Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed September 2018
    John Chapman

    Lots of bears

    I enjoyed the walks although quite a proportion of the walking was on dirt tracks ( Romania doesn't appear to have much in the way of public rights of way over farm land)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Bear watching was great, we saw lots.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was an ideal leader for this type of holiday.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Richard Christie

    Effort brings reward

    The Peak Lenin Expedition (Lenin Peak Ascent) is certainly the hardest trip I have been on with exodus. Long steep snow ascents that seemed to go on for ever in temperatures ranging from freezing cold to boiling hot, with a couple of interesting ladder crossings thrown in for good measure. But what a fantastic trip where effort does bring reward - stunning views both low down and once you were higher up - with a very real sense of achievement despite the weather thwarting the team from reaching the final summit. I will definitely have fond memories of this trip for a long time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at Camp 3 at 6000m after a long, long slog up steep snow and being rewarded with stunning views in every direction, not least the view back down to see the Lenin Glacier snaking away into the distance. Then the afternoon 'excursion' to Razdelnaya Peak (6150m) floating between the clouds below and the pure white of Peak Lenin above surrounded by a halo of brilliant blue sky.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As usual Valerie Parkinson was excellent doing her upmost to encourage and support everyone to get the most out of the expedition. She was ably supported by a very hard working team led by our Russian Guide Roman.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Lenin Peak Ascent is most definitely an expedition and not a trek. I believe that the trip notes make this clear however the trip is graded ‘9 Tough +’ the same as say the Island or Mera Peak trips. I think exodus have got this wrong, Peak Lenin demands a higher grading of 12 due to the long ascents - which have to be done twice – and temperatures, both hot and cold. You have to be fit for this trip and able to do more for yourself than on trips in Nepal or Ladakh for example. The climbing culture is different in Kyrgyzstan, the Guides are there to ensure you are safe and have the necessary equipment – it is up to you to be able to put the equipment on. That said - if you make sure you read and follow the trip notes, make sure you are fit enough and are determined enough you will be rewarded with a fantastic experience, superb views and a great sense of achievement.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Make sure your equipment fits, particularly your boots and crampons, and that you are proficient in using it before you leave home. If you have appropriate equipment take it with you rather than hiring, it is worth spending your money on extra baggage allowance on the flights rather than paying hire charges. If you do need to hire equipment make sure you advise exodus before you leave home. Whilst the food at Basecamp and Camp 1 was good (as long as you are a meat eater) the food at higher camps was not particularly interesting due to the difficulty in cooking at higher altitude. Rehydrated mashed potato has a limited appeal so make sure you take some favourite snacks with you, note chocolate bars like Mars and Snickers are readily available once you are on the trip.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    David Thomson

    Dolomites, Lake Garda & Venice Ride - #118937

    A great trip with a good cycle each day through stunning country side.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Nothing in particular

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Martino was a good knowledgeable leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Nope.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Steve Martin

    Quality product - loved the History, Culture, Food, and scenery

    I chose the itinerary as it was rated a 2 for physical exertion. (not too many hills) It was quite different from 3 other European bike tours I have completed in that most of the country side is either heavily forested or agricultural. Not a lot of villages in close proximity. Exodus has done a great job designing the itinerary to get you into the most interesting scenic areas, the 3 capital cities that have stunning "old city quarters, some beautiful national park regions I each country. The variety of accommodations made it memorable, and the food in all 3 countries is outstanding for freshness of taste and the artistic presentation of meals. All in I thoroughly enjoyed the 11 days experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Thoroughly enjoyed the 3 capital cities Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius. Learning the history of the region over the past 100 years with the brutal occupation by the Germans and the Russians.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Simon was outstanding. If you are lucky to have him as your guide, enjoy every moment of him. He is from Lithuania and is impassioned about the Baltic Region its history, culture and people. He entertained us with his musical skill and singing voice. Added in many personal experiences, took us to great restaurants and gave us 3 hour bike city tours in Riga and Vilnius.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Hope for some good weather - we had the best average 25c each day
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Hannah Reese

