Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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17894 Reviews

  • Reviewed December 2019
    Heather Ward

    Simply the best!

    This was our first Exodus cycling holiday and it won’t be our last! The scenery was varied and beautiful, the hotels were better that I was expecting and the cycling was challenging but manageable and a great way to see the countryside. We were able to ride at our own pace through out the trip, with one of the guides at the front and one bringing up the rear and breaks every hour or so for water and snacks. Food from the Exodus Mobile Kitchen was excellent - every meal was something different and we were often the lunchtime the envy of other tour groups! The buffet meals in the hotels were also good - a range of options to suit everyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the safari in the Kruger - we saw an incredible volume and variety of wildlife, often quite close up - lions 3ft away, elephants crossing the road in front and behind our vehicle. The crowning glory was a leopard spotted by one of our group which just seemed to want to show off for us!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bradley, Skhu and Rea did a fantastic job of looking after us all. From fixing bikes (and the truck) to cooking (including baking a cake on the barbecue!) to sharing their knowledge and love of South Africa and its animals, all three were amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is worth doing some training ahead of the trip, some days were quite tough - up to 2000m of climbing. But we could all ride at our own pace - there was never any pressure to keep up - so don’t let it put you off. There is always the option to get a lift from the truck!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is no bar or other access to beer or wine on the first night, so if you want a drink (and you might after a long transfer), you will need to buy something either at the airport or at one of the stops on the drive.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Sharon Green

    Fantastic Trip!

    This was our first trek and we we struck gold - the scenery and people of Nepal are beautiful. They have left a lasting impression and a return trip is a must. The porters and guides looked after us - lugging our gear and organising food and accommodation, pointing out wildlife and keeping us safe - always smiling, they created a real family feel to the group. I miss the early morning wake up call of a cheerful Namaste with a cup of tea and a stunning sunrise.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Two stand out (& emotional) moments-Looking down on a pair of Golden Eagles gliding on the thermals only 15 feet away & Reaching Annapurna Basecamp - achieving the goal and surrounded by jaw dropping scenery

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Balkrishna Tamang (Milan) was a great leader. I have no experience of others but the bar is now set very high! He was tireless in ensuring everything went to plan and everyone was happy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep your bags as light as you can- not an easy task but watching the porters lug 2 kit bags and their own gear is a humbling experience
  • Reviewed December 2019

    Everest Base Camp with 3 high passes ref TNG 1901110

    I wish to give separate feedback for the local guide team and then also for Exodus head office. This is feedback for the local guide team led by Dakman Thapa. I thought Dakman, along with his assistant guides Surja Baraily and Lakpa Tamang were excellent throughout. They were flexible and attentive to the differing group needs during the entire trip. I loved the info regarding the local culture, geography and sights that we saw along the way. Nothing was too much trouble for them. They prioritised safety and well being, enabling everyone to maximise their experiences.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the stunning sunrises and sunsets on different peaks

    What did you think of your group leader?

    as above

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    be fit, get altitude experience and experience of multi day treks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I will do separate feedback to Exodus head office.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Virginia Morris

    Amazing Rajasthan cycling trip

    We had a fabulous time in Rajasthan and fully recommend this trip. We have now done quite a few cycling holidays, both in groups and self guided, in Europe and in far flung places but I can honestly say that this one was the most enjoyable in every way. Firstly, we had a fantastic leader, Krishna, whose good humour and expertise made us all feel safe and well cared for. His attention to detail was superb as well as his knowledge of the wild life and history. The combination of exquisite forts and palaces and fabulous scenery made for a very varied and exciting trip. The village life that we could ride through and look at was superb. We enjoyed all the hotels except at the beginning and end and despite Delhi and Aggra smog, we were mostly in unspoilt places. Our cultural sightseeing was informative and fun. The food was delicious and fresh everywhere and we loved our daily stops for Chai by the roadside. We stayed healthy throughout and found the cycling very manageable. I did use the bus a couple of times but so did quite a few of the group so that was ok. Our group was very supportive and non-competitive. I love these Exodus holidays and can't wait to book another one. By the way, despite the trip notes at least half the group were in lycra. Thank you to Exodus and to Krishna and his team

