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

    THE INCA TRAIL

    Due to never having been on anything like this kind of holiday before we were looking forward to it and the different experience this would offer. The holiday went beyond our expectations and we had a fantastic experience with all elements of the trip running smoothly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best part of the trip was after 4 days of hiking at the end of the Inca Trail, going through the Sun Gate and the view of Machu Picchu beyond, surrounded by the fantastic scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan was a wonterful tour rep/guide/medical advisor that you could have wished for, a resident of Cuzco, his insight into the history of the Incas, his knowledge of the wildlife on the trek and where to find the best places to eat in Cuzco were excellent. He helped a number of individuals get over a bit of travel tummy with some guidance of where to obtain the best remedies and ensure they continued to join the trek and enjoy the experience to the full.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please, please, please .... can't say this enough .... Do take up some stamina and hiking training a few months before the trek commences, we both started our training in Feb and we travelled in July ! 2 of our group did very little training and it showed. Juan our guide spent considerable time with them to ensure they were ok, but it did mean the group (only 5 of us) split into the 3 who were fit and able to hike ok and those 2 that were having regular (too regular) rest breaks which split the group and led to us sometimes missing out on the interesting commentary our guide was able to give. However the excellent itierary planned by Exodus and our guide was set so even these slower individuals were able to make it back to camp every night before it went dark ... just about ! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip is a wonderful experience and one not to be missed - sure, camping isn't everyones favourite, but plan for it, treat it as part of the experience, take plenty of warm thin layers - 0 degrees at night, 22 degrees during the day - layers on and off all the time, you will have a great adventure. Essential item - take a spare metal empty water container so you don't have to leave the tent at night when it's freezing when nature calls and earplugs so you can actually get to sleep.  
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    TREKKING IN NEW ZEALAND

