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 January 2018
    Lindsey Taylor

    An amazing trip

    Cycling is such a great way to see a country and this trip didn’t disappoint. There was a great range of cycling from tarmac roads to rough off road. Cycling experience and fitness is a must. The roads are undulating and on some days there were some long climbs, made all the more difficult in the heat. It also meant there were great views! In addition to the cycling there were great trips and even some free time to relax.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to highlight one moment. The whole trip was an experience. It was fantastic to see the views and wildlife whilst cycling along but one highlight would have to be getting so close to an active volcano!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a fantastic team, they couldn’t do enough for you and all worked really hard. Our leader Roberto (Chino) went out of his way to ensure that everything on the trip was perfect.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Deciding what to take is always difficult. Cycling gear can be rinsed through in the hotels although drying can sometimes be a problem. Snacks are provided whilst cycling and the minibus is always nearby so you don’t have to carry everything with you on the bike, stick it in a day bag on the bus. Clothes when not on the bike are very casual and long sleeves and long pants are handy to cover up in the areas where more mosquitoes are out. We did get bitten but not too bad. Things that don’t crease are ideal and good packing is essential so you know where everything is, there’s no time to keep unpacking your case.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend the white water rafting in La Fortuna, it was fantastic. We went with Arenal rafting, they were brilliant and great value for money. Take dollars in small denominations as you get change in local currency.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    carole mullender

    An up close view of life in Myanmar

    This was a great trip - a small group so we weren't hanging around waiting for others all the time and were able to see things from a local's point of view. It was great to see this country before it opens up too much to mass tourism and I felt quite sad that western culture will irrevocably change it eventually, but for now how refreshing it is to see how people have a rural living with the old ways and local industry once you get away from the city - fascinating. The trip was fast paced and we did so much each day. A little bit more time at a couple of places would have been great. The food in Myanmar was outstanding with the best of Indian, Thai and Chinese.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Several places stand out as special - I loved the day we spent going around different places on Inle lake stopping off at different places to see the local industry - blacksmith, lotus and silk weaving etc. It was such a relaxing day but we saw so much.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leader, Sai was attentive and passionate about his country, customs, religion and history - and very knowledgeable about it all with vast experience in guiding groups. He added value to the trip by offering extra excursions and visits to things that were not on the itinerary and it was our choice whether we opted for them or not. He had no favourites in the group, treating everyone equally and fairly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A word of warning - try and arrive a day earlier like I did so you can recover from the travel before you start because there is a lot of travel with early mornings and it can be tiring. Arrive a day early so you are rested for the start!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you go out of season then expect cool mornings and evenings - take a jumper.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Lisa Meanock

    An outstanding cycling trip

    What a fantastic way to see 3 countries 'on a bike'. Not being a cyclist and having a knee operation in July I was a little sceptical about whether I would be able to complete 2 weeks of cycling but the trip was just the right balance of sight seeing and cycling. The cycling was challenging but very enjoyable with 'amazing views', the terrain was mixed which added to the experience. Our guide for the trip (Roberto Aguilar aka 'Chino') was outstanding couldn't have asked for a better one, his knowledge of all the countries was fantastic and really helped us in understanding the history of each. I felt the trip was quite expensive for a young couple and I feel if it was cheaper would appeal to more younger people to book. Chino's support for the 2 weeks was Albarro and Paul who were also great and really helped the weaker cyclists but also challenged the more experienced cyclist too which was good. Even when we lost Albarro at Nicaragua and just had Paul for the remaining trip the standard didn't slip. Due to the weather in Costa Rica on the Caribbean side our trip had to be changed at short notice whilst this may have been stressful for chino this didn't show and didn't impact on our tour and it all went through smoothly and didn't impact too much on the original itinerary. What I would suggest for future trips would be for the hotels to offer free laundry whilst the weather was warm it was humid and if hand washing we struggled to dry them and with staying only 1 night in some hotels you travel with damp clothes so didn't really smell fresh when eventually dried and needed washing again. I would also recommend exodus invest in purchasing kit to cover the maximum size of the group. There was 12 of us within our group and all our luggage was delayed for 1 day which meant we couldn't take part in the first day cycling because there was only 2 spare helmets but if there was spare we could have purchased spare clothing and still took part. Our first day wasn't ruined because chino stepped into action and arranged a trip for us around the local town on horse and cart which was fantastic to see.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm not sure I can specifically call out one inspirational moment of this trip the whole trip totally exceeded my expectations the right balance of cycling and sight seeing. Not once on this trip will you be bored, action packed and just fantastic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I can honestly not say anything negative about our trip leader Alberto Aguilar 'chino' everything planned perfectly to the minute. His mileage estimations for the bike rides was spot on which helped me pace myself and keep me going. He explained everything clearly and honestly and nothing was too much trouble. If I was book another cycling holiday I would love chino to be our guide he really did make our holiday an absolute pleasure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take spare cycling clothes in your hand luggage in the event of cases not arriving. Have your laundry professionally done as you will struggle to get it dried if hand washing. Power banks are a must so you can charge all your gadgets, (phones, garmins, watches, go pro's). I would bother with energy gels etc because the trip provides fruit, granola bars, re hydration powder for your drinks etc.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Will definitely be booking another cycling holiday following this excellent experience with exodus.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Craig McArthur

