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

    SENEGAL & GAMBIA ADVENTURE

    A different African adventure. This trip has it all - wildlife (mainly birds, but also crocs, deer, monkeys, and if you get lucky, hippos), World Heritage sites, contact and access to local people and tribes, and beach.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Three things stand out - Goree Island, Djouj N.P., and the Gambia river boat trip. However, it is the overall trip that makes this a complete and very satisfying adventure.   

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Mohamedin Traore. He was absolut fantastic; his overall experience in the region allowed us a hassle-free holiday. There were a lot of tiny things he sorted out, many of which most of us didn't even notice. Also, Mohamed's assitant and the driver were very good, and thus, worth mentioning. Very well done.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes. There are some long drives, so, be prepared for that. Also, some of the accomodations are rather basic (again, read the trip notes). If you're aware of that (and don't expect Western standards in West Africa (!!!), you won't be disappointed.For birders, bring long and, if possible, fast lenses. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my 7th Exodus trip and it was, no doubt, one of the best.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    TRAILS OF BORNEO

    Fantastic experience. Henry the guide has been our best guide so far and really made the trip great.Jungle experiences and climb of Mt Kinabalu where unforgettable. It did rain every now and then, but, that did not stop us having an exciting time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    That is difficult. Spending time on the boat in morning and evening watching and listening to wildlife was amazing (take binoculars). However, climbing Mt. Kinabalu was the best.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Really added to the great experience on the trip. Best guide we had so far with Exodus. Local guide in Mulu was not that great, too moody.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Never sweat as much in my life before. Take shorts and short sleve shirts (with lots of insect repellant), and gatorade powder. Biking gloves can be useful for the ropes at the climb. Hiking poles and poncho are very useful for coming down from the mountain hat.Take Silica gel pouches and plastic bags for your camera and binoculars to keep try.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some of the ground transport was rather slow (never been overtaken by a tank truck up a hill before).Hotel for last nights could be closer to Kota Kinabalu for ease of excursions to the Marina Park and strolling around the markets and restaurants in the city.
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    SPICE TRAILS OF KERALA

    A great country to visit with very friendly people.  The scenery was beautiful and varied from the quiet misty cool hills down to the hot busy towns.  Many new experiences over the two week period.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking up to the Meesapulima peak and seeing (briefly) the magnificent views when the mist lifted. Walking through the tea plantations. Sailing in the backwaters of Kerala and watching the world go by. Taking a rowing boat down the numerous waterways around the Coir Village resort. Playing chess during the evenings in a local café by torch light which seemed to be of great interest to the local people, who I think, probably played a much better game than I did. Learning a little about the religions of India, visiting temples and experiencing the noise of India.  

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Santosh, was great – very helpful, overcame all problems and helped to make the group bond together.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not sure if the water purification tablets were required as the drinking water on the camp was double boiled and bottled water was readily available. Some of the experienced camper had brought with them a small sheet of plastic for taking off ones boots before going into the tent, something I would include on my next trip. If you are going in December waterproofed trousers are useful, something I forgot also a travel sink plug would have been most useful as there were no plugs available in any of the hotels. I found it most interesting to add a few days on at the end of the holiday and visited Mumbai on my way home. It was suggested to me that to avoid stomach problem it was best to avoid meat in resturants, as it was uncertain where the meat had been stored. I became a reluctant vegetarian for the two week period and suffered no problems with the food.    
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    CYCLE THE BACKROADS OF SRI LANKA

    One of my best trips ever, the group was absolutely great, the group leader absolutely fabulous and the cycling is just absolutely great. Sri Lanka itself is a great place to be with various landscapes, one more beautiful then the other, people are so friendly and being back here in Europe, i miss the smiles and i miss the Hellos and Byes of the kids, the waving hands ... food yeah food ... i just loved it .. rice and curry, pol roti, coconut sambal .. just wonderful .all in all .... MARVELLOUS 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top in Nuwara Eliya after the tremendous climb ...  

