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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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1056 Reviews

  • Reviewed September 2019
    Suzanne Rosser

    Whales & Bears

    This trip combines the highlights of the Canada’s landscape in particular Vancouver Island with wild life both on land and in the sea. All in all I had a lovely experience with a really nice group of people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wildlife was the highlight for me. Two encounters specifically: Firstly a large male Grizzly wandered along the shoreline, weaving between the trees and the river’s edge. Slowly, it approached us as we stood as a group shoulder to shoulder (forming one large object). It continued aware of us, until it was 20m away, and then passed by and headed further up the road. Also, on returning from the bear trip we meet a pod of Orcas - maybe five or six. The large male had a dorsal fin approximately six foot tall! We watched them for maybe 25 minutes keeping the required distance of at least 200m. Then they disappeared. Suddenly, they appeared just off the bow of the boat like dolphins do surfing in the bow wave (maybe 10ft away). Quickly, we turned the engine off and watched in awe as they disappeared again off into the distance

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eric our group leader was in my opinion not as knowledge, friendly and enthusiastic as previous leaders. He did however manage to organise additional trips for our groups as and when requested and taxied the group about making sure we were at the correct destination at the correct time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This, as far as I know, is this first time this trip has run as early as it did. We left on the 19th August. Although the salmon ran early last year that was not the case this year. If possible I would recommend to travel a little later maybe mid September - in order to maximise the chances of seeing the grizzlies fishing in the river. We did nevertheless still manage to see all the wildlife.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although this trip is called ‘Whales and Bears’ there were only two full days in the itinerary viewing theses amazing creatures. A half day with the Grey Whales; a half day seeing the black bears and a full day on the grizzly bear trip which included the boat trip with likely sightings of Humpback Whales and possibly Orcas. Having travelled all that way I booked additional trips, in Tofina $125 Canadian for an extra whale and $125 Canadian for black bears. Also Campbell River $400 Canadian with ‘Go Wild’ for and extra grizzly trip. Finally on the final day in Vancouver I visited Grouse Mountain which I felt filled the day well- without being too tiring. This cost $60 and included: lumber jack show, cable car, ski lift, wild bear flights, owl talk, eco walk, two hand raised grizzly bears and much more.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Helen Brown

    Safari of a lifetime

    An amazing trip that got better and better each day. The wildlife exceeded all of our wildest dreams made possible by our guide, Brian and 'Top Gun' our specialist local guide in the okavango delta. The food cooked by our chef on a log fire was incredible.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Almost missing a leopard as it was so close to the track. Having an angry hippo charging through the water towards us whilst in a makoros canoe. Getting up in the night for the bush toilet and looking for red and/or green eyes!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brian was an excellent. extremely knowledgeable guide. His team of a chef and two others were great too. Brian always went that extra mile to find the wildlife. Lions eating a kill, lion cubs suckling, hippos mating in the water, cheetahs hunting impala, a herd of cape buffalo being hunted by lions and so much more. My husband ticked off 148 different birds! Brian could identify the birds from a brief description or a wing pattern.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for very early starts. Packing up camp in the cold and dark with no washing facilities on some days when wild camping was hard but made up by the incredible wildlife. When we were in the vehicle it was as if we were wearing invisibility cloaks! Definitely pack warm windproof clothes for the early mornings and take a head scarf/buff for when travelling in the open sided truck. be prepared to get very dusty/sandy!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was my most grueling Exodus trip to date but also one of the most incredible. i couldn't believe how close we were to the animals when in the vehicle, in the boats and on foot.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Sally Chewter

    Brilliant

    Fantastic trip - brilliant guide - great accommodation - superb wildlife sightings. Be prepared for very high temperatures but so worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing our first jaguar

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony Rodriguez was superb. So knowledgeable, professional and a great sense of humour. He was great company and made sure everything ran smoothly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for high temperatures - it's hot out there!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great trip - wonderful jaguar, giant otters sightings
  • Beyond wonderful

    I had visited eleven game parks on two continents, and spent twenty-six years trying to see a leopard. We saw four different individuals, close enough to get some excellent photographs. We also saw countless lions, two cheetahs and a serval, as well as lots of other game. The food that was cooked on an open fire was terrific, and it was a lovely group of like-minded people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many it's hard to choose one. Seeing two cheetahs giving each other a very affectionate wash and brush up. The stand-off at the OK Waterhole - when five lions approached the two elephants occupying it, the elephants weren't having it. The lions called for reinforcements, and another five turned up. So the elephants also called for reinforcements, and a third elephant arrived. We then watched them squirting the lions with water, and chasing them off now and again. The lions had to make do with a puddle at the far end of the waterhole. Seeing an adult male lion sniff out a tiny three week old cub. We watched with our hearts in our mouths, but he was a new dad and had been left to babysit. The cub wanted to cross the road, and dad tried to stop it without much success. He was very gentle, and it was a delight to watch. Seeing a serval, which our guide said was most unusual. And last but by no means least - a mother leopard taking a surprising lunch back to her half-grown cub - an African wildcat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Anton was very knowledgable, and extremely clever at driving round the back of the other vehicles to get a better view from the other side. He also knew when to wait - if nothing exciting seemed to be happening and he was in no hurry to move on, there was always a reason.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a small camping light for the tent, and lots of wet wipes. Also take a power bank if you have one, and as many spare batteries as you can afford. I have a camera trap, and I set that up on several nights so that I could see what was sniffing round the tents - turned out to be a honey badger and a hyena. If you need to go to loo several times in the night remember that it's not a good idea to leave the tent. I took a litre-sized plastic jar with a lid, and was very glad I did.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was the fourth safari I have done in Africa, and the best by far. Magic.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Hannah Fairbanks

