Turtle, Ecuador

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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 March 2019
    Gill Lambie

    Walking in Andalucia

    This was a lovely (grade 4 ) holiday in a rural, unspoilt part of Andalucia. The cortijo is very comfortable with fantastic views over the surrounding countryside. The laid back approach made it feel like a house party and Cartouche & Joke must be congratulated on this. Tea & coffee available all day and a bar with amazing measures. There were 12 of us in the group and we all got on well with lots of laughs. We were fortunate to have perfect weather all week with blue skies, no clouds and temps in the mid 20’s. The walks were varied and the day off in Seville was well worth doing. We all went to the Flamenco dancing in the evening and one of the group was so inspired by this that the next morning she gave us her personal interpretation by the pool before we set off on the walk.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk in the Grazalema National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michael Newcombe was our leader and was one of the best we’ve ever had . His knowledge of the area was impressive and he was able to impart this in an intelligent & interesting way. His people skills are excellent and I wonder if he’d even organised the lovely weather....What an ambassador he is for Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Robert Dredge

    SOME GREAT, SOME NOT SO

    First the good. One leader was beyond outstanding and really showed empathy, knowledge and understanding and really took everyone to a higher level. The food and staff at the accommodation were exceptional. The accommodation itself a bit cramped but adequate. Overall accommodation was very good and not. problem. The ski hire equipment was very old and dated, but worked OK. Transfers were efficient and pretty timely. Now the not so good. As excellent as one leader was the other was beyond poor. No empathy, limited apparent knowledge of technique and minimal interest in teaching beyond follow me and catch up sometime, even if you fall and are struggling-you were left on your own which affected confidence of some less confident people.. Annoying that I was told in answer to specific request to fly from other than Gatwick that it was not possible( as were at least 2 other couples) on arrival in Oslo we waited for others to fly in from Manchester and Edinburgh. Petty but annoying-expectation that all may be required to buy own wax throughout the week . Surely at £1500 it could cover £50 a season for leaders to have this-in the event the good leader did wax skis when out if she saw it was needed. Quite. bit of pressure put on to attend the evening lectures etc-which were variable in relevance and quality.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Skiing with Ilse Alt

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ilse -as above beyond exceptional in all she did, attitude, patience, knowledge and ability to improve me, as well s enthusiasm for country and magnificent guiding. Other leader was simply indifferent at best and seemed uninterested and not up to the job.( a view shared by others). She showed no interest in teaching or looking at individuals.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check who is leading the group.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This really was a holiday of 2 halves. Early part really frustrating and unsatisfactory. Change of leader meant 2nd half was outstanding. Staff and food at resort should be commended.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Tony White

    Disappointing

    This tour has all the makings of something special, but fails to deliver. Amritsar and Golden Temple fantastic, Partition Museum shut and if you want to visit the Wagah Border ceremony, then it will need arranging and cost extra ( why is it not included?). Rushed visit to Mcleodganj, staying in Citrus Hotel which needs a thorough deep clean ( dirty, unchanged sheets and filthy pillows). Andretta homestay pleasant although very wet and cold, pottery shut. So what is there to do there? Long day travel to Mandi; didn't see anything of the town and it's "80 temples". Group ate in Raj Mahal Palace; 50% I'll following day. Rooms dirty and bathrooms filthy. Drop this hotel from the itinerary! Shimla is highlight of the mountains and was as good as expected, although the weather was very cold and wet. Unfortunately Silverine Hotel is not heated, so wet clothes need drying out in front of 2 bar electric fire supplied on request. Shimla Toy Train a great experience. Overall, the poor hotels and some long uncomfortable days on the road dragged down the overall ambience of the tour. Finally, the constant noise, dirt, poverty and litter take over one's senses. India will sink under its own litter problem, which is piled everywhere. I have done extensive tours around the world, most of them a wonderful cultural experience. This, alas, is not one of them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Golden Temple, Dalai Lama Temple, Himalayan views, Shimla.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not the inspirational leader that other tours have had. Arranged transport and meals ok, but limited information and descriptions in many locations.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This tour is overpriced for the standard of hotels offered and content. Entry fees to the 50% of museums that weren't shut are cheap in India. This is mid-priced tour that provides some very sub-standard accomodation. Advice; try another tour.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Rob Gilbert

    Mountains temples and hill stations

    The highlight of this trip was the golden temple Amritsar and Taj Mahal, of which i had to pay 140 euro extra to do this...hotels in most places were below standards with filthy bed linen, mould, no heat, hanging wall sockets galore..as i was single supplement, it seems i got the raw deal in most places we stayed....mandi hotel, maharaja palace, should be dropped from this tour....worst place ever!! Asif was pleasant tour guide who did his best to keep things going but with programme changes and making alternatives, proved difficult. All in all, a very disappointing trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting golden temple and Taj Mahal, which i had already seen before

