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 February 2019
    Alla Neal

    Still OK but not excellent as previous 3 Exodus trips.

    This is my 4th trip with Exodus and the worst. Still OK but not excellent as previous 3 were. We spent too much time in unbelievably noisy polluted cities instead of maybe explore countryside a bit more. Also by returning from Halong Bay (which were fantastic) we lost the whole day sitting in Hanoi lobby to be able to take overnight train and to have a very busy day after this. Train is awful - not possible to sleep, even for someone like me who experienced many overnight trains in Russia. Instead it would be better to take a day train, rest in the hotel overnight and then have the busy day. Cycling inside the city in Hue was not safe, especially considering that more than a half of the group are not experienced cyclists and the amount of traffic grows very fast every year (Ref: Vietnam population doubled in size within last 60 years). But cycling in countryside was lovely. Hotel in Hoi An was miles away from the city centre for no reason - there are plenty hotels closer for the similar rate. And finally our guide kept disappearing for an hour or two and was very vague with his instructions.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Halong Bay

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was a nice chap, but he was not the best exodus guide. He "forgot" about a single lady traveller on the 1st night and had to go back when he remembered (about half an hour later, when we already were sitting in the restaurant). He kept disappearing for an hour or two, was contantly very vague with his instructions and was ignoring questions when you ask him something - it alsways shall be 2-3 times before we get a reply.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Sharon Reuben

    A Perfect Balance!

    My first time using Exodus for long-haul...I've traveled independently all over the tropics so was reluctant about this, wondering if it would be worth the money, but compared to the European trips I actually think it's great value & I loved this trip It's a perfect balance of cycling & sight-seeing with the best food I've EVER eaten in India, which I put down to our guide Safi. As a vegetarian, you can't eat better than Southern India :-) Lots to do, heaps to see, great variety of landscape, architecture and more...people are warm and friendly towards cyclists here...use your bell in the busy areas and enjoy the glorious peace of the quiet out-of-town rides. The backwater trip was lovely & peaceful, most hotels very good & a few excellent. I'm an experienced distance cyclist so wasn't daunted by the itinerary...most days are leisurely, a few more challenging which keeps it interesting -without question, the climb to Ooty is a serious challenge so be prepared. That said, a few folks used the support vehicle, that's what it's there for so don't be proud! * Would definitely recommend *

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a tiger in Chamundi was unexpected and magical...Seeing the sign for the last hairpin bend up to Ooty was a different kind of magical!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was great - very good company, didn't push the group too hard but also kept to time and delivered a great trip with lots of variety, heaps of local interest, incredible food etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You don't need many clothes - bring light thin layers as it gets v hot as you head south, but the few days around Ooty including the long descent after it are properly chilly, particularly flying back down to sea level out of the sun! The bikes are good...bring a little saddlebag or similar to hold a few items (phone etc) There's nothing you can't buy locally but ideally bring mossie spray / sun cream from home.
  • Reviewed February 2019

    Amazing views with peacefuness

    A really beautiful place to walk; each day gave us different views of the Dolomites and Austrian and Italian Alps. Our guide, Sara, was excellent, she encouraged all of the group to get the most out of the trip and despite the challenging weather (very deep snow and recent fresh avalanches which closed off many routes) devised an interesting, varied and very enjoyable schedule for us all. The hotel was good, the room was comfortable, spa was very welcome after long days walking and the food was very good- they catered for my gluten free diet really well with the minimum of fuss. Loved the breakfasts and lunch boxes. The group were lovely- this was my first group trip and I was quite apprehensive but I was really happy to meet such a diverse group of like minded people. The peacefulness in the mountains was wonderful- I’m so happy that our routes were altered because it gives me another good reason to go back again!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 360 views from the Durrakopf and the peacefulness

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb. She encouraged and challenged us every day and made the trip for us. She made us feel happy to push ourselves and inspired confidence in the way she adapted to different conditions and thoroughly assessed and determined appropriate activities. She gave great insights into the area and was very interesting to talk to. She responded to different needs within the group and sorted out problems for people quickly and effectively.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t pack alpine ski-wear, it is too hot; better to have light layers to take on and off through the day, walking gear is best. Do some hill walking before you go to get fit! Really enjoyed the cross country skiing on the day off and shared lesson with local guide Iris.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you to Sara!
  • Reviewed February 2019

    Fascinating, however..

