Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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18279 Reviews

  • Reviewed June 2022

    The magnificent seven finally completed 🥳

    The warmest of welcomes from the wonderful Balkans. It felt SO good to be back !!! After falling in love with The Balkans in 2015 visiting Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina on the fabulous Bosnia and beyond tour, four of us chose to travel together again in 2016 on the Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania tour. We were lucky enough to get our tour leader Evelyn again! So I was incredibly happy to be able to 'complete the set ' by finally visiting Kosovo, along with Bulgaria and North Macedonia again. We have visited everything from towns, cities, winery's, a Beekeeper, stunning lake Ohrid, mountain's and monastery's! Drank Wine, beer, cocktails and plenty of Rakia...not forgetting lots of water! As always in the Balkans, the food portions are as big as the welcome you receive so take stretchy clothes as I put on 4lb ! Lol

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We took an optional boat trip on Lake Ohrid to the Bay of bones. 9 people went and it was 20 euro pp. We were out for approx 3 hours. Stunning views of the shore. Lovely captain on the boat giving us facts and pointing out various birds. The visit to the Beekeeper was my favourite part . You saw how the hives worked, got to taste amazing honey ( which lots of us bought) and ever saw a bee being born! Then we had lunch at his house. Fabulous home cooked food. Dinner at the private house was lovely too. We came out and did some stargazing as the sky was so clear! We saw the international space station pass over us ! Also our leader knew a great restaurant for our evening in Skopje. Near to the fountain in the main square.Fabulous food and lots of different choices that suited everyone's taste. I had squid ink risotto and it was one of the best meals I've ever had. Wine tasting at the winery was fun. We had a light 3 course meal with several wines.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kristina Pesheva-Dinovska was fantastic. Always punctual, happy, laughing, full of energy. A real 'pocket rocket' . An encyclopedia of knowledge on history and politics in the region. Always tried to get the best deal for our group. Very sociable. Very respectful of the different religions and cultures we came across on the trip ( we visited churches, cathedrals, monasteries and mosques) Was very welcomed by our hosts and our captain on the optional boat trip on Lake Ohrid. Also our driver, Iko, was excellent. Would happily travel with both of them again and would highly recommend them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This tour is marked as leisurely but I have advised Exodus to change their trip notes. There is only one hotel you stay in for more than one night so you are constantly on the move. Most of the hotels DO NOT have lifts, so even though your bags are carried to your room you are not! And there are stairs EVERYWHERE! Also some of the places you visit have old cobbled streets which are slippery. We had 3 people on the trip who had reduced mobility and had to either miss out on some things or get taxis to places because the walk and/or climb was too arduous. They all said had they known before hand they would not have chosen to book this particular tour . I also think some people are not booking it because it's classed as leisurely. I'm 5"10 and was walking approx 10,000 steps per day, often more than that.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The weather is very changeable so read the packing list! We had rain both times in Sofia but was incredibly hot and sunny elsewhere. Ideally have an umbrella which will protect from rain and sun! The food is 'hearty' .Carb loaded with white bread, rice , potatoes and pasta . There's lots of meat and cheese, including for breakfast. There is fresh fish in places, like lake Ohrid, but if you are a fussy eater ( we had one and nothing was ever right!) I'd advise you to read up on what to expect. Even the salads and some meat dishes come covered in cheese! Vegetables will usually be corgette and aubergine.
  • Amalfi

    This was an excellent trip, great companions and leader. I and several others did think it would have been better to have the hardest walk later in the week when we had time to build up stamina and acclimatise to the heat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Capri

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Terese was wonderful

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the weather I went 4th June and temp was around 35c much too hot.
  • Bad value for money

    This was my first trip with Exodus. The Greek Islands were beautiful but this trip is extremely bad value for money. The hotels, with the exception of the one on Santorini, were barely adequate - they were certainly not 3 star. In the last hotel I actually got bed bug bites. I really enjoyed the company of the group on the holiday but I’m appalled by the standard of accommodation on offer. Our guide was just ok

