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 2008
    Anonymous

    THE TIEN SHAN

    A wonderful holiday - the walking was tough but worth all the effort to enjoy the absolutely spectacular scenery which never failed to amaze. If only the photographs could show the true beauty of the the snow-capped mountains.  

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The holiday would have been wonderful without it, but the optional helicopter ride was awesome. We were lucky with the weather on the morning of the helicopter ride, but to fly over the glacier to Base Camp and get close to Pobeda was truly special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Susie was brilliant - always ensuring we were alright and concerned for anyone feeling under the weather. Always cheerful and keeping a close eye on the local guides and porters to ensure all was going as smoothly as possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the walks were tougher than I had envisaged (as much as 23 km in a day with lots of steep ascent at altitude), however, as I said above, definitely worth the effort - but it does pay to be reasonably fit!  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In addition to what I've already said, Kyrgyzstan is a great holiday for anyone wanting to see wonderful scenery in a place where few Westerners venture. The weather can change from roasting one minute to snow or hail the next, but that just added to the sense of adventure. Do not be surprised to wake up to ice on the tent and wash in a glacial melt stream, or have to cross an icy river and get frozen wet legs, but if you like a bit of adventure and some unpredicatability on holiday, it is fabulous. The vodka's also good!
  • Reviewed August 2008
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC COLS OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE CYCLING HOLIDAY

    The holiday was amazing. We got to see the stars of the Tour de France and got to feel like a pro after we had cycled up the cols.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment was getting to the summit of the final Col- the infamous Tourmalet. The view was spectacular and it was so rewarding knowing that we had all achieved something special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leaders James and Cathy were brilliant. They were able to motivate everyone to get up the Cols and their organisational skills made the holiday run very smoothly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to be able to ride a road bike for this trip but  I was amazed that so may different types of people achieved their own personal goals throughout the week. Although the trip is in the summer make sure you take some waterproofs and warm clothing for the descents. Some people took their own bikes but the hire bikes were of a good quality. I didn't even get one puncture.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You don't have to be a fan of the Tour de France to enjoy this trip but if you are then it is the best holiday ever! You get so close to the stars and  it is great to cycle on the same roads as the greats of the past and present. The atmosphere is great and it is really motivational to have specators cheer at you whilst you are cycling to the peaks.
  • Reviewed August 2008
    Anonymous

    HIMALAYAN FLOWERS & VILLAGES

    A beautiful and interesting tour through a stunning landscape. Our guides and porters were great fun and full of information about the landscape and villages making a reall yinterestign and enjoyable experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A few members of the group decided to do a trek to a gompa quite high up on an outcrop, it was a testing walk and climb but it was worth it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phillipa was amasing, she gave us loads of ino on the landscape and the culture and was a really good laugh. The porters and guides that came with her were great as well, really friendlyand  knowledgable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a cricket ball.
  • Reviewed August 2008
    Anonymous

    THE MATTERHORN CIRCUIT

    A tough but superb walking tour through some of the most dramatic scenery in the Alps. Good mix of hotel and simpler accommodation: it was very welcome to be able to spread out in a bit more comfort every few days. The tour would be much improved by being spread over two or three more days, shortening one or two very long and hard days, and introducing one or two rest days, on which one could explore the other superb walks available in places like Zinal.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Glacier crossing from Arolla to Prarayer: even if you've been on glaciers before this is impressive.Europaweg especially the second day: a spectacular path! 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hmm: cheerful and helpful but not a reliable leader in the hills. Too little attention at the start to anyone who dropped behind, who might have gone astray or fallen: one member had to be helped down the mountain by passing strangers. Did he really leave the rope behind in Arolla, or was that in jest? Some surprising gaps in local knowledge. I had more confidence in some of the more experienced hill leaders who happened to be in the group. To be fair he took their hints and looked after the party better in the later part.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack really light for the actual trek: 12kg as suggested by Exodus is really too much for this demanding walking with long days, long ascents and descents and much rough ground. (Exodus advice on access arrangements for luggage at Arolla and Zinal could usefully have been clearer in detail.)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Despite the above this was a superb tour. It is very tough but the Exodus notes describe it correctly. It is good to start it at St Niklaus as you do. Don't be tempted to shift to a Zermatt start: the Europaweg would be too tough for the first two days but makes a splendid finish.
  • Reviewed August 2008
    Anonymous

    SPITZBERGEN EXPLORER ON THE SHOKALSKIY

    This was a wonderful, life-changing experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sight, and sound, of a glacier calving, and the beauty of the floating ice that surrounded us minutes later. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Martin Gray was outstanding (who could forget that bone-crushing handshake) - larger than life and fun to be with : above all the way he planned the expedition day by day, the way he led the landings, and shared with us his wealth of knowledge and love of the arctic. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The arctic is full of surprises - great beauty and great strangeness - a world that belongs to the creatures that live there, and so special that it will enrich anyone lucky enough to visit. It was a privilege to see (and photograph, in the company of experts) the polar bears, walrusses, reindeer, arctic foxes, so many species of birds, and magical seascapes. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We specially enjoyed the friendship of the whole team, Martin, Phil, Jill and Brandon, their conduct of the landings, and above all the wealth of their knowledge of the arctic shared with us in lectures and conversations. Our cabin was comfortable, the 'housekeeping' managed with great care by Karin (even when the loos gave up!) and the meals unfailingly delicious. A special word of thanks to Captain Zaynigabdinov who generously tolerated our presence on his bridge - and to Marilyn the doctor who came up trumps when one was injured!  
  • Reviewed August 2008
    Anonymous

