Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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40 Reviews

  • Reviewed July 2019
    Yvonne Renwick

    Foodies Paradise

    Have just returned from a brilliant 8 days with a great fun group of people. Its a beautiful part of Italy with plenty of pretty towns and villages that differ from one to the next and great mixture of peaceful countryside and coastal views. The bikes were very comfortable, with gel seats and easy to ride. Everything was very well organised and the staff at every hotel were welcoming and friendly and getting our rooms every day was quick and efficient which is so important after a long day in the saddle! The food was fantastic and I tried so many things I haven't tasted or heard of before! The afternoon at the farm location with the most stunning pool is a real treat after a very hot ride! There is plenty of spare time at the end of the ride of a few days or that could have been because we had an efficient group that all kept up. Nobody was particularly super quick or slow and our leader kept a good pace the whole week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching those that are 20+ years older than me steam ahead and reach those steeps climbs and make it look easy!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Antonio was friendly, calm, patient!...informative and couldn't do enough for you, he went over and above when you wanted to do something in your own time for example of one of the days we had a few hours to ourselves in the afternoon and rather than walk around the town I wanted to jump in the nearest ocean! He enquired with the hotel where the nearest nicest beach was, the cost in a taxi and arranged all that for us. Antonio also asked us every day if we wanted to join him for dinner and he booked the table for the group and many nights we had the set menu with wine and it was so reasonable and delicious and made our evenings all the more enjoyable not having to think after a tiring day. Our support driver Peiro was a great guy and lugged our cases from one hotel to the next every day in the scorching heat, supplied us with fresh fruit and cold water all day long and presented us with the best daily lunchtime picnics without any effort and always with a big smile!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This wasn't the toughest cycle holiday I've done, but some of the days are long and for us very hot. There are 2 day with steep climbs, so you should do some training if you want to keep up, or go for the e-bike and enjoy the ride!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The people that go on these trips are fun, outgoing and friendly and what keep you going on those days when you want to give up . Trust your leader on booking your restaurants. The establishments were all first class and the food choices were just brilliant! We only had one disappointing breakfast and that was at the Gallipoli hotel, that would be my only gripe. The last hotel in Lecce is nothing to write home about, simple, basic, but a great breakfast so if I was staying on after the end of the trip I would book a different hotel. Lecce itself is a stunning place but I was too tired to look around it and just wanted to crash before dinner, so if you have the time and energy do take a walkabout!
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Debbie Franks

    Fabulous Puglia.

    A wonderful trip with a dedicated and passionate guide, Antonio, who was determined to ensure we experienced the best in the safest possible way. It was reassuring when he would direct the traffic at tricky intersections. Pierrot was his conscientious and polite offsider. The itinerary was carefully selected to showcase amazing locations, cultural experiences, landscapes and history. The Sassi, Trulli were only two stand outs in a landscape of fields splashed with red poppies and yellow, pink, and white wild flowers. The accommodation was generally good to very good. The price of food, the coffee, aperitifs and gelato was so cheap compared to the north and our home country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday was inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader, Antonio, was excellent. Courteous, polite, passionate about his country and culture, very concerned with rider safety and the group’s well being and contentment.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your rain gear, follow the Exodus advice on what to bring.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Accommodation should always have lifts or be ground level. Most of us would travel from afar and would be travelling for a few weeks. While our suitcases may star5 off at 16k, we gather memorabilia. Hiking cases up those stairs is no fun either a5 the end of a day or the beginning.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Elaine Stephenson

    Brilliant!

    Excellent rating for the leader and route. However a few hotels were damp and musty due to the early date of holiday.The first and last hotels were by far the best.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the whole trip without having to get in the support vehicle at any time! Cycling through rain, thunder and lightning on the last day to finish without any mishaps! My inspirational room mate who kept me going all week.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Inspirational, encouraging and very supportive. He went above and beyond the hours he needed to work. Very organised, kept us informed and organised as a group and brought us together. I would definitely book another holiday with the same guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mind over muscle! You can achieve if you think you can - and train more than you think you need to. Enjoy yourself too - the week goes by too fast.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    kathleen collin