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ok
  • Reviewed June 2022

    Portugal at a glance

    A very busy trip with not very much free time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved Porto even though it was very busy with tourists. The included lunch at the port winery overlooking the Douro and Teda rivers was excellent with plenty of vegetarian options and nice wines. The tour beforehand was entertaining.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had Carlos Santos and Flavio as our leaders/drivers. They were both efficient, friendly, helpful and safe drivers. Carlos took me to a late night chemist when I needed some medication for a bad cough. He did this when we were actually settling into the restaurant for dinner - we still got back in time to eat! Flavio would always find out answers if he didn't know the answer immediately. We had a very enjoyable group dinner on Thursday with both of them as this was the last evening they would have been with us. The food was good - lots of veggie choices - Carlos played guitar and we all sang along. One small criticism is that some of the evening briefings were rather long.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I have raised this issue with Exodus already. The group flight home is very late. We were collected from our hotel in Lisbon at 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and I walked into my house at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning. Exhausting. I would have liked a bit more time to look round Obidos. We were there for two nights but went to Sintra to visit the Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. Pena Palace was extremely busy, it took about an hour to get in and then you just had to shuffle round due to the amount of people inside.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although the hotel Douro Scala (Mesao Frio) is in a lovely position overlooking the vineyards, the bedrooms were rather 'tired' and there is not really a proper bar area so that you bought your drinks in the restaurant and took them out onto the terrace overlooking the pool. Finding vegetarian meal options was sometimes challenging. Carlos always made sure that the restaurants he recommended (or where we had group dinners) served veggie options but sometimes this was limited to one dish and not always very good. It was more of a challenge when we were on our own. Some restaurants had no veggies options at all.
  • Reviewed June 2022

    Portugal at a glance

    A very busy tour of the highlights of Portugal.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved Porto even though it was very busy with tourists. The visit to the port winery at the confluence of the Douro and Tedo rivers was a highlight. We were on a terrace looking down on the rivers and were served with a delicious lunch with lots of vegetarian options and good wines.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had Carlos Santos and Flavio as our leaders/guides/drivers. They were both friendly, organised, knowledgable, eager to help, handled the cases well and good/safe drivers. I had a bad cough and mentioned to Carlos that I needed a pharmacy the next day. Instead he knew that the pharmacy in the local shopping mall would be open late (we were just settling into the restaurant for dinner). He took me to the pharmacy which was about a 10 minute drive away and helped with the purchase of medication. I asked Flavio a question in Porto that he didn't immediately know the answer to, he came back to me when he had found out the answer.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a busy trip so be prepared. There is not very much free time. There was often only one choice of a vegetarian meal and some restaurants didn't serve veggie food at all. When we were with the group this was OK as Carlos/Flavio checked there was a veggie option but when we were on our own, this was sometimes a problem. There were actually 5 vegetarians on this tour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have mentioned this to Exodus already, but the group flight home from Lisbon is too late. There is always a lot of 'hanging around' on the last day. We had been for a walk, had lunch and then were not picked up until 5 p.m. from the hotel. We were a bit earlier than planned but that was all to the good as the airport was very busy. I walked into my house at 1 a.m. the following morning. That's exhausting.
  • Croatia Cycling the Dalmatian coast

    My son (23) and I (57) have just returned from this trip and I’m now looking to book another Exodus cycling trip! We have not done a trip like this before and we’re little nervous! There was no need! The group leader Mario was excellent and made sure everyone was comfortable with the pace and really was an exceptional lead and a great ambassador for both Croatia and Exodus. Our group of 11 was mixed age and ability but everyone got on well and had a fantastic time! Amazing scenery, beautiful crystal clear waters and quiet roads. Organisation was brilliant, water, snacks, when and where to break…bus and trailer availability etc. Nothing was too much trouble and Mario really put in loads of effort to ensure everyone had a great holiday. Hotels were good and better than I expected. If you have doubts about whether you should book… just do it! It was fantastic!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Day trip to Mljet, swimming to lakes and spotting a 2 tailed Pasha ( butterfly!) for the first time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader Mario was excellent and made sure everyone was comfortable with the pace and really was an exceptional lead and a great ambassador for both Croatia and Exodus. Our group of 11 was mixed age and ability but everyone got on well and had a fantastic time! Amazing scenery, beautiful crystal clear waters and quiet roads. Organisation was brilliant, water, snacks, when and where to break…bus and trailer availability etc. Nothing was too much trouble and Mario really put in loads of effort to ensure everyone had a great holiday. He was tolerant, easy going and friendly … even when he had to repeat himself several times because people hadn’t listened to the instructions ! Mario really contributed to making this holiday one of my best ever holidays!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t be put off by the ‘Undulating’ nature of the routes… the descents are amazing and the support vehicle is always there if you need it! ….. I am not a cyclist… just reasonably fit.. and I managed the trip no problem. Bring beach shoes… there are sea urchins!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Can’t wait to book my next trip!
  • Reviewed June 2022