    THE TIEN SHAN

    Overall a great experience in a wild and remote area. Trek leader and guide were very good. Few visitirs to this area is good and bad. We only met two other travellers in over a week. However, service levels were understandably low: logisitcs were dodgey (but worked out well for our trip), porters were slow, late starts (0900-0930), food was good but overly complicated/sophisticated and therefore late (2030-2130hrs).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the Inylchek glacier valley after the 4000m pass;Trekking in remote areas surrounded by wilderness, mountain ranges and very few travellers;Local people with basic lifestyles. "Wild" horses and horsemen;Alpine flowers in bloom. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great! Very experienced and competent. Easy to get on with and interesting to talk to. Handled guide and trekers with just the right amount of attention and independence.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not an easy, luxurious trip. Conditions can be cold and harsh with frequent rain, hail and snow squalls. Then the sun comes out and it gets very hot. There a are no campsites on most of the trek and only cold water to wash in. Although the walking is mostly on trails some of them are hard going underfoot and hard on ankles. The days are long but not particularly hard.  However, always be prepared for change in itinerary as river crossings, animals and logisitics can often change or fail. Limited weight allowance necessitates limited kit. Bring down jacket, 4-season sleeping bag and good rain gear. "City wear" and a clean change of clothes can be left in Karakol. Bus/truck travel can be very hot but exodus supplied plenty of water.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend this trip to selected people as it is not for everyone.
  • Reviewed August 2008
    Anonymous

    CYCLING IN THE LOIRE VALLEY FAMILY HOLIDAY

    It was really very nice this idea of waking up every morning for ciclying in a wonderful scenary. We were a family of 5, with 3 children (13, 12 and 10). Sometimes it was a bit hard for my youngest but she could manage. Everything was very well organized, with all the hotels and dinner reserved and also the luggage being transfered everyday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We liked riding at small roads, through vineyards and hay and sunflowers plantations. Also, the feeling of arriving at the fantastic castles of Chenonceaux, Cheverny and Chambord by bike was completely different from arriving by car. We were not normal turists anymore, but an adventures family. The visit to the Clos Lucé (Leonardo da Vinci) house, altough at the beggining of the journey was also very interesting (nice garden).Returning to Amboise at the last day, at the confortable hotel of La Breche (the dinner is excellent - try the duck) is like coming home. Pity that was the last day.Also, there was another couple doing the trip at the same time and it was very funny everytime we meet during the day or at the restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try to push hard at the beggining of the day - at least 20 km, so you will have time to spend at the main castles and are not far for the hotel of the day (maximum 10 km). Beware that some of the notes are not very updated (mainly at the end of the days) so keep the attention. Wear helmets because some of the roads are a bit busy. There was no problem of safety for parking the bikes. We kept locked but with lots of things at them. There are lots of other families and groups ciclying at the Loire Valley. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    very good experience. We will start thinking about next year. A more challenging one.
  • Reviewed August 2008
    Anonymous

    THE MATTERHORN CIRCUIT

    This was my second time with Exodus and I enjoyed the same high standard of guiding, food and accommodation - excellent company to go trekking with. Switzerland does sometimes have bad weather and the Matterhorn Circuit is challenging - but still a great experience and one to be recommended!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting onto glaciers, cutting foot-holds with an ice-axe to descend a snowy coll, savouring the wildness of the Alps up-close.... great experience!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - knowledgeable, experienced, approachable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do train a bit before a "C" or "D" hike but they are enjoyable and worth the effort.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus top marks yet again...
  • Reviewed August 2008
    Anonymous

    A WEEK IN ANDALUCIA

    A very relaxing, enjoyable week  Had a great time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Doing yoga out on the patio at sun rise

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roger was ok if a little downbeat - which might have had something to do with the fact he was unwell.It did occur to me that a Spanish guide would be fine on this trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Buy a Spanish fan when you arrive - low tech but they work really well.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was unhelpful having the yoga instructor change half way through the week - though I have to say Neil and Jane were both very good.The advertising of the trip on the Exodus website is very poor and unclear - it needs to be much more explicit about the yoga weeksBit too much time spent in the minibus for very short periods of time at sight seeing placesNot all the evening meals need to be at the Cortijo - it would be nice perhaps to go to Seville later in the day and spend the evening there - with options to do what you want, watch a flamenco show or go to Carmen the opera, etc. The trip notes said meditation sessions would be offered in the evenings - these were not and we had to ask and only had 1 session - this needs to be sorted.
  • Reviewed August 2008
    Anonymous

    A WEEK IN ANDALUCIA

    A wonderful holiday in beautiful surroundings with a terrific group of people who sat around and talked after dinner and well into the evening. The only thing that was disappointing was not having Granada on the itinery and I have just realised that it is on the itinery with 'Explore'.The food must be worth a mention. It was outstanding and the wine flowed. It was a very welcoming, homely place.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We arrived at the Cortijo in the dark and opening the wooden shutters the next morning and seeing what lay outside took my breath away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Normally the group leader is excellent and very knowledgeable but Tim didn't really know any more than we did.Also, at the beginning I was joining the group at the airport and had detailed instructions from you about where to meet and who to phone in case of difficulties. Having these numbers was comforting and when I couldn't find anyone in the meeting place I was just about to phone when someone spotted my Exodus letter and introduced themselves and eventually we found others. This was just as well because it was discovered later that the group leader did not have the phone switched on and had 12 missed calls, including some from the previous week!Leaving from my local airport improved the holiday so much that I intend to do it again so can you make sure your group leaders know how to use the phone and actually meet in the place mentioned in the instructions.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Is there any way you can include Granada in the itinery as the Alhambra must be the jewel of Analucia?