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 December 2010
    Anonymous

    A WEEK IN SYRIA

    A lovely holiday, good companions and a relaxing time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Going back to Syria.  This is one of my favourite destinations, endlessly fascinating country.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Easy going and relaxed. Knowledgeable

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    go for it!   If you like arabic countries, you will love Syria.
  • Reviewed December 2010
    Anonymous

    NATIONAL PARKS WALK

    Camping was the bonus because you see yet more of this huge desert region that way. It was well organised and the group understood this type of travel and what they should contribute to it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I guess the Grand CAnyon Bright Angel trail because it made me want to return and do the 'classic' 4 day Rim- to -Rim hike, but that means going with another operator,; seems only one in UK offers it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nice person, memorable personality, hard working.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    History: swat up the methods used by the Santa Fe railroad to open up the SW to tourism and the works of Mary Colter who designed several of the bldgs. at the Grand Canyon, as you will probably not hear much about this interesting local history on trek.Check  www.wunderground.com weather in each of the Nat Parks to see overnight temps so you can take the right grade of sleeping bag. Las Vegas temps are of course different and irrelevant to this itinerary on the Colorado Plateau. This trip mostly uses well-tramped paths, so take foowear to suit, rather than tough boots for rocky trails. Indeed there are Rocks - but not many on the tourist footpaths!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Alexis Suites a good choice of hotel in Las Vegas. Secluded low rise complex with swimming pools. No need to spoil holiday memories by visiting "sad" casinos if you don't want to.
  • Reviewed December 2010
    Anonymous

    MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON

    Fabulous people and mountains, wonderful guide.  Too much mud in the rainy season - I have never climbed to 4000m in wellies before!  Tents too basic to allow you to dry out overnight.  I think this would be absolutely brilliant when not quite as wet, and preferably when the accommodation has been upgraded.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last morning - ie the only day the clouds cleared and we saw the mountains in their beauty.  Kristina's amazing cooking at 4000m.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - fun and supportive as well as being experienced enough to be safe in very difficult conditions.  Only two clients did the return trip to the summit - even so it took them 15 hours as they were in crampons most of the time, and had to stop to rope up 6 times.  Realistically, if more people had wished to go, progress would have been too slow.  But the leader pushed the small group on appropriately and safely, with consequent success.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go in May.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I love Uganda and am glad I did this despite the fact we obviously hit bad weather.  I think other times its not quite as severe.  However, its always muddy - take very comfortable wellies and insoles (for warmth), and make the effort to get fit first as some days are long and strenuous because of the trail conditions.  Book a treat afterwards - eg Queen Elizabeth Park or see the gorillas in Bwindi.  Its a fabulous country.
  • Reviewed December 2010
    Anonymous

    BUENOS AIRES TO RIO

    A good holiday with lots of sightseeing - leisurely

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Flavas of Rio (optional tour) were really interesting. The helicoptor flight over Igazu waterfalls was a must (but another optional extra)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - Ale was great and went out of his way to ensure everyone in the group was having a good holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go to the Pantanal in the wet season. The wildlife is mainly birds and camen. I think the wet season with boat rides would add a new dimension. If you are looking for big game safaris this is not the place for you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My personal view is that its one of the more expensive but less exciting holidays. The highlights were the Igazu falls - amazing, and Rio. The Pantanal was a little disappointing in the dry season.
  • Reviewed December 2010
    Anonymous

