Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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150 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2015
    Louise & Ritchie Richardson

    Finnish Wilderness Week

    This is a fantastic holiday for those who enjoy the active outdoors and like to try something new. The range of activities included mean that you are bound to find something you like - if not all of them. A good balance of instructor time to free time meaning you can choose which activity you'd like to try more of. Warm, comfortable accommodation, great local food and plenty of it and great hosts. Beautiful setting. The whole holiday far exceeded our expectations. This was a full on week of activity that excelled in every way.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Although it was hard to pick only one, the two hour dog sledging trip with the huskies in Riisitunuri National Park was mine and my husband's highlight of the holiday. This was included as part of our holiday and there is the option to have a longer trip on one of the free days. The trip was exhilarating and magical and the snow covered scenery was from another planet. The dogs were obviously well cared for and were given affection by their owners when the dogs looked for it. There were truly many memorable moments that will stay with us forever and be spoken about often.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Martti was a fantastic group leader. His level of instruction was set at the right level and he has a broad base of knowledge. He always had a smile on his face and nothing was too much trouble. Undoubtedly he contributed to our enjoyment of the holiday in a significant way. The rest of the team were great and all knew what was going on and were able to give advice if Martti wasn't around.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The kit that is provided is excellent. I used all of it in the -28 temperatures, except I wore my own hat because it was slightly thicker - that said many others wore the hat provided and were warm enough. I also used my own baselayers and a Buff/snood for keeping my face warm - some used balaclavas. All of the kit dries easily in the rooms, thanks to the underfloor heating. You only really need to take casual wear for the evenings - the dining room is warm but can be variable so I'd recommend thin layers. Boardgames/cards are provided for evening entertainment. There are no TVs on basecamp and no music playing - for us a real bonus.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If we could we'd go back in an instant.
  • Reviewed January 2015

    A wonderful week far from the madding crowd at Base Camp OulankaY

    A really enjoyable week, full of adventures and learning new skills like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, wilderness skills such as fire lighting, first aid and building and sleeping in a snow hole (quinzee), and also riding on a snowmobile and dogsledding. It is a great idea to provide a number of optional things to do, in addition to the basic itinerary, so that we could tailor the activities we wanted to take part in according to our wishes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, the most awe inspiring moment was driving a team of huskies up through the snowy forest and reaching the highest point and seeing the sun glinting on the tree tops, it was magical.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were absolutely delighted with our team leader, Martti. He is extremely knowledgeable and such a caring person who always had a smile on his face and was more than willing to go that extra mile to ensure that everybody in our group had a great holiday. When my wife fell and hurt herself he went out of his way to visit us in our accommodation, later the same day to ensure that she was OK. All the base camp team were friendly and a credit to their organisation.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need to take too much with you as three layers of protective clothing was supplied together with three pairs of gloves/mittens, socks, belt, a beanie hat and a head torch. We stayed overnight in a hotel at Gatwick and used the Thomson day before check-in service, which closes at 2200 hrs. Glad we did as we found out that my wife and I were allocated separate seats, disappointingly, however, the Thomson team kindly changed our seats for us -something for Exodus to consider for the future as were unable to book in online due to the block booking.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend this trip to those who want something a little different. It is aimed at adults, however Exodus run a similar holiday aimed at families and we are seriously thinking about taking our children and grandchildren on that one later this, or next, year. All the Staff at Base Camp Oulanka were brilliant: so welcoming, cheerful and welcoming - and we even got to take some pictures of the Northern Lights
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Steve Platt

    Fantastic Finland Wilderness Week

    A fantastic week. Great team at the hotel made us feel very welcome. Maarti was a great guy and everyone was always smiling. Anika v helpful too. Good food (thanks Teddy) and great mixture of activities. Lovely location about 100 metres walk down to the (frozen) lake. Cabins were always warm with heated floor in the bathroom meaning you could dry things out or warm things up. It was obviously pretty cold but the gear provided mostly kept you warm, except toes on the husky trips.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    First snowshoe trip was great as was the first husky trip. Wilderness skills including igloo building was a fun day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Maart was a great group leader. Unassuming, helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When they say all the clothing is provided, it really is. I took way too much cold-weather gear. You only really need to take a thermal layer. I'd take hand/feet warmers and a balaclava though.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd go back tomorrow if I could.
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Nikola Westhead

    Fantastic

    A very busy and cold week but fantastic fun. Expect to we well fed, exhausted and probably bruised by the end of the week but equally thrilled with the beauty of basecamp and exhilarated with activities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the ice wall.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Teddy was fun and informative

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The clothes provided mean you don't have to bring lots of winter gear. No cash needed for basecamp
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Susannah *

