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 March 2017
    Duncan Magrath

    Great trip to see Northern Lights

    We had a wonderful holiday, and cannot recommend Andy Friluftssenter enough. Nigel and Ingvild went out of their way to make us feel welcome and ensure that we had a good time. If you are searching for the Northern Lights, you need to accept that nature will not always play ball and so it is important that you enjoy the rest of your time here and treat the Northern Lights as a bonus rather than the only reason for coming. We had heavy cloud cover and snow for three days, but for our last night the cloud disappeared and we saw the Northern Lights. We had a bright full moon, without which they probably would have been even more spectacular. Even if we had not seen them, we would have had a great few days, with the wonderful views and lovely food. My wife is a coeliac, and the gluten free bread and rolls they baked were delicious, and they also coped with a lactose intolerant guest. All food is local with each night a different meal. Cod, Char and Moose pie were delicious and then on the last night venison cooked in front of us on an open fire in a Lavvo, while we popped in and out looking at the lights. We had a different activity in each day, a trip to the Andoya research centre, where we learnt about the Northern Lights, and had great fun in a simulated space mission. On the second day, we had a visit to a reindeer farm to meet the jolliest of Sami farmers, and learnt about her traditions and met the reindeer. On the third day we went ice fishing on a lake, and cooked what we caught on an open fire. Each day was different and thoroughly enjoyable, and was much more fun and interesting than I had expected. We went in early March, and despite being in the artic circle, it was not too cold, apparently due to the Gulf Stream. So pack lots of thin layers, and ski gear is fine. There is no light pollution (other than the moon) so there is no need to go driving long distances to search for the Lights, you literally do walk outside and look upwards. If you want to take photos though, you must have a tripod. We thought that a four night trip was going to be one night too long, but in fact it was perfect, the variety of activities meant every day was different, and of course there is a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights. In our case if it had been a three night trip, we would have missed them. So overall an excellent trip, we had good company, excellent hosts, and of course we were fortunate to see the Northern Lights. Easy for us to say now, but we really would have enjoyed it if we hadn't seen the lights.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last night was very special. Wonderful food cooked in the Lavvo, dashing in and out to look at the changing Northern Lights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nigel was excellent. Went out of his way to ensure we had as enjoyable a holiday as possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to have a wonderful time, even if you don't see the lights. Pack as if going on a ski trip.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Christine Gau

    Amazing lights

    With Northern Lights you are always cautious, and I went knowing that we may not get them, but we we very lucky and had lights on each of the 4 nights. So if that happens don't expect any rest. The location of Andoy Friluftssenter is great, you have options of either staying close to your cabin and nipping back in side during a beak in the lights, or a couple of places down on the waterside with no more that a 10 min walk giving you plenty of options, and then if on one of Paul's groups as we were the ability to go further afield in the minibus. The days are filled, as well so don't think this will a restful break. The Andoy Friluftssenter is great, the location, the cabins, the host and the food. A great weekend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the Northern Lights, they are magical and you do need to remember at some point to put down your camera and watch what is happening around you, as at times for us is was a full 360 degree view.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul is passionate about getting you in the right spot so not for the fainthearted as he works tirelessly to get all of you there.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure that you know your camera, and are confident that you can make changes to the settings in the dark. Wrap up warm - you can be out there for a long time so layers are important.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great long weekend, packed with activities so that even if the lights don't appear you will still have things to do.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Please note this review refers to the Photographic Special departure with Paul Goldstein. This has a slightly different itinerary to the regular trips, which Paul does not lead.

  • Reviewed February 2016
    Joanne Hart

    Northern de-Lights

    This trip ticked every box and exceeded my expectations and I think I can say the same for the whole of the group... The accommodation, food (in particular the Moose Pie), location, hosts (Nigel & Ingvild) and hospitality were all top notch. We crammed so much into 4 days - it felt like I'd been away for at least a week. The main purpose of the trip was to photograph the Northern Lights and boy, did they deliver? Yes, they did.... 4 nights on the trot for hours at a time - I felt truly blessed to be there!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Northern Lights of course!! And seeing a shooting star on my birthday...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well, what can you say about Paul Goldstein? He certainly worked hard making sure we all had lots of photo opportunities and make the most of the lights

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you like photography, the cold and northern lights then book it!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Did I mention the Moose Pie?

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Please note this review refers to the Photographic Special departure with Paul Goldstein. This has a slightly different itinerary to the regular trips, which Paul does not lead.

  • Reviewed February 2016
    Alison Bowditch

    Northern Lights with Paul Goldstein

    Andoy is spectacularly beautiful and we were incredibly lucky to see the lights every night - how brilliant was that!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I don't know that I had any inspirational moments but I loved the silence and the feeling of remoteness PLUS the whale trip with five sightings in between blizzards was wonderful

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul's passion is boundless and his obsession for ensuring his group squeeze the hell out of both their shutters and the potential he finds in a range of situations is legend. He's clearly a disciple of Rabbi Ben Hei Hei who said "According to the pain is the gain" - be prepared to work as hard as he does - put in the effort and graft so that by the end of your time with Paul you are a better photographer - you'll see your work and technique improve.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On the photography side - us poor Nikon users or heaven forbid Fuji or Sony or worse still mirrorless will be pilloried and belittled because [according to the oracle] only Canon know how to make cameras. So be prepared to stick up for your brand but more importantly make sure you know how your camera works and if you don't then bring your manual. Bring a polariser too in case you get to go on the whale safari. On the clothing side - I feel the cold and even though I had all the right gear my hands were frozen - Paul gave me some of those hand warmers which really helped

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Please note this review refers to the Photographic Special departure with Paul Goldstein. This has a slightly different itinerary to the regular trips, which Paul does not lead.

