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 August 2011
    Anonymous .

    SPITSBERGEN EXPLORER

    This was not just a holiday - it was a privilege. First class ship (A S Vavilov), crew, Exped Team, Leader (Paul Goldstein) and a group of travellers that were as interesting as they were fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The unbelievable polar bear that got 'up close and personal'. When he finally left our proximity I went up onto the Bridge to find a Russian crew member with as big a grin as I was wearing. There was no need for words. The entire ship was 'hyper' for the next couple of hours; midnight, and bright sunshine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul, as photographic mentor, gave every minute of every day his full attention, using his Nautical Views to enliven many an evening bar session. Woody, Exped Team Leader Extraordinary, is a dedicated professional who always has time for any passenger. They are a pair who work so well together and their enthusiasm and sense of fun are infectious. Annie, Woody's 'second in command', deserves a mention, too. She is a 'spotter' without parallel, her charm apparently working as well on the bears as it does on the passengers and crew.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are booked on a photographic charter, bear in mind that the object of the expediation is to find wildlife and photographic opportunities. You will not be joining the massive cruise ships calling in at the world's northernmost Post Office; thank goodness. Go prepared to wrap up warmly. Go prepared to carry a few more pounds home - the food on board is superb. Go prepared for anything. You will be well rewarded.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Mine was an exceptional journey. Was I just lucky? Well, of course luck comes into it. Wildlife and weather perform for no man. There are so many magic memories, though: the bears - of course; the walruses; many thousands of birds; fog and sea ice; brilliant sunshine and the Monaco Glacier; the bar talk about the Irish Kayak Team(!); the friendliness of all on board, from Exodus passengers through crew and Exped Team; an icy cold backside when my waterproof trousers weren't (think sideways - wear a plastic laundry bag). I could go on and on and on ......  The best? Possibly. One of the best? Definitely.Now where did I put the new brochure?
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    MONTENEGRO, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

    Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina are stunning countries with plenty of history, lots to do and see, friendly people and beautiful outdoor landscapes. Make sure you can cope with the summer heat (the hat & gloves were misnomers in the trip notes) and be aware that the design of the trip does not lend itself to the most active of holidays - so the age group is likely to be an older profile (although the outdoor activities and opportunities in both countries are fab so Exodus are missing a trick here!).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Rafting the waters of the Tara River (not included in trip but I did this anyway!), finding out the ins and outs of the Balkans history (both new and old history) and the stunning scenery throughout.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Passionate, well-informed and thoughtful, with a fun personality.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its very hot in July and August - even in the mountains! Be prepared...Don't expect a huge amount of activity - the walks are all "gentle" and there are some long bus journeys. But you can go rafting independently in Zabljak, very easy to arrange.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    LADAKH: STOK KANGRI CLIMB

    This trip far exceeded my expectations, an absolutely brilliant 16days! It was a challenge, but more than the physical aspect it was the mental challenge that suprised me... camping for this number of nights consecutively at such altitude was tough and when you feel tired sometimes it's difficult to get motivated for another 7 hours trekking. However, these moments were short-lived and faaaaaar outweighed by the positives.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The obvious moment would be reaching the summit... The last 50m of the climb were difficult, after having found the physical exertion fine until this point I started to really notice the altitude and my chest felt tight, but popping over the top of the ridge and seeing the prayer flags on the summit made this feeling go away and it was replaced with complete disbelief that I'd made it to the top. It was too much to take in at the time and it was only later in the day that the achievement sank in. Something equally inspiring though was when we were served roast potatoes and pizza followed by apple crumble and custard mid-way through the trek. AND these were brilliant roast potatoes, you'd be proud if you made them at home!!! The food throughout the trek was great but this was a real treat and really lifted our spirits.   

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valerie was a fantastic Leader. She always knew what was going on, was ready with constant reminders when we asked the same questions over and over again, could tell us about ANY aspect of life in Ladakh - actually, not just Ladakh, make that Asia! - and always had an amusing story about previous trips and travels. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Work on your fitness beforehand - you don't need to be a ridiculously fit (I'm certainly not) but some of the paths to the Passes are steep and the fitter that you are, the more you can enjoy it. Also, prior use of an ice axe and crampons is essential as there really is no time to learn these skills during the trip. Finally, a couple of people in our group brought solar chargers with them, which were great in order to give a boost to iPods etc - I'd definately recommend bringing one of these as there's no where to charge anything once you're on trek!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This really is a fantastic trip. The acclimatisation has been planned incredibly well with lots of "climbing high, sleeping low", if you can call 4,900m low! This means that when it comes to summit day, you'll be well prepared for the attempt. The pacing throughout the trip is spot-on, so although you may be used to walking at a faster speed, this pace means that you are giving your body the best chance to get used to the altitude and climate without completely exerting yourself.If you want a challenge that's surrounded by stunning scenery, in an extremely interesting region then this is it!!! 
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    HIGHLIGHTS OF BOTSWANA

