Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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17907 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2020

    Snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees

    Excellent trip & a great hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cathar grave stones,Tírv, Aigüestortes National Park, Espot mountains

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Miguel is a very competent mountain leader. He is also a walking encycopedia on Catalan history.
  • The Alternative Garden Route !

    This was the alternative Garden Route for those that do not just want to drive it but still experience all that it has to offer along the way (and more). The trip is full of varied walks ranging from a few hours to the two day Alexandria Trail, all of which have their own characteristics and interest. There was a full day safari plus other wildlife opportunities along the way. We saw dolphins, penguins, whales, seals in the sea and elephants, hyenas and water buffalo (to name a few) on land plus a myriad of beautiful birds and plants. For the more cultured there was time for some wine tasting (extra) and an opportunity to sea kayak (extra). After many days in the countryside and on the coast we made it to the buzz of Cape Town. Table Mountain and Robben Island (extra) were must do's. A different vibe here for sure and lots going on. Overall a fantastically varied trip and one that we will certainly never forget. Thanks to our local guide (Simon) and the team at Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Alexandria Trail - A "get away from it all" 2 day walk with overnight hut and the best stargazing ever seen Wildlife & Plants - So much to see De Hoop - Beautiful Nature Reserve and evening braai (BBQ) with a glorious sunset Robben Island - Listening to the guide who was actually incarcerated in the Prison there was moving and interesting Table Mountain - Climbing to the top and seeing those iconic views over Cape Town was amazing Accommodation - Vast range including one with a lovely colonial feel at Swellendam with great swimming pool !

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Simon (Group Leader) and his wife Cathy (Driver and many other jobs !) were amazing hosts who made us feel welcome from the moment we landed to the time we left. They were professional, well organised, knowledgeable & went out of their way to make sure everyone had a great trip. Thanks. Much appreciated.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Alexandria Trail (the 2 day trek) - Although the weather was dry we used a 25 Litre rucsac for our clothes, wash stuff and food that we were asked to transport and hung our hired sleeping bag (which was quite large) on the outside (waterproof bag would be necessary if wet). Alternatively, the sleeping bag could be put in your rucsac but this would probably require a slightly larger rucsac unless you had your own sleeping bag that packs down very small. The hut itself was cosy and not at all as bad as you might think. Fantastic evening meal by candlelight and the stars to keep you company and if you are lucky maybe some dolphins out in the nearby sea. A lovely experience away from it all. Washing - Although not guaranteed, the Group managed to get some washing dropped off and collected same day at a very reasonable price in Plettenberg Bay. Useful after the previous few days walking. There was also a chance to do so in Cape Town but no-one took that up. Water Bottles - Take 2 large (750ml to 1 litre) bottles to regularly top up from the tank in the minibus
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Lifetime Adventure

    This was our first Exodus Holiday, it did not disappoint. Very well organised trip from all the information prior to our trip to all the hard working ground staff in Costa Rica. Nothing was too much trouble. The scenery ,mountains, beaches, flora, fauna, wildlife all amazing. My wishes to see sloths, Tucans and green eyed frogs all came true and so much more. The cycling was varied , very hot some days but the bus was always there to provide refreshing fresh pineapple or watermelon along with energy drinks and water. Some hills , some flatter rides and an 8mile beach cycle. We had such fun and good laughs with all our group who gelled well together. This was facilitated by our guides and support team . Our guide Guillermo was a wildlife expert and was knowledgeable about all areas of his country, this was delivered in a very witty and humorous style. Loved it all

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    cycling through banana plantations seeing wildlife in their own habitats

    What did you think of your group leader?

    well organized, hard working, extremely knowledgable about his country from history, geography and wildlife. His sense of humour was ace.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its a full on trip, but well worth the effort

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book now !
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Amazing Costa Rica