    Fascinating colourful experience of Vietnam. The trip includes insight into it’s turbulent history, and inspired many of the group to read more about it. I went single, into a group of 16, and with Ngok, one of the nicest and best guides I’ve ever experienced. He was with us in Vietnam, and joined us evenings and for optional tours as well. We had to say goodbye to him before the early morning onward flight to Siem Reap. There we had a new guide, who met us with the unsurprising news that it was too early to check into the hotel – and then took us on a full day program, through to watching sunset over a temple (unfortunately underwhelming on that particular day) – without yet checking in. We arrived at the chosen temple and waited there 2 hours for sunset, tired and travel weary after 2 weeks in Vietnam. The hotel was no more than half an hour away, so we really felt he could have planned the day better for us. We had all been up very early (the previous day too). Half the group wanted to go direct to the hotel and miss the sunset, but the guide felt we should see the sunset because it was mentioned in the original itinerary. The majority of our group were disappointed with the Hotels. Comfortable and clean, friendly staff, but not as good as we expected from a trip advertised as Premium. Exception was the Hotel in Siem Reap, which met our expectations of Premium class. Note, only the hotel in Hanoi was not the one advertised in the original programme, it was supposed to be an 'or similar' hotel. Several of us wrote to our travel agents to complain of its distance from the town centre (shuttle bus ran insufficiently), its proximity next to a road, and general failure to meet expectations. Another point worth mentioning to those who choose this trip having noted that it is classed as leisurely. It wasn’t! There was very little free time, admittedly partly due to participation in some optional activities, and partly due to traffic jams keeping our bus on the road for hours longer than planned. It would help relieve some of the stress if the itinerary could be changed such that we do not spend 2 nights in a hotel, travel some hours for an overnight elsewhere, and then do the reverse travel to return to the original hotel for another night. It happens twice in this itinerary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The colour and hustle and bustle of life in Hanoi, Hoi An and Saigon. The optional street food tour in Hanoi with Thanh (Tony) was worth doing, to see some of the back streets and eat in places you wouldn't normally find. Angkor Wat has to be up there as an inspirational part of the trip, though we hadn't realised there were soooo many temples on the itinerary. Some of the group felt 'all temple-ed out', gave up, and tuk-tuk-ed back to hotel pool and Siem Reap markets on the second day of temple visiting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngok is a lovely, friendly, memorable young (from where I am at 68 years old :-) man, and contributed immensely to the whole trip experience. He was with us in Vietnam, and joined us evenings and for optional tours as well. We learned a lot from him. The evening meals in the Vietnamese restaurants chosen by our guide were really good. He put menus together for us, such that we could try different dishes throughout the trip, though we always had the option of choosing something ourselves instead. Siem Reap guide...very pleasant and keen, though somewhat inflexible. See my summary.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get quickly over the fear of crossing the road! Just pick your moment and go, keep the same pace, and focus on the other side! You get used to it :-))

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was very good, in spite of negative comments I've made. I experienced Vietnam and the temples in Angkor, and was not disappointed. However, it was not an excellent trip. Perhaps if I were considerably younger than 68 it would have been easier, but I chose this trip because it says the pace is leisurely and hotels are premium. So I was disappointed, as were the rest of the group. (14 of the 16 in our group were age around 55 to 75, and there were 2 under 30.)
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Anne-Marie Robinson

    Fascinating trip

    This trip has an interesting and varied itinerary, with plenty of excellent cultural visits. There is quite a lot of travel involved, as stated in the trip notes, but it's a big country and there's loads to see....palaces, temples, nature reserves, tea plantations, markets, backwaters and beaches.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed the whole trip, but the highlight was the day and night spent on the backwaters in Alleppey. Just wonderful!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was outstanding. He was brilliantly organised, totally efficient, thoughtful, and charming. He made the trip a real pleasure to be on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lot of travel between places. If you don't like temples, don't do this trip!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Virginia Morris

