Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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25 Reviews

  • Verdant Country with stunning flora & fauna - brilliantly viewed from both On and Off the Bike

    As with all Exodus cycle trips the cycling provides the foundation for a trip led by an expert guide and back-up team, in which you sample the best cycling terrain, food and drink and highlights of a foreign country. A group of strangers come together, bond remarkably quickly in this case, and leave two weeks later as friends. Costa Rica Coat to Coast was no exception. The highlights of Costa Rica are undoubtedly its flora and fauna. The estuary boat trip (Day 2), Manual Antonio NP (Day 3), ferry across Golfe Dulce plus Las Cruces Botanical Garden (Day 6) , and finally the fabulous Tortuguero NP (Day 11 & 12) are all must-see locations. Throw in the beautiful Central Highlands (Days 7-9), plus the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, and you have all the elements for a terrific two week trip though six of Costa Rica's seven provinces.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm no Attenborough yet was frankly in awe of the fantastic range, colour, sound and scale of the flora and fauna, and at such close quarters too. The designated highlights live up to their billing but is it often smaller moments that shine. Examples include a stop for fresh coconut at Playa Hermosa, walks along the beach on both coasts, a swim and beer near Puerto Viejo, the team riding formation and being overtaken by a local wearing flip flops, the serenity of the gardens by the ruined church where locals shared a Sunday picnic, & the bonding of the group - on and off the bike aided by beer, red wine and the occasional mojito. If I had to pick just one, it would be stopping mid ride in the Central Highlands, seeking a spot of shade sitting at a bus stop, and taking time to soak in the stunning views on both sides of the ridge. Picture postcard stuff. Wonderful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Robert Aguilar was an excellent Leader in the best tradition of Exodus Tour Guides. He was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, an excellent communicator, strong rider, and responsive & flexible to traveller requests and requirements. He was ably assisted by Mechanic Paul and Driver Luiz. Paul rode strongly at the front making a good but not furious speed which kept the faster riders safely in check but not frustrated by pace. Mechanical matters were few but dealt with with aplomb. Luiz was the archetypal driver - silent but quietly effective - always on the right place at the right time with everything done. Altogether a superb team and tribute to both Costa Rica and Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Whilst there are climbs, largely in the Central Highlands, the cycling is not overly difficult and heat & humidity more of an issue than the terrain. You don't notice it whilst riding but certainly do when you stop. Regular sunscreen and fluids a must. 2. My wife and I wore arm screens as sun protection and these were such a big hit that we lent our spare ones to our fellow riders. A buff/snood can also be handy. 3. I tried my brand new SPD-cleat cycling sandals on this trip and there were a revelation - highly recommended. 4. Take a light rain top for the occasional (heavy though not cold) shower. 5. Food is plentiful and good quality, and you do develop a taste for rice with beans in varying permutations. Fish good and some excellent steak also. Fruit plentiful - pineapple, watermelon, papaya, banana & mango. 6. You can drink the water in most places and in the few where you cannot, bottled water is available/provided. In the alternative, Chilean red wine or the local ("Imperial") beer will do. 7. There are a couple of laundry opportunities mid-trip so resist the temptation to pack too much kit - both on and off bike. 8. You don't need any local currency (colones) as US Dollars in cash (though not GBP) plus credit cards suffice everywhere.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I spent much off Week 2 chatting to Roberto about the Nicaragua/Costa Rica/ Panama trip, the hopefully re-launched new Guatemala/Honduras/El Salvador trip and the in-plan alternative Colombia trip. I have a feeling my wife and I will be returning to this part of the world.
  • Reviewed April 2022

    Fantastic Trip

    What a wonderful holiday. Costa Rica is glorious and the trip leader Roberto and his colleagues Paul and Lois were great. Lots of fun and encouraging on the tough bits. A great balance between cycling and enjoying the awesome Costa Rican wildlife and plant life. My fellow travellers were really friendly and interesting which is lovely when you are travelling on your own. I can’t wait to take another trip to cycle in Central America

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the Botanical Gardens and the wonderful accommodation there Swimming in the Caribbean and Pacific was a treat as was our visit to Tortgero

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was brilliant Excellent leadership . Really well informed and great communicator

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Relax and enjoy The group leader and his colleagues will support you if any of the cycling gets tough and the organisation allows you to let go of any stress Plenty of sun cream is needed !!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Had a lovely lovely invigorating holiday. Lots of fun Thank you Roberto Paul and Louis
  • You too can see a toucan, and sloths and monkeys from your bike

    This is a fantastic trip. In fact, its so fantastic that this was the second time I have been on it. I have also been on the Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama trip (again organized by the Costa Rican team). My experiences have been uniformly excellent. The trips have been well organized with knowledgeable and super helpful leaders, mechanics and drivers. The bikes have always been well-maintained. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with varied scenery and the Coast-to-Coast ride is carefully planned to allow you to experience the highlights. You will see spectacular birds and animals, hike in the rainforest, visit the lowlands and the mountains, check out Pacific and Caribbean beaches and of course, you will have fabulous cycling.
  • Slothful, but not in that way.

