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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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1054 Reviews

  • Reviewed March 2020

    Borneo Wildlife Discoverer

    This is a great overview of Malaysian Borneo with stays at many varied national parks. Its great to see the wildlife, birds, plants, insects and forests and also stays in the towns. The food was generally very good. It was interesting to hear some of the history and to learn about the tribes of Borneo. I am really pleased that I chose this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed all of the holiday and stays at all of the national parks, seeing all the wild life eg the orangutans, monkeys, birds and plants. I enjoyed the contrast between the different national parks where we stayed and also making the most of short stays in the towns.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuiel was a great group leader he worked extremely hard to identify and to show us wildlife, insects, birds and plants. He worked very hard to ensure that the trip went smoothly and was very organised and we always knew in advance plans for the trip. He is sociable and has a good sense of humour which benefited us all . He was approachable so you could ask questions. He helped us on our free day in Koto Kinabalu to organise the boat to the island.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do take a head torch and wet weather poncho for rain and leech socks for Danum
  • Reviewed March 2020

    An amazing boat trip in the Maldives

    An amazing tour during which we were lucky enough to snorkel with turtles, dozens of spinner dolphins, huge manta rays, a whale shark on two days, eagle and sting rays, moray eels, reef sharks and of course a wide variety of numerous reef fish large and small. We were all keen snorkelers and were able to snorkel at least twice a day. The boat was roomy and comfortable to spend time on during the day as were the cabins at night. The latter had both air conditioning and a fan to keep things cool. The crew were welcoming and helpful. The food was tasty and plentiful, the group were all keen snorkellers who got on well together.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling with five manta rays which were feeding in the water beneath us, flying/swimming gracefully in formation, spiralling and going round in small circles near the sea bed. We were able to easily keep up with them for about half an hour. An enormous manta ray joined the loose group for a while before disappearing into the plankton haze. Visibility was surprisingly good, given the plankton, and we able to duck dive a few metres to get clearer photos. Swimming above and briefly alongside a whale shark with only our group present in the water on our second encounter with it, was also magical. We were lucky to see several whale sharks at night pass very close by at the surface by the stern illuminated by a powerful light used to attract small fish eaten by the whale sharks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    UB (Ubai) was personable, had an easy and infectious laugh and who “got” the English sense of humour, looked after all members of the group very well, and quietly and efficiently ensured that everyone was happy and that everything ran smoothly and without drama.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Practise snorkelling and duck diving, go on a course if you can, it will pay dividends when it comes to getting closer to the wildlife underwater. Although snorkelling gear is available on the boat, take your own mask (and fins ) to ensure a comfortable fit. Take a camera suitable for underwater photography and practise with it before you go. A rash vest, preferably but not essentially a thermal one (see on Amazon), is really useful for up-to one hour plus snorkelling sessions. Take along some luck with you to help you find plenty of all the creatures you want to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our first encounter with the whale shark felt rather uncomfortable at times, having to swim along with more than fifty other snorkellers , although the whale shark itself seemed unperturbed and continued to swim along on its way. On our encounter the next day we were the only ones in the water. There was, as expected, a lot of dead coral around, though there were also plenty of signs of recovery. I should thoroughly recommend this trip.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Amazing Costa Rica

    I thought this was a great trip and I was very fortunate to end up travelling with a fabulous, like minded group of people. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and the itinerary is well designed to fit in lots of places but without feeling rushed as you get to stay everywhere for two nights. It did not feel as intense and tiring as some trips I have done as there is ample chance to chill out on the verandas of the lodges or by the pool with a book or just watching the wildlife. It is very focused on the nature, scenery and wildlife side of the country, in particular birds, so be prepared for that. There is a chance to do a few other things such as the hot springs and zip lining which are well worth it. I thought all of the accommodation was excellent. Although they varied in terms of facilities everywhere was clean, comfortable and friendly, in excellent locations, with beautiful grounds and with good food (food especially good in Savegre) and most had pools which was an added bonus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were quite a few amazing moments and the whole country is just a joy to explore. I was desperate to see a sloth and we managed to see a few but seeing my first one by the pool in Tortuguero on day one was a definite highlight. I also loved the boat trips we did. We also saw an Armadillo and porcupine here as well which are apparently quite rare to spot so that was very exciting as was seeing a troupe of monkeys jumping from the trees across the river on the boat trip. In terms of the optional trips I really enjoyed the hot springs in La Fortuna as well as the zip lining and canopy walk in Monteverde and would definitely recommend doing these.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex Castro is a brilliant tour leader. He has an infectious enthusiasm and love for his country and a seemingly endless wealth of knowledge regarding all the animals, birds and plants. Quite how he could identify birds at such a great distance when all I can see at best is a blob without my binoculars will forever be a mystery! He was always charming and polite with a great sense of humour and had endless patience with us when we were asking for the twentieth time what a certain bird was or getting excited about an 'animal' that turned out to be just a lump of moss or leaves! Also, I have to mention the best bus driver in Costa Rica - Mario. A lovely, friendly guy who navigated the winding and sometimes bumpy Costa Rican roads brilliantly and safely, and who was always happy to try and help me with my awful Spanish!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is not necessary to take colones. You can get by easily with American dollars. Be warned that Costa Rica is at least as expensive as the UK if not slightly more so. Both Monteverde and Savegre can be on the cool side so make sure you have some layers. Take binoculars as you need them to spot all the birds and animals. I wondered before I went if I should have booked to stay in San Jose for longer however having done the trip I don't feel it is necessary. We had a few hours on the last day so got to do a quick tour of the city centre and then the gold museum which is very good and then as the flight was not until the afternoon the next day I was able to do the 9am tour of the National Theatre which I would highly recommend.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go. I am worried with the increasing number of people travelling to Costa Rica it may get too over commercialised soon so go before it is too late!
  • Reviewed February 2020
    Stewart Allan