    Fantastic week, thoroughly recommend

    An awe inspiring trip, with something for everyone, and covering all the key sights, sounds and tastes of Jordan. I knew I wanted to see Petra, but didn't really have any particular expectations of the rest of the tour, I was just curious to see the country. Everything was beyond my expectations, and our leader Eddie and the great group of fellow travellers really made the trip for me. This is my third Exodus trip, and they've all been very different, but equally good. We arrived into Amman late at night and were assisted through immigration and driven to our hotel. The hotel is clean and modern and very comfortable, although if you're at the back you might be woken by the call to prayer - a regular feature for the week! Day 1 was a walking tour around the ruins of Jerash which was really interesting, and then a dip in the Dead Sea and a swim in the pool above it. That evening several of us took taxis to Rainbow Street to find a restaurant for dinner (for the rest of the trip our leader Eddie took us to a different restaurant each night, also pointing out options for anyone who wanted something different). Day 2 and we left Amman with a long day of driving puntuated by stops at Mount Nebo, Arnun Valley (viewpoints and the Mujib Dam), Madaba, Kerak Castle, and finishing with dinner with a Bedouin family in their home, before checking into the hotel in Petra at around 10pm. Loo and snack stops were plenty, and between stops we were given all the info on the places we were going to see (plus jokes and stories!). Day 3 was a full day in Petra. The hotel is close to the entrance to the site, which was appreciated after a day of walking, but the rooms aren't as nice as the Amman hotel. Everything is fine, nothing major to complain about, the rooms could just do with some updating - particularly the bathrooms. In Petra we stuck together as group, walking down the Siq, seeing the big reveal of the Treasury and then along the valley. A couple of people opted not to walk the trail of 600 steps up to the viewpoint high over theTreasury, but it was well worth the climb if you have a decent level of fitness. There are two Bedouin tea tents on the way where you can take a much-needed break in the shade. That evening two of us took the option of the Turkish Bath just down the road before dinner (my tired legs appreciated the massage!), then Eddie took us all to a nearby restaurant. Day 4 was another full day in Petra, this time walking in the back way from the modern Bedouin town, and then walking around the 'nabatean neighbourhood' of cave houses. After a break for a drink, most of us set off on the climb up 850 steps through the rocks and hills to The Monastery. It was hard going in the heat, but there are rest stops on the way to buy water and snacks and plenty of amazing views to take in as you go. We ate our packed lunches in the cafe/rest stop opposite the Monastery, which is a surreal and amazing view. Having covered nearly 10 miles on each day in Petra (148 and 143 flights of stairs each day accodring to Fitbit) most people opted not to walk back in for Petra by Night, which has some very mixed reviews. Instead, after dinner a number of us headed to the Cave Bar near the visitor centre for cocktails. Day 5 and we had a lie in (there are a lot of early starts) and then left Petra, but not before exploring Little Petra and learning the history of the camel trains and the people who lived there. We stopped in town to buy lunch to eat on the bus, Eddie having pointed out the bakery, mini-markets and shawarma shop. We drove on to Wadi Rum, arriving late afternoon where we transferred to the camp in trucks/jeeps, left our luggage, went to the loo, and then set off on a 2 hour tour of the desert. The landscape is stunning and we had a great vantage point to watch the sunset before returning to camp for dinner. The tents are for two, so any single travellers are paired up with another of the same sex, as when the trip is full there aren't quite enough tents to go around. The tents are traditional woven structures with a flap across the entrance, single beds with a blanket and pillow, and a low wattage electric light from the ceiling. The loo block is a little way behing the tents and very clean, with two loos and a shower on each side. It was beautiful sitting under the stars after dinner, listening to a local musician playing traditional Bedouin music, before retiring for an early night. Day 6, and five of us had a very eary start with the optional camel ride at 5.45am. I can't recommend this enough - from the hilarity of trying to get on and stay on, to the beauty of the desert at