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’!

Lots of our clients also like to post handy tips and advice about their travels. It’s great to know what to expect on an Exodus adventure before you go, so make the most of their experience and you’ll make the most of yours!

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  • Reviewed October 2018
    Daniela Amabile

    Beauty, as to be found nowhere else.

    Waking up every morning to the glorious Autumn colours of the Carpathians is something I will remember for the rest of my life. The beauty of the forests, the splendour of the mountains and the simplicity of the life there is something I never imagined. Granted, I was initially inspired by my interest in the Dracula legend to go but after experiencing the wilderness there, I can honestly say that I fell in love with “the land beyond the forest”.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When I managed to make it to the top of the mountain on the long hike without collapsing :-). Seeing Bran castle. Sitting up at the monastery, looking at the mountains with the sun behind them. The views of the scenery during our lunch breaks in various locations. Being on top of the mountains and looking down at the clouds.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the natural environment of Romania and its history. He also has a great sense of humour that kept us entertained. With his experience as a leader and training in the army, I definitely felt safe and in capable hands. And he was unexpectedly charming.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try to remain as healthy as possible the week before this trip. I came down with a 24 hour stomach virus 2 days before the trip and it made the first few days difficult as I was still weakened. Also, walking poles are your friends. Definitely learn how to use a pair before you begin.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Suzy Franklin

    Wildlife and hiking

    A well paced hiking tour with free time to relax in the remote alpine accommodation, in the mountains of Transylvania. This is certainly the place time forgot with small farming communities farming sheep and cattle, and small orchards aplenty. Dogs are tied up or in the fields protecting the livestock from the bears and other predators. The accommodation is basic but comfortable. We went when the weather was getting cooler and at times it was a little cold in the room. We had to remind the owners to put the heating on, which they did! There were 3 course set meals in the evening that were hearty and consisted of local produce but possibly limited if you are vegetarian/vegan. Don't expect there to be snacks like crisps and chocolate to be available, expect local fruits instead! The guide kept us updated on the itinerary during the week and gave a very informative tour of Brasov and Bran. All in all - a place to get away from it all and enjoy a slower pace of life! It was a very noncommercial region to visit and very refreshing in that sense!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hard work of the people in the bear sanctuary, who had rescued bears that had suffered cruelty and now been given the best chance of life - all funded by donations with no government money! One bear had been blinded and had its claws cut so it would tolerate people having their picture taken alongside it. Quite emotional to hear the sad back history of some of the bears. The good news is that owning a bare is now banned in Romania.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was friendly, quiet, amenable and informative.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your thermals, scarf and gloves if going in the autumn as it get's cold in the mornings.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    John Chapman

    Lots of bears

    I enjoyed the walks although quite a proportion of the walking was on dirt tracks ( Romania doesn't appear to have much in the way of public rights of way over farm land)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Bear watching was great, we saw lots.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was an ideal leader for this type of holiday.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Neil Thompson

    Breathtaking

    Having been on several Exodus trips before I was unsure of what to expect as I not done any trips as remote as this. Not removed from civilisation but bit on the verge of wilderness. The walks produced breathtaking scenery of the mountains and forests, all conducted at a leisurely pace mainly over unmade paths, meadows or very easy woodland walks, which posed no problems for any of the group. Although not able to see every animal that inhabits the forest there presence was evident. The added option to under the guidance of a local ranger, see the brown bears in the wild is something that should not be missed. This was defiantly a highlight of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The stunning scenery was only beaten by seeing the Brown Bears in their natural environment which was by far the highlight of the trip, this was even more so augmented by visiting the bear sanctuary which was heartbreaking to see and hear how thes poor animals had been persecuted for the amusement of humans.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    In Thomas we could have not had a better guide for our holiday. He was both funny and increadably knowledgeable about the environment and the history of his country. On any of these groups holidays the guide plays a pivotal role and Thomas really help make the week special and an unforgettable holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Located within the mountains the weather can be changeable host to hour so would suggest a good light weight rain coat/clothing, again good walking boots are definitely an advantage. Walking poles are an advantage on some of the walks, but I do have a slightly weak knee. I took £100 in the local currency and spent a little over, being able to pay the hotel for the visit to the Bear hides and the honesty bar in Euros helps with this.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Julie Bridge

    Carpathian walking and bears!