    Mixed bag - parts excellent, the concept of a second gorilla permit seemingly misleading

    One of the biggest selling points of this holiday is the optional possibility of a second day trekking to see the gorillas. Fair enough the permits aren't guaranteed - completely understandable, but if you follow Exodus's guidance you are made to feel like a nuisance and from my experience you won't get one. The webpage tells you to request additional permits when booking, they also bill you for additional permits at this point, but when you ask about the permits the emails you receive can seem quite rude and basically tell you to go away and ask the guide when you arrive. When arriving on the trip and all 7 people said they wanted additional permits and it wasn't really a surprise that the guide couldn't conjure these up with less than a week's notice. This did result in the group participants being fairly cross, people had requested additional permits 8 months in advance, paid for them, been told they were the only ones interested in a second day - which was a lie, etc. it was just incredibly unprofessional for such an established holiday provider. It's the first time I've done a trip with Exodus and I'm still a little taken aback by the lack of organisation related to these permits, the billing of these permits months before any action is taken, and the blunt/verging on rude emails. The gorillas is a highlight of the trip and it's is sold as a real possibility whereas in fact due to their lack of organisation it was impossible for anyone on our trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The gorillas were just incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Really nice chap, knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Unfortunately he hadn't organised a boat trip so we waited around at a hotel needlessly for 2+ hours and went on a later boat trip after about 90% of the animals had left. These things happen and he did go out of his way for us on the rest of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't base booking this holiday on the chance of obtaining a second gorilla permit.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As I said in my summary disappointed with Exodus, the experience was fantastic but I just feel like a bit of a mug that I believed second permits were possible and that Exodus actively tried to help with this whereas you just dumped it all on the guide.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Hannah for her feedback, although we are very sorry that she was disappointed not to have been able to secure a second day’s permit. We only request extra permits once the trip has been guaranteed as, otherwise, the permits will have to be paid for in full even if the trip doesn't run. Whilst this information is now stated in our trip notes, we are sorry if it was not clearly communicated at the time. Second permits had, unfortunately, already sold out by the time Hannah booked on the trip and, having exhausted all other possibilities, we suggested that there may have been be a slim possibility of the tour leader being able to get some last-minute returns for the group. We regret, however, that this was not the case and we appreciate Hannah’s disappointment. We are very sorry that Hannah feels that her pre-trip enquires were not dealt with in an appropriate manner, as this is not the type of feedback we are used to receiving about the standard of service from our customer operations’ team. We were pleased, however, that Hannah had a fantastic experience overall and that she found her tour leader to be knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Tom Harari – Product Manager

  • Reviewed August 2019
    Maria Simovic

    Amazing Trip

    An absolutely amazing trip!! The islands were beyond words - truly amazing. All other aspects where great - from the Mauricio (the tour guide), the crew on the boat and the boat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The islands and seeing animals in their natural habitat both on land and in the sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mauricio was great - very knowledgeable and friendly.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Caroline Fielden

    Eletastic -more elephants than you can count.

