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 October 2018
    Terri Markle

    Amazing 7-Day Tour of Croatia

    I highly recommend this tour if you want to see the Dalmatian Coast and Croatia’s mountainous terrain. I have never visited Croatia so I was eager to see the big cities-Dubrovnik and Split-but I also wanted to hike in Croatia’s National Parks. With this tour, I could do both plus write about them for my blog (www.femalesolotrek.com). It was a writer’s dream. Our guide was Mario, a native who taught us so much about his country, the war and the Croats. He was high energy and great fun. I would definitely do a tour with Mario in the future. I think it is a great decision by Exodus to stay at a seaside Dubrovnik hotel for the first two nights because it features wonderful walks to view the Adriatic Sea (plus friendly cats). There was also a great restaurant for our first night out (order the black risotto with cuttlefish) plus the local grocery store to purchase food for lunches during our hiking days. I highly recommend that your group pay the extra fee for a walking tour of Old Town Dubrovnik to learn about its history. I also chose to pay to walk the fortress walk. It took about 90 minutes. It was an incredible experience. If you are a cat lover, you will cherish all the time to play with the street cats in Dubrovnik. They are so friendly. In quick succession over the next seven days, we visited the Island of Brac, Split, Krka National Park (the waterfalls), Starigrad Paklenica and National Park Paklenica. I loved each location but the stay in Brac was particularly memorable. We had an old fashioned Croatian dinner featuring roasted meats and potatoes. I also loved the goulash served at a mountaintop restaurant/inn. It was a great treat after climbing all morning on Thursday. You don’t visit Zadar as part of the tour. But the group flight departs from Zadar airport so you can make your own tour on the last day. Our group had several people who chose to take a van back to Split to fly home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was standing at the summit on each of our hiking days in Croatia’s mountains and marveling at the beauty of this country. I loved the people, the scenery and the adventure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide was Mario, a native who taught us so much about his country, the war and the Croats. He was high energy and great fun. I would definitely do a tour with Mario again.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    October is a great time to do this tour. Our temperatures averaged mid 70s which made it very comfortable to hike. Do not book this trip during August. Our guide Mario said his group had a difficult time hiking during the heat wave this summer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is my third tour with Exodus in the past year. I love the small group size, the avid hikers and the unusual places we see.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Karen Cleverly

    Mountain walking in a beautiful country

    The first part of the week is a whistle-stop tour of some of Croatia's top spots (Dubrovnik old town, Bol on the island of Brac, Split, Skradinski buk waterfalls), with a walk each day and quite a bit of travelling. The remainder of the week is at one base, with longer, mountain walks in Paklenica National Park and a final few hours in Zadar before the plane home. Our Croatian guide was brilliant and gave us loads of insights into the history of the area, how the mountain people lived as well as taking us to an authentic Croatian restaurant, a mountain refuge and visits to local houses where we sampled local produce.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the sunset at Dubrovnik old town, plus the views from the summits we visited were absolutely stunning (my favourite was probably from Vidova Gora on Brac island).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Zeljko, our guide, was fantastic. He couldn't have been any better. He was extremely knowledgeable and was able to answer everybody's questions. He loved his country and wanted to share his knowledge with us whenever he got the opportunity. We got a real insight into the complicated history of the country and into the way people live. We were caught out by an unexpected storm while up on a mountain walk one day. The Bora winds were far stronger than forecast and we had to get off the mountain as it was dangerous. Zeljko was calm and professional, got everyone to safety and managed to organise alternative transport for us all to get us to our destination on the island of Brac. He also made sure that everyone got to where they needed to be at the end of the week (as not everyone was travelling home on the group flight).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to swim, the sea around Dubrovnik was lovely and warm but at Starigrad Paklenica it was chilly (to say the least)! This could just be because of the weather but it's possibly more protected around Dubrovnik. Also the opportunity to swim around the Skradinski Buk waterfalls was not quite what I had imagined. It's fairly touristy and the area for swimming is quite restricted. Also, if you want to wander around the waterfalls on the wooden walkways you won't have time to swim as well. Many of the mountain paths are rocky and loose. If you are used to mountain walking you won't have a problem but some people in the group found this more difficult. We went at the end of September and it was chillier than expected on some days (but very hot on others). As well as light hiking gear, make sure you take a waterproof jacket AND trousers, take some long trousers - not just shorts, and possibly even a pair of light gloves and a hat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Croatia is a beautiful country. This trip gave me a really good overview and insight into the Dalmatian coastal region (as well as some very enjoyable walking). I definitely want to go back!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Doug Gossen

    Blown away!

