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 June 2012
    Anonymous

    HIGHLIGHTS OF CHINA

    A great way to see a lot of the country in a short period, but be prepared to need another holiday by the end!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed the cooking class in Yangshuo, which is surprising considering that I normally hate cooking!  The class was incredibly well organised and the scenery to look out over while eating was stunning.  I also liked Shanghai more than I thought I would - it is quite cosmopolitan with a cafe culture feel and was nice for chilling out at the end of the trip.  There were also some great cocktail bars at the top of skyscrapers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Unfortunately our original leader, Vivian, became ill after the first couple of days and had to be replaced by her colleague William.  He did a great job considering that he had never even been to a couple of the places before!  He was also very keen on trying to encourage us to drink the local spirit, White Lightning.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As suggested by others, a small pillow would be useful for when travelling as you'll want to catch a nap whenever you can!  We had no trouble getting money from ATMs (we're with HSBC).  We took sterling as well just in case but didn't need to change it.  There was an ATM in the lobby of the first hotel.  Let the guide know if you have any food you can't eat as the banquet style of dining most days (ie lots of dishes in middle of table) means they can always order at least a few dishes that you can eat (I can't eat chillies).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You'll be getting up between 6 and 7 am most days, apart from a couple of free days and I was pretty exhausted by the end as you're on the go a lot.  The minibuses we used were quite cramped, but this may be due to the fact we were a smaller group than normal (12 people).  Luckily there weren't many long road journeys - the longest was about 2 hours.  The sleeper train was comfortable and I probably got my bst night's sleep on it!  Be prepared to sleep on very hard mattresses - they were in all of the hotels apart from the ones in Shanghai.  There was a good mix of free time 
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    CYCLE PROVENCE & THE LUBERON

    very poor notes, sent to the wrong villagerooms not booked as paid for  bikes  did not fit, nor were fully equipedvery disappointing service 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    mount ventoux

    What did you think of your group leader?

    not applicable

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    please be very strict on your accomodationask for instructions priorthere was no tour package depsite paying over 5000 aud  just one map and inadequate instructionsvery poor standard. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    the route was good but distances inaccurate and no proper informationvery rudimentary tourwe took two children age 12 and 16, they rode it all easily but the organisation, accommodation and instructions were very poor. we have tried several other rides and this was the worst.one day our ride instructions had us finish 15 km from where we were supposed to  stay!! come on?? 
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    This was my first trip with Exodus and i have been completely converted ! From our initial enquiry the service we have received has been exemplary and everything was taken care of which we would have not been able to organise in the timeframe  as solo travellers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip was a real cultural feast it is not possible to pick just one moment but we really enjoyed our timebrowsing in the souk and the trekking in the Atlas 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lassan our group leader was superb he always went the extra mile and was great company as wellas a superb guide. His knowledge of Morroccan history and politics was very informative as washis knowledge of the Flora and Fauna of the region which added to our experience. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This particular trip does call for a good level of stamina and fitness but is well worth the physical demands.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would go again tomorrow ! A great country with very friendly people .
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    A WEEK IN JORDAN

    I loved every minute of the trip to this fascinating country, which has culture, archeological highlights and plenty of mixed activity involved. The fact that our group of mixed ages, from 23 years old to late 70's, bonded so well, added to the enjoyment.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Camping in the Wadi Rum and sleeping under the stars, was the most magical time for me. But visiting Petra, which I hadn't realised was so vast, was also an amazing experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Khaled was one of the most interesting, kind and experienced guides I've encountered on my travels. His love and knowledge of his country was very evident and he happily shared this with us. His dry sense of humour also went down well with the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for plenty of hiking in Petra, if you want to make the most of it. There is so much to take in.Absorb the culture and enjoy the food, it is wonderful.The only minor problem I had, was trying to drink the strong sweetened tea (mint or otherwise) that is customary in Jordan. Unsweetened weak tea, are not words Jordanians seem to understand!Traffic can be chaotic in Amman, so leave plenty of time to get to the airport at end of trip. Some taxi drivers smoke when driving, not pleasant for us non smokers, even if the windows are wound down.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it! Jordan is not to be missed and it depends on tourism to keep its economy going.The people are friendly and helpful. Not once did I feel unsafe in their company, except perhaps when being driven from the Amman airport to the hotel, on the first day of the trip, by a rather erratic taxi driver!
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    A TASTE OF CUBA

    Cuba has to be up there with probably one of the most amazing destinations I have had a chance to visit. I loved the culture, food, sights and the weather.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I spent alot of my

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Toni and our expert driver Andreas were a very good team. They looked after us all very well. I spent hours talking to Toni and Andreas as they both very very interesting company. They helped me understand a lot about Cuba, the culture and way of life. They really made the trip for me.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cuba is changing. The sooner you can go the better it is. The rate of change is not very fast but it is all changing.  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I loved all about Cuba. 
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    Take a second look at SIERRA DE LAS MAMBLAS