    If you love seeing wildlife up close and personal then this trip is for you. It visits some of the best national parks in two amazing countries with a bit of added comfort. Each park has its own special characteristics - being in Botswana is like being on a permanent safari, animals can be seen on the side of the road as you travel from A to B; there is nothing more bizarre than having to slow down for a family of elephants or a herd of zebra - beats a flock of sheep! Any preconceived ideas you may have about Zimbabwe will prove to be wrong. It is one of the most beautiful countries I have travelled in - the parks are spectacular, from the rugged beauty of the Motopos to the sweeping plains of Hwange and the people amazing. It completely exceeded my expectations and I would love to return one day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was amazing, but a few stand out. Being a few metres from a group of five white rhino on foot. They were totally chilled and accepting of people in their environment. Sneaking into a tent 2 meters from a bull elephant who decided to visit the water hole outside. He made for an interesting night as he enjoyed himself breaking trees just the other side of a piece the canvas. The most memorable moment was the visit to the Painted Dog Sanctuary. The staff there were so passionate about what they do and as a bonus there was a pack of wild painted dogs who regularly visit one of their family who was too injured to be released back into the wild.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rowan was passionate about the wildlife around us and very knowledgeable. If he didn't know the answer he has his library of books. He arranged a cake and bubbly to celebrate my birthday with the stunning sunset of the salt pans as the back drop. Our driver Sifiso was amazing and so much more than a driver. He joined us on all the early morning game drives and was as excited about the animals as we were, plus an awesome pair of game spotting eyes. He also had a wicked sense of humour and enjoyed spending time in the our company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A few hints: 1. Currency in both countries is almost impossible to get hold of so arrange a credit card which can be used with out fees when abroad if you don' already have one. 2 Take torches and power packs for the frequent power cuts and a South African round pin adaptor as you will only find UK plugs in Victoria Falls. 3. Immigration at Vic Falls in a nightmare. You need to buy a multi-entry visa at $70 (not the Univisa Exodus suggests). 4. Finally, take the plane flight over the Delta and helicopter over the Falls. Both are stunning. We booked our helicopter flights before leaving with Bonisair - as we wanted a longer flight - however this is the company that the tour guide suggests if you book in situ.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go, you won't be disappointed. This is the stuff holidays of a lifetime are made from.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Karen Morrow

    Borneo: Lovely but not quite what I'd hoped.

    I have mixed feelings about this trip. On the positive side, my husband and I joined a very lovely and friendly group and a delightful guide (Sheila). The accommodation, although more basic than on some trips we've done, was mainly fine and some of the restaurants Sheila took us to were in lovely positions and had good food - although rice did tend to dominate the menu! We also saw some lovely things, such as Lang's cave, with its stalactites and stalagmites, and Bako national park, where we saw silver leaf monkeys, proboscis monkeys, macaques and bearded pigs. I also particularly enjoyed the river trips and going to the 'sun bear sanctuary' as well as watching flying squirrels 'fly'! However, overall, there was a lot less wildlife around than I have seen on previous holidays (especially our visits to Africa and the Galapagos). On some walks we saw virtually nothing, certainly in the way of larger mammals or birds. I think the trip notes - and even the very name of the trip! - implies that you'll see a lot more. Like most groups apparently, we did not see elephants at all ('A rare thing to see around here' according to the guide). We also did not see rhinos (I've never seen one in 22 years...'), or, of course, more elusive animals such as leopards or wild sun bears.. We fortunately did see wild orangutans but only briefly on two occasions and at a distance. A necessary evil in such trips is the travelling. However, in Africa, we would often see interesting animals 'en route'. In Borneo, for a large majority of the time, we were travelling through endless miles of palm oil plantations, which have been planted where rain forest used to be, and virtually no animal life - or wildlife of ANY type except for the trees themselves - exists in these massively impoverished environments. It was very sad to see, as well as being, frankly, tedious. If you, like us, would like a trip based on special scenery and fairly frequent sightings of larger/interesting mammals or birds, then I personally feel this trip is probably not one to choose.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a few. I particularly enjoyed watching the flying squirrels 'fly' and the proboscis monkeys were lovely to watch. The sun bear sanctuary was interesting and watching thousands of bats emerge from a cave in the late afternoon and fly off 'in formation' was also fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Sheila, was very sweet and kind. She worked hard, was anxious to please and was very concerned about our safety and wellbeing. Her only slight fault was to under-estimate how long each activity would take, so we invariably were running late and time to shower, or relax, was often considerably reduced.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The animals and birds we did see could often be a long way away, so take a good pair of binoculars and a camera with a lot of zoom. We did not have a lot of rainy days, but when it rains, it POURS, so also take a good waterproof and NEVER go out without it! (We did on a visit to a restaurant and would have been soaked through, if Sheila hadn't been able to beg a lift back for us.) You will also need a lot of insect repellent, as there are many mosquitos and sand flies. In some jungle areas, there are also a lot of leeches, so leech socks (or a good pair of long socks such as football socks) are also a 'must'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a good holiday for people who are generally interested in being in a rain forest environment, or have a particular interest in insect life or plant life species. It also gives you a realistic chance to see such lovely (and funny!) animals as proboscis monkeys or the stunning silver leaf monkeys. However, if you want to see many different animals, be aware that most species are very elusive and you may see a lot less than you'd like over the two weeks.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    M Iyer

    Another trip I will never forget!

    I have had this trip on my bucket list for a while now and it lived up to all of my expectations! David was a fabulous leader and took care of everything!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having a baby gorilla ignore the 7m rule and nearly touch me. Watching David meet our every demand with a professionalism and a sense of humour.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Loves loved loved David! A man who clearly loves Uganda and knows his stuff!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A seat pad for the bumpy rides and dont drink tap water!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Tjis eas a really important trip for me and it did not dissapoint!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Heather Kerr

    Discovering Costa Rica

    Exceeded Expectations Excellent Guide Extraordinary range of wildlife and flowers

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a quetzl flying

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Holiday of a lifetime - do it before you die !