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 January 2012
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER COSTA RICA

    Excellent tour by Exodus.  Beautiful nature and the lodges give you a chance to enjoy a real rain and cloud forest experience.  I was surprised how environmental consciousness the country is.  Well done Costa Rica !  

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    - Boat trip in the back canals at Tortuguero.- Children at school.- Humming birds !!! How beautiful they are.- rainforest and cloud forests - very unique experience and the well chosen lodges made them very enjoyable. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide was very knowledgable and had good contacts with other guides to help spotting animals.  The only comment I could make that he could have much better managed timing in the interest of the group (instead of his own interest) to make the most of the day.  Often days were splitn with short breaks that you could do nothing meaningful.  The driver was brilliant, he well looked after the bus and people safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    - It's a wildlife tour, so don't expect much cultural experience.- Food is great but nothing authenticate; ask for plain grilled fish when on the coast to enjoy the real flavor of fresh seafood and don't let it spoiled with marinade and sauce. - Bring a water bottle - tap water is safe to drink !- Don't forget your fleece, it's freezing in the mountains in the night.  - You are going to rain/could forests, don't expect your cloths to dry:-) 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would allow an extra day but certainly more time at the ocean.  If nothing else, you can just better plan departure times to allow more time at various destinations; this however may be down to the individual guide we had; I would suggest to look into this in the interest of the group.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI

    My photographic safari based at Kicheche Bush camp, surpassed all previous wildlife trips by virtue of the abundance of game, plus the manifest non-stop action, coupled with animal behaviour that I have never witnessed before.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Where to begin?   I have indelible images in my mind's eye of the hyena pack harassing a male lion in the dawn light;  the wildebeest escaping from the pursuing hyena by jumping into the river - again in the dawn light;   the cheek of the jackals attempting to steal a kill from other predators;   the lion killing and carrying off an infant warthog;   the spectacle of the three cheetahs chasing and killing an impala;   not to mention the grand finale - a female cheetah with two cubs, estimated at less than two week old.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The inimitable Paul Goldstein delivered in spades!   Backed by Darren and Emma, running the camp and our drivers and trackers: Charles, James and Patrick.   A winning combination.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If wildlife photography is your thing - don't hesitate - sign up and go!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I shall return.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER ETHIOPIA