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Falling into some dubious mud/dung/pooh and being helped to clean it all up by some very amused villagers

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry about it. Just go
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Michelle Burton

    Fantastic trip - great scenery, well paced, brilliant leader

    We had the most wonderful trip on the Mini Annapurna Circuit in Nov 19 with a great group of 6, and a brilliant leader Jangbu. The scenery was amazing throughout and so varied - starting off warm with jungle and rice terraces, going through to the barren and snow covered pass. The group was made up of 3 couples (40's/50's/60's) who all met on this trip but worked really well together and was a nice number. The itinerary was very well thought out, from walking times between breakfast, tea stop, lunch, and afternoon. A slow enough pace that no-one was pushed, out of breath or sweaty. No-one got altitude sickness as the increase in altitude every day was so well managed. The food was much better and more varied that expected (fried rice, fried noodles, soup, curry, chips, pizza, and occasionally even items like lasagna, burritos etc. And of course desserts like apply pie, and mars bar rolls !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The peace and tranquillity on the trail. Going end-Nov meant it was very quiet, and we even had a lot of the tea houses all to ourselves. Every day the views were amazing and fascinating to see it change the higher you went.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Jangbu was superb. Nothing was too much trouble, he was always on hand to answer any question, order our breakfast, tea, lunch, dinner, sort out wifi, charging, showers, safe drinking water etc. He made sure we all knew the next days plans, what to wear, what to carry etc etc. We felt completely confident and comfortable with his leadership and advice, considering he has been doing this for years, and has even summited Everest 6+ times ! He made sure we only ate in safe places, advised us on what to eat, what to drink, where not to eat, and even made sure the hygiene in each place was up to standard - including going into the kitchen to assist ! No-one from the group got ill, and he was always on hand for any questions, had no downtime for himself, and even on the final day was around at breakfast and to ensure we all got our transfers to the airport and to say goodbyes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes do cover everything you need to know - just keep re-reading them as whatever you need to know is in there ! The trail is very dusty - not just the jeep tracks, but also the walking trails, so expect very dusty boots and trousers, and a buff is essential every day. A few essential items to bring: Buff (needed every day of trek) Steripen and wide-mouth Nalgene bottle Body wipes (unreliable hot showers, and sometime too cold to want one) Hydration pack - drink on the go Hand gel - multiple bottles Diamox (start on day 3) - can buy in Kathmandu/before the trek Lots of toilet roll (3 each) Pillow case V. warm clothes - it was -8c on the morning we went over the Thorong La pass. Decent 4-season sleeping bag (we used this every single night), and sleeping bag liner to keep it clean The tea houses vary in quality - some quite smart and new, others more basic and old. We had more rooms with ensuites than shared bathrooms, and the higher you go, they all have a hot stove you can gather round in the dining room to warm up. None had heating in the bedrooms so you are only in there to unpack/pack and sleep. We normally slept in some of our clothes, and needed the 4-season sleeping bags and sometimes provided blankets as well. We only ended up having a few showers as either the hot water ran out, or the rooms were too cold to want to undress/come out wet, so body wipes were much needed ! You are advised not to drink alcohol over 3000m so this meant from day 4 onwards until you are in Jomsom on the final trekking day - 8 days without !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were a bit daunted by this trip, and potential for either getting altitude sickness, or getting ill from general hygiene on the trail. But we didnt need to worry. The itinerary is planned so you acclimatise well and the leader really looks out for you. We all religiously used hand gel at all opportunities - even cleaning the cutlery, and as a result, no-one got sick. I would 100% recommend Exodus and going guided as it takes away all hassle and concerns, from planning, pace setting, and even to knowing the safe places to eat/drink. We met a lot of people travelling in 2's/3's without guide or porters, and every evening they had to find somewhere to stay, were pouring over maps planning route, worrying about weather forecasts etc. Whereas we were all calm and had 100% faith in our leader Jangbu. Even down to what to wear, when the sun will hit the path etc. Invaluable. You also have the knowledge that you have someone there to help if you get ill, they carry any medication you may need, and even have an oxygen cylinder the entire time. None of group got sick from food or altitude which cannot be underestimated.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Peter Gomes

    Cycle Colombia - Excellent trip through a beautiful and varied country. Recommended.

