Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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  • Reviewed September 2019
    Christine Gausden

    'Storm Group'

    This was an unexpectedly challenging trek across a mix of terrains in the Laugavegur region of Iceland - not only did our group experience the most stunning & variable scenery but equally a variable mix of weather conditions & the unexpected evacuation of camp at speed due to extreme wind conditions that started to uplift our overnight accommodation - & a colleague's possessions ….

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several - daily - which largely revolved about the scenery - 'wow' moments, which will not be forgotten

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gunner was affable, stoic & professional throughout; quietly unassuming, he was the calm amidst 'our storm' - whilst we were somewhat excited by the chaos he was efficient in his acquisition of alternative accommodation - at speed

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Notwithstanding the weather, this is not a moderate trip - the walks are substantive in length, & whilst the pace was not over demanding, there were several high, steep, narrow &/or exposed parts to almost every day which a more moderate walker may not anticipate

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Before visiting Iceland I was advised by fellow travellers I would love this seismic land - they were not wrong .. a fantastic trek in great company & highly recommended
  • Wonderful adventure

    This was a marvellous trip and a great way of seeing two wonderful areas of the Arctic. In Spitsbergen we saw polar bears and arctic foxes and sailed through the ice to reach 80 degrees north. In Greenland we saw musk oxen and puffins and the most amazing icebergs. We also visited an Inuit community and had the occasional whale sighting. The ship was great - the Ocean Adventurer. The cabin was comfortable and the food was really good. The operator was first class. We had a great tour leader and a full range of specialist guides, i.e. geologist, ornithologist, photographer, marine biologist etc. They were professional and great fun. the other guests were good company. We had four days around Spitzbergen and four days around Greenland so we were able to get a sense of both rather than concentrating on just one. So polar bears AND icebergs! You don't actually get to see Iceland as part of the tour but you do disembark in Akureyri in north Iceland. We asked Exodus to change our flight back to the UK so we could arrange seven days there. We then drove from Akureyri to Keflavic along the Icelandic ring road seeing the major sights. The waterfalls are truly amazing. Greenland is actually icy and Iceland is green. So we had polar bears, icebergs and waterfalls in a three-week trip. Note: to get to Spitzbergen you fly via Oslo. Exodus brought forward our flight and booked us into a hotel for two nights so we had a short city break as well. There are some great museums in Oslo (Munch, Viking Long Ship and the Fram Museum of Arctic Exploration) and this was a great start to our Arctic journey of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    To see a polar bear jumping and swimming from ice-flow to ice-flow.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The expedition and ship staff were all first class. The operator was very professional and we be very happy to travel again with them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above - the trip covers Spitzbergen and Greenland - you need to make additional arrangements to see Iceland otherwise you just fly from Akureyri to Keflavic for the flight home..

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We'd already been to Antarctica. We found the artic different. No penguins of course but we had polar bears, arctic foxes, musk oxen and puffins - and visiting the Inuit village.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Nick Corble

    Glacier Walk a Real 'Wow' Moment

    A filled and varied few short days in this interesting country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The glacier walk was the second 'wow' moment of the day, the first being the glacial lagoon earlier in the day. I hadn't quite anticipated how serious this was, and realised when we were being kitted up. The scenery, and sense of being so 'as one' with the forces of nature once actually on the ice, was awe-inspiring. This wasn't all though, with visits to various other natural wonders including the original geyser, and a number of waterfalls, plus, well, just the scenery. All this, plus tomato beer. What could go wrong?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jon was an excellent guide, ready to fill us in on Icelandic sagas and the Icelandic way of life.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely bring wet-weather gear (waterproof trousers a must). It can be a bit exposed out there and forecasts stating 2 degrees or whatever, do not take into account the wind chill. Layers is the answer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wonder if Exodus is missing a trick labelling this trip the Northern Lights? Although I knew beforehand there was a chance we might not see them, and had conditioned myself to this, there was never a chance we were going to see them given the weather, and I wonder how many groups do? What they all must do, is the glacier walk, and this more than made up for it. 'Glacier Walking with a chance of Northern Lights' might not be a snappy title, but probably more honest. Or just 'Natural Wonders of Iceland'?
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Phyllis Lampard

    Fascinating taste of Iceland

    Our excellent guide Nico informed and amused us as we visited some very interesting features from geysers to a walk on a glacier! The iceberg added to the Icelandic gin was a brilliant idea for watchin* the northern lights! Thank you we will certainly visit again and see more of this beautiful country

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See above

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See above

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of layers
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Judi Friend

    Trip of a lifetime

    This was an excellent trip in every way. The travel arrangements, staff and the ship’s crew were very skilled and ensured that we got the best out of our trip to Kong Oscar’s Fjord and Scoresby Sund. Northern lights, polar bears, birds, swimming, fine food, inspired catering. Just wonderful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I went paddling in an inflatable canoe, among the ice floes. A brilliant opportunity.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    In a fun way, she lost no opportunity to ensure that we got an amazing holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take every opportunity you can, and enjoy travelling with like-minded people. Be nice to polar bears!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Few holidays seem to make any allowances for deaf people such as me. It would have made a difference if the Panorama Lounge had had a loop system to help me to understand talks. Sadly, outside the UK, most folk don’t seem to have heard of such a thing. Text alternatives help, though, and on this particular trip, the staff did their utmost to ensure that I was included. I was impressed.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Ian Hudson