    Unforgettable experience

    Recently returned from the Finnish Wilderness Week, staying at Basecamp Oulanka Jan 14-21st 2018 and it was without doubt one of the best holidays I have ever experienced. Firstly the staff, accomodation, facilities and food at Basecamp Oulanka are out of this world (special shout out to our tour leaders Martti and Tiia who were exceptional). The camp is located in the heart of the forest, surrounded by towering trees and a stones throw away from the lake! The activities included in this tour are also fantastic and truly 'once in a lifetime' (the husky sledding being the stand out). Theres a wide range of optional activities too which are reasonably priced and allow you to experience a new adventure every day!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Husky sledding through a pristine forest!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Martti and Tiia were both fantastic, friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating leaders, and both should be extremely proud!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dont take too many euros in cash as most (not all) of the optional activities are charged to your room (as are any drinks etc purchased from the bar) and the bill is settled at the end.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Chris Hunt

    Exceeded Expectations

    This trip exceeded our expectations! The cycling was often challenging with some biggish hills in hot weather but also great fun (what goes up has to come down) and mostly on well made roads without too much traffic. Two longish sections on dirt roads challenge the suspension but are fine in the weather that we had for those sections. At the end of the trip we felt we had achieved something worthwhile. But it was not all cycling with trips to an active volcano, hot and cold springs and and wildlife spotting during river rafting among the notable highlights. The trip accommodation and food ranged from good to adequate. The hotel at Las Lajas and the last meal in Old Panama being particular highlights. The trip was well organised and well run with Roberto (Chino) and his team doing a great job. They responded very well to the issues of our delayed luggage and very poor weather in the Caribbean. The latter meant that we had an extra night at Las Lajas which was more than welcome. Chino, Paul and Ronal had become great friends with the group by the end of the trip. If you enjoy a bit of a challange and doing something a bit different from the usual holiday routine then this trip is for you - overall a superb experience which is going to take some beating!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The tour team of Chino, Paul and Ronal helped to make this trip special - I think they turned something that might have been hard work into a truly enjoyable adventure for the whole group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto (Chino) was excellent - responded well to any issues that arose and made sure that we were all fed and watered before he himself sat down to eat. Socialised well with the group whilst also retaining our respect as a leader throughout. His daily briefings and leading the singing on the bus were highlights (he's quite fond of Queen). Chino was more than ably supported by Paul (guide/mechanic) and Ronal (driver) - they made a great team. Special mention to Roberro who was with us only for the Nicaraguan leg of the tour - we missed him when we moved into Costa Rica!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    During the dry season you don't need as much DEET as you think - there are only a few areas where mossies are a problem and our bite count was surprisingly low. My wife and I got through only two 100mm sprays for the whole trip. Also take some travel wash - it is possible to use hotel soaps, shampoos etc to wash your cycling kit but provision of hotel stuff isn't consistent. You may also wish to regularly wash your water bottles - we used hotel shampoo but as before provision isn't consistent. White water rafting is a blast - if you don't fancy the optional ride in La Fortuna then white water rafting is great fun.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Peter Booth

    Two of Team Jolly Hockey Cycles ( 12 members )