    A undulating ride through verdant countryside between Cali and Pereira, plus a few days in each of Bogota, Medellin & Cartegna. Lots to see on and off the bike, so the perfect mix of riding and sightseeing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As ever there are so many. Here are a few. 1. We added a couple of days in Medellin before the main trip started and were glad we did. A lovely city centre in the valley & stunning views from the cable car network that soars up the steep valley sides. Plus one of the best meals I have ever had. 2. We added a couple of days in Bogota too and that gave us a chance to see as many of the many sights as possible, as well as go on a cycle tour of the capital. We loved the street art in both cities. 3. Once the tour proper started - the Sunday cyclovia - shutting down swathes of the city of cyclists, skateboarders, walkers and runner of all ages & abilities to come together and play. What a wonderful idea. Cities around the world - please copy. 4. Catedral de Sal at Zipaquira : spectacular. 5. Views from the coffee stop San Alberto Estate at Buena Vista. 5. The wax palm trees at El Bosque de las Palmas near Solento. 6. The Orchid tour at Finca Romelia in Palmera on the final bike day. 6. We added the Cartegena Extention on the end of the trip & this too was well worth doing with colonial Spanish architecture and an energetic vibe particularly around the various plazas.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gustavo was Head Boy in the nicest sense - organised, thorough, enthusiastic - making it all happen without hitch so that you are able to leave your brain at the airport knowing everything will be sorted for you, leaving you to ride, eat drink and enjoy. His sidekicks - the double act that was Gustavo & Paola - were a truly delightful couple - albeit they did make those hills look remarkably easy. Completing the foursome was driver Cezar - not a man of many words but someone who made everything (bikes, luggage, etc) magically appear at the right place and time, every time. A good team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be put off by the Grade 5 - the route is almost entirely on road, not technical, and whilst undulating, it is (based on figures from my Garmin) no harder (in terms of ascent) than grade 4 trips we have completed in Chile/Argentina and Albania/Macedonia. There is some (but not a lot) of traffic but this is far less than in the UK (& we live in the country).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bogota is a city with lots to offer and its worth spending extra time there before or after the trip to do it justice. Some of the museums were superb, and there is much more besides. Go visit Medellin - before everyone else cottons on. Cartegena is a nice unwind after the time on the bike. Our whole trip ended up being a full three weeks and that felt about right.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    sandra southwell

