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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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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Reviews

Costa Rica

Very organised trip with a very knowledgeable guide who would adapt the itinerary to suit the group.

Most Inspirational Moment

Seeing the abundance of wildlife in their natural habitat.

Thoughts on Group Leader

I could not fault Johnny.

Advice for Potential Travellers

As this was a grade 1 walking holiday in the dry season do not get carried away with clothing and footwear and the mosquitoes were not the problem I thought they might be.

Suggestions

Be flexible as a group is put together from all different walks of life.

Discovering Costa Rica

Great itinerary. All the major habitats covered. Liked that we had two days in each hotel, as a lot of travelling involved. Our guide went above and beyond, up every day at 0600 for a walk for those that wanted to spot birds and other animals with the dawn chorus. Note that our guide was flexible about what was done in each location and on the days of travel.

Most Inspirational Moment

Well the 16 zip lines around the cloud forest at Monteverde (two @ 1km long), plus a Tarzan swing was great fun, and seeing the Resplendent Quetzal on three separate occasions (not easy!!) was quite amazing, and the huge numbers of Frigate Birds at Tarcoles were just astounding. The hotels/lodges at Monteverde, Savagre and Tamarindo were outstanding. Overall the experience of the jungle at the lodge at Esquinas and the two optional night walks was maybe the standout. (two separate sightings of the 'ultimate viper' the Fer de Lance and lots of cute frogs) But really the whole tour was great for us, everyone will have a different favourite place.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our group leader was Pedro. A great guy. Went above and beyond, interesting, informative, flexible, easy to chat to, knowledgeable. Don't see how he could have been better.

Advice for Potential Travellers

There is not a lot to do in San Jose. If you fly out early as we did, one full day in the City Centre is probably fine for some self guided walking tours, visit to the market (quite functional, not really a tourist destination), a guided tour of the Theatre, well worth doing, and a visit to the Gold Museum (underground in the square, next to the Theatre). Probably don't join a tour to visit outwith the City, as you may find some of these tours will be revisited as you travel around with your Exodus guide. If you do the Tamarindo extension at the end, the Capitan Suizo hotel is the best - at the end of the beach away from the noisier town, great hotel, only 35 rooms, as many staff (super helpful) as clients. But not if on a budget! It was suggested to us that Tamarindo would be busy and noisy. For anyone worried about this, it is absolutely not Magaluf, certainly busier than other places apart from San Jose, but where we were at the Suizo was very relaxing, quiet (the centre of town and that end of the beach is busier, but not excessive), lovely beaches, wildlife (howler monkeys in the hotel grounds, cuckoo jays, pelicans etc etc). We even saw a humpback whale and brown boobies just offshore (try a Sunset Tour on a catamaran). BUT NOTE timings about how long the Bus transfer takes from San Jose to Tamarindo are hopelessly optimistic. Our transfer took 6 and a half hours including pickups near the airport after we were picked up at our hotel, a stop halfway to transfer passengers to other buses/toilet break, and dropping off folks at hotels, some not even in Tamarindo. Coming back was better with a private transfer, but just to the airport (not City centre) took 5 hours, including a stop for a drink/toilet. The roads in Costa Rica are not good, consider a private transfer or plane transfer, (which another couple with us did), and only takes 35 minutes as well as being (apparently) a wonderful flight with the local airline Sansa. To repeat, this is not a great road journey. We did consider flying back from Tamarindo, but had too much luggage weight (you need to know you're going to fly internally and travel light due to the weight restriction on the small planes they use - check the limit in advance)

Suggestions

You will likely find that the Trip Notes will be varied by your Tour Leader, but only for the better. For example we would recommend (if you are not asked) the option of a boat trip and small bus to get from Arenal to Monteverde (while your bus negotiates the tortuous road all around Lake Arenal). This should be the standard transfer. Much more interesting and fun. And a stop at Tarcoles river to view the crocodiles and birdlife should be offered.

Just Brilliant

What an amazing trip this is, one of our best trips ever. Costa Rica is stunning and to experience the many different ecosystems and habitats and see the matchless variety of bird, animal and plant life was memorable. The itinerary is perfect, allowing one to see contrasting areas and top highlights, also to get off the beaten tourist trail aswell – the stay at Esquinas lodge and the visit to a farming family are good examples. Tourism is wonderfully well managed in Costa Rica and the hotels were all of a good standard, a nice varied selection. Special mention for our guide, David Vargas, who made our trip beyond incredible, see more below. Regarding tips for fellow travellers you will find many in these reviews, such as taking a rain poncho ( downpours tend to be short lived and a poncho fits over your day pack) it’s a good idea to take some US dollars. Credit Cards are widely accepted. We took some Costa Rican Colones aswell but you will easily get those from ATMs as required and at least you can use unspent US dollars on a future trip. Prices are slightly above European I’d say, not cheap for Brits taking into account the pound against the US dollar. Take quick dry clothing, humidity can mean difficulty drying thicker fabrics, and casual walking type gear fits most of the activities. Heavy walking boots would be overkill – waterproof walking shoes or trainers are more than enough. We would also recommend doing the hanging bridges at Monteverde despite the high cost, everyone on our tour took it and agreed it was unmissable. My husband and I also enjoyed the optional trip to the hot springs at La Fortuna with dinner included afterwards. Finally, I’d say if you are considering this trip, don’t hesitate, just do it!

