Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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17907 Reviews

  • Reviewed March 2020

    Maldives by boat

    A trip for keen divers or snorkellers - marine life is the main focus. We thought this trip was good value. The boat was a traditional craft which is not quite as convenient as the newer white cruisers, but very comfortable and much nicer looking, and about 12 guests is a nice number for getting to know people. The crew, itinerary and catering were all very good; we explored two or three atolls every day, each with its own wildlife speciality. We saw close up all the fish and mammals we had hoped for. The potential for shore time was limited due to the current virus risk, but this is definitely a ship based holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming alongside whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, reef sharks and much more.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    UB was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and a thoroughly likeable leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Arrivals at Male can be slow, but not too chaotic. Departures seemed much more modern and efficient. Even without the current virus risk, there is only a little planned shore time or interaction with local people, but the fantastic wildlife more than makes up for this. We had only one scuba beginner, and the teaching was excellent; it may be a bit stretched if several new divers want to try scuba, so worth enquiring before booking. Take seriously the advice about wearing a rash vest and factor 50! Feet are not used to such long periods in flippers; several people found dive socks made the experience more comfortable and avoided any possible chafe. Finally, much of the coral is bleached due to global warming - the profusion of sea life more than makes up for this, but it's worth managing expectations.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Fabulous Holiday

    Everything about this holiday was excellent from the arrangements and information prior to the holiday through to the sights visited, food, accommodation, tour leaders and the people of Vietnam & Cambodia. A truly memorable holiday!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Vietnamese people and their whole attitude to life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both tour leaders were excellent. Their knowledge, friendliness, competence, efficiency & their personable nature couldn't be faulted.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't rely on being able to use your bank cards everywhere & make sure you have US dollars if you haven't bought your visa for Cambodia in advance.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is my 1st Exodus holiday & I will definitely be using the company again for other trips.
  • A great holiday

    This trip was pretty much exactly what it said on the label. A varied ride through contrasting states. Well organised and well run. No problems and a lot of fun. A good balance of riding and relaxation.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Nothing particularly stands out. There were many interesting things to see but for me there was no one inspirational moment. This is not a negative comment - it was all good with no real highs and no lows.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shekar - Excellent. He was organised and always very considerate. He led well and although some minor incidents must have raised his stress levels he coped well. He loved to talk and would use two words when one would do but he was interested in improving his English (which was very good) so as to communicate more efficiently. Sometimes he made up the odd facts, particularly dates, but this was just an amusing characteristic and one would not treat his historical knowledge too seriously.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In our group everyone had done at least one cycling trip with Exodus before. There are some quite long days so I am not sure I would recommend the ride for first timers unless you were already keen cyclists. India is a mad place to cycle but quite safe once you get to grips with the techniques of getting through the crowds as one exits or enters a town or city. It is hot - low 30's C - but this is fine.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hotels are varied from decent tourist establishments in towns to home-stays in rural areas. The latter are perfectly comfortable and interesting places. Many do not serve alcohol which is a bit of a bore because many, like myself, appreciate a cold beer after a hard hot ride. This is partially overcome by the guide organizing a supply which we could sneak in to our rooms (known as health drinks). This is Ok but arranging to meet in someone's bedroom for an end of day drink is not the same as having a social time in a bar. Some places you cannot be seen to drink in public so that includes no alcohol with meals.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Khopra Ridge / Annapurna

    Originally booked on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek, as the first trek of the new season this got changed due to danger of avalanches on the original route, so we were rescheduled to walk the Khopra Ridge. This proved an excellent alternative. Considering the time of year the weather was kind to us, all except the early morning trek up Poon Hill, not much to see in a snow storm, but that only added to the adventure. The walking was tough, the terrain unrelenting, the snow drifts in parts deep, but the views stunning. Reading the trip notes was invaluable to adjust our "western expectations" to local conditions. The accommodation although basic was just what was needed and very welcome at the end of a long days walk. It was a constant amazement considering where we were trekking, as to how well feed we were, the food was wholesome, well cooked and in large proportions. A real battle to burn it off the next day. As a small group, 5 clients and 5 staff we managed to crack on, to get the walks done easily within the expected times, this may not be so with a larger group. Being a smaller group we also had more room in the tea houses. The fact we all got on well and had a good group leader and support staff made this a very enjoyable trip. Really glad to have done this, and walked in the Himalayas at last. Would recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sat in tea house on Khopra Ridge, eating our evening meal, fire burning away, looking out above the cloud base as the sun set illuminating Annapurna South & Barah Shikhar, snow all around.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ramhari Phuyal, consummate professional, with an obvious love of his country and job. Ably supported by the rest of the team, nothing was too much trouble to sort, always cheerful. Early morning wake-ups with tea and a laugh. Our luggage was always there waiting for us on arrival at our new destination, whatever the trail conditions. I think we were lucky to have done this trip with them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes. Make sure you are fit. I found the money guidance was very conservative and had some left at end of stay, get it changed before you hit the airport if needs be. At the time of year (Feb - Mar) its cold on the tops, some places provide a duvet, we had a competition as to who could have the most layers of clothing on and still get into their 4 season sleeping bags. For 3 nights on the tops we couldn't have a shower, but Wifi was available if weak, except in one location where non was available. Pokhara is lovely, Kathmandu I found not so, noisy, polluted, do as the locals do when crossing the roads, but take care.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Can recommend Exodus, their itineraries are good, well organised and like the options to fly from local airports when available.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    An amazing boat trip in the Maldives