    Ethiopia is a country that is horrifically misunderstood by so many people. Visiting this incredible, staggeringly beautiful place for yourself will reward you with the most stunning, amazing experiences (and photographs!) which will live with you for ever. Forget what you THINK you know about Ethiopia (and don't listen to the opinions of people who've never been!) and prepare yourself for one hell of a trip. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Where to even begin? There are just so many. Actually being in Ethiopia itself was pretty inspirational. The country and its brilliantly random, colourful, chaotic nature is just a joy to be immersed in. The people are so friendly and welcoming and just taking the time to talk with them is inspiration itself.  There were SO many highlights for me. The most awe-inspiring happenstance though, believe it or not, has to be a funeral, of all things, on the first Sunday, in Axum. We were visiting a church, which, I apologise in advance to all females reading this, was male-only. Through sheer good fortune we happened to visit while a funeral was taking place. Now, I know what you are thinking: *reads your mind* "a funeral? Good fortune?! You're mad!"  I'm not mad though. (Honest!) The funeral was for a chap in the higher echelons of the clergy, as we were informed at the time. The Archbishop of Axum was there; he blessed Scotland. (Don't ask!)  What unfolded in front of us was just mind-blowing and rendered me speechless. The Ethiopians really do take their religion seriously and this can be seen throughout the country: in the churches and even on the children, by way of necklaces and pendants. The funeral of which I was so lucky to witness just really enforced the importance of religion; it was truly awesome and very humbling.  Yes, I realise that stating "a funeral was one of the best parts of my holiday!" will garner looks of incredulity from  most people, but it really had to be seen to be believed.  Sitting and gazing out over the Simien Mountains was hugely inspirational as well; 'spectacular' comes nowhere even close to describing the beauty and sheer staggeringly incredible scenery of which I don't believe any photograph could ever do it justice.   Markets. We really DO like markets and we, thanks to our wonderful, diligent guide, were lucky enough to experience a couple of incredible markets. The one down south was fantastic and earlier in the trip we stopped at one in a place called Woreta, on the drive to Gondar. To say this market is amazing would quite simply be a master of understatement which would gain me nomination for the Understatement of the Year Award. It was just astonishing and a real experience to be in such an environment. If you stop here, keep an eye out for the surprise in the middle of the market! I won't say what it is and ruin the surprise but it will be unexpected (Ethiopia specialises in the unexpected and random!) and you really won't miss it! For me, the markets were an undisputed highlight of this trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gebre was an absolute diamond. Always insightful and informative, he had a fantastic sense of humour, was always laughing and smiling with us and was enormously knowledgeable about his incredible country. He was there when we needed him and attentive if one of us wasn't feeling too great. A brilliant guy, in my opinion, whom I'm honoured to have met and to have been in his company for the two weeks.   The local guides were pretty good too, with the exception of at least two of them who were just fantastic characters and conducted themselves and their story-telling so well, history just came alive in front of us. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    LEARN THE LANGUAGE!!! I can't stress that enough. Of course, you don't NEED to; everyone I encountered spoke a very good level of English. However, I can unequivocally say that taking the time to learn some of the language opened up another side to the trip. The Ethiopians loved any attempt at their language (which is Amharic, in case you don't know) and was always greeted by smiles and even laughter with the kids. Even just the basics like hello, thank you, please and sorry will go a long way. Being able to count to ten and say 'no problem' will further enhance things. I stress again, it's not essential nor even necessary but will endear you to the locals and will garner more of their beautiful smiles. Learning some Amharic before I went was time very well spent.  If, like I was before this trip, you were umming and arring about mosquito nets, allow me, please, dearest reader, to state that they're not necessary. I didn't even use my insect repellent and was unperturbed when it was confiscated at Lalibella Airport because I'd forgotten to remove it from my hand luggage. (Hint hint: don't forget to remove such items from your hand luggage, which is an easy mistake to make when you're tired and excited about the next leg of your journey!) A few other members of the group were bitten by fleas and there are flies and other such annoyances about but I didn't find them too problematic.  I had read, in the opinions of others before I went to Ethiopia, that it perhaps may be best to have experience of travelling in third world countries before tackling this wonderful country on the Horn of Africa. I did worry a little as not only had I never been to Africa before, I'd never been out of the UK before so this was my first trip but honestly, as long as you have an idea of what Ethiopia is about and understand that the culture is very different and do your research beforehand, you will be fine. It is a very random place and things just don't work as they do over here: but that is the beauty of it. Instead of sighing when a lavatory cistern disintegrates when you touch it, have a giggle at it. Ethiopia is to be enjoyed but you have to be open to it.  I was told in an e-mail from Exodus that sterling is an acceptable currency to pay for your visa on arrival. I'm sure you can imagine my disconcertment when sterling actually isn't accepted: dollars and Euros only, if you please! Thankfully another member of our group was stood next to me at the time and kindly allowed me to purchase some dollars from him.   I changed money at the Ghion Hotel in Addis. Some people changed small amounts of money as and when they needed it but I changed a larger sum to last me the entire trip. Which is all well and good until you come to exchange it back again, when you are introduced to bureaucracy with a very firm handshake indeed. To change birr back to your desired currency, you need to fill a form out, present your receipt you were issued with upon the original transaction, then provide two photocopies of your passport. I did actually have these but they were in my luggage somewhere, which by that point was loaded onto the bus, which was, you know, handy, so you have to go to the Ghion Business Centre (a small room with two computers and a photocopier) and get the copies done for a birr apiece. And then they only had £20 left so I had to have that and a mix of dollars. It wasn't even an inconvenience, just an unexpected encounter. It id take about twenty minutes or so, if not longer, to complete the transaction though, so just be aware of that and if you do exchange money back, don't leave it while the last second before leaving. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hmmmmmmmm: the trip south. The south is quite a contrast to the north and it was nice to experience it. There is, however, a long drive from Addis and back again and I personally feel that it would have been more worth it if we were able to spend more time in the south. I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the experiences we had on the trip south but it is an awful long drive for the day there. Still, it's an experience so enjoy it!   The food: I quite liked the spicy Ethiopian cuisine. One one of the early nights I had dry tibs (spicy fried lamb) and it was absolutely delicious. Like anywhere, there were instances of good food and bad food but as I say, it all adds to the experience. I had the best spaghetti bolognese of my life here in Ethiopia; I couldn't believe how tasty it was. European food was rather nice; some very tasty pizzas to be had. I only encountered honey once, in a cafe in Lalibela town but it was divine and so tasty. om nom nom. The beer was quite nice, if a little gassy. As other reviewers here have said: St George beer was by far the best. Harar Beer was ghastly. One evening in Addis, three of us went for a walk to a restaurant called The Cottage. Turn right out of the Ghion Hotel and follow the road for a little distance and it's set back in a little courtyard. Myself and another chap had the steak which was just delicious. A very nice atmosphere as well and the fellow running the establishment was a cheerful, fun, helpful guy.  Allow me to be so bold to recommend this place to you.   One point of utmost importance which could not be stressed any more vociferously if I were stood atop a ladder in the Simien Mountains, shouting through a megaphone, being broadcast through an amplifier, fed through an even bigger amplifier and then through the largest megaphone of which you've never seen the like. This point is so important I'm going to dust off my caps lock button and shout it at you. In bold. And underlined..... ENJOY THE TRIP!!!!!! Ameseginalehu! (That's thank you, by the way. See, you're learning Amharic already. Go you!)    
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    HIGHLIGHTS OF MOROCCO