dawn. After breakfast of omelettes back at camp, we transferred back to the bus by jeep and went to take a look at the Ottoman Railway from the time of Lawrence of Arabia -climbing aboard the steam train parked there. We then drove to Aqaba, where we had a short tour around the town by bus, stopped off for a Turkish coffee from a street vendor, and then arrived at the beach club by mid-morning. At the beach club there are several pools plus obviously a beach, all with loungers and umbrellas. You can rent snorkel gear to swim off the jetty which was fun, and you keep it for the day. Lunch was taken together with a buffet served by the main pool. After a packed itinerary to this point it was nice to just relax in the sun and the water. In the evening we checked into our hotel (fine, and has a small bar area for pre-dinner drink, but bathroom's need updating as flooding from the shower seemed to be common among all our rooms!). Eddie took us for a walk around the town including a spice stall, and the mosque, before we all went to a local fish restaurant for dinner. Day 7 and we left Aqaba to drive back up the length of the country to Amman. We stopped for photo opps overlooking the Dead Sea, to buy snacks for the journey, and to buy souvenirs at a bazaar. Arriving back in Amman early afternoon, we walked around the Roman Theatre and the Citadel before checking back into our original hotel (such comfy beds!) before heading out for a special farewell meal in a great restaurant with rooftop seating, The waiters were full of jokes and the food and atmosphere were great. Having said goodbye to our guide and driver back at the hotel, most of us then headed down the road to another hotel for a drink in the bar (most hotels, including ours, are dry). Day 8 and we transferred to the airport at 8am before flying home, with happy memories, tans, and some new friends.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say, but I think the first reveal of the Treasury in Petra, and the sense of achievement at having done the climbs to the high places and the views that you were rewarded with, would probably win out. The huge expanse of the desert at Wadi Rum, with the gorgeous sunset and sunrise and the clear stars, was just stunning. The simple relaxation of the beach day in Aqaba was also something I hadn't realised I needed until we were there.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eddie was fantastic. He was obviously proud of his country and full of information about everything we were going to see, as well as the history of Jordan and there in general. He was always smiling and his sense of humour and his jokes and stories kept everyone entertained. As far as I could see, everything ran like clockwork and we never had to worry about anything while we were there.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it! But seriously: In early September the weather was very hot, and hats and water bottles and lightweight clothing are a must. The two days Petra were the most energetic so be prepared for 7/8 hours out in the sun with a lot of stairs and walking, but there are plenty of places to have a drink or something to eat when you need a break. If you're afraid of heights (as I am) a couple of places can be a bit daunting, but I was able to do all the climbs so don't worry about it too much. Jordan was more expensive than I thought (I hadn't thought too much about it!) and lunch or dinner with a soft drink was typically 11-16 JOD ( £12-17) which adds up if you do the optional extras and also buy alchohol. Food is plentiful but if middle eastern cuisine isnt your thing, you'll probably be buying snacks! Breakfasts were the weakest meal with the hotel buffets being pretty limited. Be careful on the steps in the Roman Theatre in Amman. I was wearing my old faithful walking sandals and still slipped on the smooth limestone coming down and aquired some brilliant scrapes and bruises (thank you to Eddie for employing the first aid kit!). Clothing - I read lots of conflicting advice on what women travellers could wear. Having been there, I'd say if you're going when it's hot definitely take several pairs of loose/lightweight trousers, tshirts with capped sleeves, a large scarf you can wrap around you if you need to, and a long sleeved shirt you could throw on for modesty or protection from the sun - there isnt a lot of shade on this trip. When we went out for dinner I was aware of looks and stares, but nothing uncomfortable and we were generally made to feel very welcome everywhere we went. I think just be repsectful of where you are and you'll be fine.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Penny Poulin