    An amazing tour during which we were lucky enough to snorkel with turtles, dozens of spinner dolphins, huge manta rays, a whale shark on two days, eagle and sting rays, moray eels, reef sharks and of course a wide variety of numerous reef fish large and small. We were all keen snorkelers and were able to snorkel at least twice a day. The boat was roomy and comfortable to spend time on during the day as were the cabins at night. The latter had both air conditioning and a fan to keep things cool. The crew were welcoming and helpful. The food was tasty and plentiful, the group were all keen snorkellers who got on well together.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling with five manta rays which were feeding in the water beneath us, flying/swimming gracefully in formation, spiralling and going round in small circles near the sea bed. We were able to easily keep up with them for about half an hour. An enormous manta ray joined the loose group for a while before disappearing into the plankton haze. Visibility was surprisingly good, given the plankton, and we able to duck dive a few metres to get clearer photos. Swimming above and briefly alongside a whale shark with only our group present in the water on our second encounter with it, was also magical. We were lucky to see several whale sharks at night pass very close by at the surface by the stern illuminated by a powerful light used to attract small fish eaten by the whale sharks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    UB (Ubai) was personable, had an easy and infectious laugh and who “got” the English sense of humour, looked after all members of the group very well, and quietly and efficiently ensured that everyone was happy and that everything ran smoothly and without drama.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Practise snorkelling and duck diving, go on a course if you can, it will pay dividends when it comes to getting closer to the wildlife underwater. Although snorkelling gear is available on the boat, take your own mask (and fins ) to ensure a comfortable fit. Take a camera suitable for underwater photography and practise with it before you go. A rash vest, preferably but not essentially a thermal one (see on Amazon), is really useful for up-to one hour plus snorkelling sessions. Take along some luck with you to help you find plenty of all the creatures you want to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our first encounter with the whale shark felt rather uncomfortable at times, having to swim along with more than fifty other snorkellers , although the whale shark itself seemed unperturbed and continued to swim along on its way. On our encounter the next day we were the only ones in the water. There was, as expected, a lot of dead coral around, though there were also plenty of signs of recovery. I should thoroughly recommend this trip.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    A Fantastic Trek

    A great place for a challenging trek. The scenery was amazing and all the people of Nepal, that i met, were friendly and hospitable. The Himalayas really are great cathedrals of nature and were a pleasure to see as the group travelled through the Annapurna Circuit. Our tour leader, Tenzi Sherpa, and lead guide Kaji Sherpa were fantastic and professional at all times during the tour, providing support, words of encouragement and lots of cups of tea. They enhanced the trek with professional service at all times.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The crossing of Thorong La pass was amazing and an unforgettable experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A fantastic tour leader who was hard working and inspiring as we trekked around the Annapurna Circuit

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for amazing views of the mountains and friendly locals. Feb/March was cold in the evening and especially at night. A 4 season sleeping bag and liner is essential to a warm nights sleep. Although the menus in the tea houses is simple, the food was wholesome and great portions.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trek exceeded my expectations because of the professionalism of the local team that supported us during the trek, the amazing scenery and the great camaraderie of the trekking group.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Wonderful first experience of Northern India - highly recommended!