    As the holiday title suggests, what you get on this holiday is an insight to the highlights of Morocco - a country with a lot to offer the traveller.  This therefore does involve a lot of time spent travelling, which in our case was extremely cramped as the trip was full with 16 adults on a small, old 18 seater mini-bus (plus guide & driver).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Morocco really does have a lot of contrasts - from the Imperial Cities, the Desert, Mountains and the Atlantic coast as well - personally I find it difficult to pick a favourite, although I did enjoy the walking and would have liked a bit more.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mustapha was all you could want from a local guide - always helpful, polite and knowledgeable - unfortunately on the bus the technology (microphone & speakers) often let him down, meaning we couldn't hear a lot of his commentary.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For winter departures of this holiday, pack for a winter holiday - it gets very cold at night in the desert, the mountains and especially in the gorge.  Most hotels do not have room heating, so thermals and thick jumpers are required.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If the trip is full (16) then do not expect any comfort or room in the minibus!  Also, pack as light as you can as there's very little boot space either and rucksacks etc will have to stay with you under your legs or on your lap.  And bear in mind that there are two very long transfer days - Fes to the desert took us over 11 hours.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    THE TURQUOISE COAST

    A good trip that bore no resemblance to the main Turquoise Coast trip itinerary as it was the alternative itinerary for the summer period (August 2011) This was not especially clear at the point of booking although the details were available. As a trip in it's own right it was enjoyable and will be improved by the modifications that will be made in future, according to the trip leader.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Eating local, home made and delicious food in a remote village and enjoying an evening boat snorkel and barbeque.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very friendly, knowledgable and accomplished. Very keen to please.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check to see if the alternative itinerary applies prior to booking

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    First trip with Exodus, would go again.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    GORILLAS & MASAI MARA

    An amazing experience with great food, good company and some of the most beautiful scenery and sights you can imagine

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being so close to the Gorillas was almost unbelievable  and visiting the school in Uganda - which I nearly didn't do- was very moving. Visiting the Masai village was  interesting, if a bit hardsell, but chatting to some of them as we walked back to camp was really interesting too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was extremely well organised but also very very laid back. He knew exactly how to deal with people and how to keep everyone content and happy. It was the first time he had worked with the other 2 crew too but they were a great team and all lovely people

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ask questions before you go particularly if this is the first time you have done this sort of holiday. One negative I had was in the online information provided beforehand and we had to make a few phone calls to London office to clarify things. They were very helpful once to you spoke to them. Problem is that kit lists etc are generalised and not geared to specific holidays locations.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This really was a fantastic holiday which I would strongly recommend. I'm not sure if we were just lucky with our guides and also with the other people on our bus but we had a ball from start to finish even when there was no water in the showers and the long drop toilet wasn't such a long drop any more!!My only complaint would be that I had specifically said (twice) while booking that of the three of us going,my daughter and myself were to share and the third would be a single male but this was not noted and when we got to Africa they had assumed we were a couple and the only single space was sharing with a female . At the end of the day that didn't really matter but it was a bit annoying when it wasn't what we had planned and had specifically asked not to happen.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    CAPE TOWN TO VICTORIA FALLS