    I thought this was a great trip and I was very fortunate to end up travelling with a fabulous, like minded group of people. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and the itinerary is well designed to fit in lots of places but without feeling rushed as you get to stay everywhere for two nights. It did not feel as intense and tiring as some trips I have done as there is ample chance to chill out on the verandas of the lodges or by the pool with a book or just watching the wildlife. It is very focused on the nature, scenery and wildlife side of the country, in particular birds, so be prepared for that. There is a chance to do a few other things such as the hot springs and zip lining which are well worth it. I thought all of the accommodation was excellent. Although they varied in terms of facilities everywhere was clean, comfortable and friendly, in excellent locations, with beautiful grounds and with good food (food especially good in Savegre) and most had pools which was an added bonus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were quite a few amazing moments and the whole country is just a joy to explore. I was desperate to see a sloth and we managed to see a few but seeing my first one by the pool in Tortuguero on day one was a definite highlight. I also loved the boat trips we did. We also saw an Armadillo and porcupine here as well which are apparently quite rare to spot so that was very exciting as was seeing a troupe of monkeys jumping from the trees across the river on the boat trip. In terms of the optional trips I really enjoyed the hot springs in La Fortuna as well as the zip lining and canopy walk in Monteverde and would definitely recommend doing these.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex Castro is a brilliant tour leader. He has an infectious enthusiasm and love for his country and a seemingly endless wealth of knowledge regarding all the animals, birds and plants. Quite how he could identify birds at such a great distance when all I can see at best is a blob without my binoculars will forever be a mystery! He was always charming and polite with a great sense of humour and had endless patience with us when we were asking for the twentieth time what a certain bird was or getting excited about an 'animal' that turned out to be just a lump of moss or leaves! Also, I have to mention the best bus driver in Costa Rica - Mario. A lovely, friendly guy who navigated the winding and sometimes bumpy Costa Rican roads brilliantly and safely, and who was always happy to try and help me with my awful Spanish!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is not necessary to take colones. You can get by easily with American dollars. Be warned that Costa Rica is at least as expensive as the UK if not slightly more so. Both Monteverde and Savegre can be on the cool side so make sure you have some layers. Take binoculars as you need them to spot all the birds and animals. I wondered before I went if I should have booked to stay in San Jose for longer however having done the trip I don't feel it is necessary. We had a few hours on the last day so got to do a quick tour of the city centre and then the gold museum which is very good and then as the flight was not until the afternoon the next day I was able to do the 9am tour of the National Theatre which I would highly recommend.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go. I am worried with the increasing number of people travelling to Costa Rica it may get too over commercialised soon so go before it is too late!
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Fabulous

    I loved very moment of this trip . Jordan is a country full of great sights and great people - lots of variety. Hard to know what was the best bit - Petra featured highly as did Wadi Rum but then so did Jerash. Tour leader Ibrahim gets it exactly right - gentle and guding leadership with expert knowledge of the history , archaeology and culture of his amazing country. A great Guy !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    that first glimpse of the Treasury at Petra was then surpassed by the Monastery - after 800 steps up!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    100% great guy !

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all weathers - 4 seasons in a day. Desert nights are cold !
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Stunning country, great wildlife and brilliant people

    A brilliant trip, with a great group, amazing scenery, getting close up to wildlife in its natural habitat, and really friendly Ticos. The group gelled quickly, helped by our amazing guide Memo. The riding was mostly easy, but beware of any ‘notable’ hills (ahem, Memo!). Roads were mostly in good condition. Some early starts, but most days got to hotels with time to relax. Different vibe between Pacific Coast, Caribbean Coast and Mountains, but fascinating. Loved it. Highly recommended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list; a moment of peace and beauty in the Cloud Forest, first sight of sloths, humming birds, kingfishers, crocodiles, or the night tour when we saw the red eyed tree frog. So many beautiful moments riding quiet country roads, surrounded by volcanoes, amazing wildlife and friendly locals, just feeling speechless with the beauty.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Memo was brilliant. A wicked sense of humour, relaxed style, always smiling, helpful and professional throughout. He had deep knowledge of the wildlife, the countryside, the flora, and shared insights into the culture, people, society and place. His ‘PowerPoint’ presentations were fun and informative, if unexpected. The end of the tour felt a little sad, as everyone went in different directions. Memo was at the heart of this group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a travel plug (for sinks) if you plan on washing cycling gear; lycra shorts are ok - there are plenty of Tico cyclists in lycra; bring plenty of deet; re-apply sunscreen, even if it says it only needs one application; the Cloud Forest is worth a visit.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The National Theatre tour is worthwhile if you have time. Uber is easy to use around San Jose. If you have the chance, I’d recommend a bit of luxury before or after the trip, there are plenty of hotels nearby. Note the the start hotel is in a suburb of Alajuela, which is separate from but near San Jose.
  • A memorable journey