    MACHU PICCHU, TITICACA & THE AMAZON

    If you want a trip that is going to show you the highlights of Peru and you want a taste of the Inca Trail without the risk of spending 3+ days on it then go for this trip! The Amazon IS definitely worth going to. My only regret is not getting to see Colca Canyon.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hiking up to Machu Picchu and the first sight of it from the Sun Gate and viewing Machu Piccu from many different angles, as its just so photogenic. The Amazon Rain Forest and the boat rides there (that boat is fun, and the cool breeze on it is a welcome relief). To be honest there were so many great experiences on this trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan Diaz was simply amazing, he had time and patience for everyone. Since this is the first guided trip I've been on I asked the others in the group how he compared to other group leaders, the universal reply being that he is one of the best tour leaders! He was full of information about most places and has a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Since no one has mentioned much about the hotels used in their reviews of this trip, I will. At least for the trip I went on (Nov 2010) all the hotels were central to the main tourist areas, were all very nice (much nicer than I would normally book on a independent trip) and yes they all had hot water (OK in just one of the hotels the water came in bursts but you soon got used to it)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food in Peru (at least at the restaurants Juan took us to) was amazing, and really cheap for the quality we were getting. The home cooked food on the Island was also really tasty. All the food had so much flavour.We also got lucky with the weather as most days were mostly sunny, except  the day we did the Inca trail when it was thankfully more overcast. We really experienced the 'rain' part of the rain forest on our first day there, but this had the advantage of lowering the humidity and raising the river level by 7m, which considering how wide it is, was amazing to see.This trip does involve 2 days of 10+ hours on a coach, which for our trip had plenty of space, and there are a few stops on the journeys. Although the drive across the Altiplano is spectacular.
  • Reviewed December 2010
    Anonymous

    SAHARA DESERT TREK

    Before going I was apprehensive as to whether all that sand would make walking uncomfortable, and whether it being in everything you ate would spoil your experience. You did get an added grit to everything you ate or drank but you couldn't actually taste the sand. The bread made in the desert was gorgeous, I enjoyed the salads at lunch times and the soup and stews at dinner.Having come home to snow I can now say that walking in sand is far more preferable, and even the great banks of sand were easy to walk down, they acted like a lift and if you kick your feet up as you go you minimise the amount of sand that gets in your shoes. I also had longer trousers on which covered the tops of my shoes which helped keep the sand at bay. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking on the large sand dunes, the scenery was amazing there. Camping in a bedouin tent. Feeling at ease with the numerous dromedary's wandering about camp each night, even though they did like to graze on the one bush I seemed to set up my tent near! But they were amazing to carry all our baggage and other gear. Watching the sun setting as we were sat around the campfire. Enjoyed the last day heading back, visiting the troglodyte houses etcThe feeling at the end of it having walked 100km across a corner of the Sahara, not many other people I know have done that, so that was a great feeling of achievement. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very informative about local knowledge and history of the Sahara, he was very friendly and helpful. On occasions I did feel it would have been nicer to have had a guide/ member of the team at the back, and to have kept the group tighter together. But that is probably only my view as I was almost always at the back! As I have before tripped over on other walking holidays I did feel it could happen there and no one would have noticed for a good while, by which time they'd be far ahead. Sometimes if the camels had taken a different route to us, you had to make sure you kept people in view as you could lose your way even though the sand dunes/ bushes were quite small in places. When it all looks so similar to the untrained eye it was easy to lose your way.The pace set did seem to be quite a route march at times, I know we had a certain distance to cover each day before it went dark, but we were always at the next camping area well before that. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As others have said the sand does get everywhere, but it is such clean and soft sand that you never feel dirty. Going armed with wet wipes and toilet roll was good advice, and if you're used to going to the toilet behind a bush when out walking at home, it's not all that different apart from the bushes often being a lot smaller! You just had to walk that bit further away from camp so you couldn't be seen! The basicness of 'toilet facilities' and the camping didn't bother me at all, it made the experience all the better than being in fixed camps.Do remember (as I stupidly didn't!) to take blister plasters/ kit, probably my own fault in not wearing proper walking socks from the off and I got blisters, they did impeed on my experience, and it did make walking rather more uncomfortable. I was very grateful to fellow travellers who patched up my feet!I thought I would be ok with the pace being able to walk at around 3 miles an hour, however I wasn't used to walking solidly for two hours constant without stopping, and keep up with the group, as I hadn't done trekking before despite many other walking holidays. So if you haven't either I'd recommend stepping up your stamina before going.  Having said that despite the varied terrain underfoot, the mileage each day didn't seem as far as the guide said it was, it was simply the pace I struggled with.  The scenery is a bit monotonous at times, and four days in the desert was more than enough. Obviously it wasn't practical to set up camp in the large dunes, but walking through those was by far more enjoyable than the other terrain. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The presence of a group of motorbikers who kept catching up with us/ overtaking us on the route, did spoil a little the feeling that we were miles from anywhere, even though whichever direction you looked most of the time you couldn't see anything but more sand.I guess the route we took is a popular route for the more adventurous tourist. Perhaps take some string or something to better tie the opening to the pop-up western tents with, as you end up with a different one each night usually and they have seen better days. They were weather proof around the dome and floor area but many had broken zips or fastenings, giving you in effect your own bedouin tent (open on one side)!  And finally, though there was some wind blowing the sand up it generally was to one side of us rather than in our faces, so don't go and buy snow goggles from new as you're unlikely to need them! Being a glasses wearer I bought new not having any or any sunglasses, and they are still unworn!  You might not think it to read my comments but I did enjoy it all overall.   
  • Reviewed December 2010
    Anonymous

