Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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73 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2012
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    Then best holiday for a long long time. Partly because everyone on the holiday was really great but also because it was really well organised and with great backup. Freddy and Thomas were really friendly and informative. I got the feeling that they really wanted us to enjoy our holiday. All the Cubans we met were friendly. A real feel good holiday. The cycling was nicely balanced with a real sense of acheivement at the end of each day

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots of things. The last days cycling had some real highs. I enjoyed Havana and Trinidad. Nice sightseeing and also the beach in Trinidad. Cubans trying to teach me to play the guitar etc..

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The best. I was very disorganised at the start of trip and Freddy was very helpful in sorting everything out. He really wanted us to enjoy our holiday, get to know Cuba and its history, gave us a good personal perspective and we got to see the best of Cuba. Top bloke

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have clip in peddles and your favourite saddle you can certainly bring them. The bikes were good quality front suspension mountian bikes. A racer with thin wheels wouldn't be suitable. I hybrid even without suspension would probably be suitable. The roads on this trip were reasonable quality provided you are sensible and avoid the larger pot holes

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think that Cubans try to conserve water so don't expect to have a very warm shower ever day. Having said tha that I had a really great time.
  • Reviewed November 2012
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    I very much enjoyed travelling around Cuba, learning about its history and seeing its beautiful countryside in action. Our guide, Freddy was excellent: informative and thoughtful. It was great to be in a group where you could share discoveries and talk about everything we were seeing and learning.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling through the rich countryside, past farms and forests.. fragrent and fertile!But the historic visits were much more interesting than I expected and I felt much better informed by the time I left - was glad to learn it all.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Just brilliant: Freddy told us so much about Cuban history and helped us look at what we were seeing with informed gaze. Always ready to answer questions and help us get the best out of our stay. He was relaxed, cheerful and patient with us all!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    BRING YOUR OWN SADDLE! the saddles on the hire bikes were excruciatingly hard and knobbly and those who brought their own had a much better time. Bring a universal bath plug - several places had no plugs. Make it clear what degree of cycling energy you plan to put in - and don't be deterred by others with a different outlook.Several of our party were there for the cycling 'challenge' of travelling quickly through the terrain. This made a difficult contradiction with my motivation - at 66 I was there 'to see Cuba by bicycle'.. you can't see much if you are rushing to the max. If you are like me and don't want to rush, stick to your guns, don't be hurried and in extremis  get on the bus! Get out and explore each of the places you stay in: you will be surrounded by wonders and you are VERY safe: just ENJOY!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you! I would be inclined to rate my cyc;ing holiday itinerary as mostly 'moderate' rather than 'easy'... and I think you could try to recruit people of similar motivations for the same trip. I felt sometimes under pressure for not being interested in racing to the next rendezvous... But our guide was to be congratulated and thanked for introducing us so thoughtfully - through his introductory 'lectures' and explanations -  to his wonderful country. I would love to come here again under my own steam and bring my children to enjoy it too.
  • Reviewed November 2012
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    Brilliant trip.Good organisation and excellent leader in fabulous country. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    1950s classic car ride into Havana followed by an evening at the Buenavista Social Club.This was organised by our trip leader, something he did not have to do!What a night. Unmissable! 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb - he really did his best for us.Very professional, patient, well organised and really wanted to show us around his fascinating country of which he was very proud. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely bring a back pack and, if possible, the best camera you can!Keep lots of small change for little tips - even just for taking a picture of someone.Totallly concur with Exodus' advice regarding small cheap gifts - pens, crayons, perfume samplers.Prepare to accept that everything will not happen quite as you expect or plan - but it will turn out all right in the end - if not better!! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go there - before it changes!Prepare to have your opinion of the country altered. 
  • Reviewed August 2012
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    We hadn't been on this kind of holiday before and it far exceeded our expectations.  Although only 8 days from start to finish, and including cycling on most days, we also had time for sightseeing and visiting historic places of interest.  Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable about all things Cuban (history, social aspects, birdlife, flora and fauna.....) and entertained us all with his knowledge during the coach transfers from place to place.  Transferring by coach allowed us to see different parts of Cuba in just a few days.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not just one moment, but seeing real Cuban life as we cycled along was fascinating.  Trips to a salsa club in Trinidad were fun too, great music and Mojitos.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Freddie was the icing on the cake.  Have already said how knowledgeable he was, also nothing was ever too much trouble - we asked him endless questions  but he was always happy to share what he knew about his country, often offering fascinating personal insights.  He also had a great sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take padded cycling shorts and maybe a gel saddle cover.  We used over a bottle of DEET too (in August) but didn't get bitten.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just do it!  It may seem a long way for 8 days, but it was so worth it. 
  • Reviewed June 2012
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    Great trip, fantastic way to see a country. friendly people, amazing sights, fab music and mojitos.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finishing the cycling on the last day - up the hill - great achievment and amazing scenery

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group Leader was fantastic - knowledgeable, friendly, responsible and good fun. very patient, nothing was too much trouble