    Having cycled extensively in the UK and Europe we were invited to join the JHC on this Central America cycle trip. Holidaying with family, old friends, new acquaintances and four strangers could prove daunting, however, it turned out wonderful from the offset. This was far more than just a cycle trip. ( Hardcore cyclists need not apply) It turned out to be an education in history, cultures, wildlife and geography. All of which ticked all our boxes. The cycling was a joy each day with all 16 of us able to stay within our own limits, take time out for photography or just stand and look at everything around us. When we fancied a blast, we did just that. That easy. The hotels and restaurants offered good accommodation and local food with varied menu's to suit all tastes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspiration, where do you start. Everything was different, so inspirational individually.I have never cycled three amazing countries in 16 days. I have never looked down an active volcano. I have never been on a river raft and seen more Iguana's, Osprey's, Crocodile's, Monkey's, Lizard's, Vulture's etc. etc. in one day than I have seen in a lifetime. I have never sat in a hot spring with a pina colada in my hand. I have never been so close to one of the worlds largest engineering feats, the Panama canal. etc.etc. All inspirational in their own way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We could not have a better group leader, Chino, and support team, Paul, Ronaldo, Alvaro. We arrived with all our luggage missing so instead of losing our first day Chino arranged a sight seeing trip around Granada by horse and carriage. Paul took the other four cycling, (no luggage shortages) and we all met for lunch. We had serious weather issues on the Caribbean so the itinerary was changed to keep everything flowing smoothly. Chino ensured everything was in order, including hotel and meal service, briefings throughout the cycling to ensure we were abreast of what was ahead and the never ending information of the history, culture and geography around us. He carefully explained the difference in the standard of living of the people we met and encouraged us to meet with them. It wasn't just business, we could babble on with all the team about ourselves, themselves and just about anything.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Credit cards accepted everywhere. Small US dollar bills, no larger than $20. Laundry available at some of the hotels and widely at La Fortuna. There is all the in-ride snacks, fruit, energy drinks and bottled water with the bus and plenty of places to purchase more if you need. For those nervous of foreign bus drivers, don't panic. Our driver, Ronaldo, never once broke any speed limit, made any dangerous manoeuvres or gave us any cause for concern.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Quite simply, if we do not take another holiday, this one is our holiday of a lifetime.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Michael Innes

    Sri Lanka cycling

    A lovely trip to a lush green island. Cycling is generally good. Sites are all interesting and well worth seeing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyone has there own likes but for me the Sigiriya Rock and some of the Buddhist shrines were really good. The amount of remains from ancient civilizations is both impressive and humbling compared with what we have in Britain. Also the bird life is plentiful and varied and the general lush tropical landscape is lovely.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent - as was the whole team. Friendly, genuinely caring, highly knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are certain things to consider- Although the trip title implies that you are travelling on quiet back roads most of the time, you are not. At least half the cycling is on busy roads which can be fun but involves a lot of dodging traffic etc. The worst aspect of the trip is the pollution from vehicles which can get quite unpleasant as you overtake or are overtaken by yet another bus / truck belching black exhaust smoke. The country is going to have to tackle emissions which are causing issues in the cities. Generally we had a trip with no serious incidents / illnesses but most had a short bout of stomach problems so be prepared. The lack of malaria and serious mosquito issues is a bonus. Take the trip notes with a pinch of salt. They need to be updated as some days are longer / harder / easier than they say. They should be updated and made more accurate. It is hot - over 30C most of the time - but this is OK as long as one drinks plenty of bottled water which is continually available.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a very pleasant trip in that it is a lovely island, the people are genuinely friendly, and the cycling is perfectly achievable for a very average cyclist like myself. The country is busy and appears crowded as most people either live in cities or along the roads so wherever you cycle, however quiet and remote the little roads may be, you are always among people and habitations. The optional whale watching trip was OK. The plus side is that we saw a reasonable number of blue whales at close quarters. The downside is that you are doing that with at least another 20 boats who are rushing around trying to get close to the same whales. Sri Lankan food is OK but not as great as is sometimes made out. All the hotels put emphasis on the "buffet" system but it doesn't take long to get fed up with yet another array of curries or dishes which you somehow feel have been sitting around a little too long. Most hotels do have a la carte and the prices are fair and the choice is usually decent, although don't expect fine dining. The lunches (included) are simple but perfectly adequate. Alcohol - local beer (lager) is widely available in hotels and is OK. The local stout is good but very strong. Wine usually about £18 per bottle of house wine. Cocktails decent and reasonably priced.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    James D

