Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    MOUNTAINS & VILLAGES OF EVIA

    Evia is an amazing island, very green and lush and the walking was varied.  I was pleased by the amount of history and local knowledge imparted by the guides.  The butterflies, flowers, tortoises and slow worms interested me a lot.  The hotel provided a very comfortable base with the sea, tavernas and sea front giving evening entertainment. This is a great mix of moderately challenging walking with great food, wonderful history and interesting nature.  I would heartily reccommend this holliday

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    1 Reaching the top of the path to the Roman quarry on Ohi mountain - I have always been very cautious going down and the slope up was so steep I seriously wondered if I should stop, but encouraged by the guide I kept on, and to my surprise coming down was not as bad as I had feared.2 Standing in the cave used as a church since 300AD just below the Acropolis of Styra while the guide told us the history of the area - the battles between Greeks and Persians leading to the run from Marathon just across the gulf, the problems of the early Christians and the difficulties of the villagers up to the 19th Century with pirates.3 Seeing live wild tortoises ( reminded me of Gerald Durrell) and a huge slow worm which should be called a fast worm!4 Watching the pasteli maker

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three leaders in the course of the week1 Thanos - brilliant.  Very very knowledgable about the island and full of pride in it.  Infectious enthusiasm and keen to help at all times.  Thanos only did one walk with us due to having to go to London, but supervised arrival and departure.  Gave the impression that when he was in charge nothing would go wrong and indeed nothing did!2 Cecile - good. Took over from Thanos and was also knowledgable about the island but possibly less good at the history, although she was excellent on present day Evia.  Cecile arranged for a taverna to open up especially for us to have a drink towards the end of a walk and she organised a visit to a pasteli maker which was one of my trip highlights.  Cecile has a lovely personality and is obviously very well liked by the locals, she also coped well with coming into the group after the holiday had started.3 Costas- OK.  I believe Costas is training as a guide.  He showed us the way on a walk where Cecile was not familiar with the start of the route, and throughout the day acted as backstop and also told us a lot of fascinating facts as the walk was all around land historically owned by his family.  I really liked his style and enthusiasm, some people complained he was loud, but Greek people, especially the men, are loud.  Costas is proud of his island and wants to pass on his enthusiasm.  His presence added to that day's walk.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I found a fleece useful for the evenings as even at the end of May the breeze was cool after dark.  For the price of a coffee you can have a lounger on the main beach for as long as you like - great after a walk.  For privacy walk along the front to the left of the hotel, past the castle and through the park.  There are steps down to a little cove with oleanders, a prickly pear and a fig tree and space to relax.  Turn left out of the hotel and then right and along that street you will find a beautiful shop to buy hand made jewellery and scarves.  If you are offered a visit to the pasteli maker then take it. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a lovely holiday -  a great mix of walking, relaxation, good food and wine and a "Grown up" resort setting.
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    GULET CRUISE

    A great trip if you've never been on a group experience before . Just the right balance of activity to chilling . Plenty to do and see for a weeks trip . Fun experiences with a little adventure if you don't want to try too hard and lots of great sights and ruins etc ............Really fun   

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definately the paragliding !!!   If you've never thrown yourself off a perfectly good mountain , give it a go !!The closest you can be to being an eagle ...........truly great !!The walks we did were also a lot of fun and as ever in Turkey just amazed with its history and friendliness. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a guy called Geoff who is a Kiwi . He was invited to come back and gude for Exodus as he has lived and worked in Turkey for many years . I really appreciated his openess and sense of fun and nothing was too much trouble . He really looked after us and took matters in hand when the weather was unkind and our Captain was a bit reticent to take us out of the nice "safe" port . Hence we got to be in lovely secluded places with nobody else around . He also had to sort out some food issues and did a great job . Thanks Geoff !!Geoffs knowledge of the history , culture and he will laugh when he reads this , language ; were great . Infact for me i really liked that we learned some great stuff . Plus he has all manner of contacts and he got us great deals and even free drinks ........yay !!  For us he made the holiday . My other half has never been on a group trip or done half the things we did and he made her want to come back and do some more hardcore stuff . Geoff you're my hero !!! 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't over pack you won't need it !!Check there is a backgammon set on the first day as we didn't get to play at all which was a shame .Don't get a tattoo from the guy just round the corner from the Paragliding place in Kas. The guy's a hack and has no skill , at all !!!!If you see something nice in Kalkan , wait until you get to Kas , cheaper and better !! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My partner is gluten free and the Turks just don't get it . Geoff spoke with them 3 times before anything really changed . The food was good for 3 days but then it was some variation of a tomato veggie thing for lunch every day and that started to happen in the eve too . I have to admit to getting pretty annoyed at one point and went into town to get food . The guys were nice enough and sure I get as it was a small trip they were trying to budget but we paid full whack and it was a little much . The captain was a little bit of a Diva and went up and down like a rocket . Making a big show of how hard it all was for him . I'm on holiday and I'm in a people industry myself , deal !!! .............I don't want to be sucked into that and I'm on holiday ..........Thats your job , get on with it !!I don't wish to paint it all bad but just little touches here and there make a difference . Having tension Between the guide and Captain was tiresome and in such a short trip , unnessary !!