    This was our first adventure with Exodus, but we are not new to cycle touring having used several other tour companies in the past. This was also our first time in South America and it was memorable for many reasons - the stunning scenery, the excellent guides and the surprising amount of rough surfaces we had to ride on.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Waking up in the mornings and looking out at exceptional views in so many locations. The scenery in this part of the world is part Alps, part Dolomites, part Rocky Mountains, part South Island New Zealand. Then add perfect volcanoes and you've got the Lake District of Chile and Argentina! Riding the valley between Peulla and the border pass was my most breathtaking memory, partly because we saw our first condor, and partly because it was such joy not to be in yesterday's pouring rain! Conguillio National Park is the icing on the cake - so stunning it's hard to describe, and so different from the rest of the experience. On day one, because of the rain, our guides arranged a tour of Teatro del Lago. This should be part of the tour, it was an outstanding experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Alejandro and he was exceptional. His side-kicks Yal and Diego were too. The three made such a great team. We've never been disappointed with tour leaders, and these three were top-notch, and so much fun to be around.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, plenty. There was so much good about this tour from the leaders to the scenery to the hotels to the food, but if you are a road cyclist then you might be in for a surprise. I know the trip notes say there's 26% of unpaved tracks but that doesn't even begin to describe how rough some of the cycling is. It's more like 30% anyway, and given the time it takes to navigate we reckon we may have spent 50% of our riding time on unpaved surfaces. You need to be prepared for this. There are only two days out of the nine riding days that are entirely spent on paved roads - and they are both heavenly rides, listed as day 7 and day 9 in the trip notes. There are also two days that are entirely unpaved from start to finish, that's day 4 and day 12. Strange there's no mention of this in the trip notes regarding individual days! These days were difficult, and yet they were also the must stunningly beautiful. The advice from our leader to lower your saddle when negotiating steep unpaved downhills with rocks and boulders was extremely helpful and made us feel safer. Quite a bit of walking was happening too. Everyone was in the same boat, but those with off-road experience obviously fared better. There's considerable elevation gain on this tour too. Funny that's not mentioned in the trip notes either. Cycling trip notes with daily distances but without daily elevation gains seems incomplete to us. We made enquiries and eventually got the daily elevations sent to us. Suggest you do the same. They are anywhere from 230 m to 984 m. It is hilly, every day!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't be put off by the trip notes for day 4 about the challenging 700 m climb. You can choose to ride up in the hotel pick-up truck that brings along the lunch. You can also choose to walk it, without your bike which will be taken in the truck. We were also give the choice of attempting to ride it and abandoning the bike if necessary and walking - the truck would rescue the bike. So there are options, and people in our group took all of them. The 3 km rocky descent on the other side of the border however has no options as the truck can't cross the border. The bikes we had were Giant, almost new, well maintained, front shocks, disc brakes, very suitable for the terrain. Another piece of advice is to bring a gel seat, and some kind of small handlebar bag for your camera, phone and sunscreen. It's not terrifically hot, but the sun is strong. Don't bother with power bars as the daily snacks are excellent; bananas, chocolate covered peanuts and raisins and more, coffee, tea, always at around 20 km. We also took our toe cages and they were happy to put them on our pedals for us, we were very glad to have them because did I mention that it's hilly?! We are now looking to buy the velcro-strap handlebar mirrors that some people had - these would have been very useful on the main roads; a flashing red rear light would be a good idea too, especially if you have some dark, rainy days; and you might! It was chilly at times, most people wore a Buff in the mornings and long-fingered gloves too. The van will take things as you remove them, no need to cycle with a day pack. Go with your eyes open to these conditions and you will love your Lake District tour.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Fantastic experience

