Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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44 Reviews

  • Reviewed July 2014
    John Heyward

    Iceland Northern Lights

    For a short exposure to the spectacular volcanic and glacial scenery of Iceland, and the opportunity dependent on conditions to see the Northern Lights, this Exodus trip takes some beating. As always, weather conditions will influence the experience, but sharing with a small but similarly interested group and a quality guide serve to enhance the enjoyment factor.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoying a crisp but clear evening away from all light pollution, therefore a spectacular night sky enhanced by the developing Northern Lights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Flexible and attentive to the needs and comfort of group members, knowledgable and informative, and full of local folklore and amusing anecdotes to fill the quieter moments.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Follow Exodus advice on clothing because it is cold! Be ready for conditions not to be right for the Northern Lights, and if you do see them, expect them to be less colourful than most photographs suggest but be amazed by what the camera sees.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were gifted with wonderful weather conditions which meant that driving through the spectacular and scenic countryside, and exploring coasts, attractions and glaciers were all especially rewarding. We under expected and Iceland over delivered - probably a wise starting point? The only grim (grey and snowing) day was the final one, when we explored lava tubes and swam in the thermal lake...perfect conditions for both! Quite a lot of driving but lots to see and learn about.
  • Reviewed April 2014

    Beautiful Iceland

    Well-thought itinerary that allows you to see the highlights of Iceland in just 5 days with stunning scenery and great activities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were lucky to see them for one night only, but seeing the Northern Lights is truly magical, especially with Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon as the backdrop. Jokulsarlon black beach is stunning too and glacier walking was amazing. Great photos opportunities, the striking contrast of the black sand and the blue ice at the beach, and the layers of black ashes and blue ice on the glacier.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kristjan is an excellent guide. Landscapes are beautiful, but he also made me interested in the culture and the people. He's very knowledgeable, full of interesting stories, he made sure everything run smoothly and managed to avoid the crowd. He did his best for us to see the Northern Lights depending on the conditions and made various stops en route to take photos.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of layers, I think we were lucky with the weather as it wasn't that cold, but it's better to have more, as it's safe to leave things in the bus. There was still a lot of snow on the ground. Seeing the Northern Lights is hit and miss, sometimes the forecast is promising but you don't see them, sometimes the forecast is not great but you see an amazing show. So when you do, be prepared to stay out late at night in the cold. Also, they can appear a bit dull to the naked eye, they look more greyish than vivid green, but you can still see the strands and the flares and don't get me wrong it's absolutely fantastic. But I would advise to have a DSRL camera with a fast lens (at least F2.8) and a tripod, then with the correct settings, Kristjan will help you, but usually ISO 800, F2.8 at 15 seconds, and the colours will pop on your photos. I truly recommend renting a camera and/or a lens if you don't.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I know it's called 'Northern Lights Iceland' but don't expect to see them, and if you do, it will be a real bonus. This trip has enough activities and stunning landscapes to keep you busy all day and being an amazing trip on its own. Just go, either way, you won't be disappointed. If you want to visit Reykjavik, go a day or 1/2 day earlier. The city center is small enough to walk around, feeling very safe, everyone is friendly and speaks English, with a nice 'arty' atmosphere.
  • Reviewed January 2014
    Anonymous

    ICELAND NORTHERN LIGHTS

    A packed itinerary that gives you the opportunity to experience a lot that this fantastic country has to offer. Stunning scenery and a fantastic guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The amazing glaciers and ice on the beach - very difficult to describe if you haven't seen it. Breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kristjan was absolutely brilliant from the moment we met him at the airport. He's so passionate and knowledgeable about his country that I've learnt loads about Icelandic culture, geology and history. Nothing is too much trouble for him. Thank you so much!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take LOTS of thermal layers you'll never have enough! You can get soaked at the waterfalls so waterproofs are a must. I could've done with something to cover my face as the windchill is painful without it (especially when it's raining/snowing at the same time). There are a few long drives as other reviews mention but there are many stops to break it up and Kristjan made sure we had lots of opportunities to take photos of the stunning landscape.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My first (and definitely not last) Exodus trip - I was a little apprehensive about it but I needn't have worried. Will definitely like to return in the summer. The only slight negative is that we didn't spend much time in Reykjavic itself - would be good to have the opportunity to do a day tour of the city. 
  • Reviewed December 2013
    Anonymous