    Lovely scenery, disappointing walks

    I booked on a Level 5 Challenging departure in April 2022. Mallorca is a beautiful island with absolutely lovely scenery but I was extremely disappointed with the walks chosen. Short, coastal walks at a very slow pace and far too many stops. There was only one day where we were really reached a summit. It was very frustrating and has deterred me from booking a guided tour with Exodus again. I specifically booked a Level 5 departure for the challenging hikes but Exodus did not deliver. I travelled with Exodus on many occasions in the past and always had a fantastic experience. I would not book with them again based on this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of Puig Tomir

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two group leaders which led to the trip being disjointed. Jacob for the first three walking days and Eduard for the last two days. Very knowledgable about the area and keen to share that with the group, which was really interesting. However, ultimately they did not deliver on the Level 5 Challenging nature of the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I really enjoyed staying in LLuc monastery

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Thank you for taking the time to leave a review, Irene, although we are incredibly sorry that you found some of the walks to be too easy, as we recognise that you were anticipating more of a challenge from this trip. As I hope you appreciate, activity levels are inherently subjective, but we do endeavour to describe each trip as accurately as possible, and we are always open to suggestions to amend our guidance should we be made aware of clients feeling a particular trip’s grading should be changed. We have been operating this trip for many years, and we therefore receive a large volume of feedback regarding our clients' views on the itinerary. Whilst our product manager, Malcolm Parkinson, and tour leaders feel that the current grading for our Walking in Mallorca trip is accurate, we are aware that adverse weather conditions and the abilities of some of your group members prevented you from completing some of your walks and affected the pace of the walks that did go ahead, which we acknowledge must have been extremely disappointing. It must have been further frustrating to have two different tour leaders, as this is not the usual arrangement. This should certainly not have been the case, and, following your feedback, we have instructed our local manager to not operate future trips in this manner. We are hugely grateful for your loyalty to Exodus over the years and we genuinely hope that you will reconsider your decision to not book with us again. 

  • Reviewed June 2022

    A unique way to explore Greece, Gods and Myths

    Our very first Exodus trip (recommended by friends) commenced apprehensively (and very early) in the Terminal 5 Lounge at Heathrow. After a couple of 'Pineapple Juices' for breakfast and 40 winks on the plane we were soon at our hotel to meet the Group Leaders Dimitris and Dimitris soon being referred to as D1 and D2. Very soon the eclectic mix of people were entrusting the next 7 days of cycling, eating, drinking, swimming and dancing with D1 & D2. We couldn't have made a better choice. We had fantastic cycling, the snacks, lunches and juices that D2 provided in support were excellent and D1 and D2 excelled at their dinner choices every evening giving us a superb taste of local foods (at very reasonable prices). D2 (the wine connoisseur) helped us choose the best wines to go with the meals, although he was not put out when the odd carafe of house red, or the local beers were ordered as well! D1 and especially D2 excelled in imparting their local knowledge, Greek history and Greek Mythology at many of our stops to visit ancient sights and places of historical interest. Even better were the lunches that they prepared and the snacks they offered during the days. In summary, D1 and D2 were fabulous The rest of the group got involved to make it so enjoyable. We had a fabulous time and met some great people. What a fantastic lot! We loved it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hearing two American young lads Hum Ave Maria in the Mycenae Tomb of Clytemnestra. The sound / resonance was amazing. This was closely followed by a Pink Floyd rendition from "Dark Side of the Moon" in the same tomb! Our first ever trip to the Acropolis wasn't bad either.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Dimitris S was great, but it was made so much better with Dimitris G as support. I am sure that they work well individually, but they make a great pair. Their knowledge and support were excellent. I had to leave the group on the last morning for personal reasons, and they both helped me out in getting to where I was going.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please come along to enjoy the cycling, but make sure that you get involved with the group and join in with all the other activities - you won't regret it. The cycling and scenery are great - you can even swim (or just paddle) most days if you want. We did have a couple of issues with electric bikes, but it didn't detract from the holiday. It just meant that some had to peddle harder than others! (These were sorted out).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If all Exodus trips are as good as this then you will be in for a treat which ever trip you do.
  • Reviewed June 2022