    We were extremely lucky with the weather (Aug), however, this did result in some of the hiking being rather more strenuous than anticipated as it was really warm most days - take lots of water! The trip was brilliant, highlights every day, but the bears (in the wild and at the sanctuary) definitely made the trip!!! Our guide, Thomas, couldn't have been more interesting (and funny) and extremely knowledgeable about the fauna, flora and history - simply the best! Villa Hermani was a hit too; friendly & helpful, good food and very reasonably priced drinks. Highly recommended trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The bears without a doubt! Lovely to see in the wild, however, visiting the sanctuary in bright daylight produced the best photos.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Thomas, couldn't have been more interesting (and funny) and extremely knowledgeable about the fauna, flora and history - simply the best!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of water on your hikes, especially if warm weather. Villa Hermani - don't bother with their wi-fi; extremely slow (used 4G instead).
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Jacqueline Harris

    Good varied trip with great guide.

    This was an interesting and varied holiday with excellent trips, varied walks and an excellent guide. Some of the days were long and involved a fair amount of time in a transit or small bus which was not always comfortable especially when it was hot. However , it wasn’t overly arduous and added to the overall interest of the week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery on the first two days of walking. Watching the bears feed from a hide was also fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was really excellent. He was knowledgeable about the area and it’s history and had a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long days of varied activities. Take some biscuits/ energy bars ! While the walks were not overly demanding you should be used to walking with sturdy shoes. The transfer to the hotel takes several hours from Bucharest which means a late arrival , especially if the flight is delayed ( we arrived at 6a.m ) .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would suggest that the hotel offers snacks for sale particularly on the evening of the bear hide trip when the main meal is eaten very early.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Emma Cowen

    Picturesque places, lush landscape and beautiful bears.

    A great way to spend the week, walking in the countryside, seeing many sites with fantastic architecture and cute bears doing their thing in the wild.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the bears in the wild from our bear hide and seeing how they play, eat and look out for each other. Also the visit to sanctuary was interesting, but sad to hear how those bears had been treat in their earlier years before being rescued from their previous owners. I also enjoyed the long walk along the canyon and the visit to Dracula's castle.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was very knowledgeable, helpful and friendly and always had an answer for every question asked. He also made sure every one's needs were catered for. He also knows the area very well. His assistant Sebi was also helpful and friendly and knows the area well too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have a good pair of walking boots, plenty of water and waterproof gear.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hosts at the lodge were very friendly and approachable, making everyone's stay comfortable and making everyone feel at home. They also catered for vegetarians and always accommodated every one's requirements, no matter how big or small.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Sylvia Ryan

