Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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18130 Reviews

  • Reviewed May 2022

    An excellent return

    This was my first holiday outside the UK since the first covid lockdown and it was excellent. The group remained covid-free for the entire week - a bonus! Rosario was enthusiastic and energetic throughout. As his first group in 2 years, he was determined to ensure we enjoyed ourselves!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the quality and quantity of fruit and veg in the different food markets we visited in Palermo (and watching the non-veggies attempting to eat certain local delicacies).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As before - he was excellent. Not only was he knowledgeable but also his spoken English was really good. Maurizio the driver deserves praise too for safely negotiating spaces scarcely wider than his vehicle.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't think that holidays are restful in any way! If you fancy a rest, I'd recommend extending the holiday by a few days. Arriving a day or two early ensures you start the holiday well-rested rather than tired from rising very early for the group flight. Plus add a day or two at the end if you'd like to see Taormina which sadly isn't included in the current tour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'm sorry that covid led to small changes in the tour - for example I was looking forward to tasting the range of local cheeses near Ragusa and was sorry we didn't go to Taormina. However having any holiday at all post-covid was a thrill!
  • Reviewed May 2022

    Great mix of food and culture packed into just 8 days

    Great way to spend a week in Sicily. The trip is pretty busy, moving on most days, packing in the main sights and a lot of food! I enjoyed the mix of history (valley of the temples and the roman villa) with the food and culture aspect, particularly the visits to the local producers and food market trips.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me the valley of the temples, made even better by the great guide.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rosario was a great guide, very knowledgeable of all aspects of Sicilian history, culture and food. Organised us well and provided good options for what to do with any spare time we had, allowing me to make the most of these limited times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not much time to unpack in each location so dont take too much! Catania airport is a crazy place, be prepared to queue.
  • Verdant Country with stunning flora & fauna - brilliantly viewed from both On and Off the Bike

    As with all Exodus cycle trips the cycling provides the foundation for a trip led by an expert guide and back-up team, in which you sample the best cycling terrain, food and drink and highlights of a foreign country. A group of strangers come together, bond remarkably quickly in this case, and leave two weeks later as friends. Costa Rica Coat to Coast was no exception. The highlights of Costa Rica are undoubtedly its flora and fauna. The estuary boat trip (Day 2), Manual Antonio NP (Day 3), ferry across Golfe Dulce plus Las Cruces Botanical Garden (Day 6) , and finally the fabulous Tortuguero NP (Day 11 & 12) are all must-see locations. Throw in the beautiful Central Highlands (Days 7-9), plus the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, and you have all the elements for a terrific two week trip though six of Costa Rica's seven provinces.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm no Attenborough yet was frankly in awe of the fantastic range, colour, sound and scale of the flora and fauna, and at such close quarters too. The designated highlights live up to their billing but is it often smaller moments that shine. Examples include a stop for fresh coconut at Playa Hermosa, walks along the beach on both coasts, a swim and beer near Puerto Viejo, the team riding formation and being overtaken by a local wearing flip flops, the serenity of the gardens by the ruined church where locals shared a Sunday picnic, & the bonding of the group - on and off the bike aided by beer, red wine and the occasional mojito. If I had to pick just one, it would be stopping mid ride in the Central Highlands, seeking a spot of shade sitting at a bus stop, and taking time to soak in the stunning views on both sides of the ridge. Picture postcard stuff. Wonderful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Robert Aguilar was an excellent Leader in the best tradition of Exodus Tour Guides. He was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, an excellent communicator, strong rider, and responsive & flexible to traveller requests and requirements. He was ably assisted by Mechanic Paul and Driver Luiz. Paul rode strongly at the front making a good but not furious speed which kept the faster riders safely in check but not frustrated by pace. Mechanical matters were few but dealt with with aplomb. Luiz was the archetypal driver - silent but quietly effective - always on the right place at the right time with everything done. Altogether a superb team and tribute to both Costa Rica and Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Whilst there are climbs, largely in the Central Highlands, the cycling is not overly difficult and heat & humidity more of an issue than the terrain. You don't notice it whilst riding but certainly do when you stop. Regular sunscreen and fluids a must. 2. My wife and I wore arm screens as sun protection and these were such a big hit that we lent our spare ones to our fellow riders. A buff/snood can also be handy. 3. I tried my brand new SPD-cleat cycling sandals on this trip and there were a revelation - highly recommended. 4. Take a light rain top for the occasional (heavy though not cold) shower. 5. Food is plentiful and good quality, and you do develop a taste for rice with beans in varying permutations. Fish good and some excellent steak also. Fruit plentiful - pineapple, watermelon, papaya, banana & mango. 6. You can drink the water in most places and in the few where you cannot, bottled water is available/provided. In the alternative, Chilean red wine or the local ("Imperial") beer will do. 7. There are a couple of laundry opportunities mid-trip so resist the temptation to pack too much kit - both on and off bike. 8. You don't need any local currency (colones) as US Dollars in cash (though not GBP) plus credit cards suffice everywhere.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I spent much off Week 2 chatting to Roberto about the Nicaragua/Costa Rica/ Panama trip, the hopefully re-launched new Guatemala/Honduras/El Salvador trip and the in-plan alternative Colombia trip. I have a feeling my wife and I will be returning to this part of the world.
  • Reviewed May 2022

