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

    LAND OF THE TIGER

    This was my second time on the Land of the Tiger trip. This time exceeded the first.  11 tigers seen, a couple of them seen on a few occasions (reliable sightings). One excellent sighting, most of the rest in the good category. 2 leopards, 1 jungle cat, 1 sloth bear and 1 wild dog also seen. You need to be aware that you will get your best views from the back of an elephant during the "tiger show".

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tigers will always rank highly as an inspirational moment, but viewing my pictures of the jackal family once I got home almost brought tear to my eyes. Travlling by train is fun, there is some great food around and also fantastic bird life as well.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Harish was excellent. He specialises in wildlife trips, so knew his way around the parks as well as the local guides. He will even take the opporunity to take an optional game drive on his own! He put in a lot of effort to make sure everything ran smoothly. I can't think of a single time when something went wrong.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take as long (and fast) a lenses as possible. A second camera body is also a good idea. Camera cleaning equipment is also needed (very dusty). For this reason eye drops are also a good idea. Be aware that you may go on game drives were you don't take a single photo. There are drives were you may not see anything noteworthy. Very little WiFi available and only occasional 3G access.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Tigers wont be around in the wild forever. Take the opportunity now. I will definetly do this trip for a third time in the future. Seeing tigers is like an itch that just can't be scratched!Photos available here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidnunn/collections/72157626392846475/ 
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN TUSCANY

    Great weather - unexpectantly, but always the best way! Great group of people, stunning scenery and a home from home at Braccicorti.  Excellent guide who left us wanting for nothing. Walking very good, makes me consider coming back for the grade C trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    First night laid out on the grass at Braccicorti overlooking the small rows of vines and life across the valley, watching the sun gently slipping behind the mountains bathing the whole valley in an ethereal haze and listening to nothing but the birds and the occassional shout of Italian.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara Bull...fantastic, well organised, friendly, approachable and seemed to fulfill every concievable job role during the trip.  Genuinely knowledgeable and without doubt one of the fittest and most remarkable people I've met.  She won Exodus best tour leader in 2009...not hard at all to see why.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking was really good, well paced through some beautiful environs with plenty of coffee/ice cream stops but if you prefer a little more thigh-burning enducing exercise, then consider the weeks of this trip which are C grade instead. You will spend more time higher up and the effort will reward you with some stunning vistas.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Very well balanced trip for a B grade, fitted my needs at the time and I would have no problem recommending it to people who either haven't done much walking or want something a bit more mixed in terms of holiday activity.  The free day options are excellent and you are so well informed about them that you can make a fair decision. I'd never been to Italy other than a late night slink from Monaco to San Remo a few years ago and didn't know whether it would be for me.  But it was, it is not a week wasted. Well worth it.
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN TUSCANY

    A fabulous trip that I didn't want to end!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The farmhouse accommodation was the perfect setting for the holiday which really made me relax into that holiday mood!  It was peaceful, comfortable and had great views over the valley.  The homecooked food was a great ending to each day, compliments to mamma!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara the group leader was fab!  She really knew the area and was able to tell us all sorts of interesting information along each route.  The walks we did were just the right length for a B grade holiday and the order of the walks allowed us to see across the valley to where we would be going or had already walked.Sara was not only the group leader though.  She was our taxi driver, waitress, first aider (thankfully not often) and tour guide.  Thanks for being so great!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I'd really recommend this holiday to anyone wanting a moderate wakling holiday.  The scenary was beautiful and the food was delicious.  It was just what I needed to get away from busy life in the UK, and I admit it took a few days to get into the holiday mood, but once relaxed I didn't want to leave.  I'd certainly do this holiday again on a C grade!
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    JEBEL SAHRO RIDE & MARRAKECH

    A fantastic trip. Well organised and run (both before and during the trip). A great leader with two spot-on support staff in the backup trucks. A great way to see Morocco (which I loved).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Top bananna.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip is described as moderate, and for a fit, experienced of-roader that is fair. However, if like me you tend to avoid skin-tight lycra these days and perhaps don't have much previous technical off-road experience then you can expect a couple of the climbs to fit into the 'challenging' category.
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    CYCLING VIETNAM

