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 December 2011
    Anonymous

    CYCLE THE BACKROADS OF SRI LANKA

    A perfect way to experience the joys of Sri Lanka, book it you will not be disappointed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Where to begin.Elephant sanctury visit.Whale watchingThe hill climb day, especially lunch by the waterfall, followed by staying at the Hill Club hotel.Experience of the street food, the Pooja, the impromto stop at the school and the interaction with the tennis balls, playing cricket, playing catch etcAll the cycling, (even when wetter than I thought possible), and meeting all the lovely Sri Lankan people

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Peter - Absolute star, always available for help and advice, and really aimed to show us all Sri Lanka had to offer. Not permenantly sharing his knowledge, but did know the answer to anything, (from what I saw), he was asked, ie we may not all like to know the name of every single bird or flower we see, (too much info), but ask Peter and he will know.Suresh - A lovely lovely man, permenantly smiling, with our clear love for his country. Suresh had a very good knowledge of all the sights he took us to, and he loved his Sri Lankan map. The only thing that lets Suresh down is his grasp of the English language, in my opinion it may be too early to let him lead the trip. In my experience, people from this part of the world are far more adept at learning another language than I and many other Brits would be, so, all being well, Suresh will quickly brush up on his English skills, and end up as good a leader as Peter.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Anyone who normally cycles at home with "clip in's", take your pedals and invest in some SPD sandals, I bought the Keen make, brilliant.Take a small lightweight umbrella.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a fantastic trip, if you book this you will not be disappointed. Although, described in the trip notes as moderate/challenging, this should not be beyond someone who is just interested in cycling. If you have a partner who is at a different level of cycling to you, still do it. This is not an "eyeballs out" set of rides. There are plenty of stops and re-groups. For those of you who want to ride fast, you will be catered for as well, prepare yourself for the cat and mouse chase near the end of the trip, (not obligatory).In the words of the Nike advertisements - Just do it!
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    EVEREST BASE CAMP

    A once in a lifetime experience. Amazing, awesome and a trully fullfilling trip. It was alway's going to be more than just about the journey. Thankyou Christine for sharing this with me.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our first sighting of Everest was awesome, a magnificent sight.The weather was very kind to us. We were blessed with beautiful blue skies, snow capped peaks and ever changing scenery crowned with the ultimate lifetime achievement of reaching Everest Base Camp.The many faces of Ama Dablam was just incredile.The culture and humble lives of the Nepali hill people made me realise how very fortunate we are and just how much we take for granted. Prayer flags decorate the trail leaving memories of those who went before and celebrating lives of those who have never returned. It really has been an amazing trip, physically,mentally and spiritually. Believe in yourself and your abilities.This is truly an inspirational trip for everyone.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Urgen, quite a character. He was good at organising and very knowledgeable. He was respectful of the very different dynamics of the group. Urgen read our group well and in his word's alway's told us to "listen to your body" Good advice. Pace was good to allow us to get used to the altitude. He was quick to address any small problems that arose. He had the support of Chhong sherpa who I have great respect for.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Put in a few hills before you go, good cross training. Buy a metal water bottle it has two purposes. 1: A must as a hot water bottle at night in your sleeping bag ( Amazing, one of the best pieces of advice that I got) and 2 : You can drink the ware the next day. Take Chlorine tablets for the water it will save you buying it.If you do not have a sleeping bag then hire one from Exodus (Christine did and it was Fab). Loo rolls, you can buy Andrex one's that have no cardboard and do not take up a lot of room. Baby wipes are a godsend. You must try an Everest Beer, braw. Accept the culture and take each day as it comes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wunderlust is an amazing thing. If you have it and want to go here then live your dreams. This trip was everything and more than I had ever expected or imagined. Exodus surpassed all expectations. I would definitely recommend them to you.
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    LAND OF THE TIGER

    I was apprehensive before i went , fears of Delhi Belli, revolting toilet facilities, not being able to cope etc.  i am in my early seventies.  In the event my fears were unfounded and I feel younger for having made this trip and so very glad not to have missed the opportunity.  16 days of pleasant warm sunshine are a tonic anyway