    Transylvanian experience and hospitality at its finest

    I booked this trip primarily to see the bears and enjoy some leisurely walks through the meadows and forests. It exceeded my expectations, mainly due to our guide Thomas, the lovely hosts Herman and Katerina at Villa Hermani and the variety of local experiences from the ride in a horse cart, tea at a hilltop monastery, dinner at a restaurant specialising in game meats, harvesting mushrooms after the rain, and schnapps and cake at a fortified church with an intriguing priest! Transylvania is a beautiful part of the world, still in a time when we were closer to nature where animals are respected and in proximity, shepherds tend the flocks, and the landscape provides a bounty of wildflowers, fruit, hay and mushrooms.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the Libearty sanctuary, learning of the history and great work they do to return these wild creatures to a semblance of a wild existence they deserve. The story of Maya was very sobering and I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one to shed a tear. Seeing these bears' behaviour compared to the real wild bears from the hide was quite a contrast. I was also pleased to see they had some wolves at the sanctuary - dogs did bark for a short while in the late evening around Magura but the second night I heard distant howling and I want to believe that was some of the wild wolves! Also the bear hide is a must, we spent a good couple of hours viewing well over a dozen bears plus four cubs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was a gentleman guide. Literally. Modest, engaging, and genuine. Wealth of knowledge about the history and culture of Transylvania, interested in the experiences and thoughts of the folks in the tour group and always willing to assist. An excellent leader in which you are in no better hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Because of the mountainous nature of the region it is hard to gauge the weather more than a couple of hours out and rain can start and stop fairly quickly on a cloudy day. I note from a previous review that they thought the horse cart ride should have been cancelled because it was a rainy day, but in our case it was raining up to when we got to the carts and then it stopped raining. When we finished the ride, the rain started again! The cart ride was a highlight for me and I would have enjoyed it even if it continued raining. I would also say bring more than two pairs of shoes as it does take a couple of days to dry a pair after a rainy day. And yes bring cash to cover the extras (bear hide was 210 lei and wifi access about 25 lei).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Roll with it and find enjoyment in things that are small or simple. Don't worry too much about getting wet, possible familiarity or monotony or the basic nature of some amenities. One review stated Bucegi mountain was like Dartmore; I've never been there but I reckon it's not 2500m altitude with a gorgeous view of a Transylvanian valley. The simplest things were often the best moments: a yellow spotted salamander in the rain; barley for breakfast; a deer darting in the distance; a vivid pink wildflower; the sharpening of a scythe; a fluffy puppy; a large parasol mushroom ripe for harvest; a herd of donkeys approach while bird watching; drinks at the local "bar" on the side of a meadow hill with Benno the dog watching over us. Brilliant.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    (Edna) Pat Arlette

    What does this mean?

    This was a very well thought out holiday with an excellent mixture of walks and visits designed to give us an insight into the local way of life that fell exactly into the leisurely/moderate grading.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Can't think of anything in particular

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - very easy going manner with a wealth of historical knowledge
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Rosalind Jarvis

    Amazing bears

    Overall a good holiday. The best things for me were seeing the bears in the wild and the local walks around Magura. The high alpine scenery, the flower filled meadows, the limestone gorges, were beautiful. The guest house is pleasant and food good. Breakfasts are help yourself, semi-continental with a egg option, using this good selection to make packed lunch. Generally I thought the evening meal food was very good, the staff seem to work tirelessly preparing them and must be commended. Though on one or two days, whilst portions were perfect for my small/normal appetite, I think a large man may have been left a bit hungry. Honesty bar for beers and wine works well. Negatives - we had mixed weather and the leaders Thomas and Katrina rejigged the week's schedule. The rain entirely spoilt the horse and cart ride/walk to the monastery day. Out of exodus's control yes, but not quite sure why the leaders insisted upon us starting this activity if they knew how rainy it was in the valley below the guesthouse. Perhaps a bit more leeway to add in a visit to an indoor place or town would be sensible here? Secondly, Exodus should reconsider the addition of the cable car and high alpine walk. This involved a near two hour transfer there and back (4 hours in total driving), and a less inspiring walk at the top (think Dartmooresque scenery) than those around Magura itself. The restaurant on this day was good but game orientated. I would entirely leave this option out and add in another walk around Magura.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the bears in the wild was brilliant. I would have been happy to see one or two, but we saw 10-15 in a three hour period including mother and cubs. Secondly visiting the fortified church, having local schapps and cake with a very different type of priest. The beautiful scenery around Magura for walking. Observing some of ongoing traditional farming practices.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas, and Katrina (who owns the guest house), were very knowledgeable leaders about the local history and environment. Katrina would accompany us on some of the excursions e.g. bird watching (where we saw a pelican!)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is certainly not a walking holiday for anyone who does a reasonable level of walking - I found this frustrating. However, if you are not a walker, the nature of some of the shorter (10km walks) makes them a little more challenging than normal. There is also a considerable amount of time spent on mini-buses transferring between activities due to the location of Magura in the mountains, which I didn't appreciate on booking. Magura is a peaceful location, there is no other source of evening amusement apart from the guesthouse and a local "bar" (read cabin on stilts).
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