    Our week in Croatia was a very enjoyable mix of hiking, sightseeing, socialising, food and wine. It also included perhaps a little too much adventure when the bora winds struck. On our second hike the winds, gusting at record speeds, literally blew several of us off our feet. Luckily injuries were limited to bruises and scrapes. Our leader, Zeljko Zarak, managed to get us all safely back despite road closures and emergency conditions. Otherwise the weather was beautiful, the hikes challenging but satisfying and the companionship of the group very pleasant. Some beach time was also included, as well as historical and architectural experiences in Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar. Zeljko provided very interesting and informative background on the history and politics of the country. I liked the fact that dinners were on our own but also appreciated Zeljko arranging several optional meals, particularly a bean soup lunch at the midpoint of one hike and a superb dinner at a family farm in Bol. My girlfriend and I are vegan/vegetarian and were initially concerned by what we heard was a heavily meat-based diet in Croatia. But we were very pleased with the options available to us. We were also told the hotels were very basic but all of them were excellent and each was better than the last as we moved from Dubrovnik to Bol to Starigrad and then Zadar.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When adversity struck in the form of record bora winds I was impressed with the way the group pulled together, helping my girlfriend and I with first aid for our bumps, scrapes and shock. And our leader, Zeljko Zarak, kept everyone together, safe and calm. He got us into a sheltered space and then shepherded us to a nearby inn for warm drinks and comfort while he organised transportation. This wasn't easy as this was a real emergency in that part of Croatia. We heard later about an emergency rescue for other hikers and reports of a windsurfer missing and presumed dead. All the locals said this was very early for the bora winds and that they were stronger than anything in the past 100 years. Roads were closed but Zeljko was able to arrange vans to get us safely back to our hotel.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Zeljko Zarak was excellent, very personable and helpful. He also provided excellent on the area, its history and politics.
  • Reviewed September 2018

    A great mixture of being active, sight seeing and relaxation

    All the reviews provide great advice and insights - I recommend reading them and I'll try not to duplicate their excellent advice. It is a Level 3 hike, so it's not a stroll in the park on flat surface. You'll enjoy the trip more if you've put some training before hand. Look at Exodus' training advice. As Kathryn mentioned, the Dalmatian Coast is limestone so lots of different size rocks, and lots of going up, and down. Take good hiking boots and poles are really helpful. For the going up, work on your cardio so you're not winded and you can enjoy the views. For going down, work into you daily routine going down stairs. Forward and backward lunges using a bosu is also good to help strength your knees/quads for the descents. All of the hotels had access to swimming, so bring a bathing suit. There's nothing better than going for a swim after a long hike. The beach in Bol is lovely and it was so nice to just relax. Seeing Dubrovnik, Bol, Split and Starigrad were a nice "taste" of Croatia. It was also great to have a couple of nights in each location so you didn't always feel like you arrived and then had to pack up and go.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A lot of people have asked me this and I have a hard time picking one thing. The trip is a great blend of many, many elements from traditional sight seeing to the hiking. I love being active during the day and then going back to the hotel for a swim and a lovely meal at a local restaurant. The people on my tour and our conversations were also a highlight. We were a diverse group (Canada, UK, US and Germany) from mid 30s to 60s, with different backgrounds (artist, engineers, health professionals, IT, lawyer, marketing, publishing, teachers, etc). I know I've made some new friends on this trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ivan is awesome and it's easy to underestimate how good he is. Herding 16 adults is a challenge and he did it with skill and diplomacy. As I mentioned, we're a diverse group and we all had different ideas of what we wanted out of our holiday and he took into account. This was my first Exodus trip and I'm looking to do another trip in part based on Ivan.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As noted above, put in time before hand to do some training so you can enjoy the trip. While going up is harder for cardio, most people have more challenges with going down. A couple of months before add going down stairs. It will help to build up your quads and strengthen your knees. I did this leading up to the trip and I didn't have any problems. I was given this advice before going to do the Inca Trail and I didn't listen to it. On the Inca trail I was stiff but in Croatia I didn't have any issues. (Exodus also rates their Inca Trail trip a Level 3.)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's a great trip. Highly recommend it.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Sudie Ghosh

    Absolutely amazing.....

    The trip was amazing - made so by the friendliest and most accommodating tour guide, great tour group, and the beautiful trails and amazing food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I have done group tours before and this was my first with Exodus, and honestly was the best tour group I could have asked for. Everyone clicked and we all got along and enjoyed our hikes and chats along the way. Needless to say the Dalmatian Coast did not disappoint. I enjoyed our hikes, the picnics, the breakfasts together, the beautiful sea. The van rides were very comfortable too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour guide Ivan, was simply the best. He paid attention to each and everyone of us and listened to what we had to say. He sang and chatted with us along the trails, on the bus and the meals. He took care of specific needs and requests as well. It will be tough for future guides to get a better rating.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, do this trip!!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I hope that the other Exodus trips are equally good.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Sudie Ghosh

    Absolutely amazing.....

    This trip was an amazing trip - made so by the friendliest and most accommodating tour guide, great tour group, and beautiful trails and amazing food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I have done group tours before; this was my first with Exodus and honestly this was the best tour group I could have asked for. Everyone clicked and we all got along; didn't mind who walked next to us; Needless to mention, the Dalmatian Coast did not disappoint. I enjoyed the hikes, the chatting along the trails, singing, the picnics on the trails, the beautiful sea! Our van rides were very comfortable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour guide Ivan was simply the best. He paid attention to each and everyone of us; listened to what we had to say, even when we just joked with him; made arrangements for dinners at some of the best local places. Evan sang "Marianne" along one of the trails to keep us entertained. If people had specific needs he took care of them too. I think future tour guides will have a tough time getting a better rating.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, do this trip!!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I hope that the other Exodus trips are equally good.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Sudarshana Ghosh

    Absolutely amazing.....

