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

    PICOS PEAKS & GORGES

    Our 4th Exodus holiday and as always it met our expectations and we would highly recommend it. Lovely hotel, small and friendly in a beautiful location with great views. The rooms are simple but very clean and and the food is really great with lots of choice and plentiful. Nobody will go hungry. I do not eat meat and was impressed with the variety of choice of meals that I could eat. We enjoyed sitting on the terrace having a beer after a day walking. The barman is really friendly and provides peanuts or crisps with your drinks. The walking was great not too strenuous but a decent length. We started our walks at 9.00 and were usually picked up in the mini-bus around 4 - 4.30. The people in our group were great, very friendly and chatty which added to the enjoyment of our holiday. The ages of our group were mixed and as usual for an August holiday many were teachers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved all the walks, unfortunately due to the weather we were only able to do one peak.The Cares Gorge is lovely and it was great dangling my feet in the icy cold, refreshing water in the river in Cain before having lunch and a beer. Seeing a Golden Eagle flying over the valley in Inguanzo.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jim and Pilar the hotel owners were friendly and helpful. They provide the transportation from and to the airport and also do the drop offs and pick-ups for the daily walks. We were never left waiting very long.Victor our mountain guide was great, a local young man, highly qualified and considerate of everyone. He ensured everyone was safe and told us how much water would be required each day. He had a great sense of humour and always had a story to tell.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that changes in weather will alter the programme of walksMake sure you drink enough water and take heed of Victor's advice regarding filling up at different springs.Take time to walk into the village and visit the Cabreles Cheese Museum.We haven't ever used poles but the majority of walkers had poles so you might want to try them before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We did a walk on our free day rather than visit the beach. Jim provided the map and we did a lovely walk visiting the pretty village Inguanzo.A few of the people in our group stopped over at Bilbao at the end of the week which I hadn't thought of but it seemed like a good thing to do. Jim or Pilar dropped them off after they dropped us at the airport. The Guggenheim at Bilbao sounds interesting.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    PYRENEES TO THE MEDITERRANEAN

    The cycling was wonderful although it helped that we had sat nav . Having done lots of Exodus cycling trips I would rate it as moderate rather than easy/moderate.The bikes were fine . The hotels were BASIC

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The costal ride to Tossa on the last day.  Absolutely stunning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We didn't have one as it was a self guide

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were 2 experienced cyclists and 2 novices and the trip worked well for all  I would eat out even on the nights when dinner is included . There are some lovely restaurants in all of the towns you stay in and all are inexpensive  In the Sant Pau in Barcelona make sure you request a non smoking room .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip would be massively enhanced if Exodus sorted the transfers to Rimoll and from the coast to BarcelonaAlso please please upgrade your hotels
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    KENYA & TANZANIA ADVENTURE

    The trip was as good as expected from the description except for some long, rough days travelling, arriving at some destinations too late to explore. The scenery and people of East Africa were fantastic.  The final few days of R&R on Zanzibar were welcome.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The game drives in all parks were exceptional, particularly a personal game drive in the Serengeti (whilst the remainder of the party were ballooning) spotting a hyena and jackal tug-of-war with an unfortunate young buffalo, just killed by the hyena, just 20m from the truck. The bird life was amazing, a personal bird guide is required to identify them all, although Often, the driver, made a good attempt. I made good use of the local motorbike gatherings, hopping on the back for a lightening photographic tour of some of the towns in exchange for the cost of a gallon of fuel.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emius was friendly, helpful, very informative and a good conversationalist, offering the right advice at the appropriate time. He was ably joined by Often who had a good knowledge of the bird life and Leo, a master cook, both of whom were resourceful, friendly and informative.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Unlike Namibia, where I have also travelled with Exodus, the non-metalled roads can be extremely rough. There are a few long days travelling (10-12 hours) on these very rough roads where the priority was to get to the destination rather than sample the route. I would have liked more scenery to explore on foot during the long travelling days.The Zanzibar dolphin excursion is one to be avoided. What is not explained on arrival at the hotel is that the sea is invarably rough (a 4 or 5 ft swell on the day) the dolphins elusive and swimming with them impossible in those conditions, had we seen any. More importantly, there were no lifejackets in the small wooden boat which went at least a mile offshore. This was a waste of a 6 hour trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was very impressed by the friendly people and scenic diversity of East Africa. One of my main interests was the bird life but I was not expecting such diversity. I took a copy of Helm Field Guides - Birds of East Africa by Stevenson & Fanshaw. The description, location maps and illustrations are superb but the variety of birds seen, particularly those small ones, were too numerous to identify!
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN THE WESTERN DOLOMITES