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Asif was a good guy who tried his best to please a lot of grumpy tourists who felt they were not getting what they signed up for.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yea like the previous lady said on her review early 2019....dont do this trip
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Katherine Gatehouse

    Exodus Moderate Cycling holiday

    This holiday was the most fantastic holiday I have ever been on. Every day was a challenge that was broken down into small sections so it was possible to complete. The route was so exciting, the lunch stops were fantastic, really delicious food. The hotels were such a treat at the end of the day after a hard days cycling. Our tour guide Tung was the best and his crew were fun and so encouraging. Vietnam is a beautiful country and biking is a fantastic way to see it. The train ride was really different and such a great experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing 100k in one day with a fantastic group in the most sensational scenery. Conoeing in Halong Bay, stunning. Swimming and snorkling on an eco island

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tung gave us excellent historical And political context. He was so knowledgeable about the area. He was great fun and a GREAT GUIDE.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The people were so respectful to us as travellers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it, enjoy every experience.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Melissa Willard

    Very happy with whole experience

    Our guide Xavier really brought to life for us the quirks and beauty of Buenos Aires and the Patagonia region. Everyone in the group was having a great time. The region is full of stunning scenery and interesting history and Exodus organised this in such a way as to allow us full enjoyment without any accompanying hassle. Food and accommodations were of a good standard although the plumbing in the Cyan Rocaleta was unreliable and Exodus may want to feed back to the hotel on that (shower unavailable on first stay because the switch between bath and shower not working, and water temperature could not be reduced on the second stay and we had to wait 1/2 hour for maintenance to come and fix it). However, this was a tiny, tiny glitch in a wonderful holiday that fully met and exceeded our expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    First steak in Buenos Aires....seeing birds and animals in the wild...fighting the wind on the fossil walk...seeing the Milky Way...hand print from 6,500 years ago on cave wall...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The best! Xavier is warm, direct, likeable, entertaining, thoughtful and a true professional. He obviously loves the region and his work. We couldn't have wished for a better tour guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep a journal otherwise the whole trip will be a blur and you will lose many memories. Binoculars would have been useful.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Peter Cooke

    Brilliant memorable Trip

    Overall a fantastic trip. Lucky with the group members and Son the leader and his team. Vietnam is wonderful... the people, the food and the countryside. A bonus being it is very cheap!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Moments! The children shouting "Hallo" formed the sound backdrop to the trip. Add to that the food in the local restaurants (we are veggies and were catered for exceptionally well).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Could not praise Son enough. His gentle but firm organisation, sense of humour and unshakeable positive outlook. Also his explainations about the culture and the economy. Lastly his enviromental concerns.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go!!! But, do some riding first to make it more enjoyable.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Richard Atkinson

    A great adventure

    This trip packs in two very different trekking experiences with some great ‘city breaks’ thrown in! Our February departure had great weather, which certainly meant the camping and paths didn’t present too much difficulty and we were able to enjoy the rich variety of ecosystems and stunning views, whilst still getting a good workout! One unexpected bonus was finding ourselves virtually alone on the trails: we only saw a handful of other trekkers after arriving at farmhouses (an adventure in their own right) on the Los Nevados trek. The Lost City trek is more commercialised, but our itinerary meant we only ever encountered other trekkers at the camps, and had the Lost City to ourselves. The whole experience was supported by a great trio of guides who were with us for the whole trip, supplemented by local guides for each trek. The team brought a wealth of experience and local knowledge to ensure we got the most out of the trip. And, as ever, a great bunch of fellow trekkers with whom I shared many stories and laughs!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So had to isolate any one part. In fact it’s probably the variety that was so inspiring.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a great team of three: Julian ensured the logistics all worked smoothly, James kept us all in good spirits on the trail, and Diana always making sure we were fully informed and sorting any issues.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have a soft trek bag for the los nevados trek with something to leave un-needed clothes/gear in, and for the lost city trek, just a mid-sized waterproof stuff sac for the change of clothes for evening and wash bag (plus your day-sac). Also, it’s worth taking a phone charger if using your phone as a camera on the lost city trek as camps now have power. You can pay for internet access at camps, but won’t get a phone signal.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Paul Court

