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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

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  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    SENEGAL & GAMBIA ADVENTURE

    2,600km in 12 days doesn't sound so much, but those potholes, bumps and roads still under construction made for some very long days in the bus. My sense is that I sat through Senegal watching from a window, rather than engaging with it. It was a pleasant trip, which included a mix of coast and river, town and national park.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The birds were amazing: the pelicans in Djoudj NP and the egrets in Sine Saloum were sensational: formations of them flying in over our heads to roost, almost near enough to touch.  Goree Island was very moving, and although the museum is not part of the trip, there is time to visit it on your own, and it gives extra information about slavery, the sea voyages and mortality rates which we didn't hear at the Slave House .  The colonial Hotel de la Poste in St Louis is a gem of a hotel. The market at the ferry crossing of the Gambia river was colourful and whiled away the waiting time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mohammed Traore was very efficient and the whole trip ran fairly smoothly. It was quite ambitious taking 16 people on the first trip, but it worked. Although proud to be from Mali, Mohammed was very familiar with Senegal.  Our driver, Mordu, was brilliant, as the roads were rough, and he drove very carefully.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The time in the bus was longer than suggested in the trip notes, so be prepared to move around the bus, don't hog the window seats and be prepared for bush loos!  One of the Gambian hotels was a bit grubby, so pack a sleeping bag liner. Winter in the desert is cold so sleeping bags would have been useful for us in December, but may not be necessary at other times. Don’t be misled by the description “leisurely” -although a very sedentary trip,  I found it tiring.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I liked the buffet style meals in the Gambia, where there was lots of choice even for vegetarians, rather than the fixed menu "3 course meals" which we ate in Senegal, which didn't cater so well for us veggies; maybe future participants could persuade their guide to arrange for buffets or to go a la carte at their own expense.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    PETRA & WADI RUM BY BIKE

    What a great way to see Jordan and what an amazing trip - Loved it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We did this trip to see Petra - and it did not disappoint!However, we also loved all the trip and the Jordanian people were just so friendly.  The stay in Wadi Rum on Christmas Eve was rather a special way to celebrate Christmas. Go for it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader, Danny Haddad, was superb. His knowledge was boundless and he was a great organiser. What a lovely person! However, the Jordanian culture is rather male dominated, even though they don't think so. Danny had some problems with the very high-powered women in our group. I think he was the best leader we have ever had. Truly inspirational!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go to Jordan with an open mind. The country is amazing and the people just lovely. It is a great way to see the country - just remember to have a good basic fitness level for this sort of trip, and you will get a lot out of it.Some modest dress is required. Be thoughtful to other cultures and you will have a ball.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    PERU EXPLORER

    Had wanted to visit the "sights " of Peru since learning about the Incas as a schoolboy .This trip realised those dreams .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu after 4 days on the Inca trail.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mr Rene Calancha is an absolute star , knows everything there is to know about Peru or knows someone who can help.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your guides advice about the affects of both the strong Peruvian sunshine and altitude . They know best . Pack for all weather conditions

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Dont take too many spare clothes , laundry service at overnight stops is very cheap and very quick , hand it over before you go to dinner and it will be ready by the following mornings breakfast .
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    THE SIMIEN MOUNTAINS TREK

    Amazing scenery, challenging walking and great people!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of Ras Dashen felt great and the scramble to the top added some extra adrenaline!  The views in general were spectacular.  I didn't expect to see so much wildlife and in particular saw a Simien wolf, lots of birds and gelada really close up.  We shared our camp with them at one point!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both the local guide (Melese) and european guide (Alex) were very competent and knowledgeable.  Alex in particular stressed the importance of respecting the altitude we were at.  Melese was more laid back so they were a good team.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is an amazing trip but was hard work.  Camping means interrupted sleep and there are early starts (although early nights too).  The camps could be a little overcrowded but since Exodus is so well established, we did well.  Go now before it changes too much!  
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    CAMINO DE CUBA

    Excellent tour around Cuba, time for walking, salsa and plenty of cocktails.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of Pico Turquino, salsa on the steps in Trinidad.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, professional, and good fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Err on the warm side with sleeping bag, 2/3 season definitely.(mattresses are very comfortable in refuges and camping, so no need to worry about that)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would highly recommend this trip (and Cuba in general).
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    BHUTAN: CHOMOLHARI TREK - My best trip yet!