    NATIONAL PARKS WALK

    Great tour. Fast-paced and packed a lot in.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Hike to Plateau Point in Grand Canyon.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    2 excellent well-organised leaders. 
  • Reviewed December 2010
    Anonymous

    ANNAPURNA, CHITWAN & EVEREST

    A fantastic holiday, we had high expectations and these were certainly reached.  The views in the Annapurnas were simply amazing, unfortunately the cloud let us down in the Everest region, however what we did see was truly magnificent.  Chitwan was a rest, although we had expected to be actually in the National Park and were a little disapointed to discover that our hotel and all the activities we took part in were in the buffer zone.  That said we were very lucky to see a white rhino. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The breathtaking beauty of the Himalaya, watching the sun rise over the mountain ranges.  The people of both the Annapurna and Everest Region - very different in character.  It was Dhiwali while we walked in the Annapurna area and we were treated to lots of dancing and singing.  On the final night our Lodge hosts and guides treated us to a great party - or should I say they asked us to join their party!   

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Shailesh Temang, was brilliant.  He kept everything running like clockwork.  He was extremely knowledgeable and always happy to chat with us as we walked along.  We could not have wished for a better guide.  When things went wrong, as they did in Lukla (we were stuck for 3 days waiting for flights out and conditions in the lodge were none too special) he remained calm, even though he himself was absolutely exhausted.  At all times his first concern was our well being.  I cannot express just how caring this wonderful man is, whilst it might be his 'job' he certainly went well beyond the call of duty on many occasions.  He is a true credit to Exodus.Our other guides, 'RB' Garmi and Karma were fantastic too, and leaving them felt like leaving old friends behind. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do be prepared for basic accommodation in the Lodges, particularly in the Everest region.  We were prepared for 'basic' accommodation, or so we thought, however some left a lot to be desired!  Do take plenty of toilet roll, sanitiser gel and wet ones.  You will need them.  I think we were unlucky in Lukla, because the toilet facilities in The North Face Lodge were just dreadful.  Do take out any old walking/climbing clothing, jackets or boots you do not need - these are badly needed by the guides and sherpas.  You will be asked if you would like to donate any of your clothing at the end of your trip, we all did, but wished we had taken more items out with us.  If you are travelling by JET Airways you can take 35kg of luggage!! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In Kathmandu there is an English Exodus representative, she should have been on call at all times during our trip.  It was extremely unfortunate that our leader was unable to contact her on her mobile phone during our 'extended' stay in Lukla.  It was only when members of our group telephoned Exodus in UK that action was taken to get us out of Lukla.  There was a major breakdown of communication with Exodus during this time and our Leader and therefore our group as a whole were badly let down.  I believe I can speak for the whole group when I say that were it not for Shailesh Temang we would have all been very disapointed with the way in which Exodus dealt with the whole situation.  As it were four of our group had to remain in Lukla for an additional 2 days and for that I thank them from the bottom of my heart!
  • Reviewed December 2010
    Anonymous