    A walk through a lunar landscape

    A five day walk through the land that allegedly inspired JRR Tolkien to write "Lord of the Rings". Go on your own journey to return your own one ring to Mount Doom. More volcanoes than you can count on both hands but no Orc's. Iceland has quite a high rainfall but not a problem for this trip because: 1) It didn't rain all week! 2) There is very little soil, so no mud, you spend most of the time walking over volcanic ash or lava!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking over a mountain of obsidian boulders/cobbles. For non geologists obsidian is a volcanic glass that appears black , shiny and breaks with sharp edges. Usually difficult to locate but here there is a whole mountain of the stuff. Being informed that Icelandic trolls are bad, big, don't live under bridges and turn to stone if caught in daylight. Familiar if you have read the "The Hobbit". Petrified Troll spotting was a highlight of most days. The company of a great bunch of Exodus clients.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gunnar is a very experienced Icelandic guide with a flexible approach to travelling in the mountains. The forecast of high winds early in the trip meant we we didn't use a couple of exposed campsites which made the trip more enjoyable, high winds and tents don't mix! He is a wealth of knowledge on the locality, its eruptive history and the Icelandic saga's. He even coached me in local pronunciation I can now say Eyjafjnallajokull .......(I think).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes the advice in them is good especially the bit about using duty free at the airport. Gunnar carried hot water flasks for lunch tea/coffee but if you a lunchtime cuppa soup person take your own flask and packets, plenty of hot water at breakfast. Strong winds over ash produce "dust storms", take a pair of close fitting sunglasses to keep it out of your eyes. Goggles would be a little OTT.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is trip that will interest Geologists.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Sarah Wong

    Iceland Walking Explorer

    An active walking trip through a diverse kaleidoscope of landscapes, from volcanic craters, green verdant hills to snow fields. An excellent way to experience nature and Iceland without the crowds.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hiking in Kerlingafjoll in snowy conditions. A combination of hot steamy geothermal activity, stark hills covered in snow. Bleak, and beautiful. Wading through snowfields, and clambering up slippery snow covered hills. It was a real adventure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gunnar was great. Stoic, quietly passionate, a good chef who fed us well, and kept us safe. He showed us the beauty of Iceland sprinkled with traditional folklore. His depth of knowledge of the flora and fauna was impressive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all seasons from sun, snow, rain, wind. Waterproofs compulsory and walking poles are useful. The walking is technically not difficult but you do have to be reasonably fit. We walked on average 6-8 hours per walking day. Adverse weather conditions may make it more difficult walking through muddy, slippery conditions.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Definitely go sooner than later. Camping is becoming increasingly popular. We went at the beginning of the season and missed the crowds.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Nigel Bradshaw

    Wet & wild!

    This is an extraordinary trip even if the Northern Lights are not visible, there is nowhere else so accessible that has such a fascinating and diverse landscape. The people are lovely and the food top quality. It is an expensive country however, additional food and drink and souvenirs are pricey.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking on the glacier in crampons, ice axe and helmet and descending into its crevasses among 2000 year old ice was an amazing experience. The final morning was very well planned, starting out below ground in a lava tube then being taken straight to the Blue Lagoon prior to catching the flight home. Don't be put off by thinking that the Blue Lagoon is a tacky tourist trap - it's not, it's an amazing and relaxing end to the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Orri was an exceptional leader, friendly, helpful and approachable, nothing was too much trouble for him. He kept us entertained with his stories of Icelandic history and folklore during the longer road sections.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plentry of layers and good quality warm and waterproof clothing, The weather is going to be both cold and wet and can change rapidly, if you are prepared for that then you will enjoy the trip all the more.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The northern lights may not make an appearance whilst there and some activities may be cancelled at short notice and another substituted due to the raw nature of the place, that is part of its appeal for me, keep an open mind and enjoy the experience.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Rebecca Cope

    Fantastic trip to Iceland

    We had a fantastic trip to Iceland. A lot was fit into the few days that we were there but the itinerary was just right. There was quite a lot of driving but it was worth it to see all of the sights that we did and our group leader entertained us with tales of Iceland throughout the journey. I am already planning my next trip to Iceland to explore the country further!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The glacier hike and the caving were my highlights. I'd also heard mixed reviews about the blue lagoon but I also loved this as it is so unique to Iceland.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Orri was a fantastic leader. Very warm and friendly and kept us entertained throughout. We couldn't fault him and he helped to make it a memorable trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of layers! I'd also recommend spending at least one additional night in Reykjavik. It's a great place to spend time and is small enough to see plenty in one or two days. There isn't much spare time in the itinerary if you don't book additional nights.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The weather was very mixed whilst we were there from bright sunshine to snow. We only got to see the Northern lights very faintly on one of the evenings though due to lack of activity and cloud cover but it didn't matter. I would highly recommend.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Robert Butler

    Iceland and it's rugged nature

    Yet again Exodus has given us a wonderful tour of a part of this great planet. Iceland has a great deal to offer for those that want to see a raw part of the world; from Glaciers to bathing in hot springs, to volcanoes and lava tubes. It is an easy trip to do if you have a low level of fitness but still want to cave or walk a glacier. As always, the choice of guide could not be faulted, he was fun and entertaining but went about everything in a professional way. Sadly we did not see the northern lights but nature is not always on demand, however this did not detract from a wonderful tour of the sights and sounds of Iceland. Well done Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Gullfoss falls absolutely fantastic sight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Orri Sigurjonsson was outstanding as our leader and guide. He expertly explained the safety of walking on glaciers with crampons, and the wearing of caving equipment. Also when the van broke down with a puncture he organised a replacement coach to get us back to our hotel and in the night went back to fix the van with a mechanic, appearing bright and cheerful in the morning to continue our tour. Whilst travelling he told wonder stories of Trolls and Elves who live in the rocks of Iceland. Well done Orri.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a trip where you will see and hear about Iceland and it's history and it's wonderful rugged beauty of various landscapes.