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Peter, the best you can get ... 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it, every kilometer you cycle is worth it 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    so nothing but nothing to complain about ... and don't forget to have an EGB ..... best gingerbeer in the world ... 
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    THAI INDOCHINA GRAND TOUR

    An excellent journey which exceeded my expectations. As a newcomer to organised tours I was fearful of being herded around en masse but this seldom happened and there was plenty of free time for individual adventures. ( The night life in some of the cities is amazing). 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspirational? Probably the war museum in HCMC. Enjoyable? Tubing down the river in Vang Vieng, stopping at bars for beer etc. The slow boat down the Mekong to Luang Prabang, wandering the streets looking for the evening's resteraunt, bargaining with the amazing Cambodian street kids...... and on and on.  

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thailand -Kai was a little dizzy, good fun, ok spoken English.Laos - Kam was serious and knowledgable about religion and places of worship - an ex monk and a good laugh. Well organised and helpful at the border crossing from Thailand. Very good EnglishVietnam - Huey liked a laugh and joined in the fun. He was knowledgable and  enthusiastic about the country.cambodia - Dorn was great : very laid back , there if you needed him , otherwise unobtrusive. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take US dollars in cash as your main funding source. Use ATM's as a back up but I found some issues in using these. In Cambodia and Thailand each transaction costs $5 in many machines in addition to whatever your own bank charges. In Laos and Vietnam the ATMs are free to use. Consider taking the land only option and organising your own direct flights to and from Bangkok. The Exodus flight was via Kuala Lumpur and involved an 8 hour wait there on the return leg. I'd advise paying  the single room supplement if you can possibly afford it.Don't worry too much about the long journeys. There were regular breaks and only gruelling section between Vang Vieng and Vientienne  lasted just a couple of hours. Do expect some early starts though.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The standard of hotels was higher than I expected. The group cohered well and looked out for each other.It was an excellent adventure. Highly recommended though only for those without any mobility problems.   
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    GANGES EXPLORER

    Off the beaten track holiday. Saw some amazing places that I wouldn't have found independently. However the trip covers a massive distance and we seemed to spend most of the time travelling. 3 overnights on a train with very little sleep was too much. Due to the large amount of travel it wasn't very relaxing and there was not much free time for shopping. Whilst it was great to stay in hotels run by locals the standard of some of them was hit and miss - including extensive renovations in one.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    2 days on a boat on the Ganges, camping wild and tiger spotting in Sunderbans. Sunderbans was like an oasis.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was the second time this trip was done and I believe they rotate leaders so you don't get the same one one each trip. Our leader wasn't very good - he didn't give much cultural context outside of religion and didn't like answering our questions and was very patronising on several occasions. This created a very awkward atmosphere in our group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is more of a glorified backpacking trip that covers a huge distance. This has it's pro's and con's. We saw very few other tourists on most of the days and we saw some amazing places. However it is an exhausting trip. The trip notes are accurate with description of places - however it should stress more the distances and time spent travelling.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It feels like this trip wasn't planned in terms of how may nights spent at each place. 3 nights on a train was too much - 1 night was sufficient - exhausting to have 3 nights with very little sleep. It would have been good to have 2 nights in Varanasi for example (rather than one). This may all be teething problems during the first year of this trip, but this was not the holiday I have come to expect from Exodus - I normally give 5 stars.
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    CYCLING THROUGH RAJASTHAN