    ICELAND NORTHERN LIGHTS

    A brilliant trip! Would love to visit Iceland again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were really lucky to see the Northern Lights on our first night. Wasn't the brightest night but still an experience. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip, particularly enjoyed the morning we got up early to watch the sunrise on the beach and the lagoon full of icebergs. The glacier walking was good fun, something I've not done before. Quite easy to get the hang of but coming back down was a little scary if you're not steady on your feet. Was really interesting going into the lava tube and learning about its formation and the Blue Lagoon is a must. Wish we had more time to spend there!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kristjan is a brilliant group leader.  He looked after us really well and was incredibly informative about Iceland, its culture and history. He took us to some lovely restaurants, one which served some every tasty horse steaks. Felt we were in every good hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Layers are definitely the key and waterproof trousers.  It got pretty windy at some points and waterproof trousers were essential. Also the right socks, as I found my feet got very cold very quickly even though I was wearing 2 pairs of thermal socks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip didn't disappoint, loved that we had so much to do. Would of love to go back in the summer.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    ICELAND NORTHERN LIGHTS

    This was probably one of the best holidays that i have been on and a great taster for seeing what Iceland has to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Where do i begin? There were so many. Iceland is a fantastic place - stunning views of snow covered volcanoes; black sand beaches covered with 'diamonds' of  ice decorating the shore and waves crashing in over the Icebergs in the sea; lichen covered fields of lava that seem to go on forever; waterfalls that take your breath away; a truly stunning iceberg lagoon that i could have spent the whole day watching and a walk on a glacier - something i never thought i would experience.Of course the one big reason for going is to see the Northern Lights and i wasn't disappointed. To see them dancing across the sky is a view i will never forget - even if my own photos of the event didn't turn out too well.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Petur was brilliant and really made us all feel so welcome to a country that he obviously loves. His ' No Stress Bus' was well stocked with great snacks to keep us going on our trip in the south of the island. He helped make the trip so special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of warm clothing and layer up to keep the chill out. Iceland can have all seasons in an hour let alone a day so be prepared. You'll need warm gloves for Northern Light watching unless you have ones that you can use your camera with. A good hat that will cover your ears is also very useful.I took both good walking boots for the day and insulated snow boots for the evening when you are standing around and not generating too much heat. One thing i would recommend is if you are a photographer make sure you know exactly how to set up your camera for taking photos at night. There are some good YouTube videos that might help. It's an experience that you won't want to miss and being prepared will make sure you see the lights with your own eyes and not just through the lense of a camera all the time. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have been way as a solo traveller for last few years but never on an organised trip. This was my first time and although i wasn't at all worried , there was an element of apprehension of how everyone would get on. Why did i worry ?? The 'Icelandic Crew' were brilliant and we all got on very well from day 1. That's what helped to make the trip so special.I would recommend this trip to anyone wanting to get a taste of the country. It's definitely a place that i would like to re-visit and see more of. 
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    ICELAND NORTHERN LIGHTS

    Iceland is an amazing country with some very dramatic scenery.  Although a short trip, we packed a lot into the time available.  Seeing the Northern Lights (as we did) is undoubtedly a bonus - but even if you don't get an Aurora sighting, the trip is still very worthwhile.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Without doubt the glacier day.  We awoke to bright blue skies and sunshine.  The walk over the glacier was amazing.  Because of the excellent weather conditions, we were able to spend longer on the glacier than usual and also got a lot closer to the glacial lagoon.  Next stop was the glacial lagoon from "the tourist side", and then down to the beach to see the icebergs.  After an action-packed day, there was just time to pop into the small museum before a sustaining meal.  It was then off again in search of the Northern Lights, which we were fortunate to see.  A perfect end to a perfect day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Petur was a great guy with a wonderful sense of humour.  He was willing "to go the extra mile" to ensure that we got the most out of our relatively short trip.  He was full of interesting information and told us lots of tales - we even watched "The Deep" on the Iceland Air flight on the way home, after hearing his story about "a troll".