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    - Take plenty of sunscreen, insect repellent and tolietries. Things are hard to come by. Take plenty of cash - cash points work but can be difficult and plenty of the places are remote. - Take a padded seat cover to put over your seat
  • Reviewed March 2012
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    This is my 5th cycle trip (4th of which with Exodus). Done about 20 group trips such as this to dateCouple of points-    Most people spent about 200 pounds (best to take GBP), generally easy to change along the way, incl in Hotels so don’t change too much up front. Everything is paid in CUC, so no option to pay in EUR/GBP (USD is not a good idea !)-    Bikes were all in excellent condition, many in the group took gel saddle covers, the roads are quite bumpy !-    There are 2 good (scuba) dive sites where I stopped to dive , Caleta Buena and Guajimico (day 1 and 2 on land only itinary) , although the guide didn’t seem to know much about them. Diving was generally 25 CUC (40 CUC for the cave dive near Calenta Buena), if you book thru a hotel, add 40%, so best book direct. (take your dive card !)-    Most companies are moving to local guides to contain costs, they often don’t understand what westerners are interested in, so do some reading up, make it clear what you interested in, early start, see more, etc. -    I generally take my own bike on trips such as these, I didn’t however on this trip and would recommend others to use the hire bikes, they’re good quality and reasonable.-    The cycling is very easy, if you can cycle round Richmond Park twice in a few hours, you will sail thru this trip.-    It is very hot, take plenty suncream, possibly a wide brim hat that fits under your helmet-    Some Exodus trips have operators print day route maps (very useful), unfortunately this is not done here so you need to stick with the group-    This trip is very short, I would recommend an extra day at the end in Havanna(Exodus do whatever flight booking you need, no issues there), I wouldn’t stay in group accommodation for extra nights tho, the group hotel is way out of town (and no character). Some stayed in Town before the trip started , and seemed to find some far more interesting/central alternatives. The group City tour is too short (and doesn’t go into any sights), and extra day following a LP walking route (or similar) should do the trickNot my best trip to date, but very enjoyable nevertheless. These cycling trips do tend to attract and interesting and fun group (from my experience), which certainly helps !
  • Reviewed November 2011
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    First cycling holiday experience for me.  Good mix of cycling, seeing the country/sites, and free time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tough 8km hill climb on final cycling day to hotel (at very end of ride).   Trinidad my favourite city, great place.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jose was enthusiastic, informative, and obviously enjoys his job which help tourists enjoy their holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Worth spending a few extra days somewhere before or after cycling segment.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Will certainly be doing more cycling holidays.
  • Reviewed April 2011
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    This was a well organised holiday combing wonderful cycling with visits of great contemporary interest- a fine way to experience acountry at first hand.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A wonderful climb in the mountains.A visit to Santa Clara and the site dedicated to Che GuevaraListening to Buena Vista type music on the steps of Plaza Mayor in Trinidad.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was ever helpful and informative and organised the whole trip very well. An excellent leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Give it a go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cuba is a different cultural  experience from Europe,so it is all very fascinating- a holiday of a lifetime.
  • Reviewed March 2011
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    I was lucky enough to travel with a great bunch of people who really made the trip for me. The weather was fantastic and the scenery superb.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking through Old Trinidad which felt a bit like something out of an old Clint Eastwood movie- very Mexican with so little traffic and fabulous buildings. The local musicians playing with such fire and passion and the people watching opportunities. The army of enormous black shelled crabs marching across the motorway was a wonderful sight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    OK

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't leave anything of value in your hotel room (unless it's locked away) as I had a decent pair of cycling sunglasses stolen.Although Cuban healthcare is free you may want to bring some everyday medicines with you as they are really expensive for local people to buy at pharmacies. Soap is a very welcome gift as it is also a bit of luxury.Try to speak to local people (if your Spanish) is good enough to get a greater understanding of the country and its culture. You may want to try the "Dirty Havana Trilogy" books by Pedro Jaun Gutierrez for a taste of gritty urban realism! I would definitely try to stay on in Old Havana for a few days at the end of the trip as it's absolutely full of beautiful old buildings such as the Barcadi HQ   

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food isn't as bad as the trip notes might lead you to believe! Bland yes but saved by an abundance of fresh fruit and excellent grilled fish.Do bring energy bars as with the heat you can burn off calories really easily!
  • Reviewed March 2011
    Anonymous

    CUBAN HIGHLIGHTS RIDE

    A very well organised cycle holiday, full of great experiences and meeting some like minded travellers. The place and people were fantastic and our Guide and Driver helped make the experience memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just sitting on the pavement in Trinidad listening to some street musicians playing marvellous music - we were their main audience and as a result of our support and applause the crowds gathered!The way a group of people can gel almost immediately and create friendships that we all know will last long after the trip  The friendliness of the people and stress free approach to enjoying life. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jose was really incredible. So passionate about his country but also very keen to make sure we had an amazing experience. He was flexible when necessary and managed to squeeze the most out of the opportunities for us to experience Cuba.Occasionally his briefings were a little long but his humour and enthusiasm were infectious. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were advised via Trip Notes and friends that we had to watch for 3 things.To quote "The food will be bland, the hotels average and take your own toilet paper "Wrong!The food was excellent, varied and healthy (I have never felt fitter), the hotels were of a good standard and toilet facilities just fine .Advice? Make sure you take insect repellant - we did and were grateful .... and high factor suncream.More advice? Go there! One extra piece of information - make sure you are fit for cycling, train before you go - it was sometimes demanding in the heat and the last day's hill climb with 30 degree heat was quite tough! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have not travelled with Exodus before (being used to the hard slog of Charity rides) so this was a perfect balance of holiday and cycling. The organisation and itinerary were great - there was really good attention to detail. The coach was air conditioned and our bikes were stored safely on board (the bikes and mechanics were first rate too) and our driver was careful and friendly.The bottom line for me is that I would definitely use Exodus again.Thanks for doing such a superb job