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 July 2012
    Anonymous

    LYCIAN ACTIVITY WEEK

    Lovely place to go and went to some amazing places. Met a nice group of people and mixed ages and backgrounds. Activities varied but not as strenuous as expected. The heat was the most challenging aspect.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tyre rafting good fun. Dropping 60m in a waterfall a very different experience. Really enjoyed moutain biking trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fine. Knowledgeable

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try everything and enjoy. There is a temptation to give up because of the heat. Don't!! Prepare your self for some amazing history and do your home work before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    ONLY issue is the bathroom in hotel. Food and room and service all good but shower desperate! If you are fat you will not fit in!
  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    MANALI TO LEH RIDE

    It is important to understand in advance just how physically gruelling this trip is. I cycle 500-600 km per month but only managed to cycle up 2 of the 6 passes without assistance, and had to sit out one day completely due to a combination of altitude, heat stroke and diarrhoea. The scenery is great but you spend a lot of time looking at your front wheel.
  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    GORILLAS & MASAI MARA

    A truly inspiring, exhilerating, unforgettable African adventure!  

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the fantastic, hard-working, friendly, enthusiastic crew: Julius, Ken, Boniface and Joseph.Exploring the awe inspiring Masai Mara with our local guide, Samuel.Travelling through three extraordinary countries in 2 weeks. Camping with wild animals, especially the baboons and hippos!Feasting on Ken's culinary delights! Painting walls and meeting children at a community project in Uganda- the children love to take photos so take lots of memory cards! Trekking up to 3600 m to see the Sousa family of gorillas- a family of 35!!!! 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The best part of my trip was meeting Julius and his wonderful team: Ken, Boniface and Joseph.  Julius and his team were incredibly hard-working, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful and truly inspirational people.  They worked non-stop, often getting up at least hour before the group (bearing in mind we often got up before 6am) to prepare for the day ahead.  Boniface was a fantastic driver who safely navigated and drove us along the many precarious roads of East Africa!Ken, with the help of Joseph, prepared delicious, healthy, mouth-watering meals and never failed to fill up the hungry masses!  Julius Leteele was a wonderful team leader. Hard-working, friendly, informative and very enthusiastic about everything, always happy to share his excellent knowledge of East Africa with the group. I particularly loved listening to his personal stories about his family and Masai culture and identity.  I will never forget Julius, Ken, Boniface and Joseph and hope that more people will be lucky enough to meet these very special people. I feel privileged to have spent 2 weeks with this fantastic crew.Thank you Julius, Ken, Boniface and Joseph! 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Helping the crew with putting up the tents, preparing food in the kitchen and washing up (all optional, of course!) really enriched my African adventure and I would urge any potential travellers to get involved and get to know the wonderful crew!You will always be in very safe hands and don't need to worry about anything along the way- you will always be looked after by the fantastic crew! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I hope that Julius, Ken, Boniface and Julius will be recognised for their wonderful work- thank you!!
  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    IMPERIAL CHINA & YANGTZE RIVER CRUISE