    Finnish Wilderness Week

    An absolutely fabulous winter adventure spent in a log cabin in the most beautiful Finnish wilderness, with plentiful and delicious local food and a good variety of interesting winter activities, this is a trip not to be missed- if you love the outdoors and adventure, book now, you will not be disappointed!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I particularly loved New Years Eve dog sledging with the huskies, the sun was just coming up and shining onto the snowy trees, so beautiful and peaceful and I will never forget it! In fact I loved it so much that I then chose to do a full day with the huskies. You drive your own husky team and led by Lauri the lovely owner of the huskies we stopped half way for lunch and sat on reindeer skins by a fire in the middle of the wilderness and ate Elk casserole and Finnish pudding, both delicious, cooked by his lovely wife before heading off again. I also loved building the quinzee ( a hollowed out pile of snow) with the team and then sleeping in it all night in -15! I loved the snow shoeing through stunning snowy forests and by raging rivers and exploring the frozen lake on cross country skis with a sunset and a mist on the lake. Too many amazing memories to mention!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bjorn (Teddy) was a brilliant leader, so friendly and welcoming right from the beginning and really shared in our enthusiasm for the activities and the great outdoors. He has a true passion for nature and the national park and really looked after us in every way. He was also very good at looking after everyone whatever their level of ability. Marty did the survival skills with us and was equally as lovely. All the staff at Basecamp are just so friendly and lovely and I cannot praise them highly enough.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice is to book this holiday! I have been on a lot of trips but this has for me surpassed them all. You get the opportunity to try lots of different activities and do more of those you enjoy. There is a fair bit of spare time when you can go off snow shoeing or cross country skiing and to use the sauna and outdoor hot tub (and roll in the snow Finnish style!) and its a good idea to take a book to read by the fire. It's a real chill out in the most wonderful scenery. You really don't need to take any winter clothes at all (apart from a base layer) as you get given them all and they are all clean and in good condition. Just take something warm to arrive and leave in and take casual evening wear with you. I really recommend you sleep all night in the quinzee, such a sense of achievement!
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Zoe Zoe

    Complete change of scene though extremely cold

    Base camp Oulanka is great, with a lovely atmosphere, delicious simple food and set in a most beautiful area. I was there at the end of December and it was minus 28 and only four hours daylight a day. The equipment they lend you is top notch and the advice you get from the team is excellent. The only problem I had was keeping my feet warm. Take thick wool socks (not polyester) and wear boots that are a bit too big. Henri was a fantastic guide and everyone who worked at the place were extremely friendly and helpful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved snow shoeing through the woods on the Castle Rock walk. The husky drive (short one included in the trip) was also fantastic, but my feet were so cold I thought I was going to get frost bit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Henry was a brilliant leader. Friendly, knowledgeable and proactive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take thick wool socks and borrow boots bigger than your usual size. Take a snood or balaclava - my eyelashes froze it was so cold. If I hadn't been able to cover my face, I would have been even colder. Take a kettle if you want hot drinks in your room. Take hand warmers for your gloves. The equipment they give you is top quality and you really do only need base layers - leggings / tops etc. The gloves they gave us were much better than the ski gloves I had taken. Unless you like standing around in the cold and being completely overcharged for the experience, I wouldn't bother with the reindeer farm visit. Unless you really want to see a reindeer close up. Or your children do. The walks are great (I loved the snow shoeing), the igloo building was really fun and the huskies fantastic. Snowmobiling also got very good feedback.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The temperature varies quite a lot, but be prepared for cold.
  • Reviewed July 2014
    Rachel Fraser

    Finnish Wilderness Week

    Exceeded my expectations - accommodation, food, staff, activities and facilities were all excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Ice-climbing and dog-sledding were two activities I've never tried before - both were exhilarating and great fun. The outdoor elk-stew dinner on the last night is also a good memory. It was very atmospheric, and it was a lovely evening with people I'd only just met, yet already felt like good friends.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Henri was very knowledgeable and competent, and I always felt safe during the activities led by him. He approached all situations with humour and patience!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember your swimming costume - sitting in the outdoor hot-tub with a cold beer with snow falling around you is a great way to end an active day :-)
  • Reviewed April 2014
    Yasmin Ahmed