    Interesting scenery sprinkled with a few really, truely spectacular vistas. Dry, Mediterranean forests and farmland, a little bit of fauna and tonnes of fantastic flora in all its flowery and scented glory in Spring. The remains of plenty of interesting ancient and modern history was seen and discussed. Authentic villages, both rundown and renovated, without the fake touristy smiles. I'm even considering doing this trip a second time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On (I think) the second day we lunched in the shade of a large rock at the top of a ridge and I looked out on the opposite ridge line, with other ridgelines in the distance (I guess that's the "sierra" bit of the region), and I also saw the broad strip of patchwork farmland in the lower part of the valleys, and saw a sheppard with his/her flock. I loved seeing the overall pattern of the natural and human landscape. I saw it several times over the week, and from more spectacular viewing points, but that first time impressed me the most.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bob knows the area well, has obviously done his research well and has walked every trail and path in the region. He was always able to explain where we were in relation to Covarrubias (home) and other sites we had visit or were yet to visit. He also pointed out opportunities for short cuts home, so it was good to know that there was a lot of flexibility in our route (if say, a massive storm came through). He also has a very good approach to briefing: we were absolutely clear about what was coming up for the day (unlike other wonderful, charming, and more charismatic leaders I've had with Exodus in the past who kept describing the day's landscape as "undulating" regardless of whether that was flat-undulating or mountainous-undulating, hehehe). I think Bob's approach is ideal for people who prefer the security of knowing exactly what's coming up in terms of physical effort or the most minor of expenses. Despite that, he also kept a couple of nifty "surprises" up his sleeve, which were fun too. What Bob lacks in charisma, he more than makes up for in knowledge and anticipation of the group's needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Water: The tap water at the hotel is drinkable so don't waste your luggage space with water purifiers. Laundry: I couldn't see any laundry facilities available at all, so several of us did hand washing, but we were asked not to hang stuff on our balconies outside during the day.Paths: While the paths are mostly perfectly OK, there are a few paths on a slope with a bit of loose stone, so walking sticks are a plus if your legs are a bit wobbly. Additionally, on the routes Bob took on my week, there were two very steep, and potentially slippery bits of path. They needed all my attention for about 10 minutes each. Bob did warn us ahead of time that they were coming up, so it was possible to avoid them (and on one occasion, one person did take the shortcut home). Nonetheless, 99% of the walking was quite easy to moderate and at no point were we ever rushed. The pace was quite leisurely with plenty of breaks, which meant that the group pretty much stayed fairly close together; never more than a few hundred metres between first and last person. Nonetheless, that distance also provided enough space to get a bit of privacy in discussions too, if it was wanted.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you can possibly swing it, I'd strongly recommend going in May: the flowers and scented herbage are at exactly the right growth stage, the weather is warm enough but also cool enough for exertionJust for the record, on my trip, everyone in the group was really lovely and some were quite funny, and most were very interesting. I'm over 45 and was one of the youngest in the group. No one was a fuddy duddy (not at all!) but I guess that the nature of the trip attracts people like us. I suspect that a very modern-type of person in the 18-30 age group might find a group like mine a little boring, socially. I think the social side of these walking holidays is easily 50% of the fun (otherwise you'd do a self-guided trip, right?) so that might be a factor to take into account in selecting the trip.
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    GALAPAGOS & AMAZON

    An excellent trip to two different environments (plus Quito), seeing lots of wildlife and visiting wild places, new experiences (snorkelling and being at the highest altitude that I've been to). The itineraries at Napo and in the Galapagos Islands are busy but there's also time to relax and just enjoy the sights and sounds.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting comfortable with snorkelling which gave me the opportunity to snorkel with penguins, a white tipped shark, turtles and a multitude of fish. Hearing howler monkeys in the rainforest (we got to see them too on  the canoe trips), seeing the colourful birds at the clay lick. Seeing a large pod of dolphins hunting just before sunset, seeing whale sharks right next to our boat and seeing just how unconcerned the Galapagos wildlife is about the presence of humans. Taking the cable car in Quito up to 4100m and not having any major problems with the altitude, which opened up a number of trip destinations for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Estoban (Quito), Patti (Napo), Juan (Galapagos Islands) were all excellent, well organised and enthusiastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take it easy the first few days in Quito, it can take a while to get used to the altitude, I felt lightheaded on a couple of occasions but nothing that some slow deep breathes couldn't fix.Take plenty of $1 and $5 bills for taxis and small purchases as getting change might be a problem with higher denomination notes.Use plenty of sun block when snorkelling, especially on your legs.Our flights back from Napo and the Galapagos Islands all ran to time so there was plenty of time to go on some of the optional excursions, allow for this in your budget.The cabins on the Cachalote are quite small so try and avoid taking huge bags/cases, you can always leave items in storage at the hotel in Quito. You can also get laundry done at Napo and at the hotel in Quito.Take more camera memory than you think you'll need, you wouldn't want to run out! It's also worth taking a second camera in case anything happens to the first one.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A lot of early mornings but you can always catch up on sleep when you get home!
  • Reviewed May 2012
    Anonymous