    In three weeks we covered more of China and got closer to the Chinese people than I could have imagined.They were amazingly open and friendly. This despite our lack of common language. This China is changing so fast. Go there. Soon.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to pick out just one. What was inspirational was the energy and resilience of the people. Life is still hard there. The contrast between rich, glitzy modern wealthy China and the poor majority is striking. Still, it is obvious too that in the hotels where we stayed, all Chinese, that there is emerging a middle class who can afford to travel around, much like in Europe. A few, then. The park in Beijing where all kinds of casual but organised groups of exercise and dance took place. Anyone can join in. Cookery school in Yangshuo also cycling out from Yangshuo. Communal meals around the " lazy Susan"' every day, always good. Trains. We happen to have done several overnight train journeys in Europe recently, and those in China are at least as comfortable and clean, some times a lot better, just to put them into context. Don't grumble about them! The third on the trip, admittedly was the least good, and the longest, but this class of train is about to be upgraded, might have been already. The other daytime trains on this trip are ultra modern, fast and comfortable. Nothing like our own domestic services. The light show in Yangshuo was astonishing. In general I would say, do as many of the optional activities as you can cram in. Nothing is expensive, some are a bit amateurish, but all are fascinating. Walking along the Bund in Shanghai, and out on the river in a boat. Simply stunning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Friendly and efficient. All our transfers were organised to make them as easy as possible for us. The train stations are intimidating places and the crowds boarding the trains are enormous, so without her guidance and help I doubt we would have managed to board at all sometimes. Full of knowledge about Chinese cuisine which she was anxious to share with us. As we were the oldest people in the group sho looked out for us and made sure we were keeping up and comfortable. When anyone was not feeling up to the mark she kept an eye on them and was sympathetic. Naturally sociable, often on the longer bus journeys, when she could see we were all flagging a bit she would start off some conversation, light heated or informative, which would lift the mood of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My motto for this trip was TOO MUCH STUFF! Like you We had read the advice in these reviews and vowed to take the minimum amount. So I put out what I thought I needed, and then removed a lot of it. NOT NEARLY ENOUGH! We had been to T K Maxx and found the perfect cases, 4 wheeled "spinner" cases. You can guide them along with one finger, and we were grateful that we had them Other people in our group had much more stuff than we had, and in less suitable cases. You really want not to be always encumbered by your luggage. Drinking water, none of the tap water is drinkable. The local people do not drink it, so you will be able to buy bottled water everywhere, cheaply and easily. Many of the hotels provide a bottle a day each at no charge. Also most hotels provide a kettle, or a thermos and boiling water. Also there is a tap for boiling water in each railway carriage. Do use the tea bags in your hotel, they are good. I really can't seek the point of taking PG Tips to China. The tea is one of the best things you will get. Also you need milk for black tea. You might buy a Chinese tea cup with built in infused while you are there. I didn't and wished I had. In Tongli, I was very disappointed with the accommodation where we stayed. On reflection, if I had been prepared for just how basic it is, I would have been happier. The rooms are tiny and the facilities really simple, but is is clean. I hope they will have improved the breakfast by now. Money. There are ATMs everywhere and we had no difficulty using them. Laundry. Our guide kept us well informed about where the next one would be. In the first part of the trip that was helpful as we were constantly on the move.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a well organised tour which will enable you too see, close up, a snapshot of China in a country which is changing fast. I was astonished at the size of most cities, and that most of the development is so recent. The figure in the trip notes are very out of date. The largest city 3 months ago was Chongqing at 33 million. The unofficial figures must be much higher as many children do not appear in the statistics due to anomalies in the one child policy. When you travel along the Yangtze you will see enormous communities that have grown up just since the river level was raised. Although, when you look at a map of the country, our tour covers a tiny area, at the end you will feel that you have had a pretty good look at it. And, at the end you are in Shanghai, a fitting finale. ENJOY!
  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    TRINS: THE AUSTRIAN TYROL

    A memorable week - good value, excellent walk leaders, interesting company and plenty of food!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Steadily zig-zagging up a steep slope and finding the most amazing flower-strewn meadow opening up in front of us, surounded by higher peaks on all sides, was a real 'Maria' moment. There may have been singing... Actually, all the views were spectacular, and I loved watching how they changed and developed as we walked. We had slightly mixed weather, so we saw the mountains in cloud and rain as well as sunlight and shadow. But the single most inspirational moment of the whole holiday was the achievement of one member of our group who conquered her fear of going in a chairlift.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bob and Chris were fantastic leaders. They are both very experienced and Bob in particular knows Trins so well that he's practically gone native. They worked together well and although their personalities are quite different I very much enjoyed walking with both of them and found them both to be good sources of information and encouragement.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If having a reliable internet connection is important to you, make sure you ask for a room in the main building. And do read the trip notes before you go - you will need clothes for absolutely every type of weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my first group walking holiday and I ended up really pleased with what I'd achieved during the week. I certainly got to a load of wonderful places that I would have been too lazy to tackle on my own. The flexibility of the two-group structure was an added bonus as it meant that my husband could dash competitively up the various summits while I had the chance to look around at the views, admire the alpine flowers and arrive at a more considered pace. I would definitely recommend this holiday and would love to go back. I've been at home for two days now and England seems rather flat...
  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    MOSCOW TO ST PETERSBURG

