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 2012
    Anonymous

    BULGARIAN NATIONAL PARKS

    This was a hard-work holiday, but so worth it. It was far more varied than we'd expected. Each mountain was very different, from bare-rock splendour to a weather and military station with a kiosk serving tea! Blazing sun to hail and thunder, beech woods to alpine meadows and pastures, village hotel with live local music and dancing to sightseeing in the capital city, culture to wildflowers, glacial lakes with romantic legends to ski resorts, weird rock formations to monastery buildings and, best of all, the incredibly varied scenery and views, oh, the views!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of Mt. Vihren. We felt a huge sense of achievement and terribly proud of ourselves reaching this real top-of-the-world summit with breathtaking views after a steep ascent and a final bare rock 'long exciting scramble' (see Trip Notes). Mind you, 'long exciting scramble' became an in-joke term for serious understatement in our group!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vladimir was superb. He was efficient, knowledgeable, cheerful, professional, encouraging. His obvious experience as a guide, along with him being an excellent psychologist, really helped us to complete all the walks despite being inexperienced mountain walkers. He was accurate and solidly realistic about what we would be facing each day. We felt that if he thought we could do it, we could, but that he would certainly have dissuaded us if he thought we couldn't (but oh so courteously!).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Use walking poles. Those long ascents and descents are VERY hard on the knees!Although we are keen walkers, we had little mountain experience and were very apprehensive about our trip. We worked hard on our fitness in the gym and were extremely glad that we had. These are long days at a good pace and you can be walking steeply up and still be doing so hours later!We really wished we had had those back-pack hydration systems with drinking tubes. We had regular short drink/snack/rest stops, but it was hot and thirsty walking at times.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Work on your fitness, listen to your group leader's advice and then enjoy a challenging, varied, rewarding and interesting trip.
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    4WD DESERT EXPLORER

    A great trip with amazing scenery and wildlife

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wild camping in the Palmwag concession, with no one else for 30 miles in any direction!Leopard, lion and rhino sightingsThe waterhole at Etosha at night

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent-both were great guides and cooks, good sense of humour, really made the ttrip

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring plenty of warm clothing for the evenings/early mornings (including a hat and gloves!), and a head torch...No need to bring towels.2 pin adaptor needed for charging in the vehicle.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We saw a lot, but could perhaps have done with a couple more 2 night stays. This would make the trip more relaxing, and also easier for the camp assistants.
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    MONT BLANC CIRCUIT

    This trip is not for the faint hearted, it is extremely challenging for all apart perhaps from the most seasoned Trekkers. There is something for almost everyone: I particularly loved the challenge of ascending col de tricot (600m of ascent in 1km) as fast as I could and I have never seen my 67 year old dad happier than after he realised he had completed the 161 km in 10 days... He couldn't stop smiling for days afterwards. The views take your breath away and the sheer variety of places in the three countries mean you are never bored.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Dad and I had a great time. Dad has never completed a physical challenge as daunting as this trip and he did not think he could make it almost until the very end when he made it to the top of Col de Voza on Day 12. His smile that day was definitely an inspirational moment for me. The group became really close and supportive of each other during the trip and certainly helped my Dad achieve his aim, with people from all walks of life with ages ranging from their twenties to their seventies lending a hand... Encouragement from the group definitely helped pull him and up and down some pretty steep terrain. Seeing Dad overcome his fears and doubts was really something quite awesome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Graham was superb. I believe that his greatest skill is closely observing people in the first couple of days, figuring out how to motivate each individual and working with each person to help them achieve what they are trying to get out of the trip. For example, after 5 days my 67 year old dad (who accompanied me on the trip) was struggling with the descents (of which there are many). Graham took Dad under his wing and worked with him, focusing on improving his descending technique using walking poles for several hours. Dad responded to Graham's patient instruction, learned a new skill and increased his confidence. This not only reduced his discomfort but also meant he could complete the trip with a smile on his face. Without Graham's assistance I am not sure he could have made it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Two pieces of advice: 1. Do the camping trip. There is nothing like 2 weeks under canvas to get to know a diverse bunch of people and really experience the great outdoors. 2. Some training makes a huge difference to your enjoyment of the trip. If you come from London like me, make the effort to do dome big descents and ascents (like in Scotland) before you go. If you can't organise that, then an hour on the stepping machine at the gym really helps.
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER COSTA RICA