  • Reviewed February 2016
    Elaine Vanorden

    Artic Lights Holiday

    I went on this trip last year and although the weather was bad and there was limited showings of the Northern Lights, the location, accommodation and the potential for great photos drew me back again this year. I was not disappointed. There was a Northern light showing every night and in addition the weather was good enough for us to go on a whale safari. I have never seen sperm whale before but this trip was amazing with great shots of 4 different whale flukes. The accommodation was great and the food was exceptional. The hosts Nigel and Ingvild were very welcoming. I would highly recommend this holiday for anyone looking to photograph the Northern lights, although there is no guarantee of seeing the lights, this area is still a stunning location which is totally crowd free.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the Sunday night we had a fantastic display of Northern lights which started at about 6pm and went on, on and off well into the early hours. Views of the lights up by the frozen lake were particularly spectacular with mountains as a backdrop.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As always Paul delivered in his own inevitable style. He made a great call on the whale safari. When we turned up on the Saturday, there was another 40 tourists waiting to go out on the same trip. Always wanting to do the best for his group Paul managed to negotiate a separate trip just for our group on the Sunday, which meant that we had more space, on what would otherwise been quite a crowded boat. Thanks Paul!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Individuals should expect long days, well on into the early hours if they want to get the most out of this Northern Light adventure. Some of the best light showings were between 2 - 3am.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although the holiday is graded as moderate, there were some people in the group who clearly missed out on getting to some of the better photographic locations as they were unable to negotiate the deep snow as a result of injury or their general fitness level. This probably needs to be made more obvious in the holiday description.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Please note this review refers to the Photographic Special departure with Paul Goldstein. This has a slightly different itinerary to the regular trips, which Paul does not lead.

  • Reviewed February 2016
    Simon Vanorden

    Arctic Lights Holiday

    There is no better place to see the Northern Lights. It is all on your doorstep, with no need to travel for hours on a coach or minibus. If they are showing and the weather is kind, step out of your cabin and admire the awesome display all around you. The food and accommodation are excellent. The hosts Nigel and Ingvild are fantastic. This was my second trip and would recommend it to anyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being bathed in a heavenly green light so bright, that you didn't need a torch to see your way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He always strive to ensure that everyone got the most out of our short time. I still can't believe it was only 4 days, it seems like it was a two week break, we did so much.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you wan't to see the Northern Lights in a remote location on your doorstep (weather and lights permitting), with excellent accommodation, fantastic food, book it now.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whilst the trip is shown as moderate for fitness, it may be worth making reference that some of the best locations to photograph the Northern Lights, may have deep uncleared snow which may be difficult for those with limited mobility.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Please note this review refers to the Photographic Special departure with Paul Goldstein. This has a slightly different itinerary to the regular trips, which Paul does not lead.

  • Reviewed February 2016
    Eugenio Grandi

    Our Magical Arctic Lights Trip, February 2016

    We only decided on our adventure to find the Northern Lights two weeks before and we had never heard of Exodus. We were attracted by the Arctic Lights web page - and how lucky we were to find the best possible experience we could imagine. Being new to this kind of adventure, we had lots of questions and the Exodus staff were promptly on hand to answer all our queries each time we called. From the moment we joined the group to our final sad farewell at the end of the trip our holiday was fun, inspiring, exhilarating and quite magical. At the outset we thought our main aim was to see the Lights but by the time we had visited the Aurora Space Centre, eaten Arctic salmon, mousse and reindeer stew, fished on an ice lake and spent a cosy evening in a Norwegian Lavvo, experiencing the Lights was an unexpected bonus - and what a show it was! Our tour leaders Nigel and Ingvild could not have more welcoming or helpful at every turn. We felt like cosseted guests at the Friluftssenter, which quickly felt like home, warm and welcoming after busy days. The group was a good mix of seasoned travellers and novices of differing ages and we quickly bonded and had fun together. The Space Centre experience served as an ice breaker and team builder and we all enjoyed each others' company and humour. This may have been our first Exodus trip but it certainly wont be our last!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is hard to pick one specific moment. Obviously the Lights were a highlight - but so were all of the other activities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes are comprehensive and very helpful. Even with milder than expected weather (only down to -2) it was important to come prepared for the cold. Having followed instructions we were toasty and warm throughout.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you to everyone at Exodus who made this trip so outstanding. Hazel and Eugenio
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Christine Byrne

    artic lights, norway

    I love the Vesteralen islands, they are beautiful and rugged and the coast line is amazing so was happy to see a trip to that part of Norway in the brochure for the northern lights. The weather was against us but we did see lights on the last night. Good activities during the day although with better weather we would have been able to do more - the visit to the space centre on Andoya was interesting and the chance to play mission control and fly the space craft Aurora was great fun. The accommodation at the Friluftssenter and the food was excellent and hosts/guide were informative, relaxed and entertaining.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Nothing inspirational - seeing the northern lights is always amazing but I had seen better in terms of seeing the colours with the naked eye but the photos people were taking were amazing with really intense green colours.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nigel was efficient, relaxed, informative and had a good sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    even if you have a simple point and shoot camera, it is worth taking a tripod and having a go at taking photos of the northern lights - the colours are more intense

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    a walking and whale watching holiday in this area would be a good addition to the brochure
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