    Great wildlife

    The scenery and wildlife were wonderful and the team who looked after us on safari did an excellent job. Stonetown was fascinating and the 3 days by the beach were a relaxing end to the trip. The camping was very basic - small tents in muddy fields with primitive toilets.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing lions and vast herds of zebra on the Serengeti.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Patrick was extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a lantern, not just a torch, so that you can see what you are doing better in the tent and read it you want to.
  • Reviewed February 2020
    Audrey Morgan

    Gorillas and Masai Mara

    Saw the most incredible wildlife, expert and professional team in Gilbert, Albert, Stoney and James and a wonderful road trip across E. Africa.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to mention but the Gorillas next to us was special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gilbert was professional, fun, accommodating and a joy to travel with.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it. The best trip yet!
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jean Smith

    A ‘must do’ for the ‘bucket list’!

    An excellent trip with Edward our leader, Felix our driver and Primo the very best boatman in Tortuguero. Our 2 days in Tortuguero were a highlight with the boat trips and we were very lucky with the weather. You definitely need plenty of thin cotton clothes - nothing dries in the humidity and layers for the cooler areas. We felt well prepared having read the trip notes and the recent reviews. Plenty of bug spray, umbrella, waterproof or poncho and a good hat. Excellent food especially the fruit and fish and accommodation better than we had expected. The spa at the last hotel was an unexpected bonus - well worth having a massage and jacuzzi after a busy holiday! We enjoyed the happy hours to sample local cocktails (some more than others!). Our group of 16 was an eclectic mix who got on extremely well, always ready for a laugh and a challenge and got on really well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    5.30 am boat trip down the water channels at Tortuguero looking for wildlife - superb!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Edward was very professional, personable and smart both in appearance and knowledge. He was flexible, wanting to meet the whole group’s individual needs and good fun. He was always willing to organise extra things for us to give us the best experience of his beloved country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes and recent reviews and make sure you have a good camera, binoculars, umbrella, waterproof or poncho and a good hat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed January 2020

    Best Experience of all of my travels so far!

    Best experience of travel I have ever had. Gorillas just WOW. Chimps were amazing and we saw our first one in 5 minutes. Queen Elisabeth park gave us not 1 but 2 sets of tree climbing lions!! And we spotted a Leopard. Lots of other fabulous game that was not so expected from Uganda. Friendly people everywhere.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wow, seeing the gorilla family in the wild was the best experience I have ever had, just breath taking! It was very hard work getting to them (and we were lucky it took just over 1 hour) so hit the gym before you go, make sure you take those gardening gloves and hire a porter. Don't bother taking walking poles (take up room in your luggage) and they will give you a big stick on site that does just as well (and you don't have to worry about loosing since you have to leave your poles when getting near the gorillas).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide David was fabulous, kept us entertained throughout and nothing was too much trouble. Love him!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Gorilla mist Camp is a bit cold and damp (you are in a rainforest at high elevation after all) so I wish I took another warmer jumper for the evenings (but they do put lovely hot water bottles in your bed). One point I would make - I didn't book the extra Gorilla permits due to money restrictions - the way it is worded on the site is to book them as you are not guaranteed to see the gorillas on one treck, however when you go for your treck they explain that if your group does not spot the gorillas then you can go back on the same permit the next day. (this did not happen to us so no idea if they do keep this promise given the restricted permit numbers).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want to see Gorillas go and do it! This experience was better than I ever imagined it could be
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Julie O'Donnell

    Discover the whole country

    I booked the trip as I expected to be surrounded by wildlife, it wasn't the case.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The second day in the river boat. One of the trips out we saw possible 70% of all the wildlife we saw during the whole two weeks. I witnessed a few (about 10) sea turtle hatchlings make their way into the sea, this was the highlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader (Ed) was brilliant, knowledgeable, funny and went out of his way to ensure we all had a great time. He did everything he could to find the wildlife we all were desperate to see.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be under the impression that you will be surrounded and see wildlife other than birds. Yes you will see mammals, reptiles, insects etc., but the majority of the time.... birds.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would have been so much better to have stayed in the river and rainforest areas longer. The last two days were a total waste of time in the grubby city and we were moved from place to place far to often, having to leave some beautiful places! This was no failing of the guide but the schedule.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Charmaine Cook

