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 May 2017
    Ania Sroka

    cycling columbia - the ups with the downs

    I absolutely loved this holiday. Have a group of like-minded people all sweating around me and puffing and panting, made for a very cathartic experience. At times I thought that I was going to collapse, but I also knew (or hoped) that all the other people in our party were feeling the same way. I would not have gone as fast or as far just off my own steam.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing or rather hearing other cyclists behind me passing me which urging me on. Sharing moments with other exodus travellers and guides. Delighting in the wonderful array of fruits and fruit juices offered inbetween our cycling efforts. Knowing that no matter how slow we were (or rather I was), that there would always be a guide behind urging me on). The list goes on and is too numerous to put down on paper.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gabriel was an inspiration with his 'universal' helmet and helpful insights into the history, politics and culture of the towns and departments we cycled through. Axel was a great help making sure that nobody was left behind and always made sure we were ok. Oscar, words cannot describe how much I enjoyed his company, always showing more concern for us than himself. Jonathan was the quiet one but always there and an inspiration. Cesar was such a support making sure we all had enough drinks and snacks whenever the van stopped for a break.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't underestimate your ability even though everyone else 'seems' to look fitter, faster and stronger. No matter how slow you might be, everyone pulled together and supported those of us that struggled. It was a fantastic opportunity to get to know a beautiful area of the world which added to the enjoyment sometimes helped alleviate the sore 'saddle'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am always impressed by the enthusiasm and effort that is put in to these holidays. All the staff regardless of roles seem to really pull their weight and by the time the holiday was at its end, it felt as though we were one great big family where it felt to me as if so much had been shared and learned.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Peter Long

    Cycling Colombia - quite a challenge.

    Described as challenging, this is a not a trip for the faint-hearted. Plenty of hills but with magnificent views once you make it to the top. Rather a lot of riding on busy roads, but may be it was because of the Easter holiday that there was so much traffic. Excellent accommodation and support.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the patios hill climb in Bogota, after thinking I was going to die due to the altitude!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The support team were excellent. Gabriel at the front, Oscar in the middle and Axel at the back, all provided encouragement.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit and don't be afraid of getting wet!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A very good group of fellow travellers.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    John Edwards

    A Great Trip

    Columbia is a huge and varied country. This was a great trip that gave our party a terrific view of part of Columbia in a short space of time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The cycling was through a wonderful hilly landscape so the views achieved through the climbs had to be the highlight of the trip. There were many 'made it' moments rewarded by the fabulous landscape.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gabriel was a novice leader who did a great job. He had a nice light touch and was fun to be with. Potentially he could have been more definitive with what the days cycling would involve but was always happy to answer individual questions. In addition, we were provided with a booklet of the exact profile of each days ride (a great innovation which I have not experienced on other trips) so questions were more to do with reassurance than lack of information.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the climbs are quite long and some short and steep. All of our party had done some preparation or were already cyclists therefore no one found the challenges too hard. My advice is prepare as much as you can. For some of us who are not cyclists spin classes really helped get the legs in gear.The team were great at accompanying the group which was all ages up to nearly 70.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think the local operator, Pure Columbia, had put a lot of thought into making the best out of the local conditions. Most of the hotels were above my expectations and where they were more simple I was confident that given we were experiencing non tourist areas they were as good as they could possibly be. The same went for the roads, yes there were some stretches of highway but these were kept to a minimum and a means to get us to long stretches of beautiful country sections. Also we did the Cartagena extension and Pure Columbia did a great job on the organisation. If you can do it do so, the Caribbean coast is a fantastic contrast to the interior. We loved the boutique hotel in Cartagena's old town. The guided tour was great and they made available a trip to nearby islands for a bit of real Caribbean swimming.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Paula Paskell

    Disappointed given the previous rave reviews.