    A really excellent, safe and stress free way to explore a country I have always wanted to visit! This trip was one of my favourite holidays... Our excellent guide, Evgeniya, made sure we saw and did as much as possible in the 7 days. Both Evgeniya and local guides which she organised for us were so knowledgeable, and so I felt I learnt such a lot on guided tours of both cities, visits to the Kremlin, Armoury, Red Square and numerous beautiful palaces.This trip also gave us the opportunity to experience some real Russian culture as well, from the overnight train journey, a wide variety of Russian cuisine, visiting a Russian festival during a free afternoon in Moscow and exploring the backstreets on our St Petersburg walking tour. Both activities organised for some of our evenings; such as a midnight boat tour along the Neva to see the raising of the bridges and the Winter Palace illuminated against the backdrop of the 'white nights', or the night time cycling tour of St Petersburg, as well as just exploring Red Square at dusk made this trip feel really magical.    

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most awe-inspiring part had to be the midnight boat tour in St Petersburg. The White Nights were like nothing I had ever seen before and seeing the city from the perspective of the river brought all of the history and things I had read about St Petersburg 'to life'. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Evgenia, our group leader, was absolutely brilliant! She was a fantastic help with the language and communication, making not being able to read Cyrillics a lot less stressful! More than this she was such a lovely person; kind, friendly, calm, and so knowledgeable. She really got to know all of our group. Without her leadership I don't think we would have been able to have done and seen so much in just one week. I feel that the amount we were able to do and see exceeded my expectations from reading the trip notes, and that this was down to Evgenia's planning and careful thought. She was also able to take us to nice, unusual places to eat and made sure we experienced the widest range of cuisine possible - from a Soviet style dinner to Georgian and Belorussian restaurants, and a Russian take on 'English dining'! The other guides which she organised for us were fantastic to -  she had put real effort into choosing the best tour guides in each city - and she looked after us on the activities. She also went beyond the call of duty in order to make sure that everyone was accommodated for, and voluntarily took us to some of the places we wanted to see during free time parts of the trip which I really appreciated. There didn't seem to be anything she hadn't thought of!! We really missed her when we said goodbye at the airport! 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's definitely worth reading even a small bit about Russian history before you go, as I found that having some understanding of the history of the places we visited made me appreciate visiting them even more!Also if you're considering staying on beyond the length of the Exodus trip in St Petersburg I would definitely recommend it - there is so much to see and to explore in (both Moscow and) St Petersburg beyond the time we had there on the trip! It's worth knowing that the trip includes a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes are definitely important!  
  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    THE TURQUOISE COAST

    If you like walking, kayaking and exploring ancient ruins in a beautiful part of the world, this trip is for you! The walking is moderate but the uphills can be tough in the July heat! In addition to the trekking, I also really enjoyed exploring Kas which is a charming little town.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not sure about inspirational but the turkish bath was definately a highlight. This is at an extra (but very reasonable) charge. They scrub, massage, soak and peel you which is a welcome treat after a week of sweating! Turkish food is also amazing; fresh, healthy and so tasty. Kas has a very relaxed atmosphere, with friendly locals and helpful staff. I would definately recommend this holiday to young and old!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hatije was full of fun and enthusiasm. She has a good sense of humour, excellent English and relates well to all her guests. In fact, all Exodus staff I met were friendly and helpful. They clearly love their jobs and feel passionate about their place of work.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Again, temperatures are  very high in July/August so be prepared. I love walking but struggled with the heat. A hat is essential. Try the apple shisha : ) Avoid the raki ; )

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just a big thankyou to Hatije and all staff at the Oreo Hotel for a fantastic week.
  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    YUKON CANOE EXPEDITION