    Great Trip In A Fascinating Country

    This was a very well-run tour which, because of the daily combination of medium-to-long bike rides and substantial bus rides, requires a fair amount of coordination. Since a bus was required, it was a simple matter for those not up to the full day’s ride to spend part of it on the bus. It was quite a treat to have a guide, a mechanic riding the tail end, a bus driver and a truck driver. They were a great team and didn’t miss a step. A particular mention must be made of the team leader, Son Nguyen, who ran things with a firm hand without being overbearing. Guiding a group of Western cyclists through the chaotic traffic of Vietnam, with its swarms of scooters going in every direction, is not for the faint of heart. He was on top of every detail. For example, one of us has an allergy to shellfish. He had this in hand before every meal, and she usually received her crustacean-and-mollusc-free dish right away, rather than having to chase it up. Lunch was typically a delicious bowl of pho in a small family restaurant. Restaurants and hotels were always ready for our arrival, and there were no problems or long waits for check-ins The tour itself is well structured, with a free day with no riding every four days or so. The riding portion started and ended outside the major towns and cities, where the traffic would have been insane. The hotels were much nicer than we expected, in the 3.5 to 4.5 star range. The rides ranged from 50 to 100 km per day and were not technically challenging. There are a few hills, and the one long climb up the Hai Van Pass is a 500+ meter climb over 10 kilometres. Everyone who attempted it crested the summit within an hour. However, it is humid and the temperature ranged from the high 20s to mid 30s. There were hourly stops for fruit and hydration, and we certainly used our bottles on the bikes. Expect to sweat out many litres over the course of a day’s ride. The Vietnamese are lovely and welcoming people. We have fond memories of many children waving and calling out “Hello!” as we rode past, often reaching out to snag high-fives. They also have a real interest in visitors, asking us where we came from, and giving us interesting insights into the country. This rapidly growing and modernizing country, however, has major problems with transportation and trash. There are millions of scooters and small trucks with little regard for the rules of the road, so one has to be alert. At least there are relatively few cars, which would make traffic much worse. Fortunately the truck or bus would go ahead and block traffic for our left turns and major intersections. There is a lot of air pollution because of the traffic, and a lot of scooter riders are wearing masks – not really an option for cyclists riding the distances we did in the heat and humidity.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The children calling out "Hello!"

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb. Son was very well organized and didn't miss a step.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Ron Douglas

    Such a wonderful time

    MOV190303 on YouTube says it all. This beautiful video documenting our trip was produced by our lovely mechanic/wing man Y (EE) who worked so hard and supported us all the way and still somehow managed to produce this great video in time for us to watch it by the end of our trip. The tour went like clockwork under the excellent leadership of our tour leader Linh supported by Y and our excellent driver who all worked tirelessly to make our trip the success it was.. Our group numbered eighteen which was great and we all got along like family (a happy one that is). Some reviews say the tour is pretty intensive and I would go along with that but also say that it was intensively good. Plenty of great cycling including the challenge of Hai Van Pass (if I can do it, you can! Lowest gear, take your time, make a few stops to take photos, and get a cheer from your mates at the top). The Whale Island experience was wonderful with its great snorkelling as was the Halong Bay overnight with kayaking which I have not done before. I had a jacket and trousers made by Yaly in Hoi An and they were great. Even crossing the road in Saigon and Hanoi was an experience not to be missed! The hotels throughout were of a very high standard and Lihn always found us the best places to eat real, fantastic Vietnamese food. We were even very adequately re-fuelled en route via a selection of fruits and bits and home made cold drink using our "snacks kitty"to very good effect. Such a beautiful country. So many lovely sights. So many new experiences. Such lovely food. Such lovely new friends. Truly a wonderful holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the Hai Van Pass was a high point (literally). A bit on the old side, I was tail end Charlie but to reach the top to the waiting, cheering crowd of our friends was like winning a stage of the "Tour" and something I'll always remember. Yes!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Linh was great from start to finish. He is an intelligent, thinking man was extraordinarily informative on anything we asked him as well as delivering informative set-pieces as we travelled on the coach. Linh had a couple of extraordinary things to deal with in support of members of the group and dealt with these really efficiently.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Nowhere is the water safe. We use a Sawyer water filter which has kept us safe on three tours in countries where the water is not safe. It cuts down on plastic bottles and gives complete independence. Take a silk sleeping bag liner for the train overnight. The ones in the shops/market in Vietnam say 100% silk but of course they are not! "Life Venture" ones are! and they are good. Forget anything genuine in Vietnam, it's all fake. North Face knock-offs are everywhere. Check out scams and things to avoid in Vietnam on You Tube. Weasel coffee is not genuine unless you are paying 500 USD a bag! I doubt you find it anywhere anyway! Cycling, don't try to keep up with the fastest. Cycle at your own pace and enjoy it. The group is a family. Be prepared for early starts and full days. Be prepared for quite a few hours on the bus. The tour covers many hundreds of kilometres from Saigon to Hanoi and beyond so a certain amount of time on the bus is necessary and not entirely unenjoyable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This tour is a credit to Exodus. It was so well organised throughout and I would not hesitate to recommend it.
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