    Very enjoyable - covered a lot of ground, saw some amazing (and humbling) sights and had superb support from guides and crew who worked really hard to make this a trip to remember.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me the whole trip was about seeing the Taj Mahal and it did not disappoint. We went in the morning (though missed sunrise as it was rather misty) and it really did take my breath away. We had plenty time to wander at our own pace and take it all in.Also thoroughly enjoyed cycling out in the countryside. We took a walk to a local village from the Tiger Reserve and loads of children led us across the fields to explore where they lived, posing for photos, playing with our hair and chatting away though we did not understand a word. It was a lovely experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Harish and Pramod worked really hard to make sure everyone was happy though we all had different requirements (and demands). They are enthusiastic and knowledgable as well as striking a respectful balance with the locals who were interested in us every time we stopped.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It got chilly in the evenings in December (especially in the Tiger Reserve, though also in some hotels) - I wished I had more warm clothes. Try to stick with at least one other person when cycling through the villages - we sometimes had youngsters throwing rocks and sticks at us (though I have to say that most of the locals were very friendly!)You won't get much chance for shopping - there are some organised trips to carpet/ marble/ jewellery places but limited opportunities to go round local markets - ask early if this is something you really want to do.We got a better exchange rate for our £ at money-changers in town than at the airport. You won't find ATMs every day and some people struggled to use their cards.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've travelled in India before but the sights and sounds and traffic and poverty still catch me every time. Take time to take it all in - the rides through the countryside are amazing - seeing people at work and going about their business in brightly coloured clothing and being surrounded by locals within minutes at every chai stop. This trip was the first for me where the locals were armed with camera phones and they were as interested in taking pictures of us as we were in them. All in all it was a great trip and we used just about every minute of every day. Be prepared for lots of early starts and some lengthy bus transfers - the trip covers a wide area but it's ok if you are expecting them.
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    ANNAPURNA, CHITWAN & EVEREST

    This tour captured the essence of Nepal and included a great combination of mountain regions, cities, culture and wildlife. The trekking in the Everest region was superb.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Trekking in the Everest region was the highlight with Chitwan National Park a close second.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour leader and the hiking guides were excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The lodges on the trek are basic. They are clean and perfectly adequate but some people struggled with them.You may need a bit more money in the Everest region if you are planning to buy souveniers. The shopping in Namche Bazaar was great.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think you would probably see more of Nepal on this trip than the basecamp treks!
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    LHASA TO KATHMANDU RIDE

    A great trip but for those reading this be clear that you do not ride the whole way from Lhasa to Kathmandu. That said, our leader made all the right calls. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The great group I enjoyed this trip with and our excellent leader Khumar and his support Ajay and Phunsak. This is another wonderful part of our world and is a must for all those who like a challenge on a bike!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What more can I say? He wasn't the Exodus New Leader of the Year for nothing in 2010! Thanks Khumar.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the accommodation is very basic so you need to be prepared for that and you need to like/get used to the local food which can lack a bit of variety. Our leader handled the problems of altitude sickness with great care and kept everyone riding even if after some time out. Go with his advice at all times and you will be the better for it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The cycling is challenging but manageable if you are fit, if not you hop on board the bus when needed. From the city of Lhasa which was surprisingly good to the high plateaus of Tibet passing much local life on the way to the fabulous descent into Nepal and the back to the reality of an underdeveloped road system in Nepal this is an excellent trip. Go for it!
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    CYCLE NICARAGUA, COSTA RICA AND PANAMA