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many.  I loved getting close to the real India.  We were taken on an unscheduled walk by an off duty Park guide.  He even took us to his own home where we were made most welcome by all the family.  We crossed over a river where ladies in saris were doing their laundry, passed a 'pet' elephant kept in someone's 'back garden'  viewed and discussed the rice , lentils and many other foods being grown and saw village life at really close quarters. We saw tigers on 4 occasions, a relatively low number of sitings for our group.  We watched a male tiger stroll down the dusty road towards us, our jeep backing off every few minutes to keep a respectful distance.  He sniffed at trees, stood on his hind legs to scratch one and then caught the scent of some wild boar we had just seen and prowled off into the undergrowth in persuit.  Just then a mahoot on his elephant approached from behind.  Two park officials had joined us in our jeep.  The mahoot brought the elephant up right close, perofrmed a sort of three point turn by tapping the elephant's neck with his bare feet so that he was so close to me in the back he could almost have sat in my lap (elephant not mahoot)  I had to resist the temptation to pat it! then the spare guides climbed up from the jeep onto the elephants back and off they all went tracking the tiger we had been watching.  The there was the wedding party we got invited to one evening.  It was just such a marvellous close welcoming experience not withstanding limits of language. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Krishna was marvelous, more of a friend then an employee.  He was always ariound to sort out difficulties and smooth our passage; managing us onto and off the trains with all our baggage was his special skill.  He worked so hard.  We were a group of 13 with quite a wide age spread.  He was so good at tactful group management so that no one person or couple was allowed to dominate.  In fact the togetherness of the group was one of the nice things about the holiday.  He kept surprising us with little add-ons such as a cookery session one night in the hotel preparing our own supper!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a torch; my head torch was in valuable.  My next most prized asset was my special'toilet' bag which went round my shoulders to leave hands free but provided accessible requirements such as toilet paper, gemicidal wipes, hand sanitizer, a cake of soap, tissues.  Whenever I went to 'mark my territory' all I needed to do was grab that bag and I knew I would be well provided for.  There were a few bad loos, some very good loos, one attended by a lovely lady in her sari and of course some 'au naturelle'  Ladies, get used to the idea of squat loos, easy if you are wearing a skirt and often with less of a queue and cleaner than the europen variety.  Next time I will take some Gaviscon tablets with me; I needed to borrow some when large late suppers and early bed produced indigestion and heartburn towards the end of the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Despite complaints in the reviews I read before I went, I found the guide amounts of money were more than adequate.  Possibly this is because i don't drink very much. We bought all our rupees at the airport on arrival and had some left to cash back before leaving.  I liked wandering into the local village to buy a few souvenirs rather better than the laid on visits to craft centres where I felt under obligation to find something to buy.  Language was a bit of a difficulty when Krishna wasn't around, indeed even with official guides one needs to concentrate and listen carefully because the accent is strong and the phraseology can be unusual.  I feel Exodus' policy of using local people and produce is excellent.  it gives this tour a particularly genuine feel, to have seen parts of the real India.  It was a wonderful experience.  As long as you are fit enough to climb into a jeep and withstand a couple of hours bumpy drive, early mornings and packed days GO FOR IT.  I took a couple of breaks when I got towards exhaustion by staying in the hotel for a rest whilst others went on extra trips.  I loved the overnight trains, being rocked to sleep by the gentle rhythm, though one has to be prepared to see an unknown gentle man in the opposite bunk! but Krishna kept an eye on us and we were always fairly near others in our group. I suffered no 'Delhi-belli' possibly because I was fanatical about hand hygiene.  I also took some 'biobalance' tablets before and during the trip.
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    MARRAKECH & THE SAHARA

    Expectations well managed prior to the holiday. Well organised during the holiday - had total trust in the guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sitting under the stars in the Sahara desert looking at the milky way

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good - he gave sound advice & gave the appropriate amount of information. He was available without encroaching on the groups space

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the material that Exodus sends prior to your holiday- it is spot on.
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous
    Trip:

    CYCLING CUBA

    This was a fantastic holiday. Cuba is an amazing country and we had a very good group led by an outstanding guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people singing and dancing everywhere. Beautiful buildings in various states of renovation. Laz, our guide who kept us entertained and educated the whole time and lastly just getting on your bike and seeing the country.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Laz, our guide was outstanding. He had an exceptional command of English, looked after the group well and had a devilish sense of humour. His story telling on the bus was particularly enjoyable, as were his inspirational team talks. The group were always well looked after even on the dance floor! 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go to Cuba now before it really starts to change. It is an amazing country with a lot to offer.  Cycling is ideal as it allows you to get out and see lots of different places.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't really need to add anything other than advising everyone to go! The trip couldnt have been better and the memories of it will warm up a cold winter here!
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS & AMAZON