Most Inspirational Moment

The cloud forest at Monteverde and seeing a Resplendent Quetzal at Savegre

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our guide, David Vargas, who made our trip beyond incredible. We’ve had some really great guides with Exodus but David united and captivated our group from day one. He is a kind, likeable person and made us laugh, a lot. He was professional, hard working and organised, he never missed a beat, everything ran like clockwork and any challenges arising were magically, promptly and quietly sorted. Many of us understood the hard work that must have taken but he never missed a beat. David has a wealth of experience, extensive training and vast knowledge of his country, its nature and the environment. Above all what really shone out was his passion for the birds and wildlife. His enthusiasm was so infectious that few of us could resist joining him on pre-dawn walks to spot yet more rare species - his expertise and knowledge were second to none. A truly special holiday and guide.

Advice for Potential Travellers

See above.

Fantastic

A great holiday that really shows you the range of Costa Rica’s climate and wildlife.

Most Inspirational Moment

Visiting Aurora on her farm and running barefoot on a Pacific beach tie for first place.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Dedicated, knowledable, funny, really helpful and untiring

Advice for Potential Travellers

Take warm clothes for the cloud forest, you might want a light down jacket. Don't buy smal value items with dollars, you'll get ripped off, beer is expensive in the hotels, take a travel plug as many washbasins don't have a plug. Take icaridin based insect repellent, less harmful to the environment than DEET and just as effective

Suggestions

The hotel at Savegre wasn't great. We got dirty sheets and had to ask for them to be changed. Service at meal times is cheerful but ultra slow and the food is heavy and dull. Some people got a great bathroom, ours looked institutional

Review Centre
Reply from Exodus

We are very grateful for your review, Stephanie, and are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the variety on offer in Costa Rica. On the other hand, we were sorry to learn of your disappointment with the service and cleanliness at the Savegre Hotel & Spa, as this is not the type of feedback we expect to receive. The Savegre is our usual property for nights 12 and 13 of this tour and it is generally well-received by our groups, however, we would certainly not wish to downplay your review, which we have put to the hotel’s management. They have offered their sincere apologies for the unclean bedding and have followed up with the housekeeping team to ensure it is not repeated. They have also explained that the slow catering service may have been due to high occupancy during the holiday season, however, their staff will be better prepared ahead of subsequent busy periods and the head chef will endeavour to improve the menu. We realise none of these improvements will change the experience you had, but we trust it shows that we have taken your concerns on board for the benefit of future Exodus guests. We, nevertheless, remain apologetic for any impact your stay at the Savegre had on your overall enjoyment of your holiday.

Sarah Ahern, Product Manager

Amazing Costa Rica

What a wonderful trip around Costa Rica with amazing guide Johnny Villalobos. Staying two nights at each hotel set the right pace. The food was very high quality throughout, although prices are close to European, so take plenty of dollars. Tortuguerro nature reserve and watching the turtles nesting was a massive highlight, along with the walks in the Jurassic like cloud rain forests. Make sure you take binoculars to see the wonderful array of wildlife as they are very difficult to spot in the jungle. Overall, it exceeded expectations as Johnny really made each experience so easy and interesting. Pura Vida!

Amazing trip!

I had an absolutely amazing time on the Discover Costa Rica trip. Our guide, Eduardo Lopez, was incredibly knowledgeable, especially when it came to wildlife. Exploring the cloud forests and rainforests was an unforgettable experience, and we encountered a wide variety of animals along the way. The accommodations were top-notch, and the entire trip was exceptionally well-organized. Thank you for this incredible adventure!

Best Exodus trip ever

Our guide Jorge was incredible. He knew EVERYTHING about the country’s wildlife, landscape, history, culture and was so excited to share it all with us. He could identify all the birds and reptiles we found and helped us take great photos. He had everything organised so well and communicated the plans really clearly. The itinerary allowed us to discover so many different parts of the country – so close together and yet so diverse. Really recommend this trip, which was my 7th with Exodus, and definitely the best!

