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 April 2011
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER THAILAND, LAOS & CAMBODIA

    From the vibrancy and smog of Bangkok to the wonderful journey on the Mekong and through the mountains of Laos, with its lovely gentle laid back people, this trip ended in amazing Cambodia a country to have you gazing in awe at its wonderful sights, tearing at your heart strings as you learn first hand of its tragic history and inspire you with hope for its young people to pull it back up by its boots.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    .  Even though I am not a particularly cultured person, the highlight has to be the temples at Angkor.  Awesome is not too strong a word to describe these amazing places.

    What did you think of your group leader?

     Had a fabulous time with a very nice mixed group of 4 couples and 8 singles ably enticed in the right directions by 3 lovely native guides who all showed great knowledge and understanding of their countries cultures and history.   Each in their own way brought humour, pride and interesting perspectives to the contrasting cultures of the 3 countries visited.  For me the mix of organised activities and events both as part of the itinerary and as optional extras and free time worked perfectly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some people preferred direct flights from London but for me the breaks in the journey in Mumbai were a welcome respite from the claustrophobia of the aircraft.  Whilst you will need a reasonable amount of stamina this is not a taxing trip, take lots of light clothing because it does get rather sticky, but there are opportunities to get your clothes landered at no great cost.  Make sure you have a good camera

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great holiday exceeded my expectations
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    HIGHLIGHTS OF BOTSWANA

    A very well organised, enjoyable holiday.  Friendly, helpful staff and good companions.  Far less wildlife than anticipated.  Double tents very cramped.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sunset Chobe River cruise - wonderful views and a good selection of wildlife.Very close  encounter with wild dogs - brilliant!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very helpful, a super cook and good organiser.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are travelling as a couple, book two tents - single supplement is only 65 GBP and is well worth it for the extra space. We took but didn't need water purification tablets - bottled drinking water was available to buy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A good value for money holiday, despite lack of numbers of animals on our trip.
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    WHALES AND LEOPARDS OF SRI LANKA

    Whales and Leopards was exactly that I cannot believe how lucky we were, and some were more lucky with the Leopard spotting than me. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and everyone I met was happy to do what they could to make the stay an enjoyable one. At least 6 Blue Whales over 20 Sperm Whales, 3 types of dolphin and 6 Leopards the highlights of the trip. Just 2 things to note - Going whale watching on an empty stomach can make any sea sickness worse and when reading transfer times between resorts you need to double it. We moan about our roads and these are not the worst the planet has to offer, but lets just say there are no straight bits.But these are minor matters to have on what is a fabulous experience. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just realising how lucky we were to be having the experience in the first place.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our main leader appeared a little shy at first, but he came out of his shell and our naturalist guide smiled all the time, I think he was still smiling when caught napping on the bus : )

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As above going whale watching on an empty stomach can make any sea sickness worse so buy some cream crackers if you can something plain and dry for breakfast is the key.And when reading transfer times between resorts you need to double it. We moan about our roads and these are not the worst the planet has to offer, but lets just say there are no straight bits.Also when it comes to changing money £10 a day is more than enough for drinks, snacks, lunches and tips.Put 4000R away to tip bag carriers, drivers etc and then it's up to you what to tip with the trip leader and naturalist.If you are a shopper you may need to complete your retail therapy once you get back home. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    To anyone considering this trip. Just enjoy the experience.Remember how lucky you are to be there no matter how long you've saved.As much as there may be some wacky racing on the game drives, seeing wildlife is sometimes about patience and luck..... 
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    MOUNTAINS & VILLAGES OF EVIA

    explore an untouristed greek island, sampling great food, countryside and views.  relaxed hotel is a friendly base for the week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Springtime flowers all along the hillsides.Ancient ruins you feel you have just stumbled across - the quarried columns and the dragon houses especially. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    roger and thanos made everyone feel welcome and at ease. made sure we were all comfortable with the walks ahead and fully aware of what to expect. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    the sea is chilly in march! expect to be well fed......less choice for vegetarians.make sure you get to the naughty cake shop in Karystos. 
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous
    Trip:

    CYCLING CUBA

    I expected cycling but I got much more than that. I got music, culture, dancing, history, laughter, architecture, cocktails, scenery, crocodiles, art, crocodile stew, beautiful warm weather and beautiful warm people. And at the airport I got tears in my eyes as I said goodbye to a country that had made me feel so incredibly welcome and given me fourteen of the happiest days of my life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many special moments and enough inspiration to keep me going for a lifetime that I couldn’t possibly single out one of them. So here goes with just a few of the things that dreams are made of: Swimming beneath the waterfall at the hotel in the Sierra Maestra after our hardest day’s cycling. Hearing the excited squeals of delight and seeing the smiling faces of the children on the road side as we cycled past, tapping their outstretched hands and shouting ‘Hola’ to them. The electric atmosphere at the Casa de la Trova in Santiago de Cuba as one of the many live bands blasted out those classic la música Cubana tunes and my two left feet, lubricated by gallons of mojitos, attempted to salsa. The warmth and friendship that the Cuban people showed us, with the brave faces they were putting on despite the hardship that they lived in. A lesson to us all, I would say.  The taxi ride along el Malecon Habanero (Havana’s seafront) in a 1953 Cadillac on a warm night with the windows wound down, the city lights twinkling in our eyes and those exotic smells of a tropical city after dark permeating through our nostrils, as music from the Buena Vista Social Club played on the radio.Just a few of the special times but there were dozens more.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan Carlos Junco was an absolute star of a man.  The trip was incredibly good but exhausting yet this man did everything that the group did plus all the organisational stuff too. He managed to do this without ever showing any sign of fatigue or impatience with us despite the fact that we must have behaved more like naughty children on a school trip than the elite athletes that we professed to be.  He knew the history and culture of his country inside out, he had an answer for all our questions, he ensured that we enjoyed every moment of our trip and he brought much more humour to it than I would ever have expected.  If this man does not succeed the Castro Dynasty as the next president of Cuba then I will eat my Che Guevara revolutionary beret. I would add that our two drivers, Jose Luis Garcia Gutierrez and Lazaro Rojas Garcia, also enhanced our enjoyment of the trip. Despite their limited English vocabulary they never ceased to entertain us with their singing, dancing, huge friendly smiles and their laughter.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On the coach journey from the airport to the hotel on the first night, our group leader told us to remember that Cuba is a very small and very poor Third World country that is trying to do its best for its visitors. If we could accept that then we would enjoy our holiday. I took his advice and it meant that when things weren’t quite right (which wasn’t all that often) they weren’t quite right in beautiful Cuban style to be treasured and if everything had been perfect I’d have been disappointed.  So my advice is to do the same, to embrace and take the time to appreciate the people of Cuba and every aspect of their culture, especially their music. If you do this you won’t want to go home again.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’d like to add another two weeks to the trip. We didn’t spend enough time in some of the places that we visited but there was nothing that we did that I would have wanted to spend less time doing. And I’d like to add my thanks to everyone I met in Cuba, to all my wonderful and inspirational travelling companions from Britain and New Zealand and to Exodus. Without you my holiday wouldn’t have been quite so perfect.
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    ANNAPURNA, CHITWAN & EVEREST

    The best holiday I can remember. I loved the country from the outset with all its contradictions: its diversity, energy, beauty, spirituality and down-to-earthiness.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many. Drinking in the beauty of the landscape and the people. The views of the Annapurna range; the views of the Everest range. Sherpa dancing! Bustling Katmandu and all its sights and sounds. The dignity of the people in the villages. The dancing...!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant. A model of courtesy even in the face of disrespectful behaviour on the part of one family who travelled with us. Unfailingly polite, informative and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Going in spring didn't need the Icebreaker - needed more sleeveless tops, shorts and a rain poncho - unexpected spells of heavy rain at start of Annapurna trek - and bathing costume for 'bathing' elephant. (Do take an extra little bag to leave stuff in the hotel in Pokhara ready for Chitwan - saves the porters carrying it all!) Didn't need expensive water-purifying tablets I brought - bottled or treated water always available, or there's always 'Everest' beer! DO be aware that the ascents/descents are steep and some found them arduous so you do need to be fit. This is no walk in the park though worth the bit of effort.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I came home feeling fitter, healthier and happier, though it was a wrench to leave. I'd like to thank the leader, guides and porters who made this trip so special, but especially Lakpa and Pemba, both unforgettable people.Still there in spirit.  
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