    A trip designed to show the diversity of Costa Rica whilst incorporating many good cycling days, and a range of activities. Busy, but there was a lot to squeeze in.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I just love hummingbirds, so an otherwise ordinary lunch stop turned in to a huge photo opportunity as the restaurant had feeders just outside the window to attract dozens of the tweety little things. Other than that, taking a boat to our Tortuguera hotel, relaxing in volcanic hot springs (with a bar), passing and smelling (eeuw) a palm oil factory, learning about tiny honey bees, not running off the road on a ferocious tarmac downhill and meeting a lovely bunch of like minded "cyclists" and crew.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I've been on many guided cycling trips with various companies including several with Exodus, and have always been thankful for the input of the guide. On this trip, our guide, Roberto, surpassed them all. There was nothing which was too much trouble, and no issue which he could not effortlessly resolve. Friendly, understanding and able to keep the group together in such a way that there never seemed to be any element of competition. A sense of humour. Information supplied along the way - tested by a challenging quiz on the last day where everyone won a prize!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can, arrive a few days before as your sleep patterns will need a few days to adjust. Having said that, the few that arrived within hours of the start coped heroically. Better than me in fact, who had 5 days to acclimatise. Expect some early starts. If you have to fit in a boat ride before breakfast, some cycling, a few hours in the transport, lunch, more cycling and still have time to relax in the pool before evening meal, you'll understand.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Must mention the driver, and mechanic/peloton-shepherd. Both outstanding in their roles. Driver combined speed with safety, could guide the vehicle through the tiniest gaps and remain calm when other less careful road users got themselves in very sticky situations. Our mechanic was invisibly keeping all the bikes in perfect order, but on the road, came out of nowhere to offer support or encouragement. He fist-bumped all, even the (ahem) slowest of us.
  • If a toucan can so can you

    This is a full-on roller coaster of a trip - early starts, fabulous wildlife, intense heat, torrential downpours, great food, expert guides, friendly people and the best pineapple you'll find anywhere in the world - all in the very safe hands of Roberto and his fantastic team. And there toucans!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's a tour made up of lots of moments - a two toed sloth with her baby; a three toed sloth; tiny scarlet poison dart frogs and multi coloured crabs; watching two crocs mate (blimey that was quick); cocktails overlooking the Caribbean; the first decent photo of a toucan - and of course the first two cans of Imperial at the end of every day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We've done many of these tours and I can honestly say that Roberto is one of the best tour leaders that we've ever had. Nothing is too much trouble - knowledgeable, friendly, willing to flex the trip to accommodate the group and doing everything he can to give the best experience of Costa Rica. Along with Paul (guide, fixer of punctures and hoover-upper up of the back markers) and Luis (excellent driver and gatherer of best pineapple, papaya, mangos and melons for snacks) this is a dream team!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can spare an extra day or two, get out a bit early and get over your jet lag before the tour starts. And with no rest days, packing cubes are a godsend. Other than that, do whatever Roberto asks, grab every experience on offer and sleep it all off on your overnight flight home!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Costa Rica relies heavily on tourism and suffered badly from the pandemic - so go as soon as you can (two can?)
  • Reviewed March 2022

    Cycling Costa Rica

    Amazing trip! The wildlife, from monster crocs, toucans ( group joke!!) Sloths and turtles and the flora is just out of this world! March is hot! Roberto, Paul and Luis were a brilliant team. Go there to pedal hard, have great fun with the group and just take it all in!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many! I loved the biological research station as I'm mad about plants! But the boat trips were great, the guided walks, the wildlife ( I never got the sloth thing, now I do!!) Swimming in the Pacific and Carribean. And pedalling every inch of the trip!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto is just lovely! His enthusiasm and knowledge about his country is infectious. He's also very good at keeping a group focused , as in herding cats! Couldn't ask for a better team leader. Shout out to Paul our other rider and mechanic. The most lovely, smiliest and helpful guy and Luis our driver. Totally unflappable and finder of the best fruit!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy every moment!! It really helps to be cycling fit as it got to 43°C on several days! Take a decent camera, a phone just doesn't do the closeups, was so glad I did. Learn a few Spanish words! Mozzies weren't really an issue. Sunscreen is a must! I was glad I had a helmet with a visor! Your washing doesn't dry outside, it's too humid! Do it when you have a room with aircon! I took way too much luggage. Take half what you think you'll need. Meals were not quite as expensive as the Exodus trip notes suggest. Roberto paid for all lunches then billed us at the end. So much easier than faffing about individually and saved a lot of time. The first couple of days are really hard. Jetlag, acclimatising to the heat and a lot of busy roads. However, the traffic is totally bike friendly and you do get used to the heat fairly quickly!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do it!!
  • Reviewed March 2022

    Ups & Downs !