    Week long tour of western Cuba stopping off at loads of interesting and enjoyable locations: just some were Cienfuegos, Trinidad, pottery studio and 'have a go', Vinales Valley and tobacco/coffee plantation with fascinating demonstrations and of course not forgetting the wonderful Havana. Lovely places to stay and very very good food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Can't narrow it down to 1! but including visiting the traditional house of a couple who lived via their coffee and plant production, overwhelming hospitality of the places we stayed in, Cuban friendliness and seeing how they manage their lives so well despite some hardships.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous. The most informative, entertaining and helpful person we could have wished for in that role. The coach driver who took us everywhere was wonderful too, and made sure we never ran out of fuel!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to live out of a suitcase, it's not nearly as difficult as we thought!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would wholeheartedly recommend this tour. It gave us a great holiday, wonderful experiences and plenty of great memories!
  • Reviewed February 2020

    A Brilliant Trip

    We have been on a couple of cycling trips before and this one was probably the best. Tri our guide was outstanding and all our fellow cyclists were a great bunch of people. We got a real flavour of life in Vietnam. Lots of interesting food.The meals were good and plentiful. Thought we would lose weight but didn't! Good Hotels. Many highlights but a couple or so to point out,Whale Island and Hoi An, the 30km exhilarating downhill ride and cycling in city centre traffic...... great fun but leaves your heart racing. It is quite full on which leaves you wanting to spend more time in some of the places visited. The usual pattern is arrive at 5 - 6 pm, leave at 7.15 next morning. However we did find time to swim in the hotel pools. Overnight train was great fun ....all part of the adventure. To cover the length of the country there are some longish times in the bus but the bus was comfortable but great chance to talk with your fellow travellers. This also gives you time to see more of the country and people watch. Staggered us how much could be piled on a scooter! The bikes were ideal for the road conditions as well as being clean and very well maintained. At the frequent refreshment/rest stops there was lots of juice, water, fruit, nuts and biscuits. The driver and bike mechanic were very friendly and very competent. Great organization, things happened when Tri said they would.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The local people were very friendly and were very welcoming. They seemed to have put the past behind them and were striving to build a modern country with no rancour about the past. We had four Americans and a Frenchman on our trip and they experienced no animosity. I accept this is the view of a short stay holiday maker looking at things through rose tinted spectacles but the people smiled a lot and the little children shouted greetings and wanted to high five you.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tri our group leader was outstanding. He was highly organised and efficient. He instilled confidence and was always cool, calm and collected. Tri ensured we were always well briefed. He and his team ensured our safety was paramount at all times. Tri had a lovely sense of humour and made things enjoyable. He was a great ambassador for his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully.Get your self into reasonable shape but if you have any doubts about your fitness hire an electric bike........you will have a much better experience. Go with the flow. Learn some basic Vietnamese, it goes a long way if you can say good morning/evening and thank you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great trip made by having a superb group leader and a bunch of fellow travellers who all gelled together.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Amazing experience

    From start to finish, I cannot fault this trip. The temples and Ancient Egyptian remains speak for themselves and are stunning. I had no idea that they were so well preserved. But the trip was made especially enjoyable by our super efficient and friendly guide, Sayed. His commentary covered both ancient and modern Egypt, and I have been reading books about Egypt ever since!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sun going down, while sailing down the Nile is quite magical. In the valley of the kings, being able to explore with very few other tourists, brought home the splendour of the tombs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sayed managed all the logistics to perfection, and at the same time shared his passion for Egyptology. He struck exactly the right balance between serious, informative guide and being friendly and approachable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cost of the optional trips does mount up - but most are really great experiences - so I would advise factoring them into the overall cost of the holiday before you go.