Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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17910 Reviews

  • Fantastic... everything :)

    An exhilarating week of walking in beautiful Liguria complemented by great food and drink.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The amazing view looking down on Corniglia against a lively turquoise sea on the last day - absolutely stunning. The wine tasting was also fabulous - interesting wines in a very atmospheric restaurant.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michela was brilliant: she was informative, really adaptable given the challenges of coronavirus and the occasionally stormy weather and made some great suggestions for where we could eat out in the evening.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Italy’s a great place to go despite coronavirus - it felt very safe and clean. Be prepared for lots of mask wearing.
  • Fabulous break - and far less tourists than usual due to COVID travel restrictions

    I travelled solo on this trip departing on 19 Sept 2020, having booked it quite late as Italy was one of the few venues Brits could travel to without any COVID-related quarantine requirements either end. It turned out to be a very special time to travel as the usual hordes of tourists in one of Italy’s most tourists areas were absent (although still enough people to give it an “atmosphere “!). The trip includes two full days walking between the stunning villages of the Cinqueterra and time to see each village. Portofino is beautiful and Sestri Levante is gorgeous too. There was a storm towards the end of the week so on the last day we were able to experience the Cinqueterra villages with huge waves crashing into the little harbours - an awesome sight - and the bright blue sea made a fantastic back drop for photos.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many! - Approaching Vernazza from above on the “blue path” from Corniglia. - The walk through the terraces and vineyards between Corniglia and Manarola with the incredible blue sea below (there had been a storm the previous night) - The very informative wine tasting in Moneglia - The Bay of Silence in Sestri Levante (on the free day) - Eating spaghetti seafood on the harbour fronts in Portofino and Vernazza - Watching the huge waves crash against the harbour walls in the Cinqueterra villages - an unusual sight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michaela has led his trip multiple times and we were lucky to have her expert knowledge! Very caring, very organised, and always joined us for dinner in the evenings.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    - Make sure you go to The Bay of Silence in Sestri Levante at some stage during the week. - Splash out on trying some local wines other than the carafes of house red and white. - Upgrade your room at the Hotel Piccolo to get a balcony and a sea view.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was very impressed that this trip ran so well despite the COVID restrictions. In fact the lack of tourists made it very enjoyable. Be prepared to wear your face mask in all the towns though.
  • Reviewed September 2020

    Fantastic trip - even more appreciated in these times of COVID restrictions!

    I travelled solo on this trip departing on 12 Sept 2020, having booked it quite late as Italy was one of the few venues Brits could travel to without any COVID-related quarantine requirements either end. I was not disappointed. It is a perfect blend of walking (3 days - with fantastic views) and city tours (2 days with a guided tour of each available). Villa Casalta is a quality hotel with rooms with a view and a fabulous terrace overlooking the vineyards and skyline where all meals are eaten. The pool is also very relaxing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk to San Gimignano on the last day; the guided walking tours of Siena and Florence; and the session at the Tuscan Wine School in Siena. I also loved my pre-breakfast swims in the pool and the sense of peace at Villa Casalta.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Teresa did a great job and was very personable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a kettle in the room - and teabags - but bring some instant coffee if you are a coffee drinker!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was very impressed how this trip ran so well despite the COVID restrictions.... but don't forget to bring a face mask.
  • Reviewed September 2020

    Superb trip

    You get out of something what you put in, and that is 100% the case for this holiday. The walking was challenging but so rewarding in terms of scenery and atmosphere. The weather was excellent bar one afternoon and the leaders (Paul and Louise) and the other people on the trip made the holiday outstanding. Plus, finally, the fact that you're in Italy - what more could you ask for.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery, stretching for miles all around near the summit of one of the mountains. We stopped as a group for a minute or two, on a rocky 'plain' before the final steepish climb to the top with the sun warmly shining in blue skies and I thought (and said out loud), 'it doesn't get any better than this'.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul and Louise were outstanding - knowledgeable, helpful, great sense of humour and highly professional

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are two levels of walks so don't be worried about whether it will be too hard. You'll be fine.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've already asked Exodus, 'where to next please?'
  • Reviewed September 2020