    Returned from Colombia feeling we needed a holiday. With the notable exception of some lovely downhill much of the route is on very busy roads with heavy commercial traffic. If you enjoy diesel fumes and fruit juice then this is the trip for you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Filandia descent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Charming, knowledgeable and hard working but too inexperienced to manage the group aspects of cycling.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Routine and pace of riding was rigorous although hills achievable for the average cyclist. Don't expect too many quiet backroads, haute cuisine or premium hotels. Unnecessary large lunches appeared to determine the rather rushed itinerary. Hence during the rides little time for appreciating the scenery or taking photographs.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was unlike any other Exodus cycling trip we have done and not one that I would recommend.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Steve Mallon

    Cycle colombia

    I have done many trips with exodus but this rates as probably the best cycle trip I have ever been on so well organized the fantastic scenery the people the food the cycling was just amazing although the group was ok there were 2 people on the trip that did make me feel quite uncomfortable at times .Colombia is just a great country and it deserves more western visitors go now before it becomes to overcrowded with tourists.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Well what can I say Oscar a fantastic guy leader person nothing was to much trouble for this amazing man also having Gabriel and Andreas plus a great man Axel who stayed with me pulling me up the climbs and how can I forget Adelmo the mechanic also a former pro cyclist and of cause Augustus and Cesar the driver supplying us with endless water which was very welcome.These men all where a credit to the country one word EXCELLENT

    What did you think of your group leader?

    One of the best I have ever had

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Allison Lindsay

    Brilliant cycle trip to Colombia

    Fantastic trip. 100% recommend it. Point to point cycling in beautiful scenery with great staff.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being part of the Bogota Ciclovia - Sunday riding through the closed streets of Bogota with thousands of other people. Some amazing downhills I really liked the side trip to the salt cathedral - the main chapel was stunning!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tatiana is great. Very warm and friendly. She really took the time to look after us, and share her enthusiasm for Colombia. I'd really like to give the whole brilliant staff team, Oscar, Cesar and Jonathan, a mention as well as it was all of them coming together to look after us that made for such a great trip. Whether it was Oscar pointing out glaciers and sharing his boundless enthusiasm for cycling, Cesar filling up our water bottles without even being asked, or Jonathan sorting out the bikes and helping carry our luggage, we were thoughtfully looked after at every point. It really felt like nothing was too much trouble and they were all very keen to show us the best of their beautiful country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We came out a day early (Friday night) and it was worth having the extra time to look around Bogota. It was also good to have an extra day to get used to the time difference before heading off for the Sunday cycling - otherwise you land at 4am and then head out for a steep hill ride on just a few hours sleep. Make the most of all the juices - many like Loulo and Guanabana are really delicious. We really enjoyed trying them at the different rest stops. Recommend organising a kitty approach for lunch and rest stops. It makes it much easier than everyone trying to find small amounts of money at each stop. If you want to visit Coffee Theme Park at Pueblo Tapao be aware the last entry is at 4pm. Do the Sunday hill ride - it really boosts your confidence and it's brilliant to be cycling with so many other riders who are all having a lot of fun! A totally unique experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip had the best bikes of any Exodus trip I have been on. The staff were great, really friendly and organised so everything went very smoothly but you never got the feeling that you were 'being organised'. I much preferred being able to cycle point to point - the bus transfers on other trips I have done can feel a bit disruptive to the cycling. I'd also say that doing the Sunday hill ride in Bogota is a real confidence booster and although there are some long uphill rides in the rest of the trip, the support from the staff means that they are doable and the downhills afterwards are amazing. We added on some days at the end (to go to Cartagena and Tayrona National Park - highly recommend both) and felt completely safe at all times. The people of Colombia are really friendly and welcoming and it is them that make the trip as much as the scenery.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    sally lees

    Cycle Colombia

    Point to point cycling on undulating roads, in beautiful warm scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the whole of Bogota coming out for a Sunday cycle, most of it in Lycra.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was lovely, very keen to show off Colombia and wanted to make us as happy as possible. Nothing was too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Fly out on the Fridays if you can make it to London in time as an extra day in Bogota to recover and look around is worth it. It's cold in Bogota, especially at the top of the hill and the long down hill so take a jacket. The rest of the cycling will be hot, around 30C, but not too humid. The evenings get cold during the two night on the Ranch so take a sweater and long trousers. Most of the hotels have Wifi in the communal areas, some of it quite quick. Breakfast is mainly eggs and fruit, but Tatyana supplied those of us who preferred cereal with oats after the first couple of days. If you drink tea take tea bags, you can get the hot water, but the Colombian tea is not good. Tatyana really like the English teas so take some for her to try.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is well organised, has good bikes and great staff. We added extra days on to the beginning and end of the trip (it finishes on a Thursday!!). Traveling both with Exodus and afterwards, independently, I felt completely safe at all times. Trip wise it was similar to the Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama trip, but much better organised, with better staff and without the long bus transfers.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Paula Morris