    An excellent, well balanced holiday, which gave a fantastic insight into both life and wildlife in Costa Rica.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having a toucan land and pose for a photo on the tree directly in front of my accommodation at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge on my birthday!Watching the turtle hide its eggs before preparing to go back to the sea.Stepping into the accommodation at Savegre (cloud forest) - wow!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was superb. He wasn't afraid to admit that he wasn't sure what a particular bird or plant was, although was very knowledgable and knew most of them. He was also very professional in his work making a point of speaking to everyone in the group and ensuring our safety and well being at all times. Mario our driver was also a great guy who drove some difficult roads with care and attention and was always prepared to have a laugh with us, following some translation by Antonio. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Plastic bags proved to be very useful in keeping clothes dry in the very humid conditions in the rainforests (nothing dries here once wet!)Prices in Costa Rica were similar to here with meals at some of the hotels and restaurants being more than we anticipated. This said, there wasn't much time to fit in many of the optional activities listed on the trip notes so this reduced expected costs.Rainy season had just started when we got there, but it seemed fortune was with us and we enjoyed some excellent weather. I only used my raincoat a couple of times due to feeling a little cold in the mountains. When the heavens really did open up we were setting forth on a boat trip from Tortuguero and were provided with Ponchos. However, these didn't hold off the rain completely and we all ended up soaked through and paddling in the boat! However, in retrospect, this experience gave us a true insight into the real 'rain' forest!US dollars were accepted almost everywhere. Change was often given in local currency which then meant you had some of this for the odd drink or ice cream.Walking sandals were ok for most of the walks, although there were a couple where we were advised to wear proper shoes/boots. I only had trainers with me, but found these to be fine. At some places where mud was likely wellie boots could be borrowed.Make the most of supermarket stops to buy water and drinks (both alcoholic and non), although in most places the tap water is drinkable and the majority of our group did exactly this without any adverse affects.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The crocodile tour which Antonio organised to break the journey between two places was excellent, not only for a the crocs, but also the birds seen. This tour should be included within the trip.Remember a warm top/jumper for the cloud forests, but you'll probably only need the one.Some of our group took malaria tablets, but most didn't. At present the only risk area is towards the start of the trip at Tortugeuro but this is low risk and in fact Dengue fever is more likely! Bug spray with deet was useful in reducing bites, although chances are that if the mosi's like your blood, you will get bitten no matter how hard you try and avoid it!
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    MANALI TO LEH RIDE

    A great trip over one of the world's great roads , If your looking for a challenge this trip would certainly tick the box.Great Leaders and excellent company during the the trip .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the Taglang La pass 5350m  and the superb downhill on the other side.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent + plus Deputy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dont underestimate the effect's of altitude and train for this trip , the hills go on and on on !!.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it .
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    GORILLAS & MASAI MARA

    Africa stole my heart over 12 years ago when I first visited and it didn't disappoint with this return trip. The people are amazing, family focussed, hard working, always smiling and very friendly - I learnt a lot from them and made some friends for life. The scenery is spectacular, ever changing as you cross the borders from Kenya to Uganda and finally Rwanda. Be prepared for the unexpected and when it happens embrace it, some of these moments prove to the best bit of your holiday. Finally, be nice to the crew, a please and thank you goes a long way, something a lot of people on my tour seemed to forget! We were lucky, our crew was amazing (Julius, Ken, Bonfas, Joseph), the guys worked tirelessly to make sure we were happy, safe and well looked after.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Volunteering at 'soft power' and 'little angels' - met some truly inspirational people who are slowly but surely making a difference. Hot Air Ballooning over the Masai Mara - absolutely breathtaking, yes it's expensive but you're only going to do it once, worth every penny. Gorilla Trek, Rwanda - amazing!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Julius Leteele, the man has the patience of a saint! Always smiling, happy to help, knows the local areas well and was more than happy to answer all my questions regarding tribal rituals, customs, beliefs etc. Our cook Ken made some of the most delicious meals I have ever eaten on two gas rings in the middle of a field - genius! Bonfas our driver always made sure we were safe on the road, and Joseph helped the rest of the crew to make sure everything ran smoothly (he also makes amazing chappatis), the African dream team!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare for every eventuality and expect the unexpected. As our tour leader said TIA (this is Africa), roads are bumpy, toilets don't flush (assuming it even has a flush and is not a hole in the ground), showers are rarely hot, the truck will break and at some point things will go horribly wrong - but isnt that why you booked the trip in the first place? Africa isn't hot in July, bring a jumper and a raincoat - you'll need them. Bring pens and pencils to give to the local kids, far better for them than sweets. Most important - bring a sense of adventure and you'll have the time of your life x
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    THE AMALFI COAST

    Very enjoyable trip in a beautiful part of Italy. Lovely walks, great leader and fun group of fellow travellers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoyed the walking, food, hotel hospitality plus visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum with an excellent guide.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wonderful!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go and enjoy!
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    SLOVENIA WHITEWATER