    South India Explored

    What a fantastic trip this was! So many highlights -- this is a temple-studded tour, with visits to the most iconic structures in Southern India like the temples at Madurai, Thanjavur, Mahabalipuram, Halebid and Belur....Beautiful natural scenery and drives through several Nature Reserves and along the coast of the Bay of Bengal made even the long "transit" days a delight. The overnight stay on the backwaters houseboat in Alleypey was also magical. The food, especially in the coastal regions, was exquisite. The friendliness and warmth of the locals was also a highlight for me. This is a terrific introduction to Southern India and is a nice companion to the North India Explored trip that Exodus used to run.....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wow -- so many.....I was awstruck by the intricacy of the temple architecture, but also sunrise and sunset on the houseboat will take your breath away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay Gupta, usually a northern guide, did an extraordinary job of introducing Southern India and Dravidian culture to us. His warmth, joie de vivre, and keen sense of humour really added to our experience.This was my second trip with Ajay and I was so thrilled!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Come with an open mind and lots of energy. Be curious, try everything, talk to the locals....and enjoy to the max!
  • Reviewed September 2020

    Top trek - Do it !!

    What a great opportunity to escape the C-19 situation in UK & experience the stupendous Dolomites. The Exodus office staff were helpful and supportive in advising what trek was suitable within certain countries, within the time ‘window’ I had, given the different country restrictions.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    ....... to stop, quietly absorb the stupendous views and truly appreciate just how amazing and awe inspiring the Dolomites are.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl was a true professional. He was so well informed and bought the landscape to life with his knowledge and stories of the history of the area as well of all the flora, fauna and geology. He had spent time before the group arrived to check everything out in specific relation to the impact of C-19 restrictions & conditions and the effect it would have on the group during our stay. Mindful of the varying ability levels of different group members he was motivational and inspirational, encouraging those where and when needed, yet always with safety first and foremost in his mind. Cheerful and engaging it was a pleasure to be in his company every day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Always take full advice from ‘What to take’ page.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hotel Adler was a great base. Very comfortable and great meals. Staff were always cheery and accommodating. Of several ‘1 base’ treks I’ve done this hotel has certainly been the best. To have such a base to return to after a day in the mountains certainly helps relax, chill & recharge for the next day.
  • Reviewed September 2020

    Amazing trip with Sublime scenery

    Wow! Thank you for being consistently brilliant! This is my 4th Exodus trip, and it did not disappoint. From the start, the Hotel Adler was a great base with great food and facilities ( you can never really go wrong with Italian food, and the Austrian influence added nicely to the mix). We had a brilliant guide with Karl, who is not only fun to be around, but very well informed about many things, in an area that is not just a beautiful mountain range, but a WW1 battlefield and part time filmset (think Cliffhanger). I've been very fortunate to go to a number of mountain ranges around the world, including Alaska Range, Himalayas and the Andes - however the Dolomites hold their own and are right up there with the very best. Despite all that has happenned around the world with Covid this year, it's great to know that travel is still travel and that we can still visit these places. Do not change the formula - every day hiking got better and better!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's hard to narrow down- Tre Cime, Monte Piano, the view from the Strudelkopf. Great fun afterwards retiring to the hotel for post hike drinks, followed by dinner with a great like-minded bunch of hikers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic all round good man!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you like hiking, just book it and let the scenery unravel.
  • Reviewed July 2020