    A holiday of 2 different locations both equal in enjoyment. Napo lodge in the Amazon was a stunning location on the edge of a lagoon deep inside the rainforest run under true eco friendly community ideas. The array of birds & mammals seen was exceptional with loads of information from the excellent naturalist guide. But not to be beaten, the Cachalote, crew & guide Efrain showed us the amazing prolific & unique wildlife of the Galapagos with a full programme of island landings, snorkelling & forays along the coast in the dinghy. Even knowing beforehand how unperturbed the wildlife & birds are supposed to be did not prepare us for the reality of it. This really is a 'close encounters' trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling with sea lions coming over to investigate & 'play' with these strangely inflexible wetsuited humans. With penguins cormorants & sea turtles all swimming past completely unconcerned.A feeding frienzy all around the dinghy with Pelicans & Blue footed Boobies dive bombing into the shoals of fish & Noddy's waiting for the small fry to spill out of the Pelicans pouch, all unconcerned with our presence. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As there is no overall leader for this trip, I would consider the guides in the 2 locations to be the leaders & both were excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip notes should make it clearer that providing flights are on time there is time to have 2 separate full days of optional activities in the Quito area as well as 2 half days. So time for Cotopaxi, cloud forest, Equator, City tour & cable car. Who wants to sit in a hotel room!!
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    THAI INDOCHINA GRAND TOUR

    Exhausting but in a stimilating way. Much to see- historical, cultural and political differences, but an opportunity for landscape and history to come alive.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cu Chi tunnels , the Killing Fields and the gut-wrenching ossuary memorial there. Also the school-turned-prison Site21 with the staring photos of the tortured and murdered. Also the slow river trip on the Mekong and the inspirational temple complexes around Siem Reap. I have come back inspired to learn more through further reading on French colonialism in Indochina, the Vietnam War and the archaeology of the Angkor Wat cities and temples. So the trip lives on in words and photographs- travel leaves a legacy!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The  leaders were extremely good, but on occasion they could stand back to allow the traveller to experience his/her own sensory reaction to place rather than filling the spaces with auditory information.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get as much information about currency and visas. In some ways the trip information could be more helpful about what to expect at borders. We were told to change $50 dollars on entering Vietnam- not enough in the first instance. Travellers should know that hotels will exchange dollars for local but not traveller's cheques (bank only)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A very worthwhile trip and on the whole handled with the customary efficiency we've come to expect from Exodus trips. Cerainly one to recommend as a well-organised cherry-pick of Indochina's sights.
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    ANNAPURNA SANCTUARY

    The trip was both challenging and exilerating. It exceeded my expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Entering Annapurna Sanctuary after a 7 day walk.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kind, considerate.....incomparable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    RIO TO BUENOS AIRES

    A really great holiday with some truly "world class" highlights, but the proportion of time spent travelling was too large.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Iguacu was incredible, definitely one of the 7 wonders of the natural world. Snorkelling in the river in Bonito was like swimming in your own giant aquarium, and the sight of macaws, toucans, giant storks and various other exotic birds in the Pantanal was totally unique in my experience. Rio, of course, has a number of iconic attractions such as Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain and the beaches, but what I  remember most clearly from Rio is the insignia badge on the side of the vehicles of the Police Elite Squad given the task of clearing the drug gangs from the favellas (slums). As our guide told us, "when they go in, they don't come out with prisoners". Their insignia? A skull with a dagger driven through it, backed by crossed rifles/sub machine guns. The Met Police they are not.   

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eze was a delightful leader and made a huge contribution to the success of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that you will be spending a lot of time travelling and won't be getting much exercise on this trip. There is no need to take all your money in dollars, there are plenty of ATMs available, except for the Pantanal, when you don't need any money anyway. 
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    KILIMANJARO & ZANZIBAR

    This was a once in a life time experience, the group of people I met were fantastic. The whole trip was perfect.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to Gilman's point, having a cuppa and watching the sunrise, perfect timing! Plus we beat the Americans!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph was our group leader, he clearly had a lot of experience and was always reassuring us when we felt rotten. All the guides kept a very close eye on how we were feeling.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take it slowly! Drink loads of water.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    After the adventures in Kili, a relaxing few days in Zanzibar was the perfect way to finish it all off!
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