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take LOTS of warm clothing.  Practise with the manual settings on your camera before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Four nights is quite a short time to spend in Iceland, although we packed an awful lot in - we were just beginning to get to know each other when it was time to go home!  If possible, try and tag some extra days on to the trip, either at the beginning or the end.  We spent three nights in Reykjavik at the beginning of the holiday (stayed in the Reykjavik Residence Hotel, which we can thoroughly recommend).  We were fortunate to see the Northern Lights on our very first night (on an organised tour from Reykjavik).  Unfortunately, we didn't get any photos as we were still getting to grips with the manual settings on the camera.  However, it meant that by the time we saw the Northern Lights with the Exodus group, we were much better prepared and got some good photos.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    ICELAND NORTHERN LIGHTS

    Wow, what can I say, it was brilliant!!! My first group holiday and I definately chose well.  Glacier trekking was awesome, we were lucky to have fantastic weather on this day, we also saw the iceberg lagoon and yes, later that evening we saw the Northern Lights too.  While in the East we stayed on a farm which was located in front of mountains and just in front of the ocean, a beautiful setting!  Petur the guide was great, incredibly knowledgeable about Iceland - past and present, we had all sorts of stories from him about the Vikings, he was a good laugh, oh and he has a very large box full of nibbles on the mini bus, this went down very well! :)  .  Caving was great too, but I was very nervous as I'm not good with small spaces, you didnt have to do the caving, but Petur reassured me and looked after me the whole time, definately worth doing! All together an excellent holiday, there's some travelling but lots of stops to see waterfalls and sites, oh and the food was good too, especially the trout at the farm, yummy.  The whole experience was that good that I'm planning my next holiday with Exodus already.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Glacier trekking, absolutely loved this, it was difficult to take in the views around you, it was like you were in a picture postcard, so peaceful and beautiful and very breathtaking.  Everytime you looked up (you had to concentrate where you were walking) you just simply said to yourself.....WOWWW!!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant!  Looked after everyone, was fun and interesting too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take salopettes, it's not on the list of items to take, but you do need them, most people had them and were greatful for taking them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't hesitate, book it!
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    ICELAND NORTHERN LIGHTS

    A fairly intense itinerary that enables you to see stunning scenery and magnificent waterfalls and if you are lucky, some fantastic northern lights.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the immense and beautiful Skogarfoss waterfall. The dramatic landscape is amazing. Just watching the amount of water pouring over the edge was so incredible. Hearing the noise and standing in the spray from the water was awesome.We were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on two nights. Worth going just to see the thousands of stars as well. So pretty.A trip to the blue lagoon was a relaxing end to the holiday.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Petur was well organised and was able to tell us a lot about the geography, geology and cultural history of Iceland.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you take enough warm clothing as night viewing was extremely cold. We wore ski gear and thermals at night.Practice your night photography before the journey as trying to familiarise yourself with manual settings is not ideal in the dark whilst trying to watch the Northern Lights.
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    ICELAND NORTHERN LIGHTS

    An excellent short trip to Iceland, made unforgettable by being fortunate enough to see the Northern Lights only a few hours after arrival.  But sorry not to have had a few hours available to explore the heart of Reykjavik which looked both interesting and charming. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Undoubtably seeing the Northern Lights.  We were so fortunate, as they appeared only a few hours after we arrived, before we'd even had chance to check-in to our hotel.     

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good.  With a pretty good command of English, and a decent sense of humour.  Knowledgable and good company when relaxing over dinner in the evening.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take warm clothing - lots of it as you may well end up spending a long time standing about in the middle of the night waiting and wanting to see the Lights.  Knowing that as soon as you decide to give up because you are too cold they will probably appear.  Thermal socks, thermal gloves, a thermal hat and thermal underwear (despite being about as sexy as a cold shower) are essential.  And a good pair of boots.  Also, learn how to use your camera in the pitch darkness whilst wearing gloves to enable you to take night-time photos.  Tip - wear an inner pair of light woolen gloves inside your thermal gloves, so that when you take your outergloves off to fiddle with your camera your fingers don't freeze.  Alternatively, ask one of your travelling companions - the one with the expensive camera, tripod and all the kit - to emal his/her photos to you when you get back home.  A couple of beers / glasses of wine will probably be sufficient to complete the deal.  Then just enjoy. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be the envy of your friends - catch the Lights while you can.  
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    ICELAND NORTHERN LIGHTS

    This was an amazing trip - Iceland proved to be a very interesting and beautiful country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking on the glacier definitely, closely followed by the lava cave and seeing the Northern Lights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kristjian was great, very knowledgeable and passionate about his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is well worth doing, even if you are not lucky enough to see the Northern Lights.  Be prepared for any weather.  Gerdi guesthouse was comfortable and catered well for vegetarians, but if you are eating out, Iceland is not particularly veggie-friendly.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Fab-u-lous daaarling!