    Beyond my expectations

    This was a really happy accident. I had wanted to do the Inca Trail, but I booked my trip too late and Exodus put me on the Moonstone Trek instead, which was a ridiculously good piece of fortune. As it turned out I was the only person on the trek - I felt ridiculously pampered. I had a guide, one chef, two porters and our four pack horses. The first day we went to the Moonstone which gives the trek it's name before heading on to the departure site for the trek itself. While climbing up the hills we passed another tourist group coming the other way, but they would be the last tourists I would see until the end of the trek. The scenery as incredible - not the lush forests you might see on the Inca Trail, but an incredible trek through the high pampas. We walked through little settlements where the locals offered us wheat wine (although my guide said it would probably be best not to take them up on it as it can upset your stomach if you aren't used to it). I joined up with the rest of the group in Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu the night before we all headed up, and I decided to get up early the next morning to get a glorious view over the lost city from the sun gate. It was well worth the early start.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of the Accocasa Pass was brilliant and the views were absolutely incredible, while Machu Picchu is everything they say it is. However the best moment for me was camping in the hills above Ollantaytambo with a wonderful view of the nearby peaks and the river valley below the night before the Moonstone Trek ended. Something I'll never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Aside from the trek and Machu Picchu our guide, Smithy, was brilliant. Always willing to help, supremely knowledgeable about the history of the area and gave us some incredible tips for eating out. Fabrizio, my guide on the Moonstone Trek, was fantastic - really knowledgeable and eager to give little insights into the rich history of the area. He was always willing to answer my annoying questions, and very good at keeping my chin up on some of the tougher sections of the trek.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    While the altitude didn't cause me any sickness, I could definitely feel it while walking up the hills, especially on the second and third days of the trek. If you can spend an extra day acclimating to it in Cusco. Hiking poles will be your most valuable ally on the trek, especially on the steeper sections where you are panting out of breathe. Buy a cheap poncho in Cusco - you'll definitely need one if it rains, as there is no shelter while your out on the hike until you get into the tent for lunch and dinner. Plus, suncream and a wide brimmed hat are a must for Machu Picchu, as there is little to no shade, especially in the middle of the day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Absolutely the trip of a lifetime - I'd recommend this to anybody and everybody.
  • Reviewed July 2020

    Fantastic Trip

    I am a little late in posting a review. We returned from this trip in early March, right when everything started to close down due to Covid-19. I can tell you that the memories of this trip have kept me going while sheltering in place. If you are thinking this might be the trip for you, please know that it is very fast paced with moving from place to place almost every night was quite challenging. The cycling itself was challenging based on one’s fitness level. My husband completed every kilometer, while I did about three-quarters of the cycling. A lot of it depends on the heat, but for a female in my early 50s, I found it very doable. We had the most fabulous guide and crew. I cannot say enough of about our guide Son - he was absolutely amazing - taking care of all the details while we enjoyed ourselves. There are plenty of water/snack stops with fresh fruit and amazing snacks (ginger/nuts/cookies). They take very good care of you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We loved the other people on this trip. We were two Americans and the rest of the group was from the UK. Great group of people who helped and encouraged each other each step of the way. I laughed until I cried on many occasions and have kept in contact with a number of individuals from the trip. And riding through towns hearing the kids say “hello” and the adults singing karaoke with large speakers is unforgettable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Son Nguyen was AWESOME. As Covid-19 was present, he was very diligent with cleanliness and offered us hand sanitizer at every opportunity. His motto was “Safety first” and he meant it. He was enthusiastic and was always making sure everyone was okay. He is a top notch guide and you would be very lucky to have him be your tour leader. The support crew was phenomenal - I can’t say enough about their professionalism and friendliness.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light and prepare for moving almost every night to a different hotel. I think there were three times when we stayed more than one night. Also, don’t feel that you can’t do something. If you don’t want to cycle or you have leg cramps (like happened to me the second day), there is no shame in jumping on the bus. Oh, and get used to finding a place to cop a squat as bathrooms are not always present.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don’t hesitate to book this trip. You may get lucky with a good group of fellow travelers and don’t hesitate to be adventurous and open minded with food and culture. I don’t know when I will get to travel again due to this pandemic and I am so glad to have the memories of this trip.
  • Reviewed June 2020

    Best holiday ever!

    We were furtunate to get our complete holiday in before the Coronavirus lockdown. There were 14 of us who all got on so well and our tour guide Glenda was fantastic. The places we visited and the wildlife we saw were out of this world, Glenda kept a list of everything and passed it on to us. We not only saw all the flora and fauna of Costa Rica but also learnt a lot about the country as we travelled round - we were impressed how fair the country is and how people are looked after and educated, it could teach our own country's leaders some lessons. Our two drivers - one on the boat and Geraldo on the bus were great too and joined in spotting wildlife to make sure we didnt miss out on anything. Would definitely recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The early morning trip on the boat as the sun came up and seeing a sloth for the first time

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Words cannot do justice on how great she was. She was with us almost 24/7 making sure we saw everything and were taken care of. She even took us on a walk to see a waterfall on what should have been her rest day. She arranged great places to eat as we all got on so well we chose to eat together. She was very efficient getting us from place to place with what seemed to be no effort at all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have a good camera and binoculars as there is so much to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The whole trip was great from the flights to the transfers and all the Costa Rican people we came into contact with. We hope that tourism can commence safely soon.