Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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18340 Reviews

  • Reviewed August 2022

    A great way of seeing four islands

    The Azores are beautiful, especially if you go when the hydrangeas are looking good. This trip is a great way of seeing four islands but, since you stay in only two hotels, you’re not repacking all the time. The accommodation was very good. A smart hotel in Ponta Delgada and a good enough hotel in Horta with each room having a balcony with amazing views of the harbour, Pico island and the sunrise. The breakfasts were pretty good and provided plenty of food before the walks. Both towns have plenty of interest and the nautical side of Horta is great. There were seven of us in the group plus our Sao Miguel guide (Tony) and our four islands guide (Filipe) both of whom were very good. We all got on well. If you’re fit and mobile, and strong enough going uphill and especially downhill, the walks are good exercise and not overly challenging. There’s plenty to see and photograph along the way and each walk is slightly different from the next. The group meals are the lunches with our guides having organised three picnics and three terrific restaurant lunches - local food in Sao Miguel and Pico and very good tuna in Peter’s Café on Faial. In the evenings we generally split into two or three smaller groups. Tip: it really pays off booking restaurants in advance. As The Azores are quite some way away, we decided to stay two weeks and so followed this trip with the self-guided ‘Cycling in the Azores’ on Terciera. So we ended up seeing five of the nine islands.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hydrangeas on Sao Miguel and Sao Jorge. The lunch on Pico. The sunrises over Horta. The whale watching trip. Good chats on the walks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both leaders were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, good fun and looked after everyone.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In Ponta Delgada try to visit the Museu Carlos Machado/Jesuit College (great ecclesiastical art and church) and in Horta the Museum of Whaling (it’s so well done). The whale watching trip from Horta is great too. We saw several sperm whales. See the comment above about reserving a table for the evening meal. This is pretty easy as you're only staying in two towns, one of which you return to at the end of the week (Ponta Delgada - perhaps book Alcides for the last evening).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The ferry crossings were quite smooth and didn't cause problems for my wife who occasionally gets sea sick. We had a problem with one of our inter island flights but were rescued by the Exodus staff in the UK who spotted that there was a problem and liaised with the local agent to find a solution - thank you Robyn.
  • Reviewed August 2022

    August Adventure in the Baltics

    It was the first cycling holiday with exodus and lived up to all my expectations with a great mix of leisurely cycling and cultural visits. Our tour Leader Andrius contributed to the success of the trip with his thoughtfulness, caring attitude, and sheer determination to ensure our group had a lovely holiday. Nothing was left to chance and each day was so varied with a packed itinerary to explore three countries Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania with all its history, culture food and drink. I enjoyed the leisurely cycle to admire the beautiful landscape of each country along Rivers Lakes, Forests and coastal shoreline. Swimming or paddling in the Baltics sea together with having lunches to taste the local cuisine to include smoked fish, soups and of course Zeppelins.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved cycling along the Peipsi Lake and the hilly trip to Otepaa which is known as the Estonian Switzerland which had stunning views of pine forests from the Tower. The trip along the Curonian Spit with the calmness of the Lagoon and then the memorable boat trip to view the Trakai Castle. it was also great in the evenings where the group attended some traditional restaurants and of course the friendless of the people we were fortunate to meet throughout our trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andrius was so knowledge to provide insightful history of all Capital towns we visited, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. To be honest The Baltic countries have history which I was not familiar with it so made it more interesting to hear the tales of the Soviet occupation and how relevant the Ukraine War is today for all of us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was hot in the Baltics so good quality cycling gear with plenty of sun cream, insect repellant. The trip is not for serious cyclists but a nice relaxed mixture of cycling and sightseeing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Its one for your bucket list as age is irrelevant. Just be cycling fit and you will really enjoy your trip
  • Reviewed August 2022

    Enlightening

    A whistle-stop tour of stupendous scenery and fascinating history. Each day brought something new to wonder at.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our Local Guide Samra had experienced in her family the horrors of the siege of Sarajevo and to hear first-hand brought home how people's resilience of spirit can conquer such appalling treatment

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Efficient, humorous, knowledgeable and all round good egg

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Decent walking shoes!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    no
  • Reviewed August 2022

    A great trip

    Knowing very little about the Baltic States this trip was revelation. Beautiful countryside historic cities and so many places of interest. The cycling was enjoyable and not too strenuous as we passed along mainly flat routes giving us the opportunity to appreciate the the countryside. Our guide, Andrius, was excellent with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the history and culture of the towns and cities we passed through. We even got an introduction to Tom Lehrer as a bonus.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.
  • Reviewed August 2022