    A fantastic area, the scenery was breathtaking and the hotel was excellent.  Using cable cars and gondolas to gain height means that most of the walking has tremendous views.  Underfoot the wildflowers are beautiful and there are marmots and chamois to see.  At the end of the day the spa area of the hotel was well used.  Hotel food was excellent with several unusual dishes and a scrumptious gala evening which was a real treat

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    1 Seeing a chamois crossing the path not 20 ft away2 Getting to the top of one of the highest peaks at almost 10000 ft on the free day (mainly by amazing cable car)3 Managing to complete a section to the time specified on the signpost4 As ever on an Exodus tripp meeting like minded people and having a great time getting to know them

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eric was a very good leader - lots of knowledge about the area including the rocks, flowers etc.  The routes were chosen to make the most of poor weather forecasts although it turned out the forecasts were unduly pessimistic. He has a good sense of humour and the knack of creating a happy atmosphere in the group

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure to take a swimsuit to take advantage of the hotel spa area.  On the free day a good choice is to take the cable cars to the top of Sass Podoi from where the view is incredible and the mountain hut does the usual excellent lunch.  I did find the altitude affected me, I had not been this high before and the walking made me more breathless than normal.  People more accustomed to heights did not experience this.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I like the holidays with two grades of walk, I think this is especially good for couples where one is stronger than the other and also it enables you to book with confidence that the correct grade can be chosen in the resort.  I had previously done a C walk on a different holiday, on this trip I was only able to manage the B grade, I think this was mainly due to the altitude which did affect me.  Do not be put off however, this is a fantastic trip to an amazing place.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    HIGHLIGHTS OF MOROCCO

    A well organised trip - felt so good to be guided around without having to make many decisions - a real break from the reality of life! Morocco proved to be a beautiful country full of colour, life and diversity. Away from the hustle and bustle of the souks and medinas, the people were friendly and welcoming.  A good mixture of city, desert, mountains and a brief trip to the coast. Personally, I found the time spent away from the cities most enjoyable but this trip has a bit of everything.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My top 4:- Getting up before dawn to climb the dunes in the Sahara to watch the sunrise. Despite there being too much cloud cover to see anything really spectacular, the feeling of being up high on the dunes, away from civilisation and the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, overlooking a reddish/orange version of a lunar landscape was so peaceful.Sleeping out under the stars in a bedouin camp in the Sahara. I loved the sound and feeling of the light rain and sand being blown against my sheet I had cocooned myself in, and waking up at dawn surrounded by so much open space.Seeing the most amazing starry sky in the Atlas mountains. I have never seen anything like it - truly beautiful and very calming!Gaining a better understanding of Berber culture and life - humbling experience. Tasted some great thyme and mint teas!  

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was very good at including everyone and really wanted to make sure everyone was having a good time.  He bought local treats and snacks for us to sample during some of our long minibus trips. He was knowledgeable and had a good balance of seriousness and fun and was very kind and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's been said before but....Make sure you have wet wipes and toilet paper...Keep small change for the toiletsRemember to pack a torchTake swimwearIf you go on holiday hoping to read lots, this may not be the holiday for you!If travelling in the summer months when it is hot, make sure you have some lightweight sleeved tops to cover up - both to protect yourself from the sun and to be culturally sensitive - it is a Muslim country after all. Drink, drink, drink (bottled water) and then drink some more! And don't forget to brush your teeth with bottled water - it's not worth the upset stomache if you don't! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my first organised trip and the first time I had been away on holiday on my own with a bunch of randoms. Was very apprehensive at first but, when booking, ask the lovely people at exodus for a breakdown of who is already booked on the trip. I nearly ended up going on a trip with a family of 4 plus me until the guy I spoke to on the phone warned me - not what I was after. So, if travelling alone it is always good to know whether everyone else is buddied up or not - that's why the solo departures are so good for not making you feel on your own. If you know what you do and don't want from your holiday then there will be a trip for you - read the trip notes first and do some research and then get booking! 
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    DESERT & DELTA