    Cycle Romania

    I've been on quite a few Exodus walking and cycling trips and this has to have been the best so far This was down to several reasons. Firstly Romania is a beautiful country and the tour took us though some of the most scenic areas . Our guides Cristina and Liviu were fabulous. Knowledgeable about their country and relaxed and fun to be with. We stayed at some wonderful out of the way places and our hosts and food were exceptional. The group was the best! We laughed so much and we all felt we had found 13 new friends by the end.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the local people with a love for their country and a willingness to share with us their amazing hospitality

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Cristina and Liviu get full marks We all fell in love with both of them

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is very much a"get close to the real Romania" trip so make the most of it Dont drink the water!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The last day was a bit of an anticlimax as it involved a long bus transfer with a couple of stops at Vlads casle and another palace. Very busy with tourists and not really enjoyed by any of us I dont think We had so enjoyed the quiet solitude of the country I would have preferred a direct ride to Bucharest and then a slightly longer walk about before our last dinner
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Sheryl English

    Fantastic Trip

    This was my first time travelling with Exodus, and will definitely travel with them again. It was really nice to stay in one hotel for the week. I loved not having to pack and unpack, and I don't think we missed anything by not moving to various locations throughout the trip. (If we did, we wouldn't know it- the trip was everything I expected.) The Dolomites were amazing!! The hikes were challenging, and it was nice to come back to the hotel for a shower and great dinner. Our guide was wonderful. I've been on hiking trips for years, and this was the first time I've had a guide give short lessons on how to hike over certain terrain.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For the free day, 4 of us did a Via Ferrata near Tres Cime. Climbing up the mountains and seeing the views from the top was just breathtaking. I climbed where I never thought I could! Although this wasn't on the itinerary, I'm so glad our guide set this up for us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was fantastic. Very helpful, knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was worried the level 3 trip would be too light, but it was perfect. Hike were long with some challenging ascents/descents. I think 5 would have been too much for me. I would recommend the level 3 vs 5 to anyone who is unsure. You won't be disappointed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd recommend the Via Ferrata be added as an option for the free day, or put on the itinerary. I don't know if I'd want to do a full week, but for one day, it was amazing. It was an experience of a lifetime!
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Paola Cassotti

    Walking in paradise

    Two weeks walking in some of the most spectacular scenery of the Alps. Breathtaking views in the many clear days and surreal when walking in the clouds. Varied terrain to entertain all...this is a must for any mountains lover. Excellent arrangements from Exodus as always and great leader and camp manager.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    About every hour of my walking time every day. The scenery was breathtaking. Cheering UTMB trail runners in Chamonix, swimming in an Alpine lake in a clear sky day, eating lunch by a glacier, the Emerald lake, eating my favourite Swiss chocolate when reaching a col, the outstanding views of mountain peaks above a sea of clouds from Cabane Praflouri, snowball fight in the boulders, introduction to trail running to St Nicklaus, walking in the clouds on the longest suspension bridge in Europe, trek to Zermatt with clouds opening over the Matterhorn.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    John and Ags made my holiday!!! Inspirational, brave, kind, funny, passionate, knowledgeable, supportive and a good laugh. I always felt safe and in good hands, the food was absolutely delicious. They tended to all group members and really went the extra mile for me...quite literally 😊. I could have not wished for better leaders

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip requires a good level of fitness and stamina to ensure you can enjoy it with the group. Be warned that you will want to return to the Alps the moment you leave

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank to my fellow group members and to John and Ags for inspiring me...I have already booked a Mountain Skill course...I will be back for more :)
  • Reviewed September 2018
    david worthington

    Our Catalonia adventure

    Beautiful and diverse walks through glorious countryside and yomps across some spectacular coastlines, this Catalonian coastal walk was a perfect way to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary together. We are newbies to Exodus travel and had been looking for something different and special to do with just to 2 of us. This hit the mark perfectly; the booking staff were so friendly, our tour guides so helpful nothing was too much trouble, even the route guidance was friendly (and top notch in knowing the local areas of interest from prehistoric monoliths to Salvador Dali's house ) And the hotels we visited were first rate, we feel so lucky as first timers to have landed on such a delightful experience. My only concern is how I am going to get used to not finishing a walk with a celebratory glass of the local wine with fresh tapas! The routes were just the right stretch for us between 8 to 10 miles every other day, so that you get to spend a day in your new venue exploring and mixing with the locals. We even ventured into the sea a few times including kayaking in Cadaques. One of the best holidays we've had, and hope to repeat in other exciting places.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the surprises! Starting and finishing in spa hotels - excellent idea, food was to die for from rustic to Michelin aspirations, the weather superb, the routes just about right for us keen novices, the staff and venues just top class.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    didn't have one, it was self guided and supported by great route notes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it!! and do it soon because we are telling everybody about our trip!! Don't over pack, you only stay in one place for 2 nights so can rewear evening clothes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks!!
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Glenda Cornwell

    Review

    Very well organised and enjoyable trip taking in some amazing scenery both coastal and inland.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the variety of the cycling, especially the off road bits. Learning about how Sardinia's past was related to the monuments we passed and the food and culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lovely, friendly, patient, friendly and jovial hosts who always tried to please everyone, all the time. Great fruit breaks!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some hills were quite long and steep. If you want to enjoy more, consider getting an electric bike! However, the van was available all the time allowing you to hop on and off throughout the day giving a great flexibility.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Watch out for the mosquitoes! Take repellent with you.
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