    This trip was an amazing trip - made so by the friendliest and most accommodating tour guide, great tour group, and beautiful trails and amazing food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I have done group tours before; this was my first with Exodus and honestly this was the best tour group I could have asked for. Everyone clicked and we all got along; didn't mind who walked next to us; Needless to mention, the Dalmatian Coast did not disappoint. I enjoyed the hikes, the chatting along the trails, singing, the picnics on the trails, the beautiful sea! Our van rides were very comfortable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour guide Ivan was simply the best. He paid attention to each and everyone of us; listened to what we had to say, even when we just joked with him; made arrangements for dinners at some of the best local places. Evan sang "Marianne" along one of the trails to keep us entertained. If people had specific needs he took care of them too. I think future tour guides will have a tough time getting a better rating.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, do this trip!!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I hope that the other Exodus trips are equally good.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Kathryn Jankowski

    Limestone!

    Limestone everywhere! Be sure to wear good hiking boots. This rock can be jagged or super slippery. It comes in all sizes, large, small, crushed, pebbled. It's everywhere! And you'll be walking on it. There are very little earthed paths in this itinerary. That aside, I felt I saw a lot of Croatia on this tour. The hikes were varied, but most were ascending, to get the best views of Croatia's best attribute - the sea and the shoreline. Food was amazing. And our guide was the best guide I've had to date - and I've had a lot of guides. Ivan was proactive, considerate and he went out of his way to be available for all our needs - including arranging a doctor's visit for my daughter when she wasn't feeling well. From touristy Dubrovnik to quieter areas, such as Bol and Zadar, this tour offers the best of Croatia. If you are a hiker, I'd recommend this tour. Just be sure to wear good boots!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My favourite day was the hike in Paklenica with lunch in the mountains. Homemade brandy and accordion playing topped the day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ivan is THE best! Don't ever lose him!!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Hiking boots, definitely.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Yes, much confusion on the last day. The itinerary says the tour ends in Zadar. We had booked a hotel room for the night of the day the tour ended, in Zadar, because of this. We found out, on the last day, that the tour ended in Starigrad. We felt stranded and lied to by Exodus. Truly disappointing. This was my second Exodus tour and it left me feeling that the Brits are better serviced by your company and if us, non-Brits, want to tag along we could but that the itinerary didn't consider us. Not sure I would use Exodus again, on this point. Not happy. Going to Patagonia with G Adventures. More consistent service offering for everybody on the tour.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Heather Willson

    Croatia: Islands and Mountains

    Fantastic trip- great combination of hiking, Brac island, and interesting cities. Fun to meet new people: our group ranged from 29-65yrs with Canadians, Americans and just 3 Brits.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many and contrasting to select one: City walls and history of Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar; views from the mountains; swimming in crystal clear sea at Bol and Starigrad.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ivan was the perfect leader- friendly, cheerful, organised and informative.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take taxi from airport to Lapad, as bus was to central Dubrovnik. Good walking boots and poles needed as very rocky uneven paths in Paklenica National Park, with long descent on the first day there.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hotels were of good standard and in good locations. Hotel Zagreb (Dubrovnik) set in beautiful gardens, and near to bus stop to town; all 3 had easy access to a beach.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Lee Whyte

    Gorgeous Seasides & Mountains - HOT August temps

    Really enjoyable itinerary and the trip leader, Mario, was fun and entertaining and did a wonderful job. The overall rating of "3" moderate is appropriate as a weekly average, although some walks were a "1" and perhaps one day might rate a "4" due to the size of the rocks and boulders along much of the path. The seaside views were stunning and the sea itself lovely for evening swims. Definitely take your togs and plan on swimming. August proved very hot and very crowded during the summer holidays - probably not the best month to see Croatia, and particularly not good timing for Krka N.P. as it was a national holiday and quite honestly over sold for the day. Dubrovnik was beautiful and worthy of adding an additional day on the front end if possible. Accommodations, transfers, flights (we booked our own), and meals were all very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The coastal views of the towns and villages....... The old city walls of Dubrovnik..... Diocletian's Roman Palace in Split (we arranged our own guided tour, which was well worthwhile)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mario did a great job. He is personable and fun-loving, and everyone enjoyed his company and camaraderie.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If possible, go outside of the peak tourist season and summary holidays. If you enjoy good food and wine, plan on spending a bit more than the recommended allowances, especially in Dubrovnik and Split - it's well worth it! Walking shoes or boots with decent soles and cushion go a long way on the rocky terrain. Carry a few spare coins for public toilets in the cities. Croatia is a beautiful country and easily traveled. If you have the time and inclination - add a few days on the front or back end to explore.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Second trip with Exodus and we are looking forward to the next. Keep up the great work and fun itineraries.
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