    Brilliant trip around an Amazing country

    A trip that transports you from different areas in beautiful Costa Rica. Six different ecosystems visited but the travel between destinations was only half a day and spending 2 nights at each place meant we had plenty of time to explore. My trip was bird watching lead guide. So every morning had an optional early start to go out and look for birds. Some of the people on the trip were not that sure at the beginning but by the end of the trip, they were keen about what we saw and more knowledgable. Frankly I was in phographers heaven!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hummingbirds galore - the speedy devils were a challenge to photograph but I managed some cracking shots that I was pleased with. I was not expecting to see any turtles at Tortuguero so watching the hatching turtles scurry down to the sea was special. Maybe the premise of a new beginning was why it was magical - we all were blown away by that. Personally I just loved the quiet time I had in Santa Elena Cloud Reserve standing in the rain, being harassed by a hummingbird and looking at the beauty of nature surrounding me.It was the sheer variety of plants, flowers and birds on our trip that allowed me to just enjoy nature and relax.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andres was a master of bird identification- he just listened, watched and studied to show us an impressive array of birds on this trip - 230 or so. He was thoughtful and made sure he knew why we were doing this trip - ensuring that why we were here was covered. His patience was unlimited and he had information with quick wit and a smile all the time. Our driver, Alexandros was a laugh, an amazing driver who kept us safe, brilliant evasive control when needed and was always keeping the bus immaculately clean.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go. Costa Rica is beaches, rainforest, towns, cloudforest, canals and very friendly people. I took colones and US dollars as purchased at home but US dollars was regularly accepted and change given as colones. Take a good lens and plenty of memory space - I took over 8000 photos. As a vegetarian, usually easily catered for in our hotels or when we ate out. Tropical fruit, good quality food everywhere - not gourmet but tasty. If you are wanting partying, late nights and cities - this trip is not for you. If you want open area dining with the local animals watching you eat, marvelling at the beautiful nature and early nights/ possibly early mornings - then this is more your trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Costa Rica is a country that is a leader in the way of eco tourism. They also as a nation are very environmentally aware so it makes you realise that supporting the country is supporting the environment too.
  • Reviewed December 2019

    Fantastic way to see Nepal

    Booked this as wanted to see Nepal without roughing it. Far exceeded my expectations. A great taster of several regions, the culture, fabulous scenery and wildlife of this incredible country. It may not be heavy trekking, but you still need to have a good fitness level for all the uneven steps and relentless ups and downs. It is pretty full on if you make use of the optional trips in free time, but there is so much to see. Kathmandhu is pretty much as you imagine, and as little time spent there as possible is probably a good plan, it was the least impressive hotel, dirty, crowded and polluted, but still has areas of culture and history worth a look. When the new airport in Pokhara opens, that might mean you can fly there which would reduce the long and 'exciting' road trip. Pokhara was a much nicer place all round and could have spent longer there. Chitwans wildlife was also amazing, we just skimmed the surface on this trip, could have easily spent longer there. The lodges are of a great standard, although unheated, so you need to dress accordingly. The food was far better than I anticipated, and with happy hour, I failed to lose weight or detox on this trip! The trekking was mainly off the main paths and as it was end of season, we saw very few other tourists either on the paths or in the lodges. It was only a group of 7 and felt like a very personal trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many to choose from! 1. The beautiful mountain scenery. We were very lucky to have 3 days of clear blue skies and stunning snow capped peaks. 2. the rural scenery of terracing and little villages with in depth viewing of the culture and local communities 3. The fabulous Nepali food, if you like curry and spicy, this is foodie heaven. There is plenty of it and all great quality, I had no stomach problems at all which was a nice surprise. 4. The lodges were amazing, so hospitable and well catered in stunning locations 5. Rhino viewing in Chitwan, some great encounters and some beautiful bird life plus the gharial breeding programme

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Keshar was a very experienced leader of 20 years. He was calm and competent with an amazing knowledge of everything that Nepal could show us, from the culture, food, restaurant suggestions and paths through the mountains. Couldn't fault him. He is very passionate about his country and supporting a lot of community projects. Would highly recommend him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit for the trekking else you won't enjoy it. Be prepared for all weathers, pack light but need clothes for freezing to sunbathing! We had from 18degrees sunshine, to relentless rain and thunderstorms in Chitwan. Be open minded as things don't always go to plan with travel in Nepal. The roads are rough, the traffic is completely terrifying and whilst distances are short, travel times are long. We had a car accident and had to spent half an hour waiting for negotiations into who's fault and who should pay! As the Dhalai Lama says, cultivating patience and tolerance is the key to happiness...…...

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a trip of a lifetime, it's cultural, physical, and spiritual all rolled into one. It opens your eyes, and exercises the body, mind and soul. Highly recommended. Not a softie trip, this is still trekking...…..but be prepared to be blown away.