    Excellent walking holiday

    A very enjoyable walking holiday, mixing walks with interesting visits to a cave, ruined castles, an abbey and an Armenian monastery. The walks themselves are varied - pine forests, mountains, beach, some tracks and just a little on the almost-deserted roads. An excellent trip to Famagusta was offered on the Day Off and this not only took us to interesting sites (St Barnabas monastery, roman Salamis, Varosha ghost town & the old walled city, but also gave us th chance to learn more about the history if the island. A bonus was the trip to Nicosia on our last day, whcih meant we didn't have to hang around the hotel waiting for the transfer to the airport. This also gave us the opportunity to walk across the border into South Cyprus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Day 6 - Buffavento Castle and the Five Finger Mountains. Although it is over 600 steps up and the same down, the castle is situated right on the ridge of the Five Finger Mountains, so you can see both sides of the island (and the coast of Turkey on a clear day). Because of the steps, it is quiet with no/few other tourists, so we had the castle to ourselves! The lunch stop is further along the ridge, so more spectacular views across both sides of the island.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Geser is an excellent guide, very knowledgeable, patient and very helpful. His english is amazing and he has a good sense of humour. He spent a lot of his time with us and nothing was too much trouble for him. He really made the holiday very special and I hope that Exodus will continue to use Geser as a guide for future trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our flight was delayed, so we arrived very late but Exodus/the hotel had unexpectedly arranged for a snack of soup and a filled roll, which was very well received. It is a long flight and transfer, so would recommend taking a packed lunch to have on the plane. Make sure you have high factor sun screen as the sun is strong, even on cloudy days.
  • Reviewed May 2022

    A fantastic holiday in a relatively undiscovered corner of Italy

    This was a trip that will live long in my memory. My first journey abroad since the start of the COVID pandemic, the holiday was everything I hoped it would be and more. Stunning scenery, fantastic food, awesome accommodation, great people and a wonderful leader all combined to ensure that Italy will be the destination I will visit in my next holiday - and I would love to return to the Garfagnana region.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are too many moments to choose from. The walk to the summit of Mount Sumbra was challenging and certainly tested my head for heights, but the view from the top was out of this world - we could see the snow-covered peaks of mountains in nearby Emilia-Romagna as well as the broad sweep of the Italian coastline. I also really enjoyed the free day in Lucca - it is a stunning city with a lovely walk around the city walls and some interesting attractions, including the Torre Guinigi which gives you excellent views across the whole city. And then, of course, there was the 'village walk' led by one of the members of the family that own the agriturismo we stayed at - it provided a fascinating insight into the culture of a region that is still relatively unexplored.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was absolutely awesome and the best leader I have encountered in all of my trips. She had a genuine interest in each and every member of the group and nothing was too much trouble for her. She also had a real passion for the area and her close connection with the family that runs the agriturismo meant that she was (and is) a well-integrated part of the local community. I really could not have hoped for a better person to lead our trip - she was wonderful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all weathers, particularly if travelling in April. The trip notes warned that snow was possible on the mountain slopes, but the snow cover we encountered was deep (apparently exceptionally so). It was easy to walk through and added to our overall experience, but I would definitely be prepared to take a thick waterproof coat, waterproof trousers and some decent hiking boots if travelling early in the season. Sara also loaned me some walking poles that were very useful when negotiating downhill sections covered in snow/rocky scree.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If the trip sounds appealing to you, don't hesitate to book. I have been on many Exodus trips and this was, for me, the stand-out one. I loved every aspect of this holiday and really wish that I could re-live the week again.
  • adventures in nepal Goyko lakes and Everest base camp

    Simply the best organised and lead overseas trip I’ve been on in the last 30 years.( Oz ) Jaite Tamang was our very humble Nepalese Expedition leader. His natural ability to connect local Nepalese people with our group gave us a fully immersive experience of Nepal. His understanding of the local environment and wildlife added an extra dimension to our adventure and his Encyclopaedic knowledge of almost everybody we met on the trip was amazing. I’ve never seen such a young man manage our porters ,assistant guides and us under some very challenging situations with good humour and high energy. OZ has an excellent understanding of British banter which always help in taxing situations. His ability to anticipate problems ahead of time and nip them in the bud allowed our adventure to flow very well. When I come to the pool again I will definitely be asking for oZ by name.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting Kenton cool and a lot of the world-famous sherpas along the trail. Obviously getting to Everest base camp and goyko lakes was important . What was a bonus was the real inspirational moments in the little things like the wildlife and interaction with the local guides , Tea house owners and people along the way. also realising at almost 60 years old that there is some life in the old duffer yet