    This was an amazing "starter" trip for anyone wanting to begin to experience India. Packed with highlights, everything ran like clockwork (yes, even the train!) and there were no disappointments - friendly people, incredible sights, amazing experiences and incredible food. Highly recommended!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several highlights but, for me, Varanasi was just amazing and a place I will never forget. It is hard to put into words, but it is amazingly moving, vibrant and life-affirming - truly a unique place that should be visited by everyone. Fatehpur Sikri, Jaipur, Agra and our amazing tiger sighting all ran Varanasi a very close second, though.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader really brought India to life. He could handle any questions we threw at him but, best of all in my opinion, was his interpretation of India’s many religions. Rather than a dry talk about each religious site – Hindu, Sikh, Muslim – he vividly described what each religion meant to him, bringing out the colour and vibrancy of each which more than matched the amazing temples and activities we saw. Even as an old student of RE, I learnt more from our tour leader on this trip then I did in3 yrs of studies and without ever feeling I was being lectured to. Really great, and a real enthusiasm and love for his country and culture on show - much appreciated!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get involved and try everything - whether it is dressing up or trying the local delicacies, just do it! The optional evening boat ride in Varanasi is very atmospheric and moving and really shouldn't be missed. If possible, sit on the left hand side of the bus so you have a better view of all the amazing street life - great for photos and it means you definitely will never be bored on the longish road journeys.
  • A great week, despite very little snow.

    I'm just back from this trip, and had a great time. The trip was full, with 16 people, and everyone was lovely. Villa Hermani is a great small hotel, and the food is excellent. Katharine and Herman are lovely hosts, and their Romanian cook is excellent. Our walk leader was Leo, their son, and he was good fun and a very capable guide. He had to make some difficult decisions because of the dodgy and changeable weather, and the varying abilities in the group,which he handled very well. It was great to have Rares (Alex) along as a second guide, and we really needed him at times. Magura - like most of Europe - has had a strange winter, so there was only a dusting of snow when we arrived. But, with that and a couple of further dumps of snow during the week, we managed 2 walks with snowshoes and 1 with yaktrax, as well as ordinary walking in hiking boots. I liked the mix of walking and cultural visits - bears, Saxon history, Bran Castle. And I stayed for 2 days in Bucharest at the end to see a bit more of Romania. It was so different it seemed like a totally different country!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lunch at the Curmatura Cabin - it snowed heavily while we were inside, and the whole world had changed when we came out.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Leo was excellent. He was very capable in the outdoors, and very sensible in his approach to problems. He was very aware of our health and safety - helping us up and down difficult bits, cutting side branches off fallen trees etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Have at least a modicum of fitness. It's not terribly strenuous, but neither is it leisurely. Most people hadn't snowshoed before, and that was fine. And definitiely bring yaktrax or equivalent - you'd be lost without them if you have ice like we did. And this is not a holiday for people scared of dogs - farm dogs run free everywhere, and are completely unavoidable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I probably spent a bit more than I expected, mainly on alcohol...
  • Reviewed March 2020

    High Atlas Morocco

    Fantastic trip to High Atlas.Interesting time in Marrakech,lively fascinating city.Walking in High Atlas varied with one long 18 mile hike but taken at steady pace,beautiful scenery.Guide Abdellah fantastic,lovely man with his assistant Fouad,great English,great sense of humour and brilliant leader.Lovely introduction to Morocco which makes me want to return

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having Islam explained by a muslim who was a great representative of an ill understood religion

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely brilliant.Lovely man,so helpful,calm,informative,good sense of humour,couldn’t fault him.Typical of all 7 leaders on all my 7 Exodus trips

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking is great but to do the 18 mile last walk it would be best to be used to walking regularly at home to toughen the feet as it involved 8 hours on one’s feet

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you get fed up with the negative press about Muslim countries then visit Morocco which is one of more liberal muslim countries which is a model for others to copy
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Stunning scenery and exciting activities

    Finnish Lapland is exhilarating. So clean and spacious and quiet. We may not have seen the Northern Lights but the snowmobiles, huskies, reindeer and wilderness lodge all made up for it. An action packed weekend. Lovely food and hotel. Equipment provided was good. The guide Jenni was brilliant.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sunset across the frozen lake at the wilderness cabin. Speeding across a lake on a snow mobile at midnight. The delight of seeing the excited huskies rolling in the snow and drinking it. Feeding the baby reindeer.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jenni, our group leader was amazing. She worked so hard, staying up very late to try to locate the Northern Lights. Her cooking at the cabin was fantastic. She looked after us all very well. She was very knowledgeable and an excellent host. We all loved her Finnish irony.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a non stop weekend, and be prepared for very late nights. Take flip flops for the wilderness sauna. Contact lenses are better for the activities if you have them as glasses steam up very quickly. It does get very cold, but as long as you follow the trip notes and layer up and use the centres equipment you will be fine. Hotel and cabin are lovely and warm.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although this seems like a costly trip for only 3 nights it is well worth it as you get to travel to Europe's last wilderness and there are minimal costs once you are there: only alcohol and souvenirs. All food, including tea and coffee is included. Finnair were excellent too. Plenty of leg room, clean new planes, films on board and free drinks.