Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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.

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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

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  • Reviewed December 2018
    Ruth Harris

    Stunning !!

    Exodus' first women only trip with the wonderful Katia as our guide. She was truly an inspiration and a great breadth of knowledge so effortlessly imparted. I felt so privileged to be in Costa Rica. We saw much of its wildlife including armadillo and anteater and fabulous diversity of landscapes and eco climates. What a beautiful country and what a great group of fellow travellers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Esquinas Lodge was definitely my favourite place to stay. So remote and so beautiful. The sounds of the rainforest especially at dawn. Close second was Tortuguero. The gardens there teem with birds and the boat trips took us right into the waterways where we saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys, capuchins, caimans,turtles and so many birds. Turning off the engine of the boat and sitting in silence to hear the rainforest breathe was unforgettable. Seeing my first sloth was special. As was the quetzal trip at dawn. Three resplendent quetzals in no hurry to fly away!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very special. Nothing was too much trouble. Katia really did go the extra mile to make everything run smoothly and her knowledge was awesome. She had the perfect balance of interpersonal skills and professional know how. I learnt so much about the social and natural history of Costa Rica and we had such fun too!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If in the UK, do take the direct flight from London Gatwick to San Jose. It took all the strain out of the travelling and avoided the stresses of stopover in the USA, the harsh treatment by the US immigration system, and risk of missing onward flights!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    More women's holidays please Exodus!!
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Linda Hawe

    Costa Rica Discovery

    First Exodus women’s tour and every part of it was fantastic!! We had a wonderful guide who could not have been more knowledgeable or helpful and funny. Torteguero was the highlight on the boat in the primal rainforest. However we covered 7 different ecosystems all different and exciting. Loved the bird life we did get to see a lot. I definitely recommend this trip it was so interesting. The watch outs were the zip lines are high and you need warm clothing for the Savegre as it is so high.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Wildlife and the different ecosystems. Plus the visit to local lady and her farm.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing, Katie is inspirational and freely shared so much with us, on many subjects. Also brilliantly organised, always checking on our welfare and organised extra activities as well. She is fabulous.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    margaret crisp

    What an adventure!!!

    Had a wonderful trip around Costa Rica, on the delightful 'women only' trip. We were led by a very knowledgeable and informative guide, in Katia, and whilst I avoided the zip wires, I thoroughly enjoyed the suspension bridges, the boat trip in the mangrove swamps and the geo-thermal baths. We saw birds of all kinds, including the quetzal, racoons, crocodile and caiman, an armadillo, sloths, turtles and monkeys! We started as a group of strangers on the same trip...and ended up feeling a family!! The only downside was the return trip...so thorough is the security at Houston, that a two hour gap between flights is barely sufficient and i had to run to catch the second plane!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the tree roots seen on the boat trip round Tortuguero…..

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Awesome!!!! Very knowledgeable and an inspiration!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can, avoid Houston airport....or be prepared to keep looking at your watch and hoping!!!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A trip of a lifetime, many thanks to everybody involved!!!
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Phil Cooper

    Beasties and Birdies of Coast Rica

    PS See later

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As posted

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ps see later

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If I did the trip again I would take a dictaphone to record the animals and free up for the photos. Also if you have one the tour leader used a scope.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Paul Kelly

    Costa Rica

    Excellent trip, lots of wildlife to see, turtles,snakes, frogs,birds,cayman, crocodiles and much more all explained by our knowledgeable guide. Lovely beach for swimming in the Pacific and spas. Locals very friendly, a great place to visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching turtles hatching on the beach and heading to sea. Riding zip lines over the forests

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very helpful and extremely knowledgable of everything Costa Rica

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get plenty of sleep beforehand it’s very full on but great

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Must have a camera and binoculars
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Phil Cooper

    Beasties and Birdies of Costa Rica

    Costa Rica is a wonderful country, mainly for its variety and volume of wildlife. Of course Costa Rica is well know for its bird life. While many will have seen humming birds, (as I have) it was a superb sight to be close to these magnificent birds as they weaved their way around us lumbering giants. I never grow weary of watching these creatures. Howler, Spider and Capuchin monkeys using their prehensile tail moving from branch to branch provided an often amusing spectacle. Other animals featured were the Tent Maker Bats and White Lined Bats, Agouti, Coati, Caiman and Green Iguana. Although not an ornithologist, brightly coloured birds such as Toucans, Curassaw, Acorn Woodpecker, Scarlet Macaw, Flame Coloured Tanagen and Emerald Toucanet, I find a delight to watch, particularly watching them feeding. It seemed as though even when driving along the roads animals almost posed for us to record them. One would expect to be roughing it, but it was the last thing I would use describe our accommodation, while the food was always good and often outstanding. The places visited represent the full variety of environments, from high altitude cloud forest (at Savegre) , to transitional forest (Manuel Antonio Reserve), to tropical wet forest (Tortuguero) to rainforest (Esquinas). I cannot leave my summary without mentioning the inspirational Michael Schnitzler who as a conservationist has obtained over $4 Million from his Austrian sources to purchase land and develop Esquinas Lodge. Amazingly he has done this in between travelling to between Costa Rica and Austria, where he is an internationally admired violinist and concertmaster the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra. A truly remarkable person developing a remarkable environmental project. Friends who have seen the videos from the trip have been enthralled. Others to whom I have described it have suggested that it be added to their "bucket list".