    cycling Colombia

    I had the most amazing holiday cycling through the beautiful coffee region of Colombia, the challenging cycling was made so much easier by the amazing scenery and the camaraderie and friendliness of the whole group. The holiday lived up to all of my expectations and highlighted Colombia as a holiday destination which is safe, friendly and welcoming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I couldn't choose just one moment! The scenery everywhere we went was breathtaking, long and sometimes steep climbs up mountains gave me the opportunity to take in the atmosphere of the Colombian Andes, while fantastic, fast, sweeping descents were exhilarating. The people that we met on our journey were friendly and welcoming, it was amazing to see the huge numbers of cyclists out on the roads. Our local guides and support team were so attentive and supportive, they were committed to cycling and tourism in Colombia.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Group leaders were Oscar and Tatiana, they were always smiling and attentive to everyone's needs. They made sure that we all had everything that we needed and were all having the best holiday. Oscar was very skilled at making sure that the group didn't get too spread, while also allowing individuals to go at their own pace. The whole team, including Jonathan the mechanic and Cesar the driver, had a good vibe, they obviously got on well together and all had a very positive outlook.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a challenging and rewarding cycling experience, but don't be put off by the challenging grade. We all made it to the top of the steepest and toughest climb, and we were a mixed group with a variety of cycling backgrounds. I took too much cash with me (USD) and ended up changing money back when I got home, there is not much to spend money on. Lunches are amazingly cheap and all dinners were included in the trip price, wine was not available in many places and beer was about £1 a bottle.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip lived up to all my expectations of a challenging bike ride in an amazing country. I'm still buzzing a week later and ready to think about my next Exodus adventure.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Geoffrey Norman

    Cycling Colombia (MAY)

    Coffee and cycling = Colombia. If you like both then you will love this trip...even if you don't like coffee but love challenging cycling then this is the trip for you! Visit areas hardly touched by foreign tourists, with stunning scenery and a brilliant local team.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many: 1. How friendly the Colombians were, and how safe we felt. Everyone was so accommodating and incredibly hospitable. 2. The number of cyclists everywhere we went. Individuals or small groups, in towns or in the countryside - the Colombians love cycling and cyclists! 3. The "optional" climb up Los Patios in Bogota and the carnival scene of the Ciclovia. The climb is worth doing to experience the true Colombian cycling atmosphere. 4. The challenging, but rewarding climb to Buenavista, made better by a refreshing iced coffee at San Alberto (and a cheeky steep uphill section afterwards!) followed by an exhilarating downhill section. 5. Riding to Salento as a beautiful rainbow emerged over the Cocora Valley - made the climb less painful! 6. Trekking in the Cocora Valley on the rest day in Salento to see the endemic wax palms and hummingbirds.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The whole team was excellent and worked incredibly well together. Oscar is an experienced cyclist and organised everything perfectly, with spot on timings for each day to get to the hotel/fincas with plenty of time to relax before dinner. Nothing was too much. He also ensured that the speed was tailored to the group capabilities, so that we stayed fairly close together while cycling. His ever present smile and encouragement is most appreciated, especially after a long climb! Tatiana was fantastic in organising especially the food and money payments at each lunch stop. Drinks miraculously appeared once we arrived at a restaurant, and food was served quickly and efficiently. Jonathan (the mechanic) and Cesar (the support driver) were both attentive in making sure the bikes were well maintained and everyone was kept hydrated with water. You are also given an informative booklet which provides details on the route for each day with an accompanying map and gradient chart (don't be put off by the gradient profiles - the views along the way are stunning and you won't realise that you have climbed so far).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. This is a challenging trip, with long days and many hills, but all are achievable. However, it is certainly worth preparing for this trip. The steepest climb was up to Buenavista, but everyone made it. Other climbs are longer, but not as steep. 2. Food is cheap (but good) with most lunches (including copious amounts of different juices) ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 pesos - unless you want to use an ATM change your money in Bogota as it is not easy to change once you are on the road. 3. Carry a spare set of cycling clothing in your hand luggage so that you are not caught short - 1 person from our group had a bag delayed en-route and we had 2 bags delayed on the flight back.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The cycling in Colombia was amazing due to the scenery and the friendliness of the people. During the trip we did not have any concerns about security or safety, and felt safer than in many Latin and South American countries...although the normal precautions apply.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Adam Roberts