    I have had great diffuculty rating this trip and even with the benefit of time, I just cannot give it more than 4 stars, I really wanted too but although there is nothing wrong with the trip at all and it is exactly as promised in the brochure, I can't help feeling just a bit disappointed. That may sound churlish on what is otherwise an excellent over 3 week trip to a stunning country with fantastic settings for those who love the outdoors, that was superbly organised. But perhaps that's it, the trip is exactly as planned as described and there was not that sudden "surprise" moment you get on other trips. The trip perhaps tries to be too many things to everyone, accepting this may be many peoples only taste of New Zealand, so although it is 3 weeks long, there is an awful lot packed in and being honest the hiking was really relatively easy and it is apparent there are so many fantastic longer hikes available, so I think I would have prefered it to have been able to indulge in one of the longer multi-day hikes, rather than just doing a bit of several of the classic hikes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip had many highlights, overall the helicopter trip to Siberia hut followed by the climb to Lake Crucible and the jet-boat out of the Siberia river valley the next day was probably the best single part. However for scale and beauty, Milford Sound is almost impossible to beat. The hike up and over the volcanoes at Tongariro was equally inspiration in a more physical way (especially good if you are a Lord of the Rings fan and like spotting film locations). The final hike around Mt Somers, initially felt like it had been tagged on a something to fill a day, but this turned out to be particularly enjoyable, probably as it was the most deserted and not only was the scenery stunning but it was glimpse of how New Zealanders have brilliantly engaged with their outdoors. Perhaps the most surprisingly inspiration part was waking up after camping on the beach in Abel Tasman, just like Robinson Crusoe.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The two trip leaders, one each for North and South Island were fantastic; knowledgable, enthusiastic. encouraging. Impossible to rate them any higher.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to experience a bit of most things New Zealand has to offer, this trip is probably ideal for you, although for me it has just stimulated a desire to go on and do the whole Milford trek. I probably did not quite consider who would pay this amount of money and take over 3 weeks off, and it is fair to say that all but one other person on the trip was retired, and as such I was considerably younger than everyone else. This was not particualrly a problem but some fellow travellers seemed to have major concerns about some of the accomodations and I have never been on an Exodus trip like this were people brought hard cases for luggage. Yes, there is camping, some of the huts are basic and there are drop toilets and shared sleeping platforms; however compared to similar in other parts of the world, these are relatively well appointed, clean and comfortable. You do need to be prepared to carry some group equpment, so you do need a 50L day sac, it's a bit unfair if those who do bring larger day sacs have to carry all the eqipment. We were extremely lucky with the weather, especially in the rain-ridden areas of South Island and I am sure at another time you will get considerably wet. You do need to be prepared for all climates, so pack accordingly with layers: it ranged from tropical beach in Abel Tasman to hiking in a hail storm in Mt Cook. The biting insects are worse than advertised, bring repellent and cover up. Gaiters are useful as the grass is wet in the morning and I found baselayer leggings possibly the most useftul piece of clothing, easy to carry, sleep in and wear under shorts to hike in, as the New Zealanders do. For th overnighters you do need enough clothing to change completely.The instructions regarding baggage are clear but different people interpreted differently. You do need a 50 L sac for the overnight hikes, enough to carry sleeping bag, clothes and a share of the group equipment but you can leave your remaining equipment locked in the trailor. I brought a standard and comfortable rucksac with all my things as my main baggage and smaller 30 L day sac as hand luggage and for day walks and decanted out what I didn't need each time into a fold up travel holdall and walked with my riucksac.  This worked well for me, others packed a ~ 50L pack inside their bigger main baggage and also brought a smaller day sac, this seemed like a lot of baggage.As advertised this is a very fast paced trip, there is a lot of arriving late at accomodation and leaving early the next morning. Compared to other trips there is not a lot of time to rinse out and dry clothes, which might be worth considering when packing.I took walking poles but strapped them to my pack on all but one day, the walking is not that difficult at all. However the climb is Lake Crucible is very steep and I found poles essential for both the ascent and descent. So I would recommend taking them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our trip coincided with the Christchurch earthquake (we were on the other side of the Alps at the time) and the later stages of the severe rains that hit that part of the world. This had minimal effect: the day in Christchurch and hotel were rearranged and we didn't hike into and camp at the Ballroom because of the height of the river but the alternatives were well organised.If you like the outdoors and this will be your one trip to New Zealand and you don't mind some basic accomodation, this is definitely the trip for you. If you really want to experience the great hikes and love a hard walk, you may find this a bit disappointing and like me, find that it has just wetted your appetite for something more. Although badged as moderate-challenging, physically the trekking is not that tough, although some areas are very isolated and the volcanic scree is tiring. The climb to Lake Crucible and the Tongariro passage (when you have the heaviest pack) are the most difficult days, but really anyone that's used to walking regularly or is appropriately fit should manage these easily enough.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    SLOVENIAN WHITEWATER

    On this holiday I was completely out of my comfort zone but the group and the instructor made me feel safe and I had the time of my life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being winched down a waterfall, doing an eskimo roll going down some rapids, the beautiful Slovenian countryside.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Really cool, cute and made feel really confident in his ability to keep me safe.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You're going to love it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hotel owner Jazbec was friendly and funny too.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN TUSCANY

    Great scenery, beautiful setting for accommodation and fantastic that we were served produce grown on the land.Really enjoyed the group - a great mix and the walks were pretty varied

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the highest mountain in Tuscany (and on our first completely sunny day!) Laughing a lot. both with the locals and several members of the group

    What did you think of your group leader?

    very knowledgeable and extremely active ladyShe was careful to ensure everyone stayed pretty close on walks and made the right decisions on changing the itinerary when needed

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    a relatively good level of fitness is required as there is some steep inclines on walks most days. Good waterproof clothing and shoes is a must

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would have liked more fruit at breakfast and varietySometimes easier to have individually prepared sandwiches than make your own depending on the conditions of the terrain and weather when we stopped for lunch the outside table should have some kind of canopy (solid) above it so that it means you can sit out even if its raining and the furniture remains drySome kind of group check in at Pisa as BA was hugely understaffed and on the day of your departure when you don't want to leave you really want it to be as quick as possible.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous .

    SPITSBERGEN EXPLORER

    The trip exceeded all our expectations, the weather,the wildlife,the ship and the crew the whole experience was amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The polar bear that approached the ship at midnight has to be one very special moment, one we will never ever forget.What a privilege.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul is one of the most enthusiastic people we have ever met and his enthusiasm is infectious,his Nautical Views were awaited every evening with baited breath,along with Woody (and his amazing team)they are professional wonderful people a joy to travel with.The trip wouldn't have been so special without them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with an open mind,read the trip notes but don't expect to follow the itinery.Be prepared for what ever the weather and the wildlife have to offer,be flexible and you won't be disappointed

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    What can we say,it was  a life changing trip. Perhaps we were lucky with the wildlife encounters but we wouldn't have missed it for the world.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous .

    SPITSBERGEN EXPLORER

    An amazing trip with bears birds, walruses, ice where it shouldn't have been, sunshine at 3am great ship, food and company

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A bear on a floe in technicolour sunshine at midnight right next to the ship

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul was Paul. As ever very good value

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't think twice just do it
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    MOUNTAIN BIKING IN CROATIA

    A memorable holiday; long, hard and rewarding days cycling in breathtaking mountains and forests with the last two days being contrasting rides out from  a luxurious family run hotel right on the beach.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many inspirational moments.The mountain hut was stunning; whilst not the most comfortable accommodation we stayed in, the views were endless and watching the sun go down over the mountains, sea and islands, was memorable. The cycling itself was the highlight.The route is well planned, varied and interesting, starting in the mountains and forest, and ending on the coast; with some lengthy hard climbs, rewarded by exhilarating long downhill trails . The first day seemed quite challenging at the time, although with the benefit of hindsight, it was the easy day that we were promised. The scenery is spectacular, wonderful forests full of wildlife, flowers and butterflies. Plitvice lakes are stunningly beautiful, and the natural music from the sea organ at Zadar is haunting and memorable.Our group chose an optional ride on the last day; a short bus transfer followed by a ride with a steep climb to the most spectacular view of the holiday, over sea , lake and islands.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vladimir was a good leader and amazing cyclist who supported the weaker cyclists whilst allowing the faster ones to go at their own speed . We were very well looked after, no injuries and  no mechanical problems being a tribute to the great care that was taken. Vladimir is very knowledgeable about the countryside, the history and the various places we visited . The ride was extremely well supported, with a support vehicle following , giving confidence to attempt daunting climbs safe in the knowledge that a bailout was available if required. Retiring exhausted to the after-party in the van with Pjer was fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Being used to off-road cycling and having a good level of fitness will greatly add to the enjoyment of this trip, but the support is excellent so the long distances and climbs need not be problematic.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a fabulous opportunity to see some of the less travelled Croatia on a bike. 
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    KENYA & TANZANIA ADVENTURE