    A brilliant trip from start to finish. Well organised activities and every one is great fun. The guides are excellent and are always keeping an eye on you keeping you safe, and making sure you're having fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to mention. Jumping into deep pools from high ledges on canyoning, staying upright over some rapids in a kayak, working as a team in the rafting, speeding down the river on hydrospeed... I could go on!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Blaz and his team were excellent. Safety first was always their priority, and you were always fully briefed before each activity on what to do. He also came and saw the group every night after dinner which was a nice touch, and was always willing to help organise other activities with no hassle at all. Could not fault them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy the trip! I had never done any whitewater sports before but after this I would definitely like to do some more.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great trip. Every day was different and you can do as much or as little as you want on the free day and afternoon. The activities are great fun and you dont need any previous experience. Highly recommended!
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    DISCOVER COSTA RICA

    Costa Rica was a real surprise! It is really a wildlife-destination. It is a must for anybody with an avid interest in wildlife, plantlife and nature in general. It blew us away!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    First of all, the visit to the green turtle hatching ground in Tortuguero was amazing. Nothing prepares you for the sheer magic of it ! The most inspirational moment is hard to pick as there were so many! In general all the boat trips were outstanding. The best one was an optional boat trip organised by our fantastic tour guide Antonio. It was a crocodile safari. It was absolutely outstanding. I would really recommend Exodus to take this excursion on board as part of their holiday. The crocs were within touching distance..... Simply super! The hike to the lava fields of Arenal is not to be missed.The 'hanging bridges' or walking bridges were amazing.The lodge at  the beautiful Esquinas Rainforest Lodge at Golfito Nature Reserve was just simply breathtaking. What an experience. Every day was a highlight!One hightlight is not possible to pick.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader Antonio was simply amazing and outstanding.He was a great people's person, and got on with everybody.His knowledge of Costa Rica was second to none, from the population to eco deails, from wildlife to all sorts of species of birds. He was a genius! Well done Exodus!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The tour is marked as 'Leisurely'.I would like to point out a few things. Whereas the accomoodation is great (=leisurely), the driving distances and travelling time is great(= leisurely), some of the walks would challenge a person that was not a little more than 'average'- 'fit'. We had no problem at all, but the walk to the waterfall and some of the jungle walks, due to high altitude and humidity could not be totally classed as 'leisurely'......Somebody that carries some excess weight or has some breating difficulties could be in trouble here.For that reason I think Exodus should mark this trip as 'Leisurely/Moderate'I took musquito nets, and there is NO NEED to do so! On the other hand bring plenty deet!We applied deet morning and night and got 1 bite each! Others that did not apply the deet had a lot of bites.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like nature, simply go for it! You will not regret it.Do not let the term 'rainy' season hold you back. We had two mornings of heavy rain, for the rest of our two weeks, we had wonderful weather!If you get Antonio as your leader, you are in for a real treat.We went a day ahead of the Exodus tour, to enable us to have a look at San Jose, and it was brilliant.The National Theatre in San Jose is not to be missed.For the rest, I cannot wait to book my next Exodus trip.
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    MOUNTAIN BIKING IN CROATIA

    Not enough off road, some long end of day road sections, but all in all a lovely way to see western Croatia, and some spectacular riding with a great guide, support and group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sunset over the Adriatic from the mountain lodge at the end of day 2... all that climbing was indeed worth it... and surely the next day would all be downhill!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vlado is an olympic athlete through and through.  Despite driving us hard for the first four days, hindsight made us realise that this was all for the right reasons.  Very attentive, and hard to fault, but don't expect too much praise!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is graded challenging due to the MASSIVE distances involved.  The off road is all on double track (barring about half a mile!) and not technically tricky.  But the distances and huge climbs (day 2 is about 2500m up!), especially in the mid-summer heat are tough.  Fitness is definitely more of a pre-requisite than mountain biking prowess.  The trip notes suggest that the route is 25% road, 75% off-road.  Reverse this and you're probably about right.  The off road is good when it's off road though.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great trip.  Great crowd.  4 very tough first days for the two of us who are used to a couple of hours of intense mountain biking in the UK as opposed to mountain bike touring which is really what this trip is all about.  Two gripes then - first is explained above with regard to the lack of off road and rather a lot of on road distance (although we were always grateful for up on tarmac!).  The other was that for two of the nights, the hotels were really uninspiring.  Comfortable yes.  But really, after a long day's ride ON HOLIDAY, the hotels need to be somewhere inspiring - whether that's in a cultural centre, panoramic location or so on.  Day 2's mountain hut was absolutely spot on, as was Novum Castrum in Novigrad which is in a spectacular location on the coast for nights 4,5, and 6.  Plitvice well worth a visit, and both the lake ride and trip through Pag unexpectedly lovely rides... 
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