    My first guided holiday was an absolute success. I envisaged a cycle trip to be a great way to see a lot of a country in a short time and was not disappointed. The excellent and enthusiastic tour leader and his team ensured the logistics could be forgotten and the cycling / sightseeing enjoyed to the full. Patches of the cycling were demanding and I consider myself reasonably fit, but anyone who put some pre-training in could enjoy this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I spend a lot of time in the region so was not too taken aback at the culture, scenery or general hustle and bustle, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience of my first overnight train journey despite the "prison-cell" conditions of First Class and was left in awe of some of the viewpoints over the passes during the cycling stages. For me the triumph was finishing the 30km uphill climb at the end of the tour - and ignoring the group leader's sage advice on careful riding to hurtle down the other side through thick fog and kickbacks to lower altitude and some breathtaking views. Riding at its best!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    His enthusiasm and versatility in changing the itinerary to ensure maximum experiences made the trip for me. He was on hand without being pushy and seemed genuinely interested in making the trip a success for everyone - while maintaining an irreverent attitude and humorous approach throughout. Even his restaurant recommendations were sound - ranging from Vietnamese to Italian and Asian BBQs - and seemed to ideally suit the mood / budgets of the goup. I would certainly view him as a major asset to the company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't overpack - the tour leader arranged two laundry stops en route for pennies, but do consider the climate spectrum (in March at least) and pack a sweatshirt / jeans for evenings as you head further North.The Trek bikes provided were more than adequate for the cycling on this trip and unless you are a pro-wannabe doubt you would gain any additional benefit from the hassle of bringing your own machine, though a gel seat at least is a must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A fantastic experience. I've never shared a room, been on a guided tour or been on a cycled much further than the next town.If the rest of Exodus's offerings are as enjoyable I will repeat all three.
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    A WEEK IN JORDAN

    An enjoyable week but probably as much time as you would ever need in Jordan to see the highlights - Petra, Gerash. Kerak, the Dead See and Wadi Rum. Aquaba is probably worth missing unless you enjoy the seaside. Amman seemed to have surprisingly little to offer other than the citadel and the Roman theatre.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely Petra - truly a wonderful place but be prepared for large numbers of people in your photos and the ever present hawkers of cheap tat. Also the constant invitations to take a donkey or camel ride from a cast of characters from Pirates of the Carribean - most of whom are taking off Captain Jack Sparrow - pretty surreal.Wadi Rum is also spectacular if you can ignore the presence of several hundred other people doing the same as you. Not a wilderness experience by any means but the scenery is magnificent - you would need to take a trip into the deeper desert to trully appreciate it. Not 3 miles from the visitor centre in a bespoke tourist camp.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very knowledgeable and supportive in putting things right with the hotels on the minor things like no hot water. One is never sure with group leaders whether they are personally benefiting from the ability to bring a largish group into a restaurant or shop - but if ours was doing that he covered it well. He was also very helpful with some of the weaker walkers in the group, encouraging them on when necessary e.g. on the 'secret way' into Petra.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Al Fanar hotel in Amman is about three miles from the city centre on a busy main road. There isn't much to do around the hotel although there is the equivalent of an off licence on the other side of the road. The visa cost into Jordan is now 20 dinar; expect a wait in the queue for immigration if the flight into Jordan is busy.Driving in Jordan is more harum scarum than in the UK - lane discipline is not particularly well observed - maybe because they don't do lane markings!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The bus used for transport was comfortable and air conditioned witha plentiful supply of bottled water on board.
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN TUSCANY

    Scenery more magical than I'd ever seen before, returning to the warmth and hearty food from Mamma!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching higher peaks than I'd thought and meeting Sara - one of Exodus' best. Also meeting Mamma and Lucia and the rest of the family at Braccicorti. A lovely, warm, friendly bunch of people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She made for one of the highlights. One of the most dedicated people I have ever met. A truly committed, experienced, and lovely person.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This area of Tuscany is hillier than I'd thought. Take poles!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip is very very good value. I never expected all food and wine to be included. The only advice I would have is that Exodus make it more clear that snow shoes will be worn, that the area is actually mountainous rather than 'quite hilly'!!, but that people on a Grade B need not be put off - I am a wimp and was scared at the prospect when told by Sara what some days would involve. But her guidance and encouragement, and the beauty of the area makes even wimps achieve more than they thought possible!
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    LEBANON & SYRIA EXPLORER

