Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

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  • Reviewed December 2018
    Joanne Hart

    Perfect Petra

    A very interesting week, lots to do and some amazing places to see....

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking through the souk and walking out to see the Treasury

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was good and friendly and knowledgeable. I did feel that we could have had longer at certain places and I felt rushed on a couple of occasions to get to the hotel. When we were at Aqaba we only had 3 hours at the resort and this wasn’t long enough to relax properly... we had to eat lunch all together on a set menu and I think we could have got our own lunch when we wanted it and then we had to leave at 2pm and go to our hotel with nothing to do in the afternoon. We should have stayed at the resort for the day or been given the option to get a taxi back to the hotel.... I also felt our time at the Citidel in Amman was rushed - there wasn’t enough time to walk around the site which is disappointing as we could have stayed much longer. The Citidel is incredible

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book the trip - you won’t be disappointed... But I’d say get a taxi back to the hotel and stay at the seaside resort in Aqaba all day....
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Andrew Thomas

    A delightful Week in Jordan

    With short winter days in November there is a lot packed into this week - the early starts are worth it though. Travel arrangements in Jordan went well - even with a large group of 20 it never seemed as if we were rushed anywhere. The remains of the city of Jerash visited on our first day were impressive (those Romans got around). The Dead Sea was a novelty but either side of our 'private' beach was a lot of rubbish. On the whole Jordan is not a 'picturesque' country - they have a huge challenge ahead with the amount of plastic waste strewn across the countryside everywhere - roadsides, fields, olive groves etc etc are all littered with the remains of plastic bottles and bags - they seem to be blind to it. That said, the fantastic highlights of the trip - Petra and Wadi Rum - both superlative world class sites (and with a huge number of visitors) were not littered - so it is possible! The two days in Petra are worth the whole trip alone - a spectacular and huge site (wear comfortable shoes or boots) but you quickly loose the large crowds after the Siq and the Treasury. The drives through the desert and night spent in the tented camp in Wadi Rum also provided really amazing memories. Dramatic sand blasted scenery and sweeping sand dunes had us all humming the Lawrence of Arabia theme tune.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing up to 'The Monastery' at Petra - 850+ steps but worth them all - lots of chances to get coffee or tea (and buy a souvenir) from local Bedouin stalls on the way. The quieter climb up to the the 'High Place of Sacrifice' also makes an excellent circular loop away from the main valley but still passes some spectacular tombs and caves (they are everywhere). Great views across the whole valley from the tops.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Issa our group leader was great - he really did make the trip a success. Very enthusiastic, with great organisation and local knowledge he is a great ambassador for his country. He made sure everyone had what they needed by way of ATM stops, toilet breaks and chose good restaurants for lunch or supper (not always easy for a group of 20) explaining the menus and ensuring there were always vegetarian options where wanted.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you usually use a walking pole over uneven ground consider taking it for Petra (I was pleased I did). Take warm clothes, a torch and a small towel for the desert trip. The bus travelled with large water bottles on board - so you just need your own bottle to fill every day. Just go - its a great trip

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Jordanians are really friendly, proud of their country (they should be) and delighted to share it with foreign visitors. Over the past few years they have taken in millions of refugees from their war torn neighbours but remain positive about the future.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    J S

    What a fascinating country

    A full itinery with a wide range of things to see, do and contemplate.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Petra

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Provided a safe environment for us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It seemed like we got the less well positioned rooms; facing busy roads and in the basement with the noise of the restaurant starting at 6.30 am overhead. Ask to be moved. I does work sometimes.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    May Chapman

    Been back for two weeks and am still floating back to the desert!

    We had planned to visit Jordan on our own but in the end decided to go with a group. This undoubtedly was the right decision as there is lots to see and learn about. Our wonderful, enthusiastic guide made this so easy and accessible. I have always wanted to see Petra but did not have any clue about all the other treats that were in store.........the huge Roman city at Jerash, mount Nebo and the unforgettable Kings Highway. And more, and more.....everyday full of delight and rich photo opportunities. The landscape is truly stunning. The desert is spectacular......seen one desert and you have seen them all? No way, this scenery was quite different from the other three desert experiences I have had and it offered the very best starscape as the night was so clear. Beautiful. Have snorkelled quite a bit as well, and the afternoon at the Red Sea was up there with the best. Warm water, easily accessible from a jetty.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Impossible to pick on one moment so I won't. Approaching the Treasury at Petra is very exciting. The path is so narrow and after a fairly long walk, there it is, the glorious carving of the Treasury, still with details after 2,000 years. On we walked, enjoying the huge scale of the city. Another exciting moment after a long walk is seeing the Monastery with a carved facade just as impressive as the Treasury. It was great having two whole days to get to know this place a bit. In Amman there is also a Citadel, big scale Roman remains on a hill. Lovely to see the sunset from up there, whilst hearing the call to prayer resonating around the busy car packed city below.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eddy was great, an excellent raconteur with a lovely sense of humour. He shared his knowledge and love of his country throughout our trip. I think he took us slightly off piste a few times. In Petra we took tea with an elderly man who was born in his cave there, and still lives there, the last and only resident of the city when it was emptied out of its residents to make way for tourists in the 1980's. He refused to leave. A wonderful character. We also had a fun time at the spice shop in Aquaba. Eddy and the owners seemed to be the best of friends but what was great for us was that we were able to taste a lot of the products and taste the tea. It was all so fresh compared with the stuff we get here. We bought rather a lot and the Jordanian tea with sage has already been enjoyed by some friends.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare to be overcome by the awesome scenery. Take sandals that can get wet in the Dead and Red Seas and embrace the absence of alcohol. Learn how to tie a scarf round your head......functional and fun!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go ahead and book this trip. We have travelled much further afield but Jordan offers the real attraction of a completely different culture, climate, history and very interesting position in the world!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Charlotte Ainge