    Disappointed

    Overall this was not the trip I expected and I am disappointed. There were many pros but a lot of cons too. Starting with the good points: Pros: -the guide Michele Q was excellent. He guided us safely, was enthusiastic, knowledgeable about the places we visited, encouraging, funny, very supportive. He went above and beyond trying to find places for us to eat (more about that in the 'cons') and dealt with last minute problems smoothly. Even though he didn't need to, he stayed out with the group and socialized. On a horribly rainy/thunderstorm/lightning day he called ahead to make sure our hotel rooms would be ready when we arrived soaking wet and freezing cold. I rate him 11/10. - bikes: were very good for this type of terrain. The gearing was excellent, we could climb steep gravel hills easily. Comfortable. I liked having a waterproof pannier. The brakes were good. - the agriturismo olive farm was the BEST day/night. It was luxurious (the pool, the terrace, our suite), the olive oil tasting and education was so interesting, the food was delicious. Very peaceful and elegant. - the hotel in Osturia was also lovely. Cons: - we did the first trip of the 2019 season, beginning April 8, 2019. Now that I have done this, I think it is too early in the season to do this trip. It was sometimes a challenge to find cafés or restaurants open to eat at during the day. At a couple of hotels, we were the first guests of the season, and it was clear they were not really ready for us. - dinner: It is the Italian custom to eat dinner(supper) at 9 pm at night. This is not the custom in North America or England, and as people who had been cycling all day and who needed to be awake fairly early the next day, this didn't work. After two nights of eating very late, Michele would call ahead to the next town and try very hard to negotiate a fixed-price 2-choice menu, and tried to convince the restaurant to open at 7 pm for us to have dinner. Mostly he was successful, but it often meant we didn't get food until around 8 pm at night. As well the afternoon siesta made finding food a bit challenging at times. - picnics: many of my friends have taken this trip, and other trips with Exodus. Their experience was: a pot of money was collected from the guests and the van driver would purchase food for "a fabulous picnic" which would be waiting at the lunch stop. This was not offered, and it would have been a very nice option. - my own problem: our Italian hotels didn't have in-room coffee. I'm not a human until I have coffee. I did not like having to get dressed and wait for the breakfast to be served to have coffee. I admit, this is my problem. - group riding. I found out that I really don't like riding in a group. I felt that 90% of the time I was watching the bike in front of me, and making sure the bike behind me didn't do something stupid. I didn't have the opportunity to enjoy the scenery as much as I would have liked. I felt that if I stopped to take a photo (which had been a very important goal of mine - photography!) that I would be slowing down the group. Thus, not many photos taken to my disappointment. - the van: the van was for luggage, and not a support van for injured or tired riders - that was made clear at the start - no problem. However, we were told by our guide that if we wanted to skip a day of riding, and take transit, just tell him in the morning. So we decided to skip day, told him at 0700H as required, and we were told we would have to pay for the bikes to be transported to the next town. We said "but can't you put them in the van?" No, the van is full. "Can't you put them on the roof racks of the van?" No, the roof racks are broken. In the end, the bikes WERE put on the "broken" roof racks, but I recall thinking 'it's not my problem that Exodus hired a van with inoperable roof racks. Fix this problem'. - some of the hotels were quite basic, and one hotel had broken air conditioning, which made the night absolutely intolerable. - on a day with horrific rain, I felt it was dangerous to continue riding. The water was inches deep on the road, we were riding in traffic for about 30 minutes, and we could not see the road under the water. One of us could have hit a pothole and been thrown off the bike into traffic. The traffic also made "tidal waves" as it passed us. - automobiles: Near Matera and one other town it was very clear that the car and truck drivers HATE cyclists. Sometimes they would pass very close to us, dangerously so. What I thought were friendly waves were in fact the exact opposite.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The seaside ride was very beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was FANTASTIC. He was the best part of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Consider doing this trip later in the season than April 8th. The weather was quite cool (that's ok when cycling) but there were some very wet days.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Beverly S

    A terrific trip through Puglia

    A fabulous, but not too difficult cycling trip through Puglia, stopping off in lovely hilltop towns and other places of interest. Sampling delicious local food. Varied accommodation. Great scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No one moment, so many different ones. Loved the sampling of fresh mozzarella, followed by delicious al fresco lunch at the farm. The food & wine was superb each evening, eating local produce and delicacies. We cycled through small country lanes with lovely scenery en route. Stayed in variety of accommodation which also helped make the trip, especially enjoyed the converted convent in the olive farm (with the welcoming swimming pool). It was great to do a walking tour (optional though no one declined) each evening with the tour leader of the historic towns we stayed in.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emmanuele was a fabulous leader, and went out of his way to ensure we got the most of out trip, in his local area. His knowledge was great not just on local history but on food & drink too. If group members had specific requests he tried to fit these in too, without any detriment to the others. Although there were those with different cycling abilities on the trip he ensured all got as much as possible out of the days riding and no one was ever left struggling behind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a waterproof what ever the time of the year. Be prepared for a windy ride when you head north up on the west coast road on the last day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Only downside was olive oil tasting in the evening at the farm, which was a little long and drawn out. Despite that it was very interesting but could have been shortened, as sitting at a table after a long hot day meant staying alert or even awake was difficult!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Nikki Groarke