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Exodus and our local partners always try to adapt to any dietary needs where possible. We would encourage all our clients to make us aware of any such needs before travel so we can ensure this is possible and catered for. Turkey is particularly good for vegetarians, however some other requirements may not be well known in the country.

  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    A WEEK IN JORDAN

    A fantastic trip - lots to do and see, and all packed in to a week. A fascinating mix of history, geography and culture. In King Abdullah's words, Jordan is in a 'rough neighbourhood', but please do not let this put you off. Jordan is a peaceful and safe haven in this difficult area, and at no time did we experience any problems. The people are very friendly, welcoming and helpful, and I have rarely felt safer in a big city or tourist attraction.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Treasury for the first time was amazing and photographs can not prepare you for the real thing. The night in Wadi Rum was also fantastic and we were looked after very well. I also really enjoyed floating in the Dead Sea and being coated in black mud - a real group bonding experience!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Danny was a fantastic group leader - very knowledgeable, extremely well-organised, and friendly and caring. He made sure that everything ran smoothly, down to getting up early to buy tickets to Petra so that we did not have to wait in a queue. Nothing was too much trouble and he took a personal interest in each and everyone of us. His love of his country was obvious and he went out of his way to show us aspects of his country that tourists often miss - for example, taking us to a local bakery and fruit market to buy a picnic. His knowledge of the history of the area was incredible and he told lots of good stories. He also seems to know all the best places to eat! 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take good footwear as there is a fair amount of walking over stony dusty ground. Lightweight cotton clothes, with a light fleece for evenings. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would not hesitate to recommend this trip to friends. Ours was a large group - 18 people - but it did not feel like that as Danny managed everything so well. He arranged optional group meals every evening - and we all went! He created such a welcoming warm atmosphere that included everyone and these evenings were a very enjoyable part of the trip.
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    INCA TRAIL, TITICACA & NAZCA

    One of the best holidays/experiences I have enjoyed to date.Perceived Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail to be over hyped and becoming commercialised. A pleasant surprise  to find exactly the opposite. Peru is a beautiful country, the Andes mountains and High Plains are spectacular viewing. A packed holiday adventure, get up and do it. You will have memories which last forever. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Ending the Inca Trail and first views of Machu Picchu were incredible. The approach through the sun gate and looking down on the city is one of the most marvellous sights in the world. Viewing the Nazca lines from the air in a small aeroplane (it's the only/best way to see them). This optional trip is currently advised by the British Foreign Office as a "do not do", due to a crash a few years ago. But I have to say I found the experience fine in all aspects (pilots, aircraft, service). You make your own choice.......... Definitely a fantastic experience.From a fun perspective, you cannot keep a smile (or scream) off your face on the dune buggy experience. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Words are not enough. I have been on several treks/experience holidays, Fabrizzio was the best!!!Patient, caring, supportive, friendly, just keep applying the adjectives.Can I please have him on all my future holidays?A few examples: he served all our meals on trek, he was always first up, he listened to everyone (never mind how insane their question), he helped everyone, he  made sure everyone had what they wanted, when they wanted it. He didn't try and control the group, but he made sure the group functioned.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Most of it has been said in other reviews.Take at least one pair of shorts, swimwear, a good sunhat.Take good walking gear, prepare for all weathers (a problem I know, but we had all weathers on the trek and through the rest of the holiday.)Some hotels struggle with the provision of hot water, plugs for sinks, towels are rarely in great supply. But generally they are clean and functional.Take currency in a mix of Sols and US dollars. My advice 20/80%.The food in Peru is very good, both local dishes and regular international dishes are always available. You will not starve! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for a lot of travelling!The basic journeys to and from Peru are long and tiring.Even more so if you are unfortunate enough to fly with United Airlines (my advice DON'T, ask for alternative routes/carriers)Overland journeys in Peru (Cusco to Nazca, Paracas etc ) are long, coach journeys. I think we covered 650KM in 2 or 3 days. Take a good book (Kindle).Exodus management of the logistics involved is superb.BUT it's all worth it. This is an opportunity to see MOST of what Peru has to offer. You can sleep back home! 
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    AEGEAN COAST AND LAKES RIDE