    A brilliant trip with a fantastic guide and not such a bad group either! Niall (our guide) loved the Yukon and thanks to him so do I now!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the "moments" paddling down the Yukon amidst stunning scenery, managing to land (took a bit of mastering for some), making camp at the end of the day and waking to another new day beside this mighty river. I never tired of watching this huge but silent mass of water passing on it's way.   Landing in Dawson was also like landing in another world - but a world we'd already come to look forward to meeting thanks to Niall. Learning all about the gold rush and being the "tourist" for a day was fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Niall was amazing - he is an anthropologist and his knowledge of the Yukon, which he shared with us, added so much to the experience. We talked in the "kitchen", round the camp fire, when rafted up on the river, in the minibus and at every opportunity and listened to every word.Niall's cooking was also very good and I need to get some recipes from him! Oh yes - and his singing is to be commended.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're "potential" because you haven't yet booked - go for it; if you're "potential" because you've booked and you're waiting to go - have a fab time.This is the first trip where dipping under an icy waterfall/ in a freezing cold river for a good wash has not been an option. When we went the river was very high and fast flowing and too dangerous to bath in. Never having needed to use them before I threw the wet wipes in as an after-thought - they turned out to be essential! Agree with a previous review - wellingtons not wetsuit boots.Mosquito headnet much better than all that DEET on your face and long sleeves when on land keep the mozzies off your arms. I went in June the worst time for mozzies but they didn't stop my enjoying the expedition.Do everything and don't look on the time in dawson as a chance to rest - you can do that when you're on your way home!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I enjoyed this so much that I'm now looking to book on the canoe trip down the Zambezi, and thinking of a return to the Yukon to do another even more remote canoe expedition.
  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    MONT BLANC TO THE MATTERHORN

    A fabioulous trip in the heart of Switzerland. Could not imagine a better trekking trip. If you have not your mountainerring skills 100% trained, this is a chance to do so. The way is very challenging and demanding route. The peaks vary from 1800 to 2900m above sea level. Views are astonishing and breathtaking if you never visited Switzerland before. (I am on the 5th picture in the "images" section far right with the white-red cap. Dated August-September 2006)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to know the swiss culture, habits and countryside. There is no better way to get Switzerland to know than by trekking. Walking alongside paths in alpine meadow where cows with famous bells chew on their grass was the highlight of my best moments of the trip. No image can describe it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Leaders were very helpful in helping me out as my flight was delayed and I missed their booked transport to camping site. Had to stay overnight in Geneve and take a bus trip next day to the group. That's normal by trips like this, few people lost their baggage so plenty of adventure on the beginning.They were well prepared for the journey, walked it several times before, so they knew they way round. Very cheerful, lovely talking to and friendly. Could not say more. Adjusting pace to everyone's needs and helping out as much as they could. It also includes evenings with cooking, tents putting up and so on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be well prepared! I mean, it is murderous trip for your knees hips and toes if you never hiked 15-20km a day! The mountains are steep, narrow and sometimes dangerous. You will get blisters quite for sure after 4-5 days. Shoes are not to be taken new! Always wear them at least 100km or so. Then drying your clothes is a nightmare if you experience bad weather. Always take water containers, sunscreen (30+), sunglasses, lip balm(!), walking pole (can be a simple branch), forehead torch, swiss knife, raincoat or waterproof jacket, winter cap (yes it can be 0°C up in 2800m) and more. You will get a full list once you book a ticket. They are very helpful in letting you know how to prepare.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am very astonished how the price went up. Back in 2006 I paid around £900 just for the trip and flights. With equipment and so on, I may've gotten up to £1500 after all including extra meals, occasional beer. Now it's over £1,750!
  • Reviewed July 2012
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER NAMIBIA

    Absolutely incredible trip! One of the best holidays I have had so far.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing round the water hole in Etoshia National Park watching more than 20 elephants, giraffe, zebra, springbok...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Ronnie was brilliant! Really good fun, very knowledgable and friendly. He went above and beyond throughout the whole trip to make sure that everyone was happy. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travelling in July is winter in Namibia. Daytime was lovely and warm, but when the sun goes down around 6pm the temperature really drops. Completely managable but would recommend 4 season sleeping bag or fleece liner, plus a couple of warm jumpers. Wolley hat and gloves also worthwhile.We encountered no mosquitos in July so would question the need for DEET, etc.  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Completely brilliant trip! As a photographer I found July to be a good time to travel as the sky is flawless blue and there is very little dust. Makes for great photos, especially by the sand dunes! I would recommend this trip to anyone. Having not camped before I was surprised by the standard of all the camp sites. The tents are very large and the mattresses provided are thick and comfortable. Hot showers available at nearly every site and excellent food. Power points available everywhere so no problems with charging batteries, etc. The people of Namibia are lovely and the guides are excellent. Can't fault this trip and am already thinking about ways that I can go back!  
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