Turtle, Ecuador

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed June 2019
    Gail Hopper

    Great trip

    A delightful trip from many perspectives. Lovely scenery and interesting places to visit in the south of island. Very good company of lovely people. Amazing food. Hot weather What’s not to like??

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not necessarily inspirational but some really enjoyable experiences. On bike - the challenging climb up to Cavagrande del Cassibile and the wonderful views from the top. Off bike - possibly arriving in Noto or the wander through Marzamemi - really was a picturesque fishing village, followed by Guiseppe’s picnic, relaxation and swim at the agriturisimo

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Davida was a gentleman. Totally committed to ensuring we had a safe and enjoyable trip, kind and humorous. We liked his “stories” and his growing collection of English colloquialisms, that he tried to feed into daily conversation. He was well organised, ensuring an early start and finish so we had time to relax, swim or explore at the end of each ride. He knew, was proud of and described his country well. He wanted us to see the best of it ( and we almost did ). Took us to some lovely places to eat, to get the best pizza in Noto, antipasto in Syracuse and gelato and cannoli anywhere. A man with good taste! Giuseppe his assistant was a great supporter/driver/ bike mechanic and picnic provider. He has limited English but we managed to get by and the two made a good team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of how hot it can be in early June. Was 37degrees on day one. Didn’t fall below 30 all week. Davida sensibly had us out early each morning before it became unbearably hot. In some of the rural areas near the coast there were appalling amounts of rubbish dumped along the roadsides. We understood this was a result of political decisions about tax linked to recycling. This isn’t something Exodus are responsible for or able to change ( though I fear it could impact on tourism if it isn’t addressed). So very sad to destroy beautiful countryside.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Sicily is very interesting and well worth a visit - lots of lovely places to enjoy on this trip. Would highly recommend it. The accommodation was generally good - even the less smart places had the benefit of lovely hosts and good food. I liked the fact that there were no transfers and we cycled door to door each day, but we also had 2 nights in 2 hotels so didn’t have to pack up every morning
  • Reviewed June 2019
    David Netherwood

    Great trip, but a couple of REALLY tough climbs

    We had an excellent group of five, and Giovanni and Marc our guides were excellent. The scenery, mountains, beaches, cliff tops, historic ruins are wonderful as are the wild flowers and flamingos. The hotels were all of a good quality and most had swimming pools. The cycling is harder than the 3 rating suggests. I've done a number of cycling trips, but days 2 and 3 have serious climbs on them and two of the five of us had to take the van for the last part. Foodwise, I'm a vegetarian and while there was always something to eat, it was more often grilled veg than would have been ideal. We mostly ate in fish restaurants. That said, there were a couple of standout meals that were superb. The bikes are good quality, perhaps a little heavy, and provided with panniers - best to put them in the van on the climb days.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Drinking cold beer in a cliff top bar, watching the sun go down after a hard days cycling.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, Giovanni and Marc took turns to cycle with the group. They worked together really well and I think we all felt well looked after. They clearly are knowledgeable and passionate about the area, its history and wildlife and were delighted to share this with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you get offered the choice, the wine tasting is good fun - I bought a couple of bottles and it does travel!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    May be a single rating isn't enough, I think this is a 4 on days 2 & 3, and 3 the rest of the time.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Catherine Stewart

    Beautiful country.

    Good routes through some beautiful countryside. Some of the uphills are pretty tough but worth it for the downhills. Excellent choice of restaurants, very well organised and well-briefed. The guide coped fantastically as a one-man team - he really needed support from at lead one other Exodus appointed member to share the thinking and organising. Apart from a 1-hour whistlestop tour of Split for those arriving on the scheduled flight, there was no time for exploring the city and NO TIME for the meal that had been given in the Trip Notes - we had to grab a snack to eat on the ferry. Not entirely satisfactory. Hotels were average.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several: the one day trip to Mjlet was definitely worthwhile, but right to keep it as optional as it costs £50 on top of the holiday costs. Korcula was attractive - would have liked to have more time to explore the town. Good to finish in Dubrovnik though it came as a bit of a shock to be amongst hordes of other tourists after the previous off-piste days! Hotel away from the main drag is a very good idea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marin was superb! He has a very mature head and a delightful sense of humour. He is extremely well organised and coped with any eventuality in a calm and measured way. We were well-briefed before each day and were given further thorough briefing on each part of the ride. He certainly had the pressure put on him for this trip as he was the only Exodus representative so had to do ALL the thinking and ALL the organising. He seemed to take it all in his stride but it struck me as a huge responsibility. He was constantly having to chase up the driver who was not familiar with the routes and was there to just drive, not support the group leader as would normally be the case. Marin deserves top marks and a bonus for giving us a great holiday and choosing some excellent restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to see Split, go at least a day before. If you arrive on the scheduled flight, take enough food to see you through the evening as the meal before the ferry doesn't exist. Be prepared for higher prices in Dubrovnik (though the restaurant inside the walled city is definitely worth the extra cost). Prices elsewhere were very reasonable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just a huge 'Thank you' to Marin for guiding us through an interesting week and for giving us all great support. The combination of islands that we visited were well planned. It has made me want to see more - maybe another Exodus trip starting in Split and going North?
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Nick Sutton