    From a cycling and a  scenery point of view this was a very enjoyable trip but it would have been nice to have learned more about the country - e.g.-more time at Fethiye instead of Dalyan, a little more time at Ephesus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery was impressive,the climbs challenging and the steep downhill zig-zags exhilirating but for me it was our interaction with the people in the rural areas and villages, particularly the welcoming,curious and genuinely interested children that provided the most inspirational and memorable moments of the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader undoubtedly was a strong and competent cyclist who carried out most leadership functions effectively but I felt that during the bus transfers he could have given the group more information about the country being traversed.He also had a tendency to ignore questions which perhaps were taxing his patience but were important to the questioner e.g.-How much further to go ?The assistant leader was a likeable happy-go lucky young man and the driver was a very safe, efficient driver and a generally helpful sort of guy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Learn a few words of Turkish. The adults in the more rural areas will appreciate it and the the children will really be impressed !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    More of a query really.  Could the trip be undertaken in reverse ? - starting in Dalyan and finishing with the free day in Fethiye which, to me, seemed to be a more interesting and less commercialised sort of place  ?  
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    NATIONAL PARKS OF THE WEST

    A wonderful adventure through the parks, canyons and deserts of south west America with options for all levels of walking/hiking at most destinations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Grand Canyon was simply amazing.  Yosemite and Zion National Parks exceeded expectations, (which were high), and Bryce Canyon was simply out of this world.  Oh, and yes, I loved Las Vegas.  What's not to like about it?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was a Prince in more ways than one.  Very committed to the group and his job, was always about to advise and to chat and was a very careful and rerspectful driver.  Had everything organised in a laid back sort of way.  An ideal tour leader for this kind of tour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be careful with you packing.  Temperatures in May were 35C and higher but a few days after we got home Ron emailed to tell us it was snowing in Yosemite.  If there's one thing that is essential to bring its an appetite.  The size of American breakfasts has to be seen to be believed!  And wait till you order a pizza!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This really was a great adventure seeing the American west in its full diversity.  The accommodation throughout was very good and quite exceptional in a couple of places.  I found the Americans I met to be friendly and helpful whether visitors to the area or serving in shops or restaurants.  I lost track of how many nice days I was to have!!Route 66 was of course deeply interesting to anyone of my vintage and Las Vegas was a wonderful way to wind up the fortnight.  What a contrast.  Simply fabulous.
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    THE INCA TRAIL

    Great trip, though dead woman's pass is a testing day. Superb guide in Carlos who was very cool and also very informed about the whole history of the trail and the Incas. The sights are stunning as are the mountain views and Machu Pichu lives up to its reputation. Benny the cook did a great job with the food. Exodus let itself down with the hotel in Cuzco: do not let them put you in the Andean South Inn" awful hotel and awful area: we checked out and stayed elsewhere

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The third day with simply stunning views of the Andes and the day in Machu Pichu; rates with Kili and Everest as a sight to see.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Carlos was the best of the group leaders I have had on exodus tours. He was polite, erudite with a nice dry sense of humour. He made the trip and we missed him on the rainforest and lake titicacca extensions

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    don't let exodus put you in the Andean South Inn in Cuzco: they have had previous reports that its not good, not in a nice area and has no warm water. It was the worst hotel I've stayed in with Exodus by some margin

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    its a great trip to do. We did the rainforest and lake titicacca extensions. They are Ok, little wildlife to see in the rainforest and the lake is very touristy; though the trip to the funeral towers was stunning

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Thanks for your review. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip but I have asked our local partner to provide feedback from our tour leaders on recent trips which have stayed at the Andean South Inn, as this is a property we have used for several years and it usually gets good reports for both the services and the location. We have had reports about the water supply in the past, but this turned out to be related to a city-wide shortage rather than a specific problem with this hotel.