    Northern exposure

    A very enjoyable week in a remote part of Finland, balancing guided activities with self-determined time. Being taught to snow-shoe on the first day allowed us to explore the area independently, including a day spent on the breathtaking Little Bear walk. The trails were marked clearly, and the occasional bit of challenging terrain intensified our appreciation of the location’s serenity. Also, the tracks left by Arctic hares are amusingly rude in shape. Basecamp Oulanka provided a welcome contrast to the physical rigours of days spent outdoors, while upholding the 'green' principles that such an unspoilt place demands. The comforts of the lodge's private accommodation - en-suite wet rooms, under-floor heating and external space in the form of balconies or patios - were equalled by the cosiness of the communal facilities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Dog-sledding was, undoubtedly, a highlight. The choral howling of the Husky teams augured the delights to come: crisp, cold air; views of white expanses and distant hills; and, best of all, the responsiveness of these powerful, beautiful beasts, with their dense fur, icy eyes and impressive abilities to poo while in full flight. There’s also perverse enjoyment, not to mention satisfaction, to be had from building your own quinzee, and – if you must – sleeping in it. We didn’t bother with the latter, having sent our respective Tyler Durdens on vacation elsewhere; but construction was made easier by the ‘can-do’ attitude of Rebecca and Andrew, our partners in architectural crime. The wind whistling through our snow-sodden clothes seemed a little less harsh, thanks to both of you. The propulsive powers of the f-word proved remarkable on a steep incline. Indeed, as most of our remaining time was spent falling over or crashing into things, we swore the air into a deep, deep shade of blue. It matched the bruises.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A passionate ambassador for the outdoor life, Noora was also a knowledgeable and approachable leader who acted promptly on requests. Indeed, all of the staff were very friendly and helpful, and the chef had made an evident effort to accommodate our dietary needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was a little cheeky of Exodus to describe the trip as an 8-day holiday, when two of the days consisted entirely of travelling to and from our destination. The lengthy transfer from Rovaniemi to the lodge was especially unwelcome at the end of a 15-hour journey, much of which was spent loitering around airports, waiting for flights. If sentenced to spend an age in Helsinki airport, break up the time, as we did, by taking a Finnair bus into the city centre – a journey of 30 minutes, at the most - and seeing the sights on foot. We found the food at Basecamp Oulanka to be suitably hearty fuel for an active(ish) break, but to other group members it seemed stodgy and over-fried. Stock up on extra fruit, perhaps, if travelling outside berry-picking time: the seasonal menu meant that it was noticeable by its relative absence. Finally, be prepared to NOT see the Aurora Borealis. We didn't. However, if you stare at a lightbulb and then rub you eyelids vigorously, you can achieve a pretty convincing approximation.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In contrast to the experiences of other travellers, we really cannot say that we were misinformed by Exodus. The costs of optional activities were described accurately, give or take a few Euros, as were the facilities provided by the lodge. We re-checked the trip notes on the way home, and found that some of the complaints we'd heard were about matters pre-emptively addressed in the literature. Make the effort to read all of the available information before booking. One last point: Teddy’s energy bars, which are only available at the lodge, are things of wonder and joy. If you need to feel virtuous about partaking, a couple are just the ticket on a long walk. If you simply like feeling happy, sod the exercise, eat them anyway and imagine – as we did – that they contain a secret ingredient. Something did.
  • Reviewed February 2014
    Anonymous

    FINNISH WILDERNESS WEEK

    We really enjoyed our Finnish Wilderness week. Oulanka base Camp was  very well run and definitely to be recommended. Our only criticism was that the group was supposed to be limited to 16 and there were actually 21, which was too many for the snowmobiling and the snow shoe safari to Castle rocks

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sleeping all night in the snow quinzee we had built

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Teddy/Bjorn was wonderful, as were the other members of his team

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy and do make sure you do the husky safari. It was brilliant!
  • Reviewed February 2014
    Anonymous

    FINNISH WILDERNESS WEEK

    An absolutely fantastic trip; beautiful country and a great range of activities. Loved it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was fantastic and Finland is absolutely beautiful.  There was just the right mix of activity and time to chill (in a very peaceful environment) and I came home feeling relaxed and reinvigorated.Getting to try such a wide range of activites in a short time was great and the staff are so enthusiastic that even those that I perhaps found less appealing on paper (snow shoeing!) turned out to be great fun! One of the most inspirational moments would have to be travelling through the silent, snowy wilderness on my husky dog sledge.Similarly, when you can stand back and look at the quinzee that you have built you get a real sense of achievement. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Teddy was the best exodus leader I have had so far (this was my 5th exodus trip) his enthusiasm for his country and the activities was contagious and his energy was boundless.  He got on well with the whole group - and we were a very mixed bunch!  Similarly, the rest of the staff at Oulanka basecamp were really friendly and helpful; nothing was ever too much trouble.  One of them even lent me her own boots when I had problems with the pair I had borrowed!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You really don't need to bring much more than a base layer for the daytime as warm kit is provided.  Although, I would recomend bringing your own hats, scarves and gloves.In the evenings it can get quite warm in the dining room with the log fire so bring T-shirts/layers - I only brought 'warm' clothes and nearly boiled alive a couple of nights! This isn't the cheapest of trips, but the optional activities/food are worth it so bring plenty of money (you can pay for most things by card at basecamp) 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was an amazing trip - have a fantastic time!  You won't want to come home!One word of warning though; we didn't see the northern lights (not every group does apparently!) - it can't be guaranteed so don't get your hopes too high - the trip notes seem to suggest that you'd be very unlucky not to but that is perhaps a little overly optimistic!