    HIKING IN A THIN COUNTRY

    A lot of travelling but you get to immerse yourself among beautiful scenery in diverse landscapes. Stunning volcanoes, incredible mountain peaks and glaciers, and stark desert landscapes will imprint indelibly your mind's eye.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the 19Km round trip to the Towers of Paine on a stunningly sunny and clear day. Nothing can prepare you for the final and sudden view of the glacial lake below the three imperious spires. We were lucky to see so much wildlife. Highlights were  guanacos, vicunas, condors, flamingoes, a desert fox, an andean cat and comical viscacha.  For me - a flower fanatic - the plants of Patagonia were a delight especially two species of calceolaria endemic to the area.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ian was the perfect leader. He was knowledgeable, had a sense of humour, was easy going, managed the fast and the slow on walks with sensitivity, went the extra distance to make all our transferrances as smooth as possible, had excellent english, was a good organiser, and most important of all was patient!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't bother to pay extra for the Villarica volcano walk unless the chair lift is open and the weather is almost guaranteed to be good. You will not make the top and the rainforest walk is just as delightful; (we know this as we split up and did both options...).Make sure you are prepared for hot, cold, and windy conditions. You are likely to encounter all on this holiday!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it. Even the long days of travelling had something of merit at the end and holidays shouldn't all be about arriving. The first LAN airways box of goodies is a novelty but after 5 the same you want to throw them out of the window!
  • Reviewed December 2010
    Anonymous

    SAHARA DESERT TREK (NOV 2010)

    I really enjoyed this Exodus trip and I was lucky enough to meet a fellow traveler from my last Exodus adventure in the Atlas Mountains. It was great to be away from the madness of the modern world and escape to the Sahara. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the sunset and sunrise. At night when the full moon is visible the scenery is amazing and the camp actually looks like a different planet entirely. Beautiful stars at night (when there are no clouds). And the big dunes.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mohammad was an excellent guide. Everyone enjoyed his company. And the soup and bread you will have to eat is delicious!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For the trip ensure you take: wipes, toilet roll, headlight for reading and making your way in the dark while in camp, some light snacks (although breakfast, lunch and dinner is prepared by the guides), sandals (you won't need trekking boots at all - in fact our guides used slippers and I used a pair of old trainers), swimming costume and towel for thermal pool, hand sanitizer, old t-shirts (that you can donate to the guides in the end), sleeping bag -although a mattress, blankets (and individual tents) are provided by the guides, thermal underwear and fleece jacket (it can get cold at night and in the morning - but it heats up later - I went in late November), MP3 if you have one (left mine at home and regretted it), book for reading, basic sunglass (you WONT need goggles), plastic bag for camera (beware you will get sand in EVERYTHING).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is really no need to pack too heavy!!! I over-packed and ended up leaving a lot of my stuff behind. You will only need a different t-shirt to wear each day so take ones you can leave behind. I even left behind my trainers. I sometimes wore jeans for the trek. I actually arrived a day early to see Tunis but I would strongly advise travelers to avoid doing this as there is nothing really to see in central Tunis. Oh, you will be using the bushes as your toilet but you get used to it after a while and it's no big deal. Remember that at Tunis Airport, you cannot shop in Duty Free using local currency - they only accept Dollars, Euros (or cards). However, you can use local currency in non-Duty Free stores. If you wish to change local currency to Euros at Tunis Airport then you will need a receipt from when you originally bought the currency!!! As for tipping, most of the group agreed to tip our guide Mohammad 30 Dinars each. Finally, be prepared to taste sand in your breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea and coffee.
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