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were some unique sights of sloths, one mother and child and another of a rarely seen encounter between two alpha male sloths. I was able to obtain unique footage of these events. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TvsyT9BACI&t=3s I was not able to capture the sound of the impact, but they hit the found with a real thud. Andreas in 18 years had never seen the sloths fighting. The amazing thing was that after that fall from 15 meters they kept on fighting! - Albeit in slow motion!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide Andreas had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the habitats and plants and animals we found. He was helpful always willing to oblige - the best guide in some ten or so trips I have undertaken abroad.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In a word - Go! Substantial waterproofing is needed and the full array of photographic equipment and back up devices. Check carefully on extra trips, particularly if inclement weather might affect the experience. I also thoroughly recommend the night tours. The one at Esquinas enabled me to produce some great video material.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I suppose the only downside is the traffic in San Jose, which makes day trips out and back into the capital not that enjoyable.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Francis Sandbach

    COSTA RICA

    The group size of 14 was ideal with plenty of different personalities. The locations selected were a good combination of places which illustrated the diversity of wildlife habitats. The real bonus to the holiday was the guide (Katia) and driver (Chico). Katia was the real deal. Her English was good, she was very knowledgeable about wildlife, and she went out of her way to help and try to meet everyone's needs. Katia was a very professional guide indeed. We were also fortunate to have Chico who was always happy and helpful. He would often stop to let us see something he had spotted. The guide and driver always considered our safety not only when stopping to take in the view, but also in pointing out any potential dangers such as pickpockets, rip currents when bathing, etc.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The boat trips from Tortuguero were wonderful. So many birds and other animals were pointed out to us with the Green Iguanas in the trees being particularly inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It can be very hot and humid in the tropical rain forest but also cooler in the mountains. Casualwear is definetly what you need.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you get Katia as your guide you will be very fortunate.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Francis Sandbach

    COSTA RICA

    The group size of 14 was ideal with plenty of different personalities. The locations selected were a good combination of places which illustrated the diversity of wildlife habitats. The real bonus to the holiday was the guide (Katia) and driver (Chico). Katia was the real deal. Her English was good, she was very knowledgeable about wildlife, and she went out of her way to help and try to meet everyone's needs. Katia was a very professional guide indeed. We were also fortunate to have Chico who was always happy and helpful. He would often stop to let us see something he had spotted. The guide and driver always considered our safety not only when stopping to take in the view, but also in pointing out any potential dangers such as pickpockets, rip currents when bathing, etc.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The boat trips from Tortuguero were wonderful. So many birds and other animals were pointed out to us with the Green Iguanas in the trees being particularly inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It can be very hot and humid in the tropical rain forest but also cooler in the mountains. Casualwear is definetly what you need.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you get Katia as your guide you will be very fortunate.
  • Reviewed October 2018

    An amazing tour with loads of bird and wildlife spotting.

    We were very lucky to have Johnny Villalobos as our tour leader. He is a walking encyclopedia on the flora and fauna, caring, flexible and a great organiser. We saw spider, capuchin, howler and squirrel monkeys, three and two toed sloths , lizards, iguanas, a green turtle laying her eggs (very moving) and much more. I can't remember how many species of birds we saw (loads), all of them very colourful and often very close up. This is one of the best trips I have ever done.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but without doubt the time we spent at Tortuguero was tops. Hancy, our boat captain, was able to spot wildlife when all I could see was vegetation. The extra excursion to see the Green Turtle laying her eggs was very moving. We formed a 'guard of honour' as she hauled herself back into the sea. Also watching the capuchins stealing the bananas meant for hotel guests at the Villa Bosque and both the capuchins and squirrel monkeys using the overhead cables to move from where they spent the night to feed. We stayed in some lovely lodges/hotels. The only slight disappointment was the hotel at Manuel Antonio (Villa Bosque) as the rooms and bathrooms were small. Carlos, our driver, was very careful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Johnny Villalobos is amazing. His knowledge and enthusiasm is second to none. He often arranged extra stops on the drives to break up the time spent travelling, although I didn't find the drives long. I'm afraid of heights so didn't do the canopy walk, Johnny made sure that I would be OK waiting at the centre while the rest of the group went off, showing me around so that I knew where everything was. He also showed us around and explained things when some of us went to the hot springs. I had my birthday while we were away and Johnny arranged a cake with a central candle, which lit a ring of candles and played Happy Birthday! He and Carlos also gave me a small gift. Johnny is the best group leader I have ever had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Only really what everyone else has said. Protect your camera from the rain and protect yourself from insect bites. Even though your clothes don't get wet, the humidity will make everything feel damp.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only interaction you will have with Costa Ricans is in the lodges/hotels and shops. The only exception to this was the very interesting visit to Dona Aurora's farm. She had made a huge selection of Costa Rican food for us and didn't mind that we were curious about how she lived and with us looking round her house.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Nicola Rouse

    Amazing!

    What an amazing trip! Incredible wildlife at every turn - sloths, monkeys, turtles, iguanas, frogs, coatis, the list goes on, beautiful birds and unusual plants too. Seven very different locations, shortish travel times and great hotels. Just be prepared to sweat more than you thought humanly possible!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a green turtle lay her eggs at Tortuguero (optional extra). And the sloth with her baby hanging low on a vine beside the river.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous.
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