downhill ride on the 5th day. I loved riding through the markets and town of Dalat

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely fantastic - simultaneously very efficient and the life and soul of the party!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You might need a few days off after all this activity - especially if you are prone to jet lag problems if you are traveling from the UK or the US. I would also suggest getting to Ho Chi Minh City a day or two before the trip starts, to get over jet lag and also to explore the town a bit (there is no time for this in the trip itself) - I would recommend a back-of-the-motorbike city tour, the War Remnants Museum, the cocktail bar at the top of Bitexco Tower, among other. Vietnamese city traffic (mainly motorbikes) looks absolutely scary, but is not at all - all the motorbikes just flow around you like a school of fish, and the (relatively few) cars and trucks are very aware of 2-wheeled traffic and respectful. Everyone is friendly

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One of our overnight destinations was destroyed by the typhoon that came 2 weeks before our trip - Exodus handled this very well and the alternative accommodation was great
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Steve Terry

    Manaslu from all sides

    I’m just back in Kathmandu having completed the Manaslu Lodge Circuit. 33 years ago my late wife and I trekked the Annapurna Circuit independently which was one of the loveliest experiences of our lives. So I was prepared to be very disappointed by the neighbouring Manaslu Circuit. But not one bit. The itinerary works really well - with 13 nights to get round the circuit. Starting in warmth and luxuriance and Hindu culture; moving steadily up to the colder more spacious places of Tibetan villages with the beautiful twin peaks of Manaslu and the surrounding Himal providing glorious vistas; the long hard day crossing the Larkya Pass with the unexpected revelation of the Annapurna massif in the distance; the descent through dappled forest back to the world of flowers, butterflies, monkeys and terraced fields. Just magic! More than I’d hoped for. All made even better by having Valerie Parkinson as our leader - who could tell us what it was actually like to be the first British woman to climb Manaslu (8163m) - without oxygen. I feel very spoilt. Thank you Valerie - and thank you Exodus for another well-organised, unforgettable experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first proper sighting of Manaslu and the surrounding himal and the transition to Tibetan culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See above. Inspirational and a wonderful human being.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely take a Steripen (see trip notes) - such a brilliant device.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my 7th trek in the Himalayas - and, with the exception of that first Annapurna trek all those years ago, this Manaslu one has been the best trek (although having three sightings of snow leopards in Ladakh a few years ago with Exodus is a close rival!).
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