Anyone who cares about the planet should put this on their list

I had heard that this was a good trip, and was looking forward to it a lot, but as a veteran of Exodus (this was my eleventh adventure with the company) this Costa Rica excursion managed to far exceed expectations. Costa Rica is an extraordinary and unique country that treasures its natural habitats (and abolished its own army in 1949) but you do need a good guide to unlock its treasures for you, and Jonny Villalobos was the key to making the last two weeks completely unforgettable. Jonny knows EVERYTHING… and is infinitely patient, and understands that a good guide needs to be like the proverbial swan… serene on the surface, while paddling away under the water to make sure everything runs like clockwork. The itinerary is impressive enough, but Jonny had most of the group willingly getting up at 6am every morning to go on his wonderful additional birding hikes… and I’m not even particularly interested in birds. I’m sure that I have learned more about wildlife in the last two weeks than in the entire 63 years that preceded it. Much of the fun of this trip is that most of you will be staring at dense foliage not seeing anything but leaves and vines, only for Jonny to isolate a branch half way up and reveal some perfectly camouflaged creature that you hadn’t even heard of five minutes before. I’ve never said ‘wow’ so many times in my whole life. And where the trip notes said something like ‘the day is yours to explore etc etc’ of course you can do that if you want to, but why would you when you’re going to get so much more by joining in with Jonny’s unique spin on every activity. Of course the real star is the country itself and the extraordinary diversity of landscapes and habitats, from hot and humid tropical rainforest, to chilly atmospheric cloud forests up in the mountains. From rivers whose banks teem with monkeys and birds and lizards to thrilling waterfalls, to an idyllic pacific beach where all that’s missing is a bounty bar or a bottle of Timotei shampoo. Seriously, everyone should give Costa Rica a go if only to appreciate how wonderful our world can be when we look after it, and to give you hope that it is possible to repair at least some of the damage we’ve done to our beautiful planet.

Most Inspirational Moment

Every day was full of inspirational moments, from watching a Potoo (which is like something out of Harry Potter) cuddling her chick, to an encounter with a playful troupe of wild squirrel monkeys, to a magical trip along the jungle creeks and canals of Tortuguero (a bit like Apocalypse Now but without the psychotic US Army Colonel), to stumbling across a two toed sloth who I swear was giving me the finger.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Jonny Villalobos is a super talented guide who made every day an adventure and filled the whole group with enthusiasm for wildlife and his remarkable country.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be prepared for all weathers - although don't worry too much about rain (rain is what makes the country what it is) - and for early starts. To get the most from this trip you should be prepared to go with the rhythm of the country and the wildlife itself... so get up with the sun (the birds will wake you up anyway) and don't worry about conking out when it gets dark.

Suggestions

Move this holiday to the top of your list.

Amazing trip, brilliant wildlife

A really excellent tour. I don’t think I can find fault with anything. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The locations visited were incredible and we saw an amazing amount of wildlife with the help of our guide. The accommodation was good and the transport between locations was very good.

Most Inspirational Moment

Standing in a "Hummingbird Garden" with hummingbirds zipping around me. Seeing crocodiles, sloths,toucans, coats, agouti, macaws.... Going on a night walk in the rainforest and finding many different kinds of frogs and snakes

Thoughts on Group Leader

He was absolutely excellent. He was very well organised, he'd a fantastic knowledge base and was clearly passionate about his country, its environment and its wildlife

Advice for Potential Travellers

This is a really incredible trip, you should go if you possibly can

Brilliant holiday

We had a fabulous time in Costa Rica. The group got on so well together and we had the best guide, Glenda. We were extremely fortunate with our weather too. Although was the dry season, we were warned that we could expect rain at any time, particularly on the Caribbean side. We only had (biblical) showers at La Fortuna, but after we had had our tours. The wildlife was fantastic – we were lucky enough to see several quetzals and sloths and the bird life was abundant. Most of the hotels used were good but the Holiday Inn in San Jose was a little sub standard. The food was poor and the service in the bar very slow. We thought the Monteverde lodge was too close to the road as we could hear traffic at night. The service was rather surly there too. The lodge at Manuel Antonio was also close to the road and our room (very small) was right next to it so we were woken at 5am by traffic. The restaurant was very expensive too – much better to go into the town.

Most Inspirational Moment

I enjoyed all of it but especially Tortuguero with the boat trips searching for bird and animal life. The lodge was special and had a wonderful pool. I also loved the lodges at Esquinas and Savegre as they were isolated and amongst the wildlife. I also loved swimming in the Pacific at Manual Antonio.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Glenda was amazing. She’s the best guide I’ve come across in many years of travelling. She was so well organised; all the hotels were phoned in advance which made check in really smooth. She is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm with a huge passion for her country and its wildlife. She was honest and really easy to talk to. She has a wonderful sense of humour too - very important when you are together for two weeks. Our driver, Francisco, was also brilliant- an exceptional driver, calm, friendly and patient. He was great at spotting wildlife too.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Go with an open mind. The few negatives are completely outweighed by the positives. There is so much to appreciate in Costa Rica. It is doing its best to preserve its wildlife and rainforests etc. The scenery is stunning and there is so much variety. Some of the journeys are long and there is some rough terrain but there is much to see (or you can catch up on sleep). Take a stout pair of walking shoes and raincoats. An umbrella is also useful. A towel is needed at the waterfall at La Fortuna. Vegetarians are well catered for. It can be expensive - drinks vary enormously in price and wine is rarely included in happy hours! Drinks and meal prices do add up and the optional excursions are pricy so need to be budgeted for.

Suggestions

Manuel Antonio is gorgeous but very busy on a Sunday. If it is less crowded on a weekday maybe the schedules could accommodate this. All in all, a wonderful, thoroughly memorable trip with a fantastic group (lots of laughs), a brilliant tour guide and driver and a beautiful country with fabulous wildlife.