    The hotel is in the San Blas district, which has many hotels and is certainly not a a bad area - I have stayed on the same street as the Andean South Inn several times over the past few years and have always felt safe, despite the fact that streets are narrow and not always brightly lit at night. Safety for our clients is of paramount importance, and our tour leaders always recommend that you take one of the city's many inexpensive taxis in Cuzco after dark wherever possible, as petty crime is not unknown - this is true of Cuzco in general, and is not specific advice for San Blas.

    Tim - Product Manager for Peru

  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    THE AMALFI COAST (TDA)

    A very enjoyable week's walking and sight-seeing. Just what I was looking for for a easy, hassle-free trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'd always wanted to see Vesuvius up close and to visit Herculaneum (I've been to Pompeii before but I was happy to go again).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was excellent. Helpful, friendly and inspiring confidence. Also, she struck the right balance between keeping us organised and not being too fussy or controlling. Full marks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Steps! The walks on this holiday do involve a lot of steps so be warned if that presents you with any difficultires (knees, etc.) Trekking poles can take some of the pressure off but you won't enjoy the walks if you struggle with the prospect of many hundreds of steps up and/or down on a walk. Don't go expecting to lose weight from the walking as the food is very good and there's plenty of it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would say that this trip is correctly graded at Leisurely/Moderate. Some streches are quite strenuous but the walks are quite short with plenty of breaks. All in all, a very enjoyable week.
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    THE TURQUOISE COAST

    Beautiful places, lovely people, great food, lots of goats - just not enough walking!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day in the mountains was by far the best. Exploring Arykanda with virtually nobody else there was particularly special (the site is extraordinary, with excellent preservation of standing ruins, no intrusive interpretation and the most magnificent views), lunch at the home of a local family was wonderful and the walk down the mountain throught the cedar forest, although easy, had amazing views

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ozgur was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, he clearly cares very much about the area and is keen to share it with others

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I came up with a new rating system during the week:Pace = leisurelyDistance per day = leisurely (i.e. short)Terrain = Occasionally moderate and requiring some agilityClimate = Moderate, possibly rising to challenging during the high seasonThis is not a holiday for keen hikers, however it is also not a holiday for people who do not hike regularly. Keen walkers may be better off travelling independently rather than choosing this holiday. I chose it because of the balance between walking and more leisurely activity. However, the walks were simply too short and too slow for me. A note on the sea kayaking: I really enjoyed it as an activity but the experience of kayaking over the 'sunken city' is very much on the tourist trail - do not expect a quiet 'unspoilt' experience
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    WALKING IN TUSCANY

    A truly relaxing break in beautiful countryside with Italian home cooking.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The fabulous views over the mountains, the meadows full of flowers and the nuthatches and redstarts chirruping in the vineyard outside the bedroom window.Sitting in small cafes overlooking Tuscan villages scoffing pistachio gelati.. (or chestnut beer).Rocky ascent to Monte Sumbro and picnic at the top looking down at the mountains poking through the clouds.Cycling the medieval walls of Lucca on a tandem. Propping up the cathedral belfry in Pisa (the leaning tower!)  

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Truly exceptional. Sara did a lot of little extras to make it easy and enjoyable for us--sorted laundry, wet boots, bought train tickets, provided individual annotated maps, catered for dietary likes and dislikes, provided a constant supply of chocolate biscuits. She was extremely well organized and very generous with her time and effort.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you like walking and good food, don't hesitate, book it. It is not rolling meadows though, be prepared for a little effort. Also, mountain weather is always unpredictable, so even in summer, waterproofs are a must.
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