    This holiday is an absolute 'must' for anybody who enjoys plenty of variety.  It really does offer something for everyone.  I would rank this as one of the best holidays I have had - and that is saying a lot!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sunset cruise on the Chobe River.  I have never seen so much wildlife in one place at the same time anywhere.   Bush camping on the Okavango Delta and the mokoro rides to view the sunset.The various game drives in Moremi and Savuti.  Again, wildlife was abundant, and we were lucky enough to have several sightings of leopards and cubs at very close range. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam was an excellent leader, and also great fun.  He was also a very good cook.Our local guide, Jamie, was also first rate.  He was an excellent tracker, and as a result we saw much that was unusual as well as all the more common species.  He was extremely knowledgable about wild life and went to a lot of trouble to answer our questions in great detail

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I travelled in July, and the nights were bitterly cold.  If you have a metal water bottle I recommend filling it with hot water last thing at night.  Not only do you then have a lovely warm hot water bottle (do wrap it in something to avoid burns!), but you have an extra supply of drinking water to use the following day.  Bed socks are a great idea too, and I found those supplied by the airline on the flight out to be perfectly adequate. Dry shampoo is a good idea, although there are plenty of opportunities to wash your hair in most places.  I was delighted to discover that it could also be used to great effect to de-pong training shoes!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go!  You won't regret it.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    LYCIAN ACTIVITY WEEK

    This was one of the best holidays I've had in a long time.  Was a bit apprehensive on going on an all planned holiday as I had never done one before.  But managed to meet 15 other amazing like-minded people all up for an adventure.  With a great tour leader, great people, great place, great adventure, what more could you want!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Nearing the end of the week, after all the adventure and adernaline of all the activities, one of the highlights of the week was having dinner out on the boat on the water and watching the moon rise up over the edge of the cliffs sitting around with my friends enjoying the Turkish cuisine on a balmy summer evening.  So beautiful!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was great - he was very encouraging, always available, lots of fun and full of energy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is great for solo travellers as well as couples or even a few friends who want to go along together.  I would potentially do this trip again, if I didn't have 100 other things on my to do list tha tI wanted to do first?!  It was a FABULOUS week and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Although it's full on and full of activity it's definitely achievable activity - you don't have to be super fit.  The toughest thing about it was doing it all in 35 degree + heat!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'll definitely be booking another adventure through exodus - well worth it!
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    TOUR DU MONT BLANC

    This was a fantastic trek, taking in 3 countries in a week. The scenery was stunning and varied, as was the weather.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing up to the highest pass, looking back at what we had already covered and looking ahead into Italy.The flowers were fantastic all along the route, but especially at his point which made it all the more stunning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alison was fantastic; appeared very laid back but was very skilled at managing the group.  She demonstrated what was in her rucksack at the beginning of the trip.  As a result most people carried a lot less, making the trip much more manageable and enjoyable..you really do NOT need lots of changes of clothing, when staying mainly in mountain huts.She was also clearly very fit and experinced in the mountains, and always cheerful and positive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure you have a good level of fitness and have walked in mountains beforehand; it makes it much more enjoyable.Do not take too much stuff; quick drying gear which can be washed out and dry overnight is ideal, but be prepared for rain/sleet/snow.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If taking anyting extra, make it a pair of socks!...
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    VIETNAM ADVENTURE

    An outstanding trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everything.............the trip was so diverse, couldn't mention one thing  that we didn't like. This trip has something for everyone.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tom was fantastic and such good company too. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for us. He went far beyond the expectations of your normal travel rep.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    don't take too many clothes, or pack lightweight clothes. Plenty of places to buy more and there are two places to do laundry, one in Hoi an the other in Nha Trang. You don't really need Dollars, we took some and if you do take any exchange it to Dong as soon as you arrive in the airport in Hanoi ATM's everywhere so as long as you have a visa/debit you can use that but remember all the charges.....you can draw out normally 2,000,000 dong a time........about £60 ish plus your bank charges, their bank charges and the exchange rate but its still a handy option. If you are on the group flight and go via Malaysia get some local currency or Dollars for drinks and food.Take Malaria tablets, Deet 50 or 100 spray and long sleeved shirt and long trousers for the mekong delta as there are loads of mosquitos oh and a sleeping bag liner although the lodge is very good quality.(the only dodgy accommodation on this trip is the sleeper train although you aren't in it overnight, the journey is about 10 hours and you are in a 4 berth sleeper)a fantastic trip, well planned with no hassel........the guides are fantastic.....only negative, vietnam is poorer than thailand and tourism is in its infancy, near some of the hotels and sights there are the usual postcard, fruit sellers shirt sellers etc....they can be quite pushy but just be polite and patient and walk past them and they won't cause you any issues you will love it....enjoy

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it........we had a great group which helps as everyone got on really well. What can i say....fantasic guide, fantastic company and a fantastic trip
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    LYCIAN ACTIVITY WEEK