    I feel honored to have been on one of the first Lebanon/Syria trips with exodus, it was a great experience and clearly exodus were very keen to get it right and make sure everything went smoothly. Very different experiences in the two countries, I don't think I had expected that and it made the trip feel like it had lasted a longer time that just two weeks (In a good way that is!) Both countries are amazing and the history that is there to be seen, breathtaking.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Mmm... Tricky there were a few but I think that when our guide did the call to prayer krak des chevaliers, and then again in the citadel at aleppo that was amazing. (I was able to record the one in aleppo if you are interested I can send it to you)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We has a great group leader in Lebanon, in Suzanne. She was very knowledgeable and a very interesting person. I was worried when new went to Syria and to a new guide. I shouldn't have been though because Mohammed Khousi was simply brilliant. I have been fortunate enough to have had Often as a guide when I was in Africa with Exodus and Mohammad is up there with Often. He went out of his way to make our trip to Syria perfect. Little things like, taking some of us to a launderette, getting loads of small notes and change for us so we could change our larger notes are just a couple of examples of what he did. He was always concerned for our well being and making sure we knew what we should and should't eat. H took us on evenings trips through some of the cities and really made us feel like we were seeing the real Syria. As I mention before he sang the call to prayer for us in two mosques and that was amazing. I. Cannot recommend Mohammad enough, you should really make sure you get him for future Syria trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember that Lebanese beer is much nicer than Syrian, however on the wine front we actually found the Syrian red much nicer than Lebanese red... On a serious note - always take dollars.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Brilliant trip but I would say that we opted not to Bosra as we wanted the extra time in Damascus, it would have seemed a pity to get to Damascus and then not spend a whole day there. The added bit to Bosra athough it would have been nice was sacrificed in favor of souks and coffees and people watching in Damascus. I am sure also you may have had some feedback on the palmyra hotel in balbeck :-) This was a classic - full of character but also full of cold water and no heating. Hot water and hot water bottle would make it perfect! I have done nothing but recommend this trip to friends since my return, here's hoping you will be able to allow travel to Syria again soon!
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    INCA TRAIL & THE AMAZON RAINFOREST

    I was primarily interested in the Inka Trail and Machu Pichu but the rain forest and Lake Titicaca were brilliant. Three holidays in one.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    First clear glimpses of Machu Pichu.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant,brilliant, brilliant. Well done Carlos. He was everything a guide should be and more. I would class him as a friend.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Trip notes give most of the information but I would stress the deet, sun cream and walking poles for the Inka Trail.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I must again stress the quality of the main guide,Carlos. The local guide in the Rain Forest Louis was also excellent.
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    THE TROPICAL SOUTH

    Wonderful trip as it combined beautiful, ever-changing scenery, amazing temples, picturesque rural scenes, wildlife and colourful markets.  Our guide was lively and funny, and our group was friendly, so we had a lot of laughs along the way.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The relaxing houseboat cruise and canoe trip were so enjoyable as we could observe village life, coir spinning, birds, etc. in their beautiful, quiet and exotic surroundings.  Walking through tea plantations in Munnar was also lovely - they are dotted with silver oaks and stetch for miles over rolling hills, with some high mountains in the distance, and the tea pluckers, all women, working in groups, were friendly and interesting to watch. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Avtar was likeable, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fond of jokes and silly expressions, one of which "easily peasily, lemon squeezily" I couldn't get out of my mind for days after my return...  He took pride in his job and tried to show us lots of things to break up the coach journeys, which he called adding spices.  Although he generally kept an eye on our group when sight-seeing, he let people wander off occasionally and wasn't quite strict enough about setting off on time (himself included); on the other hand, he was patient and resourceful, e.g. he proposed an (easier) alternative walk when he discovered that the steep Munnar trek would be disappointing as the tea plants had been cut down in that area.  Also, as no one wanted to do the optional excusion from Kovalam to Kanyakumari, he took us on a walk to see the Fishermen's Beach, and was willing to accompany us if we had free time or offer advice on what to do. He refunded unused kitty money to us on the last day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was very hot and also very humid the further south we went, so perhaps best to go before March.  I would not advise visiting the Periyar Tiger Reserve in March because the wild elephants are irritable during this dry season and have calves and could charge at any moment (NB: tigers have not been seen by tourists for years).  Our local guides were clearly frightened and often told us to run when spotting an elephant that could be aggressive, but had been told we wanted to take photos of elephants and it was difficult to persuade them that we actually wanted to leave!  We could not do the Periyar Lake boat cruise because tickets were sold out when Avtar tried to get some a few days beforehand.  A reservation system has just been re-introduced and includes a significant booking fee but even so there's no guarantee that places will be available.  No one wanted to queue up for 2 hours and risk not going and it would have been particularly bad on the day we were scheduled to go because it was a Sunday, when local Indians go.  Swimming can be dangerous in Kovalam because of currents - the waves are high and surfing is possible, so best to swim in hotel pool.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Funnily enough we weren't bothered much by mosquitoes.  The food was really good and cheap - a lot of vegetarian meals but quite a bit of fresh fish and some meat.  The coach was comfortable and the microphone worked well so we could hear everything that Avtar said.  The driver and assistant were good.  The roads weren't too bad and we stopped frequently as there's always something to see by the roadside, e.g. brick-making, religious processions and colourful markets, which broke up the journeys - Avtar did consult us first to make sure we wouldn't prefer to drive fast and arrive earlier at our destination!  I loved this holiday with its variety of things to see especially the martial art and Kathakali shows which were new to me.
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