    Early to bed and early to rise in between you'll sleep in a tent you'll grow to despise!  The rewards are breathtaking vistas and a true safari experience with an abundance of wildlife you won't get back home.  Fantastic!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Descending into the Ngorongoro crater was like entering a lost world.  From the top you would think it was a vast empty space.  When are on the crater floor you'll be astounded by how many animals actually live together in this caldera.  The variety of species was also revealing and a good set of binoculars came in very handy as well as a decent zoom on the camera.We had a visit from some elephants drinking for the camp water supply - that caused quite a stir.The Serengetti balloon ride was as expensive as it was surreal.  This was part of what we went for and it will stay in our memories for ever.  We had mixed reports before we left but I can honestly say it was the best balloon ride I've been on and the cooked breakfast with champagne (Cava) was a good way to start the day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emias was amazing. Extremely well organised and always provided just enough information so would not forget and yet still be informed.  Nothing was too much trouble for him and his knowledge of wildlife was encyclopedic.  His driving was excellent on some difficult roads and thankfully he was the only one who stayed awake for the full journey which is a long way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some old gardening gloves for putting up the tent and taking it down.  The metal hooks are annoying and make your fingers sore after a few days.  You'll be doing this in the dark on some days so take a good head torch too.  There are some very early morning starts but it is worth it so you get to your next camp site in the light and you get the best spot.  You can always catch up wtih your sleep on the truck.  There will be long periods of travelling in the truck so be prepared with some personal entertainment or a pillow. If you are tempted by the Dolphin Trip on Zanzibar please INSIST on having a life jacket before you get on the boat.  We had none and the sea was rough to the point we asked to be taken back ashore.  We complained to no avail.The Kilimanjaro walk is well worth the effort.  It is NOT EASY bearing in mind the teraine, altitude and heat so some fitness is required and take plenty of water.  Remember 'pole-pole' - take it slow.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    When you get to Zanzibar Exodus hand over the organisation to a local company.  For me this was dissapointing as that is when the quality dipped.  Once they had your money for trips they seemed to lose interest and the communication was poor.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous .

    SPITSBERGEN EXPLORER

    Wow! This expedition is an incredible journey through one of the most beautiful and spectacular places on Earth. Words and photographs do not do justice to the Spitsbergen Explorer, you will just have to see for yourself!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many magical moments but I don't mind admitting that the bear now affectionately known as 'Midnight Bear' brought a tear to my eye!  Watching the magnificent sea bear swim and cross the ice in the late night sunshine was an incredible experience.  Sharing that experience with such a wonderful group of people made it all the more special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What can I say that hasn't already been said?!  Paul and Woody are a match made in heaven!  They work tirelessly and diligently with the rest of the amazing team to maximise every opportunity in the 24hr daylight. Their enthusiasm is infectious!  Great anecdotes and jokes, I can't speak highly enough of the entire expedition team on board the Vavilov.  To listen to their knowledge and amazing, entertaining stories is a great privilege.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you get a new camera or lenses for this trip, please read and inwardly digest the instructions before you set off! I had anticipated learning how to use my DSLR during the trip but when you want incredible photos on your first experience out in a zodiac, it helps to know what you are doing!Take plenty of layers and liner gloves for under mittens so you can still operate your camera.  You will want to take advantage of the daylight so expect long vigils at the bow of the ship to get the best wildlife sightings.  As you might expect in the Arctic, the weather conditions change quite rapidly so be prepared.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A truly life changing experience!  Where do I start?!  From the moment you step on board the Vavilov, the expedition team welcome you.  The ship facilties are first class and the food is abundant and fantastic.  The zodiac excursions and landings are exhilarating and the presentations are interesting, thought provoking and informative. I was very fortunate to be with a great crowd of fellow explorers and the expedition team and ship crew are second to none.  We utilised each and every hour yet I found the trip energising and invigorating. My expedition was marvellous, mind blowing and mesmerising and I am sure yours will be too!
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    CHAMONIX RIDGES & SUMMITS

    A very enjoyable week in stunning settings with an excellent and enthusiastic guide. Only comment for improvement, was that we needed a second guide to accomodate the range of ability in our large group of 16.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All of the walks were interesting and varied, taking us into the heart of the French and Swiss Alps. Proper 'chocolate box' scenery just a couple of hours from home.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent group leader, made all of the walks a lot of fun whilst never compremising safety. Highly organised, accomodating to needs of a large group enthusiastic and personablee.,

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A moderately challenging week with the benefits of a centralised hotel base. Accomodation is clean, conveniently located and friendly but quite basic, however walking trails are excellent and offer fantastic views across the Alpine mountains. Be prepared for weather to impact on the itinery but you will get a walk in each day whatever the sky throws down!
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