    Drakensberg & Kruger

    Correctly graded as challenging, the first few days were harder than I expected with the altitude and head winds. It was quite cool there too, so a warm and windproof layer is essential in the misty conditions, arm warmers were handy too. The Blyde Canyon ride is long, but you start early (earlier than the trip notes suggest, and without breakfast before setting off); the first and last thirds have an uphill bias but the middle part is a really nice undulating section - the wonderful views are a great distraction too. It’s an enjoyable trip, with some good biking including some fabulous descents safe enough for some good top speeds, and we certainly saw more wildlife than I was expecting - take some binoculars, you’ll be glad you did.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife. This time of year we were told that the animals can be harder to see in Kruger because they’re more scattered in view of the wider availability of water, but we saw plenty - and with the added bonus of lots of babies, including some lion cubs, playful young elephants and the cutest of little antelopes. We also saw some herds of zebra galloping joyously across the meadows earlier in the trip, which was wonderful to see. And late in the trip we passed some people praying by a river family close to the road; hearing their wonderful singing whilst cycling along was very uplifting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Adonia, Rea and Innocent made an excellent team, I hope for future travellers’ sake that they will work together again because they definitely helped make it a really good trip. They obviously got on well and joined in with the group far more than I’ve experienced with most other Exodus trips (I’ve been on at least fifteen). They were knowledgeable, fun and Ado in particular was very keen to ensure we were all aware of the safety aspects of the trip. They were also good cooks, the beef stir fry and barbecue were definite highlights.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sleep on the first part of the transfer on day one, after the lunch stop there are great views and animal spotting opportunities. Make sure you get a three round-pin adapter, only one or two places had European two-pin sockets. I bought mine at Heathrow but dare say you could get one cheaper beforehand. All accommodations have charging points, although a battery charger pack might be useful on the safari days if you use your camera a lot. You won’t need a huge amount of cash as most meals are included and there aren’t that many opportunities to buy things; if you see something you like buy it as you may well not see it again. There were ATMs at a few of the places we stopped for the guys to stock up on food, however I’d recommend getting some currency before you leave the UK or exchanging some cash when you arrive at the airport. There weren’t that many opportunities to pay by card, particularly for the smaller purchases. Take a travel towel or sarong for the day-time swimming opportunities, you may like to have water shoes for some too. Worth having a change of clothes handy on part-transfer days to avoid sitting in your cycling gear for longer than necessary. A couple of places didn’t have any soap in the bathroom and some provided a kettle but no tea/coffee. Take a few snacks or buy some at the well-stocked supermarkets along the way; the provisions at the snack stops were generally limited to peanuts, wine gums and liquorice all sorts - sometimes with a banana, apple or orange too; I have been on many trips which provide a wider variety of options at the snack stops (exotic fruits, biscuits, chocolate bars, snack bars, crips, energy drinks and so on). The larger bikes had two bottle cages, but even if yours doesn’t two water bottles are handy if you like to drink lots, especially on the safari days (most of us bought a 5 litre bottle of water each for the days in Kruger and Hazyview, everywhere else you can drink the tap water). Lots of the roads were quite light in terms of traffic, but some days were busier and the vehicles can drive quite close as they’re not used to cyclists in this part of S Africa, there were often decent hard shoulders though. Roads were generally in good condition with a few areas having potholes, sadly broken glass from discarded bottles was pretty ubiquitous. Take cleat shoes and clip-in pedals if you’re used to using them. It’s definitely worth taking one of the optional extra game drives as the drivers are expert spotters and are in contact with each other, meaning they know where the best sightings are (ours cost R700 which was quite a bit more than the trip notes suggest, but was longer and very worthwhile). The knowledge-sharing led to us seeing a leopard as well as the other members of the big five gang. That said, our guides and driver were pretty impressive when it came to spotting animals and birds too, we saw a cheetah whilst driving through the park with them; they have a keen interest in the flora and fauna of the area, and a great deal of knowledge to impart.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would agree with other reviewers in that I don’t understand why this trip needs to have quite so much self-catering. I totally understand it’s easier for lunches and some of the picnic spots were excellent - day 3 in particular, plus days 10 and 11. In the Kruger we could easily have had lunch in one of the camp cafes/restaurants. However I too would have preferred to have more evening meals in restaurants. After a day’s cycling I don’t really want to have to balance my dinner plate on my lap, and it’s nice to have a choice. Furthermore, the team have to work incredibly hard sourcing and preparing the meals, then clearing up afterwards; they have very little downtime on this trip. We saw steak on offer in restaurants from anywhere between £7 to £10 and I’m sure that most Exodus customers would be more than happy to pay this for a nice meal on a comfortable chair once or twice during the trip. There are a few fairly lengthy bus transfers but it’s such a vast place that they’re inevitable; our guides kept us amused with information from time to time along the way and Adonia had a small library of books on the wildlife for us to read through. We were fortunate in not having a full group as we had plenty of space and travelled in comfort; I think it would be pretty uncomfortable if there were 14 people and it would also make it difficult for everyone to get a good view on the safari days. The accommodation varies along the way, but is all fine. The Eco camp on days 2 and 3 is wonderful, the hotel at Hazyview is nice although the pool wasn’t clean (the pool at the lunch spot that day was far superior), the final night’s accommodation is lovely and spacious with great views from the bar - head there in advance of dinner to watch the rocks changing colour as the sun goes down. The tents in the Kruger had fans and fridges which was more than I’d expected, although you will have to share the washrooms not only with other campers but also an interesting array of insects attracted to the light - but in general the bug count (and particularly the mozzie count) is pretty low on this trip. Keep a look out for the porcupine in the Kruger campsite - it headed down between the wash block and laundry at around 7pm both nights we were there, it moves a lot faster than you’d think! It’s a shame that the hotel at Graskop is out of town as it looked like there were quite a few interesting shops to potter around there. A couple of nights we had to keep the bikes in our rooms - not much of an issue for me as I was on my own, but probably a bit of a squeeze for two. WiFi and phone coverage isn’t available everywhere, or at least not good connections - so expect some respite from electronic communications! I was lucky as my bike was reasonably good, albeit a bit on the small side. It did however struggle to switch from the large ring to the middle one at the front, but the rear gears were infinitely better than a number of my fellow companions who all had lots of issues with their bikes during the trip. People signing up for a level 4 trip will all be keen cyclists with good bikes at home, and Exodus need to make sure that their local partners are aware of the expectations of their clients. Having bikes which need fixing multiple times a day simply isn’t good enough and takes away some of the enjoyment factor of cycling in such lovely areas. As a minimum the bikes need a thorough inspection before each trip commences and be replaced where necessary. If the support team could spend a little less time preparing food for us all they could do a proper check at the end of each day, and they should certainly be given more spare parts for use during the trip. The local company needs to make appropriate investment to ensure more than just adequate equipment is provided.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Sandra for her review; we were very pleased to read that overall she had an enjoyable trip, but we were sorry that she was disappointed with some of the meal arrangements on the tour.  This tour is structured in a way that we feel offers our customers a range of experiences, from those provided in accommodation, prepared by our local team and eaten in natural surroundings, and also, when they are not included, the opportunity to buy some locally and sample the variety of dishes and snacks available in South Africa.  In some locations, due to the remote nature of the places we stay, there are no restaurants nearby, and meals are cooked and served by our fantastic local staff.  While we regret that Sandra feels this could be improved, we hope this explains why the tour is set up in this manner, but having said this, we have made some minor amendments to the itinerary recently, with three lunches and one dinner removed so clients have additional opportunities to visit local restaurants.