    New Discovery

    Originally booked for 2020, we were glad to finally get going after Covid interrupted our plans. Any fears we were not as fit as we might’ve been were quickly dispelled. The terrain was varied, largely flat and very manageable. The weather was brilliant and we could cycle at a good pace. The 3 countries are very different in their own way and we were lucky to have an excellent guide Andrius to explain those differences with his vast knowledge and experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but the unscheduled stop at the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania as recommended by our guide left a lasting impression. As did the visit to the Käsmu Maritime Museum where we had a simple but delicious fish soup lunch and heard about the way of life there past and present. Seeing the inscriptions honouring the victims of soviet occupation on the wall of the KGB Museum in Vilnius was also a chilling reminder of the current conflict in Ukraine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andrius was amazing. Leading the cycling on his own he succeeded in keeping the group together - quite a feat given the large group of varying abilities. Always on hand, he kept us entertained at all times with his explanations and anecdotes on the different cultures and histories of the 3 countries. He made excellent choices of restaurants for us to taste the local specialties and treated us with tastings of liqueurs such as the rum based Vanna Tallinn and Riga Black Balsum. He wanted us all to enjoy the experience and leave with happy memories and I’m sure we all did.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A gel seat cover for the bike would be handy for the less experienced cyclist. Remember your swimming kit. There were several opportunities to get into the Baltic sea which is not as cold as you might expect!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nothing more to add other than that we really enjoyed the holiday and appreciated the difference an excellent guide can make.
  • Reviewed August 2022

    A wonderful adventure

    Having never been to the Baltics, and having recently started looking after customers in the three countries for work, I was keen to discover more about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. A friend from another trip recommended the trip. He was spot on! Andrius is a superb guide and looked after our group very well. We were treated to many hidden gems in each country, none more hidden than the Cold War Museum. We rode through pretty little fishing villages and lovely cities, such a rich tapestry of scenes. Riding was not too strenuous for those new to cycle tourism, yet plenty of scope for those of us used to clocking up the miles. Something for everyone. Make sure you add this trip to your list of trips to do.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania was very moving and something that will stay with me for a long while

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andrius is superb and a credit to Exodus

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack your swimming trucks! The swimming in the Baltic sea is lovely. Good idea to have insect repellent spray on the first few days riding and hayfever tablets as the terrain covers quite a lot of grassland with tick bites common. The views are worth it though.
  • Reviewed August 2022

    An Absolutely Fabulous adventure from start to finish

    An Absolutely Fabulous adventure seeing a lot of what Costa Rica has to offer. Seeing the interesting and varied wildlife, flora and fauna on the Caribbean, in the mountains and at the Pacific.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many moments it is hard to pick. We saw animals from the start - a sloth in a tree when we stopped for breakfast on the first day on our way to Tortuguero NP and that set the tone for the rest of the holiday. The boat trip the lodge in Tortuguero NP was great stopping whenever there was anything interesting to see, sloths, Caymans, crocodiles, different types of birds etc The second afternoon boat trip was particularly spectacular. The morning boat trip was undertaken in torrential rain so not much was seen but in the afternoon when the rain had stopped and it became beautiful sunny day we saw lots - sloths, monkeys, iguanas, birds etc plus when we turned into tributary the water turned black so the mangroves were see in spectacular reflections. Even our boat captain was taking photos. Listening to the rain and thunder storms whist staying at Evergreen lodge in the NP became part of the experience. The humming birds and seeing the Resplendant Quetzal in Savegre as well as the humpback whales, dolphins and turtles on Drakes Bay. I am going through hundreds of photos but also took the time just to immerse myself in the whole adventure. We were so luck - we saw everything!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Carlos was fantastic. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of Costa Rica's flora and fauna as well as answering all our questions about the country and the way of life. So we got the full experience. Nothing was too much trouble, he went above and beyond to make this an unforgettable trip - even going through my bird book marking all the birds we had seen on the trip. As Carlos also runs photographic tours he helped me with my photography and also shared some on his photos which my lenses just could not capture. Our driver was Randall - who got us to where we needed to go and couldn't have been more helpful. On our trip there were only 6 of us - so it made it easier for the guide to point things out and us all have a good chance to photograph - it made it a rather personal tour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is not called the rain forest for nothing!. Do not let the rain stop you or you will miss out - just go with it as activities will take place what ever the weather unless it is dangerous. We experienced a lot of torrential rain showers. Take a good rain poncho - it is good for covering your bags also, an umbrella, a good dry bag when travelling on water or walking in the rain forest, closed toed water shoes. We had to wade through knee deep waterways - which were footpaths. I used my canoe shoes. If you wear your trainers they will get soaked and as it is very humid things do not dry very quickly. Insect repellent is a must also as in sunscreen. If you are taking photographic equipment make sure that you have something to cover it with. I also took pouches of silica gel which I kept with my camera and lenses to absorb any moisture. We took Colons as well as US dollars since they could be used to pay in local shops or also when you stop for lunch. If you have any left they can form part of the tip. Mastercard was accepted at all the hotels we stayed in also. When in the mountains you will need a fleece or jumper since it gets a bit cold