    La Isla Grande was an amazing trip. It enabled us to see the whole island and to travel to many parts of the island that most tourists find difficult to reach eg the eastern side of the island like Baracoa. The variety of culture, history, music, landscapes, and people encountered on this trip was second to none. Our guide Enio and our coach driver for the two weeks Eduardo helped to bring a slice of typical Cuban hospitality to the table everyday and were excellent guides to their beautiful country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For such a small country, there was such a variety of experiences we encountered from one day to the next that it makes chosing one particular moment a difficult decision!! Highlights were climbing to the top of the Sierra Maestra to see Fidel Castro's mountain hideout, Trinidad's sleepy charm, the warmness of the people of Baracoa and wandering around a scrap yard of ancient trains in Havana with the Capitol building in the background just 100 metres away (yes I had to pinch myself that that really happened too!)! Riding on the back of a 1950s ex Russian army vehicle was also pretty fun. Bumpy but fun!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Enio made a truly outstanding guide. He brought the history and lifestyle of Cuba to us from day 1, and helped us to make sense of the at times bewildering sights and sounds we encountered on the 2 week trip. By the end of two weeks it will seem perfectly normally for you to see a horse and cart trotting down the motorway! It seemed like Enio knew everyone in every town we visited and had excellent recommendations for places to eat and things to see on free days, and always willing to lend a helping hand to book that table with the seaview for you! Both Enio and Eduardo made the travelling as comfortable as possible with stops to experience local foods (coffee with raw sugar cane anyone?) breaking up some of the longer journeys. All in all an excellent guide who will make you feel at home, whilst teaching you so much about his unique country. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is ideal if you want to visit as much of the island as possible. Many tourists don't get beyond Havana or the beaches of Varadero which is a real shame as there's a whole lot of places out there that need exploring! There is a good range of culture and multi-activities to keep you very busy for two weeks and you'll definitely want to return again to this truly beautiful and friendly island. The only difficult part of this trip is getting on that return flight from Havana back to the UK! I would recommend that you make the most of the local music halls - we discovered some real gems on our two week trip and yes you will come back laden with CDs!!! An excellent all round holiday that not only gives you the insight into the history of the country, but one where you come away feeling that you've truly engaged with the friendly and genuinely warm people of Cuba.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Quite a lot of people had warned me that the food in Cuba wasn't that great. However, thanks to Enio we didn't have a single bad meal, so don't worry about the food as it's pretty decent and there's always lots of it! If you can tag a few extra days onto your holiday it's worth it as the final days in Havana make it hard to find time to visit Vinales as an optional excursion as there's already so much to see, hear and experience in Havana! All in all an excellent holiday that I would thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting to experience the real Cuba.
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    LEBANON & SYRIA EXPLORER

    Two lovely countries.Not,in my view, particularly picturesque but the people were so friendly and no sign of young yobbish behaviour.Amazing Roman remains including the best mosaics I have seen.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Beirut-the impressive reconstruction in such a short time and the museum, a sobering film of the damage to the building and contents and the work to restore it all resulting in one of the best museums I have visited.Baalbek-the temples of Jupiter and Bachus.What an imposing sight they must have been nearly 2000 years back.Palmyra-main street 1.2 km long with many columns and triumphal arch still standing.Viewing the ruins at sunset from the citadel and the following evening dinner at the Zenobia Hotel with the fllodlit ruins in front of us.Quala'at Salaam(St Simeons' basilica)-up on a hill overlooking some of the dead cities.A lovely place.It seems unjust to select  a few highlights.Every day had fascinating sights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Souzan in Lebanon and Mohammed in Syria were excellent.Both quite different but knowledgeable and good fun.Totally competent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We spent a night in Baalbek at the Palmyra Hotel which is a wonderful colonial era relic with a rich history and for that I was glad that we stayed there even though its grandeur was somewhat faded.Similarly in Aleppo our modern hotel was just around the corner from the Baron Hotel which has a stellar guest list going back 100years.You can see T.E.Lawrence's (allegedly unpaid)bar bill in the lounge and they have Turkish beer!
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    CUBA: LA ISLA GRANDE

    Both my husband and I were thrilled with the Cuba Experience. The courier, Enio and our driver Eduardo, who looked after our, sometimes unusual requests, throughout the trip were marvellous and devoted to giving us as much insight into their country as possible, while meeting our every needs.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My husband loved the road up to Fidel's montain camp, while I was heartened by the warm hearted, generous, ordinary Cuban people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Enio was enthusiatic and amusing, while his knowledge and pride in his motherland was clear.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it (unless you want an all enclusive beach holiday), this experience is varied, challenging and fascinating on so many levels, we are SO pleased that we did!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No, it was first class!
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    THE AMALFI COAST

    Very much did what it said on the tin - great walks, food and hospitality in a very picturesque setting. Couldn't imagine eating, drinking or doing as much on the Amalfi coast at anything like the price. Great value.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting into the fenced-off section of the national park to view the untouched waterfall/scenery.  Our guide one of the very few to have a key.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Having been on a few tours now I'm always impressed with the guides but Morten was outstanding. He gets five stars. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were lucky to go in April, just before the tourist season gets into swing. I suspect May onwards would demand a lot more patience re queuing at sites and strolling around the towns. 
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