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jaite Tamang Oz was our group leader. OZ is a natural leader and demands respect amongst all his fellow guides and porters. He has a natural ability to bring people together and his good humour allows a relaxed harmonious movement across what is actually quite a difficult terrain and environment to be in. I can’t recommend him enough. I will definitely be requesting him by name on all my future trips in Nepal .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I have loads of advice for potential travellers and will probably write a whole document on this.. A few things I will definitely suggest now , do not take ibuprofen at high altitude because it is a respiratory suppressant and you may not be able to sleep well. Read up about the Khumber cough and make sure you do not exert yourself at high altitude. Make sure you bring a breathable buff to cover your lips and mouth.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have done many overseas trips possibly 30+ in the last 40 years and I realise how important the group leader is to the enjoyment of a trip. Every client comes with different expectations, energy levels and immune systems. These all present challenging situations for a group moving across such difficult terrain over a long time and a good leader I will make all the difference.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Dorgali

    Rather disappointing. Walks were limited in scope - two were out and back the same way - and restricted to an area not far from the hotel. Odd, considering a private coach was available. Admittedly the weather was not the best. The day of sightseeing was interesting, but it meant that there were only four walking days. Perhaps the sightseeing could be arranged for the "day off" as there is very little to do on one's one on a day off in Dorgali. Accommodation was good, as was the fare, though surprisingly meat-heavy. I would not recommend this trip in its present form.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Sicily Food Adventure

    We booked this trip to go in 2020 and finally made it in 2022. It was well worth the wait. It was everything we'd hoped for and more. Bustling local markets, stunning Greek/Roman temples, fascinating architecture (the baroque balconies), a chance to walk on Mount Etna and of course all the amazing food and wine. There were certainly plenty of opportunities to sample the delights of Sicilian food and wine with our superb guide, Rosario.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many great moments on the trip but for me it was all about the food: meeting the buffalo before sampling the mozzarella cheese; the cooking lesson where we ate what we had prepared; the olive oil tasting and seeing the olive trees which were still producing the olives even though they were hundreds of years old; the wine tasting at Mount Etna and the sumptuous lunch that went with it; sampling the Marsala wine; several buffet lunches where we had the chance to eat the local produce and trying the street food from the market in Palermo. It truly was an indulgent week.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rosario has a great sense of humour and obviously enjoys his job. He has clearly put in the time to research all the activities and would give guidance on what to see in our free time and recommendations of restaurants in the evening. We couldn't have asked for a better guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try everything, even some of the strange street foods - you never know you might like it!
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Sicily: Surpassed Expectations

    This was my first overseas trip since the covid outbreak. After our first meeting over breakfast in Titania, we start on a well paced tour of Sicily. Travel days were short and broken up with interesting stops. Tiziano Tomasello, our tour leader, kept the tour on time, and moving at a good pace. Born and raised in Palermo, his knowledge of the island, its history, culture and especially its food is exceptional. He was very clear in our daily briefings and at meeting places when we had free time. Tiziano's restaurant, bar, coffee shop and ice cream recommendations were very, very good. He had a excellent knowledge of local food and drink specialties. Sicily may be a small island by many standards but there are regional specialties! His shopping recommendations in Palermo were excellent. He knows his coffee! Accommodation was good to excellent. I had no issues with any of the accommodation other that the habit of not turning the hot water on until 7am. There is a lot to see and do on this trip: from Geek and Roman ruins to cathedrals. I felt that I had adequate time at all our stops, including time to enjoy the amazing gelato, granita and espresso.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wandering through Ortigia

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See review comments Tiziano Tomasello is an exceptionally good tour leader. I have done around 30 group trips and he is in the top 10%. Knowledgeable, approachable, interesting and fun to be around

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to walk....and wander. It is the only way to enjoy and savor this old towns and cities.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Walking in Northern Cyprus

    An excellent holiday with a variety of trips all designed for the walker, with a varied historical theme added in. The trip is classed as a Leisurely / Grade 2, I think some of the walks would have warranted a grade 3 indication, as they proved quite a challenge. However, the guide was very good and catered for all tastes and abilities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Buffavento Castle and the walk through the forest of the Five finger range. Although quite hard a very rewarding day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ghiaza was very good and catered for all tastes, he kept the group together and was empathetic to all individual needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some hard walks, but otherwise enjoy the countryside. Use the pool its a good size and although unheated very good for swimming.