    Top cycling, scenery and ice cream (in some locations...)

    An excellent holiday to a fabulous country, great cycling with a brilliant guide, plus swimming in beautiful locations, stunning scenery and lovely food. Plus, the opportunity to stay in an Eastern block hotel in a great location.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Winning the yellow jersey, though I won't bang on about it...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alan Skulic, our guide is a great guide, top man and was superb. He is passionate about his country, cycling and made some great food recommendations in the restaurants, so I ate well (-thanks Alan). He is also not bad at cycling and almost kept up with me!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The optional trip to Mijet is worthwhile, a gentle cycle and swimming in a beautiful location. We went on 8 June and it was in the 30's, which was exceptionally hot (for me), particularly in Dubrovnik. For those who don't cycle much, I think it worth getting some practice in, the first couple of days are challenging. The best ice cream shop is in Dubrovnik, near the Serbian church. Go early to do the wall walk in Dubrovnik and don't get stuck behind Americans or Japanese tour groups, or the urge to push them off the wall will take over!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd be inclined to book my own flights and come back in the morning, or early afternoon of the last day, rather than a 9pm flight. You can see Dubrovnik adequately in the evening and one full day, it therefore felt like a wasted day, hanging around for a late evening flight. I think the tour could be improved by say an additional day in, or around Split, or an island, rather than the two days in Dubrovnik.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Sally Sanders

    Beautiful Croatia!

    We found this trip to be a great way to experience this stunning coastline and enjoy our first visit to Croatia.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of the first day’s 10km climb and enjoying a lovely cold beer. Lunch at the konoba Mate on the island of Korcula was a delicious experience and I don’t think we would ever have found this lovely rural restaurant on our own. Really enjoyed the wild flowers and butterflies. Being a part of and sharing so many great experiences with our group ‘The Bruised Peaches’!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alan was ace - he looked after and encouraged us, and with his cycling expertise, local knowledge and sense of humour helped to make this trip well organised, interesting and great fun too!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Spend some hours in the saddle and do some training before you go - your bottom will thank you! Don’t expect great hotels but we found them to be adequate for this trip as not much time was spent in them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Will definitely visit Croatia again and will I am sure be booking another cycling trip with Exodos in the future.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Jan Challis

    Beautiful Croatia

    Lovely mixture of cycling; some long hills but beautiful views from the top, fabulous coastal roads through pine trees and little villages. Travelling in June we cycled through wonderful flower meadows with the heady smell of rosemary in the air. Hotels are basic but adequate. Food and drink are about the same as UK prices. Our guide pick some great restaurants.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The optional trip to Mljet - very relaxing and peaceful once you get there (getting on the ferry with the bike is a bit of a mad scramble). The optional dinner in Korcula at the agrotourism was fabulous - amazing setting and great food.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marin was a brilliant tour leader - knowledgeable, safe, friendly and great fun. He made sure everyone was included. Our driver was a nice guy but pretty useless - he did very little apart from drive the minibus so Marin ended up doing everything else. He worked exceptional hard the whole week. Unfortunately one of our group had an accident on day 5 but Marin handled the whole situation extremely well and very professionally.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I wish I'd been able to have a extra day or two to explore Split. We had a 1 hour whistlestop tour and then had to get straight on the ferry. Buy or take food for the ferry as there isn't time to sit and eat a meal in Split.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    With a group of 16 people there should been a second leader, or at the very least a driver who had some knowledge of the trip and provided the leader with competent backup. Our driver had no idea where to go; often we would get the meeting point to find he was parked somewhere entirely different. This really put a lot of unnecessary pressure on our leader and wasted time. The driver wouldn't help rope up the bikes, he had no idea how to detach the trailer and was difficult to contact (his phone was often switched off).
  • Reviewed June 2019