    Overall enjoyed seeing Costa Rica and its amazing wildlife, rivers and jungles. As 'newbies' to Exodus and this kind of cycling holiday, there were some disappointments for me that coloured the enjoyment of the trip somewhat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved Tortugero boat trips and generally the nature tours whether walking or on boat were the highlights. Staying in jungle environment, open to nature was great. Our 'twitchers' in the group rewarded us all with their expert bird spotting and in fact the group overall was great fun and we all got on well together. There was a scenic ridge ride with Costa Rica on one side and Panama on the other plus some great downhill runs and nice runs through villages in the second week.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was excellent in his guiding and knowledge.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for heat and humidity. We were frequently riding in over 30 degrees C and it reached 39 degrees at one point. We were riding frequently in full sun. Don't bother with too many clothing items for cooler temperatures. And keep it simple, you're living out of a case or bag, changing hotels every day so you never unpack.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I agree with a previous reviewer re the first 2-3 days riding on the Pacific highway. This was frankly not great - we saw very little apart from open road and big trucks from the hard shoulder - really not what we expected at all. Could the trip have started elsewhere avoiding this highway ? Maybe we could have spent more time on the coasts enjoying beaches as well as cycling - we only had one ocean swim on Pacific side and one opportunity on Caribbean but it was cool and rainy. A couple of 2 night stays would also have been very welcome. There were 2 poor quality hotels located centrally where we were left in the early afternoon with literally nothing to do. One hotel had no water supply until mid evening and no pool. At the other the highlight was literally a walk to the ATM machine ! We would have loved to have had a mid-morning coffee stop on our rides and the lunch at a bus station didn't impress. I think there is a real need for changing these elements of the itinerary.
  • Reviewed February 2022

    What a fantastic way to see the country and its wildlife

    If you’ve not visited Central America and not sure what to expect, wow this country is amazing. Climate, scenery, wildlife, people, bikes, tour guide Roberto, his team of Paul and Luis all make this a must place to visit and if you enjoy cycling that makes it an even better experience!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It’s difficult to pick as we had so many outstanding experiences. From river safaris, guided walks in National parks, swimming in Pacific, cycling through the highlands away from traffic on excellent roads but one which does stand out for me is the amazing number of colourful birds not only on our guided tours but just in the gardens and car parks where we stayed each night. I shouldn’t miss out that we also saw sloths, iguanas, monkeys, crocs too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was very professional, kind, nothing was too much trouble and he made sure everyone had the best experience possible. He was well organised, one of the days we had rain and couldn’t do to walk in the afternoon but he worked hard to fill the rest of the day with offering us other options so we didn’t miss out. His passion for his country was shown in his commentary on and off the bike and bus. His team of Paul the mechanic and Luis the driver made the whole trip run like clock work.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just book it! It’s a full on trip as with all Exodus trips and if you’re going for the first time read the trip notes and reviews it will help with being organised as you have new accommodation every night.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Food was good, lunchtimes usually stopping off at canteen style places and evening a good mix of restaurants, all reasonably priced.
  • Reviewed February 2022

    Excellent Trip

    Excellent trip, great cycling, great tour leader, terrific birds and wildlife, fantastic group of cyclists. All accommodation was a good standard

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing all the wildlife and colourful birds. The enthusiasm of the local staff and their knowledge of their country.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was a fantastic group leader who went out of his way to make sure all members of the group were happy. He worked very hard throughout the trip to ensure everything ran smoothly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It gets very hot when cycling especially up some of the hills. Take a buff you can soak in water to put round your neck to keep cool. Take a camera and binoculars and maybe even a book of birds of Costa Rica.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some of the hills are long and it gets very hot, do a little training before you go. There is no problem though as the team are happy to put your cycle on the van at any time, if you want you could just ride the downhills!!!
  • Reviewed February 2022

    Absolutely brilliant

    Fantastic trip. The best of Costa Rica. Having previously cycled the Nicagura/Costa Rica/Panama trip with Exodus, my husband and I were keen to return to cycle Costa Rica coast to coast to see this beautiful country and its wildlife properly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip was fantastic and offered a variety of places and activities not repeated from previous trip. Three river safaris, staying the rainforest, experiencing contrast of the Pacific and Caribbean coast were great. I feel as if I've seen this magnificent country in full and loved every moment of the itinerary.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    On arrival I was thrilled to see Roberto as our guide once again. An absolutely outstanding guide. Roberto attended to everyone's individual requests from enthusiastic bird watchers, priority of some keen cyclists, wildlife lovers, a great balance which suited everyone in our group. Roberto is excellent in demonstrating our routes on a map, went out of his way to not only ensure each individual personally got what they wanted from this trip, safety came first, created Whatsapp group to unite all members of our team, nothing was too much trouble, his knowledge and history of Costa Rica was superb. I can't rate Roberto highly enough and he will have my vote as Guide of the Year. Paul, Roberto's assistant and mechanic was also a huge credit to the team, going out of his way to support all levels of cyclists.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't hesitate, just book.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you have already cycled Nicagura/Costa Rica/Panama, I also recommend this trip to see Costa Rica properly.