    MOSCOW TO ST PETERSBURG

    A well planned trip with a good balance of seeing the key historical sites in Russia. More opportunity for the guide to support the group in identifying places not to be missed whilst in Russia.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Moscow, my childhood memories of Red Square and the Kremlin. To actually be standing in that place and visiting the Kremlin and Armoury were amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Overall Anya was a very good leader. At the initial meeting she made the itinery very clear was always on hand to answer questions and provide advice. In Moscow she provided a tour of the subway and a visit to Sparrow Hill, all excellent additions to that area. She provided excellent translation on the sleeper train when I had to share with a Russian couple. I felt the cycle ride in the park at Pushkin was unecessary and would have proferred to go straight to St Petersburg on that morning. Additionally, I believe that Anya could have given us the tour of St Petersburg as this is her home town, yet this was delegated to a local guide that spent to much time away from the key sites. Anya had a good sense of humour and would help with any questins you asked, however did become slightly defence if I suggested doing something slightly different from her plan.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to walk a long way if you would like to see all of what this trip has to offer in 8 days
  • Reviewed May 2012
    Anonymous

    MT TOUBKAL CLIMB

    I had a great time: the landscape, the other people on the trek, the guide and muleteers, the physical effort, the sun, the wind. It was just as challenging as I wanted it, and as the colours are quite different from what you get in the European mounatins, definitely worth the trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It-s hard to say, but I will go for the moment just before the peak of Toubkal when finally we could see over all the other mountains, that view was inspiring after the efforts to get up there, and the early start :)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide (Lahcen and Hassan) was great, excellent at pacing and had a good feeling of how fresh people were. Plus a lovely chap, funny and very knowlegeable! 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not much, I recommend the trek, also good in terms of value for money I think. If you want a week off from work, take this one. The business of Marrakech and the peacefulness of the moauntains are great! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Maybe one thing to add is that you should take some cereal bars or similar as sometimes it takes time to get food in the evening. I prefer to eat a bit when trekking, and even though we got offered nuts, spicy and sweet, that was only at the rest points.  
  • Reviewed May 2012
    Anonymous

    TREKKING IN MADAGASCAR

    A very enjoyable trip overall. Madagascar is an interesting country and different to what I expected or to how it's presented to us on television. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On a personal level, the hike up Peak Boby - especially as I think the trip notes don't give an accurate view of the difficulty of this climb.Other than that, I think the people we met along the way who live in remote areas, with very little, yet were still interested in us being there and greeted us with smiles wherever we went.  Obviously the lemurs were a highlight. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I think Sol was great leader - although his sense of timescales leaves something to be desired. If he said something would take 2 hours we got to learn that actually it would be 4 hours!!I also think that some of the advice given about walks was a little misleading, especially the advice that poles weren't needed on the first walk of the trip. They are!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes mention that the accommodation is in tourist hotels. I found this to be misleading as actually we stayed in eco lodges (which I prefer) - but some people might be disappointed if expecting a hotel. The accommodation is basic which is to be expected, electricity limited and on some occasions no water available - even though we had bathrooms. It's worth bearing this in mind if you haven't done this kind of trip before.The camps are  very basic so take plenty of wet wipes! We always arrived at camp too late to be able to bathe in the river.Don't be fooled by the trip notes to thinking the climb up Peak Boby isn't difficult. I've done quite a lot of Exodus holidays and I think this climb was hard - probably due in some part to the heat. This day we climbed to the peak was also far too long a day and is something Exodus should look at. We left camp at 6am. It took 5hrs to get up and down Boby; we then had a short break for lunch and then had another 5.5 hour walk to the next camp. Again, I don't want it to sound like I didn't enjoy the holiday - I just think that some people might be misled and then not be able to physically do the walking. If you can cope with the above then this holiday is excellent and well worth considering.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think that this trip would be better if all the meals were included and paid for with the trip. The reason for this is that the meals at the lodges were a set menu at a set price, sometimes with a choice of 2 things, sometimes with no choice. It would then save time as we wouldn't have everyone having to pay a bill. Also, it would be better if the leader organised bread, cheese etc for lunches rather than the endless stops at supermarkets which added time on to already long days. This then might mean that you arrive at your lodge a little earlier rather than always arriving about 30mins before dinner. One last point, to Exodus - I really think you should stop letting more people on the trips than specified on the trip notes. This has now happened on our last 2 trips and makes the group too large, the buses too cramped and space round camping tables too squashed. I really hope that this isn't going to keep happening as it does take away from the experience of what an Exodus holiday should be.  
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