    Amazing trip can’t recommend it enough

    Well organised, stress free and great itinerary with an amazing tour guide. If ever you was thinking about seeing Petra, this trip is the way to do it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The overnight stay in the Bedouin camp, we had a meal prepared for us out of a sand pit, and sat by a log fire underneath the stars in wadi rum. Absolutely incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Aladdin was amazing, super friendly and nothing was ever too much trouble. He was very informative and really passionate about the history and heritage of his country. He honestly made our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just to make the most of the optional extras on the trip. We done Petra by night and that was well worth seeing. The camel ride was fun and another tick off the bucket list. Aladdin also recommended Petra kitchen, where you get to cook your own Jordanian meal. After a long day walking it’ll be the last thing you want to do but if you push yourself it was a great evening with some of the best food we’d had the whole holiday- and bonus you get the recipes too.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Nick Bebb

    First Exodus trip

    Being solo this was my first time taking a group holiday and it was great. Nice people who all made me welcome and a fantastic trip. Jordan was a real eye opener with lots of WOW factors. The tour guide was a great guy and couldnt do enough for the group. If i could change anything about the trip it would be to have an additional day at Aqaba which looked like a great city. No words i can write can describe seeing Petra for the first time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Petra. Aqaba.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Top man - Eddie

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Another day in Aqaba
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Bhavika Halai

    Excellent trip to Jordan

    Overall a great trip to Jordan. Lots of adventure, culture and a great experience. Jordan is a beautiful country with friendly people. Our tour guide, Eddie is very passionate and knowledgeable about his country and we were very happy with his service.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Petra.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very passionate and enthusiastic

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sure to take yourself a torch for the night in the Bedouin camp and clothes to wrap up warm Inthe winter weather.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Sarah Robinson

    Great holiday, but communication could have been improved

    The week was very enjoyable and there was a lot to see and it was a very varied itinerary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting Petra and seeing the Treasury for the first time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alaa was clearly very knowledgeable about the history of Jordan and the sites that we visited. He was very friendly and helpful if you asked him a question. He gave us the opportunity to see the sites by ourselves once he had given us an overview, which was good and made the holiday feel less rushed. The main issue I had with him was that there were a number of occasions with poor communication. For example: - He said that Dead Sea mud products were expensive at the Dead Sea resort but cheaper at a shop we stopped at later, but this was not the case and the price difference was substantial. - He didn't explain that it was possible to buy Dead Sea mud at the Dead Sea from vendors on the seafront and therefore that we should take money with us down to the sea shore, rather than put it all in the lockers 5 minutes walk away. - There was confusion about whether we needed to pack a separate bag when staying at the Bedouin tent, but our main bags were brought to the camp anyway, despite being told this was not the case. - At the Red Sea resort it was not explained that there were other options for food, rather than just paying the 11JD for the group buffet. It would have been nice to have had the opportunity to try different foods rather than just the standard bread, hummus, meat skewers etc. - We stopped at a shop during one of the drives, and Alaa didn't explain why he got out but we couldn't. However, these were minor issues and the vast majority of the week was very well organised and planned.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Have fun - it's a fantastic and fascinating country. Bring some comfy shoes for Petra.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Sally Bruce

    A Week in Jordan

    Highlight was night in the desert. Trek round Petra also very good. Trip to Aqaba seemed a bit superfluous. Maybe cancel that and have two nights in desert camp instead? Plumbing in hotels variable in efficiency. Likewise air-conditioning on buses. Attempt to reduce use of plastic bottles laudable but unfortunately we found that we needed more than our own flask-full of water when leaving the coach for expeditions which meant we ended up buying plastic bottles as well. Could suggest having water 'on tap' in the hotel foyers as well as on the coach?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Night in the desert

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very conscientious, considerate and polite.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of loose, comfortable long-sleeved garments, not your best clothes!
  • 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.
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