    Bhutan - fantastic scenary, people, & culture. Trekking - unique and remote, well organised, great food, helpful guide 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I've just left this section until last, mainly as I was struggling to pick one inspirational moment! I would say, crossing the first pass, the Nyile La. When you get to the top, with a fantastic group of people, prayer flags fluttering in the wind and beautiful scenery, it completely takes your breath away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our local guide, Kezang, was excellent. All guides in Bhutan have to be approved by the government and have to pass an exam, I think on an annual basis. Kezang spoke fantastic English, encouraged us to ask questions about his country, and on the odd occasion that he didn't know the answer he would find out by the next time we met. He generally tried to present a different topic to us each evening before dinner. Kezang also offered great support to those in the group when they were struggling and on occasion could be witnessed carrying 3 additional day packs on top of his own! There was no non-Bhutanese guide on this trip. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

     Kit-wise, this was the 4th October departure. Night-time temperature dropped marginally below zero on about half the nights. You need good down jackets etc. for the evenings, and I would suggest a 4 season sleeping bag. They do provide sleeping mats but I still took a thermarest as well, and was glad I did. You do camp by rivers freqently so that does give some opportunity for washing. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and only had one slightly damp and misty day.Boots - I would say yes, one of our group did the entire thing in a pair of asics running shoes with no issues but personally I'd want boots. Water treatment, lots of people just used the boiled water that the staff did each morning & evening but personally I still used water treatment pills as well.  Take energy bars!  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

     The route for our trip was changed significantly due to bridges being washed away in the monsoon. I believe the trip just before us was the first to trial this new route, but for me it may well have made the trip. Over the first 5 days there were other groups trekking, but from the 5th day we basically didn't seen any other trekkers until Thimpu. It was great to be the only people trekking a route, that you know wasn't wildly travelled, and was very remote. From what our guide said the route was more taxing, but they were very supportive and ensured that everyone was able to complete it. Altitude wise we peaked at 4950m.As with previous Exodus trips I was very impressed with the food, especially considering the remoteness. Fish, meat, vegetables. Bhutanese food can be quite spicy with chilli & cheese being one of the national dishes. Having said that they didn't make the food for us spicy unless requested, which a number of the group did.Difficulty wise, this was a hard trek but completely do-able and there was a beautiful reward with the scenery at each pass. 
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    ATLAS PANORAMA

    lovely walking,lovely company and I feel i am more informed re Morrocan culture

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final day's walk to the lake and the company

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good, but could have volunteered more information re culture and aspects of the trip

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    walks can be strenuous with some exposure. Bring alcohol with you it is expensive and hard to come by

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    photo's of the exposure on the trip notes would have been useful
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    THE INCA TRAIL