    Thrills and hills in rural Colombia

    Incredible scenery, rewarding cycling, and a fascinating insight into rural Colombia. We were the first group to do this trip and barely encountered any other foreign tourists for the entire duration - the route winds through picturesque valleys and mountains with drink stops either in local roadside restaurants or small towns. No transfers, just pure cycling! The hotels were well chosen on the whole, and nothing was too much trouble for the attentive team of Colombian staff. The bikes were great and support was constantly available if needed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the 'Los Patios' optional ride straight after the Bogota ciclovia. Arriving to the beautiful ranch near Salento and seeing a rainbow across Cocora Valley. The climb to Buenavista was tough but something i'll never forget, as was the exhilarating downhill stage between Filandia and Quimbaya on day 10. Being mistaken for (somewhat slower) members of the 'Vuelta a Colombia' by curious locals on a daily basis was amusing! The destination exceeded expectations, as did the route, and meeting such a friendly and adventurous group was a real pleasure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Oscar and Tatiana make a good team and are both experienced cyclists. On a personal level they cared very much for each individual in the group and worked tirelessly to ensure the logistics of each day were seamless. Jonatan was the mechanic and his presence as a talented young cyclist was an inspiring addition to the tour, i had a puncture one day and he promptly sorted it out in a matter of minutes. Ceasar the driver must have filled my water bottle up 200 times!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Weather - The weather is variable, but in general it is cool in Bogota and hot (high 20s - low 30s) in the coffee region. The first couple of long days cycling are in a valley which stays quite hot, but as you climb into the mountains the nights get cooler. We experienced some high temperatures in August but i was told that this heat wave was uncommon. Food - As with other Latin American countries in the region, the staple diet is rice, beans, plantain, grilled meats, fish, soup, plus the local bread alternative 'arepa'. Breakfasts were usually egg, coffee, juice and bread. Lunches and dinners involved very similar choices and there isn't a huge amount of choice or variation. A surprise on the trip was the amount of delicious fresh fruit juices that we had the opportunity to drink. The lunchtime and drinks stops that we made were excellent value for money. Money - You can either bring US Dollars and change them in Bogota (not possible to anywhere else) or just withdraw Pesos directly from ATMs with your card (best to check this with your bank before travelling though). Lunchtime prices ranged from about 3000 to 14000 Pesos depending upon the order. This is just a couple of Pounds. The average beer price in hotels was around 4000 Pesos. Language - The more words you can learn in Spanish beforehand the better. The mechanic and driver don't speak English so it enables more communication with them, and of course the friendly local Colombians who are eager to interact. Packing - Definitely bring either padded shorts or a saddle cover. Mosquitoes weren't an issue in August but have some repellent with you just in case. There isn't much opportunity for clothes washing but you can wash cycling jerseys etc. in hotels and hang them up to dry if you prefer not to bring lots of clothes changes with you. Remember your water bottle and helmet. Don't worry so much about bringing your trip notes as you are provided with a detailed booklet at the start of the trip with ride profiles and descriptions.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Colombia has had a troubled few decades and only in recent years has tourism started to grow in areas away from the Caribbean coast. The country really has it all in terms of natural beauty, a welcoming population, and destinations as yet untouched by foreign visitors (especially on two wheels!). Now is the perfect time to visit, and the added bonus of direct overnight Avianca flights to/from London means that jet lag is minimal. This trip is a great example of how the money spent on holidays directly benefits the communities visited. We stayed in locally owned independent accommodation and ate at small traditional restaurants. Oh and the coffee was delicious!
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