    I thoroughly enjoyed this holiday. It was my first time being a solo traveller and my group were fantastic. I had so much fun and I loved Turkey. Hotel Oreo was great, the rooms are basic but you are not in them that much, the pool was great, the staff were so lovely and the view was breath taking. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the activities were great. Tubing was a nice fun start to the week. Scuba diving was also pretty easy going as a try dive you are only underwater for about 15 mins but it was still nice all the same. Make sure you ask the boat to have some snorkeling gear so you can snorkel while you are waiting your turn. The sea kayaking was great. The canyoning was fantastic... wow what a challenge, you will face your fears and do things you never thought you could do. Also it was a great bonding day for our group. I think the most inspirational day for me was the mountain biking. Cycling down hill back into beautiful Kas... the view is incredible... totally took my breath away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Maho was really great, he had the right amount of craziness and seriousness. He is a really experienced guide and you feel totally safe with him especially on the more challenging activities ie sea kayaking, mountain biking and canyoning. He's also really good fun and made everyone feel welcome and part of the group. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it! ...book it, you won't regret it. It's great for your soul to do all these challenging activities in a beautiful country with great people. Bring cycling gloves, I wore them mountain biking, sea kayaking and canyoning. Bring swimming goggles, I wore mine a lot, nice to have on swim breaks ie on the sea kayaking day and even just for the hotel pool. Definitely have hiking boots for the canyoning, i would have been so nervous without them and wear 3 pairs of socks on the canyoning day as your boots expand. Wear a long sleeve top for sea kayaking if you burn easy and a sun glasses strap so you don't lose them. Bring either a disposable waterproof camera or a normal waterproof camera. I brought 2 Kodak disposable waterproof cameras and the images came out fine but one guy on our trip had a Waterproof, dust proof etc Fuji camera that was great for scuba, canyoning, sea kayaking etc. Others on the trip had waterproof covers/bags for their cameras and they stayed waterproof.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food is fantastic, especially if you like vegetarian options... so tasty. All the restaurants were great. Learn some basic Turkish before you go, or even while you are there. The only negative from this holiday was on booking this trip I was told that everyone on the trip got a free turkish bath. This wasn't told to Maho our guide and we had to pay 20 lira, which isn't a lot but was a bit disappointing when you were promised it free. I think this mix up was more on the UK office side.All the hotel staff, bus drivers, guide and assistant guides were all so lovely. Don't forget to tip them at the end. :)  Buy the guides professional photos at the end of your trip, they come out really well and are definitely worth the money. Party hard at the end of your trip and dance like crazy at the Queen disco bar... loads of fun.  Don't forget to soak up the views on the mountain biking day! and enjoy every minute! :)
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    MONT BLANC CIRCUIT

    This was a trip that I was expecting to be good, after reading reviews and after personal recommendations from friends, but it still exceeded our expectations, and was a fantastic holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is a hard question to answer because although great views are expected in the Alps, there were inspirational views and sights virtually every step of the way. Our guide, Mel, was inspirational, in her love and passion for the mountains and her knowledge of the local landscape, and particularly the flowers and plants. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As I have said above, our group leader Mel was inspirational. It was obviously not just a holiday for her, it was a lifestyle. She was very encouraging and accommodating, and found ways to coax us up the huge mountains, even in the face of pain and injury. She managed to distract us from the pain by giving us botany 'lessons' as we were going along, and these little talks also enabled her to make the whole group stop and rest to allow the slower members to catch up and rest also. In the end, the whole group were orchid spotting and this gave us a completely new perspective on the Alps, and a depth of experience, which other trekkers walking by at top speed did not get.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a pair of trekking poles, as they were invaluable, since the majority of the trip is either up or down, and you need them for both! Don't rely on being able to wash, and particularly dry clothes. There are washers and dryers at several of the campsites, but the dryers did not appear to work well, and the weather is not stable enough to rely on hanging clothes out to dry. Just take a fresh pair of socks for each day and don't mind wearing other clothes for a few days each. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a fantastic trip which deserves its reputation of being one of the best walks in the world.
  • Reviewed July 2011
    Anonymous

    CROATIA: ISLANDS & MOUNTAINS

    Stunning scenery. Brilliant guide. Great walks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Jumping into the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic to cool off after the day's walking on the island of Krk.Chilling out with a gorgeous sunset out over the islands and sea, at the Zavižan mountain hut.The peace and tranquility of the Premuziceva Trail, with its stunning scenery, fabulous flowers and plants, and crazy rock formations.Exploring the ancient towns of Krk and Trogir, and seeing the Venetian history of Croatia first hand.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant - one of the best I've ever had. Incredibly knowledgeable, on subjects from history to flowers - and great fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you enjoy day hikes and love mountains and/or islands, then this is a great trip - especially if you'd also like to know more about the history of this part of the world.Don't forget your swimming togs! Or your camera....Don't bother buying a map.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    To read my trip notes and see my photos, visit: http://www.sparklytrainers.com/blog/archives/2011/07/10/croatia_-_berlin_-_paris_the_t.html
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