    Scenery, sites, salads and stories

    I originally booked this trip for summer 2020, it was rolled over twice due to the pandemic, but my word, it was a trip worth waiting for! Challenging cycling, spectacular scenery, fabulous food, and heaps of history - it has something for everyone, and then some. One of the best trips I have ever done (and this is my 12th with Exodus), "Team Dimitris" made it a wonderful re-introduction to cycling holidays abroad after the last few years of uncertainty.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As a student of ancient history, visiting Epidarus and Mycenae could not be beaten. As a cyclist, the scenery was simply stunning, especially the Nafplio coastline. As a foodie, absolutely all of it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dimitris on the bike and Dimitris in the van have to be the best double act on an Exodus trip I have ever had the privilege to be a part of. Their meticulous attention to detail with elevation profiles and distances, maps, carefully selected snack and rest spots, and particularly their choices of local cuisine, meant that everything ran smoothly and all we had to do was pedal along, eat, and enjoy ourselves. The real magic though was in their storytelling - if you love Greek myths (or even if you don't), you will be spellbound.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be open to sharing evening meals (and a kitty for arranging lunches, snacks, and drinks). Team Dimitris chose a wonderful selection of local dishes on each day which, when shared between all, meant our group could try a huge variety of delicious food at a really reasonable price. Handing over the decision-making never tasted so good!! The itinerary is quite a busy one but regardless of how hot or tired you might feel, keep going! You won't want to miss out on a single thing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it, you won't regret it!
  • Reviewed June 2022

    Pura Vida

    Costa Rica is well known for its biodiversity, and this itinerary is well designed to show it off given the wide range of habitat visited over the 2 weeks. Starting on the Caribbean coast, we spent our first 2 days exploring the waterways of the Tortuguero National Park. From there, we visited various rain forests and then cloud forests as we increased altitude, climbing the central mountain range that divides the country and then descending to the Pacific coast. Be prepared for contrasting weather as go, from hot and (very) humid to much cooler at the greater elevations, and be sure to pack accordingly. It's interesting to see the flora and fauna vary with these different ecosystems as you progress through the trip. As previous reviewers have already commented on, the range of wildlife we saw (and heard) was huge, and included birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates. Highlights for me include the toucans, humming birds, quetzal, sloth, and some impressively sized crocodile. The accommodation was very comfortable and very well presented and the various eco-lodges certainly fitted the focus of the trip, helping you to feel immersed in the forest. Most had wildlife walking trails that you are able to explore without a need for a guide. I'd highly recommend the optional (guided) night walks as an opportunity to see the tree frogs and other amphibians and snakes. I visited at the end of May, and decent waterproofs were essential - If, like me, you're taking cameras, make sure you have a waterproof bag for these too. Having said that, the weather was kind to us and although it rained frequently, it was pretty predictable and tended to be limited to the evenings so didn't impact on the excursions - but be prepared and aware that the itinerary is flexible to account for the weather if required.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The conservation ethos is Costa Rica is impressive. Their dedication to the protection of their natural habitats is paying obvious dividends. The sounds of the forests is something that will stay with me for a long time, particularly first thing in the morning!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Johnny, deserves a special mention. His knowledge and friendly manner were exceeded only by his enthusiasm and contagious passion for his country and it's wildlife. It was really nice to see his obvious excitement at some of our wildlife sightings (notably a huge boa constrictor crossing a road during one of our bus transfers!).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack a comfortable pair of closed toe walking shoes. These are required for some areas due to the potential for snakes, particularly if you want to make the most of the self-guided trails or night walks at the lodges. ..and waterproofs. If you're planning on taking advantage of the laundry services as to go, be aware that these tended to get more expensive as we went, so I'd recommend doing what you can earlier in the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is just a personal preference, but I felt that the last accommodation in which we stayed before our return to San Jose was a little out of keeping with the rest of the trip. While some will undoubtedly appreciate the more luxurious 4 star hotel and spa, I felt more removed from the surrounding environments here - although I can't fault the standards.