    Best Holiday Ever

    Hotel is run by a family. I cannot overstate how well they treated us. Buffet meals three times per day. Free WiFi. The snow was amazing. We had no cross country skiing experience before. Tour guides were excellent and coached us around 3-4 hours per day. Massage / Pilates / Yoga classes helped greatly with muscle soreness. I thought I was relatively fit, but I found by the end of the morning session I was happy to relax for the rest of the day. Despite eating well, I think I have lost a couple of kg on the trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to ski 10k by myself.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The fitter you are the more fun you will have. Rooms are comfortable but not luxurious. There is plenty of space to relax in the lobby of the hotel. The hotel has a gym, billiard table, sauna and table-tennis table. If you are looking to ski and then relax it is fantastic. If you want to party and dance all night, this is not the right place to go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    From what I could observe, the hotel gets a lot of repeat business, and for good reason.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Lesley Berry

    Undiscovered Atlas

    I have been on many similar trekking trips but this was the first time that I travelled with Exodus. I did not quite know what to expect compared to other companies but from start to finish the holiday was well organised and thoroughly enjoyable partially due to Exodus but mainly due to the leader, Mohammed and his support team. We were plagued with truly abysmal weather for the first half of the week: sub zero temperatures for much of the day and gales ( which are,apparently, very rare!! ). My tent broke in the middle of the first night requiring an emergency decamp to the mess tent and then collapsed together with about 50% of the other tents, the mess tent and the toilet tent ( which blew away down into the valley ), on the second. Strangly, though, these experiences added to the bonding within what was a truly great group rather than detracting from it. I will admit that this may be a peculiarly British tendency!! The cimb to the top of Jebel Aklim in bright but arctic conditions was truly inspirational and the night that followed in the teacher's house in Tagara ( Mohammed opted for this as an alternative to a third night of camping to allow us more than three hours sleep!! ) a humbling revelation. For the second half of the holiday the weather reverted to more normal conditions for the time of year, we actually were able to strip down to less than three layers for the first time and continued in this vein to the end. The scenery throughout was tremendous. The walking well paced and interesting although as previous reviewers have stated VERY VERY ROUGH and the group amazing: Totally FABULOUS!!! (will stop here as I have run out of superlatives!! )

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of Jebel Aklim in arctic conditions ( sub -20C ) and the realisation that this is about as cold as I have ever experienced and this is Morocco!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Throughout all of the drama Mohammed remained at all times calm and in control and he organised alternative accomodation at the teacher's house in Tagara when he sensed that we had had enough. His knowledge of Berber culture and history and the passion with which he conveyed it to us was inspirational and throughout the trekking the pace he set was just right based upon the individual abilities within the group and the timescale of the walk. A truly excellent leader

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not rely on your expectations of the weather in Morocco as it can get VER, VERY COLD ( and windy but that's another matter altogether ) The terrain is often ( seemingly ) pathless, rocky and very rough so boots are ABSOLUTELY essential and if your idea of a toilet is not a hole in the ground containing someone elses human excrement then this is probably not the holiday for you!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great experience. Put your first world lifestyle on hold for a week and give it a go!!
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Chris Ellis

    Cross country skiing in the french pyrenees

    This was one of the best cross country skiing trips I've ever been on. Bolquere is an excellent base with easy access to a range of varied cross country skiing locations. The Hotel l'Ancienne Auberge was slightly old-fashioned, but clean, warm and comfortable with charming and helpful owners and staff. The food was good and sometimes excellent. Having wine included with dinner was an added bonus. The leader, Bob Mason, had put together an excellent and varied programme of skiing visiting different areas each day. He was sociable and encouraging, looking out for all the members of the group at all times. He was helped by Anne, local guide and ski instructor, who provided helpful pointers to improving technique and lots of info about the surroundings. The snow conditions and weather were excellent throughout our stay. I hope this holiday stays in the brochure as I intend to return next year. Thoroughly recommended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting back on cross country skis, having not been skiing for a few years, and finding that I had not forgotten the basics. Stopping to admire the dramatic mountain views that we got from skiing at over 2000 metres above sea level most of the time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bob Mason was an excellent leader. He had redesigned the programme of cross country skiing at Bolquerewhich, as a result, was varied and at exactly the right level for the grade 2/3 group. He was supportive and encouraging - always looking out for all the members of the group. He really helped the sociability of the holiday - for example by providing afternoon tea in the hotel when we got back from skiing each day. Anne (local guide and instructor) provided helpful pointers to improving technique, lots of local information and was good fun from start to finish.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not a holiday for beginners (too many ups and downs) but if you can manage the basics I can't envisage anywhere more suitable as a cross country base.
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