    Great holiday on the ground in Botswana & Namibia BUT flight arrangments were disappointing (notwithstanding the fact that we queried the connection times before departure) and the brochure did oversell just how much could be fitted into some of the days.  I would recommend the trip but with reservations about the above points.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The local wildlife was a key aspect of the trip for us and this was very good, we hoped to catch a glimpse of a Black Rhino and in fact saw 15 in a 24 hour period in Etosha, plus Leopard, several Elephant and great views of the more common species.  Must be said though that many locals expressed surprise at what the trip guide suggested we could see at the time of year we went.  Like to bird watch on holiday and identified over 130 species.The Namib desert was also fantastic and climbing up Dune 45 at dawn was a great experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, together with the other 3 members of the 'crew' they gave us a great holiday, very knowledgable and hard working.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The key problem for me was that we had to change flights at Frankfurt and the schedule allowed very little time to make the connections, we queried this when we recieved our schedule (so did the other people on the trip) but were told not to worry as this trip had been organised many times before and the fight times would be OK.  in fact they were not, we missed our connecting flights both ways and this effectively meant that we lost the first half day of the trip and couldn't do the bushmen walk, completely avoidable if we had been put on an earlier flight to Frankfurt.Also some of the suggested schedules for what could be done on some of the days in the trip notes were just impossible to achieve and should really be written in a more realistic format, would seem that they were written by someone with very little 'on the ground' experience for what can be done.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a good holiday made by the ground crew and I would recommend it but the 2 very avoidable problems on the flight arrangements spoilt things a bit and I would recommend that anyone booking looks at this aspect very closely.  If we do other trips with Exodus we will almost certainly take care of our own flights.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    THE SHADOW OF THE MATTERHORN

    This is a fantastic trip.  We had a brilliant time with a lovely group of people, and great views of the Matterhorn, Monta Rosa and beyond.  The weather saved the best for the last day when three of us climbed the Breithorn - clear blue sky, sun and stunning views. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Where do I start.  It snowed while we a the Rothorn-Hutte with the possibility of us not being able to get down the following day.  Thankfully it stopped snowing in the night and our guide did a great job getting us down out of the snowline safely.Awsome views of the Matterhorn from the Schonbielhutte.More fantastic views of and from the top of the Breithorn.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sean is an excellent ambassador for Exodus.  We could not speak highly enough about him.  He is very knowledgeable and conscientious but most of all he was very helpful and made time to talk to us as individuals and as a group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The ascent of the Breithorn is well worth doing but it is more expensive than it states in the trip notes - unless they have been updated recently.  It cost me approx' £220 which includes the cost of the guide and the cable car.  Hire of equipment is extra.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I went on this trip with my daughter who had been to the Pyrenees with Exodus, which she thouroughly enjoyed.  I am sure we will be travelling with Exodus again.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

    I have done a few Exodus holidays in Europe and would actually say that in terms of the scenery and the history of the country it was among the best.  Bosnia is not normally thought of as a holiday destination, but has lots to offer! Also not that many tourists either

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the wildflower meadows was absolutely beautiful and there were lots of butterflies as well if you like nature.There is also lots to see in Sarajevo.  As this was a walking holiday then obviously we had walks organised everyday but it would be nice to go back to visit some of the museums there as unfortunately there was so much to see we did not have enough time.It is amazing to see the resilience of the people of Sarajevo following their recent troubles.  It is difficult to imagine what it must have been like, but the reminders are still there in terms of the damaged ski station etc and the library which is still under repair. Amazing to think as well of the work which has been done rebuilding Mostar including the bridge there which was completely destroyed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Samer and Alen were excellent - considerate, informative about their country and enthusiastic

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In Sutjeska National park there are not always well marked paths as it is not like the Lake District by way of example.  However, it is not a problem if you are used to walking. The scenery is well worth it anyway!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book it now!!!!
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    SOmetimes the food is good, or the scenery is good, or the guide is good, but all were good including the other people on the trip which you can't always plan.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting other people from all walks of life with very different views and lifstyles

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ace. Informative.  Trustworthy.  Fun

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take hat and gloves - it can be very snowy at the top.  ANd remember waterproofs too - and a good head torch.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I liked the snacks from the local market
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    YELLOWSTONE WILDLIFE TREK

    I went on the very first Yellowstone Wildlife Trek by Exodus this year so many of the issues I may mention in my review I understand from Exodus were already resolved on the following trips or will be in 2012 departures. I was very excited about this trip (particuarly the specialist guiding - satisfying the scientist part of me), I read the trip notes and also did other background reading so this trip a lot to live up to. Unfortunately not all activities described in the trip notes lived up to expectation. Plus I knew the parks were vast but perhaps Exodus was not explicit enough in the notes that you also experience rather long drives from campsites to trailheads and within parks. This really impacted on some particular days what we saw, what trekking we did in time available and my overall feeling of not truly exploring or experiencing the parks as anticipated.   