    A thoroughly enjoyaqble trip

    A memorable holiday with a group of compatible people who were all keen to enjoy the experience and learn about the region

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Perhaps not inspirational in the normal sense, but the ride on the first day around the northerly peninsula to Vinistu and Peripea brought home how oppressive the Soviet occupation had been. Subsequently we were able to appreciate just how much all three states valued the fact that they had been able to re-establish their independence and re-assert their own cultures.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Group leader, Lina, was extremely knowledgeable about the geography, history, culture and cuisine of the three Baltic states and she shared that knowledge in a most engaging manner. She coped admirably with a group of cyclists with widely different levels of experience, four, and sometimes five of whom were using e-bikes. She chose meal stops where we enjoyed lovely local food during the rides and very good restaurants for our evening meals. Her organisational skills were excellent and she was unfailingly good humoured throughout the trip

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a plug for the washbasins - the hotels don't provide them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The weakest aspect of the holiday was the hotel accommodation, which varied between being good and being pretty poor in terms of room size and quality.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Debbie Franks

    Fabulous Puglia.

    A wonderful trip with a dedicated and passionate guide, Antonio, who was determined to ensure we experienced the best in the safest possible way. It was reassuring when he would direct the traffic at tricky intersections. Pierrot was his conscientious and polite offsider. The itinerary was carefully selected to showcase amazing locations, cultural experiences, landscapes and history. The Sassi, Trulli were only two stand outs in a landscape of fields splashed with red poppies and yellow, pink, and white wild flowers. The accommodation was generally good to very good. The price of food, the coffee, aperitifs and gelato was so cheap compared to the north and our home country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday was inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader, Antonio, was excellent. Courteous, polite, passionate about his country and culture, very concerned with rider safety and the group’s well being and contentment.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your rain gear, follow the Exodus advice on what to bring.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Accommodation should always have lifts or be ground level. Most of us would travel from afar and would be travelling for a few weeks. While our suitcases may star5 off at 16k, we gather memorabilia. Hiking cases up those stairs is no fun either a5 the end of a day or the beginning.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Liz halpin

    Baltic by bike

    Three different countries starting a little chilly but warming up nicely. Three different capitals with lots of different foods to try. Generally flat cycling with good maps on bikes which were adequate but probably heavier than most people were used to. Hotels variable but always well positioned.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Constitution posted for all to see in every language.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andreas was very knowledgeable about the history of all the countries visited. He was willing to answer questions. On longer bus journeys he found ways to keep us amused. Andreas treated all the group members with respect and ensured that the cycling was accessible to all. He took us to some zany places to eat and explained all about the foods etc.. In all he was great!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure you have clothes for all weathers! Be prepared to try different foods. Always laugh at Andreas jokes!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hope you like castles.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Mike Reaveley

    A Wonderful Week with a Great Guide

    A brilliant trip from mountains to sea. The route is along immaculate cycle paths and quiet country roads. The cycling is rewarding and challenging for short periods and the scenery is spectacular.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This really is a superb trip. There is plenty of cycling with some challenging climbs. Every day was full with so much to see and do. The scenery during the rides was varied and very beautiful. The towns we visited were all full of history whether it was Trento, Lake Garda, Verona, Vicenza, Padova or Venice. The highlight of the trip was the first two days in the mountains and the ferry ride across Lake Garda. A situation developed halfway across Lake Garda when certain items in the on-board bar reached a critically low level. Fortunately, an Italian Naval re-supply vessel was in the area and came along side and the white wine was soon replenished !! We were lucky the weather - clear blue skies with temperatures in the late twenties.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mario is an excellent leader. The group's safety was always his top priority and he spent quite a bit of time moving within the group whilst on the move checking everyone was ok. There was never any doubt about what we had to do and when we had to do it, without being overbearing. He is warm, friendly and has a fantastic sense of humour (well you'd need one, dragging us lot around!) He was a great host in the evenings and took us to some good restaurants. On the last evening he booked a restaurant in the open right next to a canal, a wonderful location. He was knowledgeable about the countryside through which we were travelling. Overall, a great guy - hope I get him on the next trip. Cuido was our support vehicle driver. Obviously we didn't spend as much time with him but similar characteristics to Mario - friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable on cycling. Together, a great team !

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The more training you do the less gasping you'll do at the top of the hills

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like cycling and culture this is the perfect trip for you.
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