    This was the start of a four month round the world trip and was certainly one of the highlights of the whole four months.  It was a mix of fantastic scenery, great game viewing and we felt very well supported throughout by the overland crew.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Where to start!  Walking with lions in Zambia, seeing the magnificent Victoria Falls by helicopter, staying at the quirky Ngepi campsite, game viewing on land and on the river, the stunning Namibian scenery...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, as were the two other members of the overland crew.  I've been on over 10 Exodus holidays and whilst the group leaders are always very good (one of the reasons I keep going back to Exodus) the crew on this trip were one of the best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light as there is a lot of moving between campsites!  A small, camping lantern is a good idea and a head torch with spare batteries.  Make sure your plug adaptor is suitable for Africa.  We had two universal adaptors between us and neither worked.  Be considerate of others on game drives, so everyone gets a good view. And finally, all the seats on the overland truck are equally as good!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This review is for September 2011 trip, Livingstone to Cape Town.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    CYCLING VIETNAM

    A beautiful country with fantastic food and superb cycling, it was just as we'd imagined it would be.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    From learning to cross the road in Saigon (yep its an art form), to eating spring rolls in the winding back streets of Hoi An to cycling through tiny fishing villages, paddy fields and up beautiful coastal mountain passes - Cycling Vietnam is a delight for all the senses.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lam was incredibly relaxed, very knowledgeable and sociable with amazing restaurant and food recommendations.  He was a joy to cycle with (especially on some of the tougher hills) and he ran his team like clockwork.  Couldn't have asked for better.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You won't be disappointed - this trip is everything it promises to be.  Bring your waterproofs for the inevitable downpours and leave some space in your bag for souvenirs.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    KERALA & TROPICAL INDIA

    Loved it, particularly the 2nd week once we'd entered Kerala, which was as beautiful as I'd imagined. Lots of early starts, and some long cycling days, but always with the support vehicle for anyone in need, and friendly 'hi's' from local children as we cycled passed, and a wonderful day on the house-boat and final day on the beach to round it all off.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    1. The ascent to Ooty. Not for the faint hearted - a 2 hour slog up hill but a great sense of achievement at the end. 2. The descent from Ooty - an amazing and beautiful downhill ride crossing over into Kerala.3. Sunset on the houseboat; early morning on the houseboat

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group was led by 3 incredibly patient people - Vishnu, the main group leader; Safi - main bike man; and Shibu in the bus. They worked really hard behind the scenes to ensure we could relax as much as possible, and nothing was too much trouble for them. Putting away bikes each night, getting them out and loaded with new water bottles each morning, organising and running the kitty for meals and tips, and looking after us at our frequent coffee/tea stops en route.  They deserve particular thanks for the way they coped when, due to an unfortunate and serious accident one of our group had to be taken to hospital. Vishnu stayed with them at the hospital for a few days and Safi took on the role of group leader as well as main bike man.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The hotel at Ooty was freezing cold - take some warm clothes, ask for an electric heater for your room. Best options for your free afternoon in Ooty are the Botanical Gardens or the Rose Garden. If you are not sure about the trip to the Orphanage - do go. It is not at all voyeuristic and the children at the orphanage will be excited to see you, and at the end you can make a donation if you wish.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    HIGHLIGHTS OF TIBET

    This was an absolutely fabulous trip and lived up to all our expectations and leaves us with some amazing memories that will last a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everest ! seeing it for the first time was breath taking - having said that , every day had its high point whether it was sitting at base camp, taking in a view over the mountain range, a lake , a monastery or the potala palace there was never a dull moment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader Keshar was brilliant - great company and kept us well informed what to expect and how to prepar for the days adventure.  His local and wider knowledge added a great deal to our experience.He really looked after us, and dealt with our questions and queries quickly and sensitively and we hope to travel with him again.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't just think about it - do it !  I'm sure you will be glad you did.  There are many schools of thought regarding medication especially for altitude sickness and all have valid view, but for me anyway,  I would say take something with you - that way you will be prepared should you need it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were very very lucky with our group, we all seemed to get along so well - and it made the trip even more brilliant. We thought Exodus were great and would certainly book with them again.
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