    Quite possibly one of the best trips I've ever been on! Due to a combination of a fantastic group, amazing guides, superb scenery, beautiful, friendly people en route and a feeling of really pushing myself!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    First and foremost being able to complete far more of the trip than I thought possible! Let me be the source of reassurance to those of you who don't know if your fitness level is up to scratch... I do no exercise. In fact I positively loathe exercise but my friend and I booked this trip on purpose to make us attempt to get fit. Even though we booked 10 months in advance I then got myself a job in Costa Rica and so only actually got to start "training" for the 5 weeks before the trip. I never got more than 10 miles in any of my practise rides. Yet I still completed 207 and fo the 350 miles, even though I was last almost every day and by some way, and could have completed more had it not been for the rum and cokes of an evening and the fact that sitting on the party bus chatting to Luis was so much fun!Yes this is a cycling holiday but for me the emphasis was on "holiday" so why was I going to kill myself? If you're more of a serious rider you may feel you want more miles per day. In fact some days have optional extra rides for that reason but for me this trip had the perfect combination of cycling and time off.Other than that...well Granada in Nicaragua is stunning, sunsets on Ometepe island unrivalled, playing cards for 5 hours at the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border without anyone getting fed up, the thermal springs at Arenal volcano, dancing the nights away in Cahuita and Bocas, having children along the road waving and shouting hi, the dodgy border crossing into Panama, abundant wildlife and, surprisingly, the Panama Canal that turned out to be fascinating!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rob was a fantastic leader. He seems so laid back yet everything was so well organised and even when things out of his control went wrong (like a 5 hour border crossing from Nicaragua to Costa Rica), he didn't flinch and his calm nature kept everyone else calm. This is Latin America after all and Rob certianly goes with the flow and it rubs off!He was fantastic when 3 of us missed our connection at Houston and then didn't get our luggage until Day 4. He and the group rallied around to lend us clothes, shoes, helmets, saddles, toiletries etc which took all the stress out of it. Nothing was too much trouble for him. Other group members who have done several Exodus holidays said he was by far the best guide they'd had on any other trip.His fellow guides were just fantastic too. Luis the driver kept the party bus going and makes a great dance partner. Always willing to stop more frequently along route if you need a break from cycling and always willing to beep you as he passes to encourage you to keep going. Quite how he keeps his eyes on the road yet spots wildlife left, right and centre, stopping the bus for photo opportunities is beyond me.Paul and Alfonso I spent most time with being as I came in last almost every day. They literally pushed me up some of the hills but were also extremely encouraging when I wanted to push myself. They were incredibly fit and made sure everyone was looked after but always returned to the back to make sure we made it. I think they probably completed each stage twice. Also great dance partners and always up for a party. Fortunately I speak Spanish and so spent a lot of time with them but their English is very limited although Alfonso can speak more than he lets on, so either go all out on the sign language or learn some key phrases before you come out. "Get me on that bus", "Are we nearly there yet" and "time for a beer" are useful starters for 10.On a serious note all 4 of them are a true credit to their company and deserve all the good feedback they've got.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    - Don't worry about your fitness level! You can always get on the bus, the boys will always help you along and wait for you, and no one will be annoyed you're slower. In fact on several ocassions by the time I'd got to the rest point the quicker ones had been there half an hour and already left. If you're too far behind they'll gently suggest you get on the bus but even I didn't need to do that. I knew my limits!- Take more money than you think you'll need but all in dollars is fine. I found the meals to be much more expensive than I know food can be bought for in Central America. The first clue is in the price of the holiday I guess but for me this was way out of my budget and my only suggestion would be that Rob recommends some eating places that cater for all budgets. Fortunately not all lunches and dinners were taken as a group and I was able to get us to cheaper, more authentic places. We got on so well as a group that even on non-group meal days we still all stuck together!- Padded cycling shorts!! Having borrowed them when I had no luggage for 4 days I didn't give them back - a godsend!- An iPod as you can put your music on in the bus for the longer transfers. As much as we loved the salsa, merengue and tropical beats the boys put on, there are just some days you need the whole bus singing along to 80s power ballads...- Some kind of day sack or cycling top with pockets. I missed out on many photo opportunities on route due to not being able to carry my camera on the bike with me. Make sure there's a waterproof cover for it though. A ziplock bag works well.- A Spanish phrasebook if you don't speak it. I can't stress enough how many doors a few words of Spanish opens and how much it will enrich your experience- Spare underwear, a change of clothes and some smaller than 100ml toiletries in case your luggage gets lost!- Patience and a good sense of humour.... manana manana is not just a saying, it's a way of life and not everything goes to plan but it doesn't need to stress you out if you don't expect everything to go to plan.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In the words of Nike - JUST DO IT!You will regret it if you don't. Even cycling in torrential tropical rain, downhill, not being able to see a thing, drenched to the bones is an experience everyone should have. This isn't just about cycling and pushing yourself but about seeing an area of the world that is spectacular in terms of scenery, culture, friendliness of people, flora, fauna and just having a darn good time. You'll make great friends and I defy anyone not to fall in love with the area. I'm flying back in 2 weeks' time... not to get on a bike I hasten to add... but I would definitely do this trip again! :)
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