    Inspirational trip - I loved everything from the scenery, archeology, weather, walking, guide and my fellow travellers. Also did the Rainforest Extension - definitely recommended. Still buzzing a week later.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many fantastic moments - sunrises and sunsets on the campsites, incredible views of the mountains, and of course Macchu Pichu. Getting up Dead Womens Pass despite being desperately ill and collapsing with altitude sickness and dehydration 3/4 of the way up.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan was probably the best Exodus guide I've encountered (and I've done quite a few trips with Exodus, all with wonderful guides). His knowledge and enthusiasm were unsurpassed, and he looked after the group very well, despite a very wide range of physical abilities. When I was severely ill with altitude sickness and later dehydration, he looked after me brilliantly, but without compromising the rest of the group, and with superb tact, even coming to check on me several times in the night and sitting up with me in the middle of the night when I was not feeling well. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he was friendly and sociable with the group without being too forward. The assistant guide, Wilson, was quiet and shy but extremely competent and with a great sense of humour. He'll make an excellent main guide when he becomes a little more confident.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Most of it's been said in the reviews, but do also check the Arrivals Gate forum on here, because there's lots of good advice there that I missed before I went. Unless you're very young and healthy, take trekking poles, they really help with all the steps even if you don't particularly have knee problems. Don't do this trip if you do have knee problems though, you will really struggle (one of our group had real problems) and it then slows the rest of the group down.Also take your own down sleeping bag, it weighs so much less and the weight limit is quite restrictive otherwise. Advice varies but your sleeping bag is not going to get wet (the tents are very waterproof) and there's no other reason why you wouldn't want to use down. I took a 3 season sleeping bag with a silk liner. On cold nights they fill your water bottle with hot water to put in your bag - excellent idea, and worth (as I did) taking a metal bottle just for that purpose, even if you drink out of a Camelbak during the day. I used a Thermarest and my own down sleeping bag, total weight 1 1/2 kilos. Some people were already up to 4-5 kilos with just those two things.You don't need many clothes, just a couple of tops, a couple of pairs of trousers, some decent thermals and a few changes of underwear. After our first day in Cusco was absolutely freezing, I couldn't believe I would ever be in shorts, but the weather changes dramatically from hour to hour and also in different locations. Do take trousers that zip off into shorts, much more practical. Also do take good wicking base layers (not cotton tshirts), you won't regret it. Also plenty of layers that you can put on, especially at night. In the day I wore mainly tshirt and shorts, plus at times a light fleece and a fleece jacket and poncho (and long trousers), in the evenings I wore 2 thermal base layer tops, a fleece jumper and a light down jacket, and thermal leggings under light trousers, and was only just warm enough. If you wear shorts during the day, use mosquito repellent even if you don't see any mosquitoes...I never saw any but they found my ankles all right! I was nervous about the "toilet tent" but it was not nearly as bad as some reviews have indicated - actually far nicer than the public loos and they never smelt at all!Invest a few soles in a plastic poncho (sold everywhere) to go over or wear instead of a rainjacket - it can get very wet and they are very effective at keeping the worst of the rain off, especially for your backpack too (use a waterproof backpack cover too). You really don't want to get everything wet on the trek as it'll never dry out. Most important thing of all: even if the weather is not hot, drink lots of water and take rehydration tablets too. They say 2 litres a day - I'd recommend 3-4 litres. Don't underestimate how much the altitude will dehydrate you - I thought I was drinking a lot and still suffered severe dehydration, to the extent that I collapsed a couple of times and started to lose consciousness.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do the Rainforest Extension trip too (I think there's now a proper combined trip with the Inca Trail). But be aware, there are lots of creepy crawlies, snakes, piranhas and so on, so if you're afraid of these, the trip is not for you! Even more important to take good technical wicking base layers - you need long sleeves but it is extremely hot and humid so you will sweat buckets. Take a good book as there isn't much to do in the evenings and during the free time. Binoculars are really essential if you want to see wildlife (and there is plenty to see) and invest in lots of plastic ziplock bags for anything you don't want to get wet, and take a bin bags to line the kitbag they give you, as it's not waterproof. My only criticism of the guides in the Rainforest is that they were informative, but nowhere near the league of Exodus guides. They were a little distant and didn't give the impression of looking after you, just of instructing you. For example, our guide didn't ask about any medical problems, carried no first aid kit on a full day's walk in the jungle, and wasn't even interested when I fell and dislocated my shoulder, not even asking me how I was on the following days. Not a problem as I am pretty self-sufficient, but not what I was expecting, having been used to the caring friendly and organised nature of the Exodus guides.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

    A very good informative holiday with quite a lot of variety - beach/walks/culture - amazing to see the diffrerence in culture of a comunist state but the only down side was on the back half of the holiday there were 3 days of long traveling in a coach back to havanna - to me this could be broken up a bit better in planning of the trip -personnaly I would also like to have a bit more beach time but I did go for the culture as I know this will change soon

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Trinidad town & the snorkeling boat trip to the remote beach

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good and informative

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware there are 3 very long days on a coach transferring back to Havanna

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    None
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    CYCLE THE BACKROADS OF SRI LANKA

    A great holiday, great cycling (tough enough to keep it challenging, but not too tough we couldn't enjoy a few beers in the evening) in a beautiful and interesting country - possibly with the 'best group ever'?!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the 2000m summit at the end of a gruelling day. We were exceptionally well supported - so everyone who wanted to made it!Also the close up leopard viewing on safari.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great. Very well organised, good knowledge of biking and Sri Lanka and supported by an excellent team.... Shame about his dancing in Colombo though ;o)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A trip worth recommending. Advice would be to remember your mosquito net - they're not too agressive, but some of the hotels didn't have nets and I wished I'd thought to take mine.
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