    Fantastic trip

    Thoroughly enjoyed my first Exodus cycling adventure, which exceeded expectations. The scenery was beautiful, a mixture of olive groves, coast lines, varied villages and country lanes. Matera as a starting point was stunning, but the dramatic weather as we set off was challenging, to say the least. Cycling 43 miles in torrential rain and wind through floods, with shower caps over our helmets, was a group bonding experience like no other! Thankfully the rest of the week was perfect weather, if a little windy at times. All the places we stayed in were well chosen - I especially enjoyed the farm house with its amazing rooms and lovely pool. The meals, eaten together, were delicious and lots of fun, with a mixture of new food to try and copious amounts of local wine to wash it down, all in the knowledge we would be working off the calories the next day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best moment was sweeping down a hill to the coast the first time. Arriving at an empty white sandy beach as the sun shone and the waves lapped was magical, particularly after our rainy start a couple of days earlier. Then cycling through a market and fishing village was a great experience. I also felt a great sense of achievement when I reached the top of the third killer hill on day five without stopping, and realised my fitness levels had improved as the week went on.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was a fab leader, very knowledgeable about the area, funny and helpful. Appreciated his singing (!), and the special tour we had of his home town of Bari due to our flight being later than usual. He wen above and beyond the call of duty.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I went on my own and was a little nervous but needn't have been. It is very much a group experience and you soon feel like you have known people for ages. Even for a 'moderate' trip you need to be quite fit. The pace was faster than I would go on my own, (12-18 mph on the flat depending on pot holes and wind), but I managed to keep up, and speedier cyclists were happy to wait for the slower ones as we puffed up the hills. The bikes were great with good gears and comfortable saddles. Check the weather forecast and don't assume because it's Southern Italy it will be warm. Evenings were sometimes chilly and I was glad of the fleece I threw in at the last minute. I had taken a warmish waterproof but some others hadn't and suffered on our wet day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks for a great holiday adventure. I will definitely be back, hopefully doing the Prosseco hills next year, and potentially with some friends who followed my Facebook posts and want to come too!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Liz Kreibich

    Cycling in Puglia

    Thank you Exodus for an excellent first cycling holiday. I loved every minute... even the ‘undulations’ !!! I had not cycled more than 15miles in one go ever, but felt I was so strong by the end of the 6 days. A great personal challenge! It was great being in a big group, and soon got to know the people we had just met. Manuela was a tremendous guide & Pierrot was a superb support guy... providing us with healthy snacks , fresh water & delicious local food picnics. This trip is to be recommended. I will definitely go back to the area. And definitely travel with exodus again. The bicycles we hired were of a superb quality & very comfortable to ride.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When I reached the top of some pretty long steep hills I felt elated! I couldn’t believe how strong I had become by the end of the 6 days!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuela was a fantastic guide & he looked after us all so well. His restaurant recommendations we fab, and his local knowledge was so informative. I was amazed at how fluent in English he was & he even got our sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare well in advance.. some good quality padded cycling shorts & chamois cream to be recommended!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We didn’t get much ‘down time’ at the end of the day, but I think that was because we were a slowish group.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Denis Kaye

    Wonderful holiday

    Perfect combination of good cycling, great company, excellent accommodation and fine food and drink. The negatives? Be prepared for even more potholes than in the uk and many of the roads are lined with garbage/rubbish which spoils the natural beauty

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling from Otranto to Lecce

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Antonio was brilliant with endless patience, great sense of humour and fluent English

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your own saddle and stick with standard hire bike.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Mike Baker

    Exceeded my expectations; and they were pretty high!

    This was my third cycling holiday with Exodus and I can't wait to book the next one. Once again, I chose somewhere where I had no previous knowledge, thus making it a bit of an 'Adventure. Inevitably slightly apprehensive about how well I would fit in to a group of sixteen people that I had never met before. My worries were needless; we all got on famously and just got on with enjoying the well organised trip. Great hotels, food and wine. Distances not too challenging, although the heat was at times. All breaks, rest stops and overnights were entirely adequate. Important to bear in mind that this is first and foremost a cycling holiday. There were many occasions when, as a keen photographer, I would like to have stopped but that wouldnt have been fair on the 'Back Marker'.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each day had its magic moments but the selection of fascinating hotels could never be described as ordinary. Breakfast overlooking a ravine in Matera, rooms in a former Palace and a night in a former farmhouse (Masseria) surrounded by olive trees and vines. So many great memories...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuel was excellent. He kenew his bikes and how to treat a group of intrepid explorers, Top man!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for heat: it was up to 30C even in mid September. However, there was always plenty of fresh cold water in the backup vehicle with Piero.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    ALBIE BARR

    Puglia

    great trip all round

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    new Masseria San martino,

    What did you think of your group leader?

    great guide

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    book it now !