     

    We also understand that Sandra and some other group members had some difficulties with the gearing on their bikes.  We would like to assure her that our local team have a thorough servicing and maintenance procedure, with all bikes being checked before each trip; a mechanic also travels with the group to assist in the event of issues arising as the trip progresses.  While we are sorry for any issues Sandra experienced, we have discussed this with our local team and can assure any customer considering joining this trip that we usually receive excellent feedback regarding the bikes.  We are, nonetheless, sorry for any problems Sandra encountered.

  • Reviewed December 2019
    David Southall

    The most amazing trip I have ever taken with memories never forgotten.

    If you wish to challenge yourself and witness some of the most amazing views on the face of this planet then this is the trek for you. Yes, you need to train, Yes you need to have a positive mind set, Yes, you will get cold, Yes you will NOT be staying in 5star hotels along your trek. YES, you will find things out about yourself, YES you will do things that you never though possible. YES YES YES you will have the greatest time. Go ahead. Book it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching Everest Base Camp as a compete team and seeing the Nepalese culture of how little they have and yet they smile every day are grateful for everything.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ha Ha Tenzing Sherpa was the most positive and inspirational leader anyone could ask for. His knowledge and character and laughter was simply infectious. I would request him again to guide any trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dont overpack Take enough underwear and socks Limit to a 2/3. base layers/ Mid layers and let the down jacket do the rest. Drink enough water even if you feel you are not thirsty. Avoid meat on the trek.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Ann Irish

    If in doubt ... DO IT!

    Superb trekking - intense but enjoyable, helped by superb weather I must admit. Two days in beautiful El Chalten a welcome addition to the W trek. Stunning scenery for a photographers paradise. Very welcoming hotel staff, guides and drivers. Any questions, feel free to ask.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a wild puma cross our path!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    If you get Tomasz, consider yourself lucky! Great guy, never stops working, and his enthusiasm and passion for his country knows no bounds!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack plenty of warm clothing, even on a hot sunny day the cold wind off the glaciers can whip up within minutes!
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Gary Bradshaw

    AOF191123

    Great Trip. I feel like I saw all of Vietnam.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting mountain tribes.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ver energetic and effective.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Busy trip, travel light.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Loved the trip.