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Grand Teton National Park was pretty amazing – craggy mountain tops and flat valley bottoms really spectacular scenery. I had one of best treks for the whole trip in Grand Teton as a few of my fellow campers and I did not go on the white-water rafting or horse riding so we did a trek from Taggart Lake to Jenny Lake. Due to snow we could not go over the high pass but it was one day where I felt I truly got to experience the park seeing grizzly bear, lots of flowers, American pelicans flying in a v shape etc etc Yellowstone National Park is quite something else – some parts particularly around the Geysers, thermal pools etc doesn’t look like it belongs on this planet by having a rather ‘Martian’ look about it (not that I’ve been to Mars but you’ll get what I mean once you see it for yourself). Plus our first couple of hours driving in the park we saw countless bison, elk and even a mummy bear and 2 cubs. Saw a moose nose (through the undergrowth), brown bear and I was lucky enough to see a tail-end of a coyote as he ran into the forest (no photographic evidence of the coyote so you’ll just have to believe me!). Old Faithful is pretty cool although almost completely silent erupting quite unlike the Castle Geyser (YOU MUST GO SEE IT) as it erupted steam/water for over 20 minutes roaring like a steam train (Castle Geyser was my favourite). Grand Prismatic is really fantastic – looks like it should feature as a monster from Dr Who or something – make sure you walk up the surrounding hill to look down onto it (not through the visitor centre) otherwise you really not get a true idea of what it is like (colours in it are mind blowing). We did hike up Mt Washburn, the views from it are truly wonderful – it was a clear day so we could see for miles (saw Grand Teton range) but we had to go up/down the service road due to the snow so hike was not a cool as it could have been. Glacier National Park was really lovely although wish we could have stayed longer in one place rather than camping in East Glacier then West Glacier (for only one night). A few of us did a lovely hike around Two Medicine Lake (West Glacier) we went up to the Twin Falls (must see due to snow melt at that time), forded rivers, streams and snow as we ventured around it. Great views of the lake and surrounding mountains – if you have time DO THIS HIKE and you can also venture up a high pass for that extra bit of excitement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our two group leaders Ryan and Parker were very knowledgeable and worked very hard during our trip to try and mitigate issues with the ‘non specialist’ guides for us and make sure we did as much hiking as possible. They also cooked great meals every night so we didn’t go hungry and they even had their guitars for evening entertainment.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take industrial strength mozzie repellent – we got eaten alive some nights. I found a set of base layers very useful as some nights it did get a bit cold plus they also served as extra mozzie protection. If you like a comfy bed and camping does not usually agree with your back then I suggest try and take a small camping mat as the mats provided are not that thick. I also carry my clothes etc in various compression bags that are waterproof – this made searching for stuff in dark tent easier and kept my clothes dry. Camelbak (or equivalent) very handy so you can drink and keep your hands free for all those pictures you are going to take. Take extra large memory card for your camera - I took over 800 photos during this trip (some of which I can't really identify what it was now) and are sorting back through them with some happy memories.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were very lucky with the weather – it only rained for about 20 mins one day the rest of the time it was really warm with blue skies. If you can stop off at the Craters of the Moon National Reserve (Monument) on your way to Salt Lake City – this truly a ‘Moon’ based experience. Although I would say make sure you should have comfy shows and sun protection (hat etc ) as if it’s sunny you will get baked alive (lava rock sharp and reflective). I did enjoy this trip (don’t get me wrong) but I feel I can only give it 3 stars as it really was not what was expected. Couple of our campsites (specifically tent pitches) were not up to scratch - although these have since been changed. I felt that we did miss out on some potentially great experiences. We did not have 'specialist wildlife, geology or wolf tracking guides' as described per the trip notes which led to 3 quite disappointing days where we simply toured around like every other tourist in Yellowstone National Park – certainly not experiencing the best of the parks. However I should say that I wrote to Exodus about my concerns and experiences on this trip as soon as I got back home and they investigated our claims thoroughly and have put already put in place a number of measures to improve the trip experience for subsequent trips. So although I may not have experienced a ‘truly great Yellowstone Wildlife Trek’ I’m pleased that Exodus took on board what we said and made improvements for future travellers. So go on - have a go! I'm sure you'll have a great time!  
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