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The lodges were all good. Some were better than others but I did not have any complaints. The food was always good especially at Drakes Bay wilderness lodge. But mainly you just need to go with it and enjoy all the experiences. I would definitely go back.
  • Reviewed August 2022

    Excellent, Challenging Trip in the French and Swiss Alps

    This is a tough trek but really worth it. Stunning views, Beautiful lakes, High passes, Stream crossings, Boulder fields, what's not to like about this trek. Although relatively short daily distances don't be fooled there is a lot of climbing my total elevation gain for the week was around 40500 ft or 11220 meters. Being in the outdoors for 14 day dose your mind and sole the world of good. Our guide and group was fantastic and I have met some good people on this trip from all walks of life, different ages and nationalities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are definitely a few Col Prafleuri is the highest Col on the route albeit the weather wasn't the best this day (heavy rain) it made the whole day better. First views of the Matterhorn. Staying in the mountain huts meeting some great people. Working as a team throughout the day, at meal times, washing up, breaking camp.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Egle is a fantastic group leader. Friendly, funny and knowledgeable. She looked after the whole group, informed us of all the different flora and fawner through out the hike and answered every ones questions. A very experienced outdoor person. Always happy to share a beer and have a laugh at the end of the day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely do some training before you go even if you are a seasoned hill walker as you basically climb Snowdon every day for 10 days. I would strongly suggest taking walking poles to take some of the pressure off your knees. The mountain huts can be quite noisy so definitely take ear plugs. Albeit the lunches are adequate I would suggest taking or buying snacks like nuts, chocolate, etc just to keep you topped up during the day. There is a day or two where you can not fill up with fresh water. You can either buy water from the huts or I took a filter and filled up with glacier water.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Wild camp at Grimentz is about a 10 min walk from the old town and I suggest you make the effort to walk down to have a look at this picture postcard village. The huts are mixed dorm style so be prepared to get close with you fellow travellers. Very well put together from start to finish.
  • Reviewed August 2022

    Magical Namibia

    This was my first trip with Exodus and it has left me hungry for more! The whole experience from start to finish was excellent and professionally managed. I have come away with so many wonderful memories, from the vast landscape of the Namib Desert, the beautiful orange/red sand dunes to the skeleton coast and then Etosha National Park The ever changing scenery was just fantastic and then there is the wild life! There was eleven of us in total on this trip in July, guessing 35 - 70yrs, we gelled on day one and had a fantastic time. The lodges and food were excellent, and very friendly staff. The Tour truck was comfortable and well maintained. There were some long days and early starts, these are necessary and well managed with lots of breaks to stretch the legs.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The vastness and beauty of the Namib desert sand dunes, both seen from the ground and the air. I took a pleasure flight from Swakopmund over the desert and coast. At the lodge in Etosha I wandered down to the viewing area beside the waterhole to the sight of twenty elephants of all sizes and age that just called in for a drink, a couple of Giraffes in the background waiting their turn. You don’t experience that in front of the television.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shane was our guide and host for the trip and he looked after us so well. Very knowledgeable and proud of his country, and knowledgeable of the wild life that he keenly shared with us. Nothing was too much trouble for him, professional and a joy to be with.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t be put off by joining a group of strangers, they are there for the same reason that you are, to explore, experience and enjoy, so will be like minded. Desert roads and passing vehicles kick up a lot of dust , With the windows and roof open it can get a bit dusty , take a snood or a scarf to pop over the face. Although there is not so much traffic so not a big deal. Most places took cards but a few didn’t so have a few $$ in cash Some early starts and long days, so go to bed early with a book and relax for the next days adventure. If you get a chance take the pleasure flight from Swakopmund, may be a bit expensive but worth it.
  • Beautiful Namibia

    Namibia is a beautiful country of amazing contrasts.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's too difficult to name just one inspirational moment. Being so close to the wild game, sitting near a water hole in Etosha ; seeing the scorched tree skeletons ; climbing a huge sand dune;sitting next to a seal and pelicans on a boat trip. Hearing about the history and peoples of Namibia and meeting an inspirational Herero business woman.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We couldn't have asked for a better one. Shane has a lovely way of being with people and he has an extensive knowledge of his country - it's geography, animals, birds and plants . Shane worked tirelessly to ensure our safety & comfort and was always available to answer questions or help in any way. Not just helping us - once whilst driving we came across a car on fire; Shane's quick actions helped to quell the fire & save the people & horses before the fire service arrived.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes are accurate & the advice helpful. A face mask was useful on dusty roads

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Shane, and the rest of the group, for making this trip so special.