    A cycle trip to remember

    This amazing trip has earnt its place as one of the top Exodus cycling adventures. In a fortnight you cover the whole country by bike, bus and train. We combined this trip with the Indochina and Angkor Wat trip so had already cycled from Bangkok to Saigon in the previous fortnight and were acclimatised to the time zone, heat and general chaos of the streets of south east Asia. its a shock to share the roads with so many motorbikes, cars, trucks and people but somehow everyone finds their place. Don't do this trip if you don't like traffic and are looking for peace and tranquillity. We had only a few cycling days through country backwaters but these were outstanding in their beauty. Mostly we cycled busy roads and at a pace which didn't allow for much contemplation. It's a fascinating itinerary with some fabulous stops along the way such as Whale Island, Hoi-An and Halong Bay. I recommend a few extra days in Saigon at the start and also Hanoi at the end as there is much to see and do in both cities. The bikes are mountain bikes so the mileage can seem long at times and the hills tough. That said, I never felt tempted by the bus until the very last day which I skipped to enjoy sightseeing in Hue without sweat. The hotels are all first class and the accommodation on Whale Island and Halong Bay very charming. The overnight train is an 'experience'. Food is fabulous of course and the cycle snacks really amazing especially the home made lemonade. No need to bring anything extra except maybe a bag of muesli (I am a gluten free person and was very well provided for with rice cakes, nuts and fruit at every stop). Our leader was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and great fun. He did push the pace above that stated in the trip notes but we all coped and enjoyed the challenges of the passes and the 'undulating' landscape. The history of Vietnam is gruesome and complex. Meeting the people now and seeing the progress is inspirational. Our photos are awesome and we are looking forward to booking our next adventure. Many thanks Exodus and Tri our leader, for this fabulous cycling holiday. We totally recommend putting the 2 trips together if you have the time and funds available. It's totally worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the high pass and then sailing down the other side

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need to bring snacks along. Leave space in your suitcase for shopping. Think about getting a tailor made item or two in Hoi An.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Virginia Morris

    Wonderful contrasting country cycling

    This tour gives a great overview of the 3 countries visited with differing food, landscapes and people. Our group was small (only 9: Brits and Americans) which gave us a very close bonding time together and our leader 'Is' was outstanding in her warmth, compassion and sense of humour. The pace was faster than expected and yet although we cycled further than I have experience of, it was completely manageable and I was never tempted to get on the bus. It's hot and sweaty but virtually flat the whole way. There is more traffic and car fumes than anticipated and it felt a bit risky at times, but 'Is' had her eye on us the whole time with help from the crew. The food is wonderful and as a gluten free vegetable lover I was in heaven. There really is no need to bring anything extra except perhaps a bag of muesli. The cycle snacks are never ending and delicious. Culturally, we were indulged in many new tastes, sights and sounds from spiders, silk worms, frogs, rats and snakes to be eaten in the local markets to fabulous home cooking in the home stay. We toured Angkor Wat in its splendours over 3 days and enjoyed the boat ride in Cambodia and the homestay in Vietnam. Entering Vietnam, we experienced the New Year celebrations in a riot of colourful flowers and local costumes and decorations as well as some evening shows. We enjoyed every aspect of the trip and followed straight on to the Exodus Cycle Vietnam trip. This was totally manageable and I recommend it as a way of enhancing the experience if you can manage that amount of time and expenditure (see my review for that trip too). We loved the time spent in Saigon and also had a few extra days in Bangkok at the start to acclimatise to the time zone difference and the weather. The hotels along the way can be basic but all are clean and comfortable and most have swimming pools. Laundry is easy to do. Leave space in your suitcase for shopping. There are lots of possibilities along the way for cheap and colourful clothing, crafts and food items. The history of war can be hard to digest and the visits in Pnom Penh quite devastating. But we were taken for lunch to a community restaurant project rehabilitating street children, which was so uplifting that we could see how the people have moved forward from their dark history with quiet hope, endurance and humility. We have so many great photos and memories but are already thinking about where to go on our next adventure. A big thanks to 'Is' and Exodus for this great holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hearing about the Cambodia history and seeing how the people have forgiven though not forgotten all their strife.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic in every way

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need to take snacks along. Don't take too much clothing and leave space in your suitcase.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Highly recommended
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jeremy Burns

    Costa Rica birding departure

    Good for bird watchers Excellent professional guide and comfortable air-conditioned coach Costa Ricans friendly nice people Good opportunities to ride on boats and walk in unspoilt rain forest and swim from beautiful Pacific beaches Drawbacks are lots of long coach journeys on slow roads and many of the places visited are crowded with coaches and tourists. Also hotel food is nothing to write home about except at savegre where it is excellent Don't bother with night walk and suspension bridges at Monteverdi which are poor value in my opinion. Costa Rica also very expensive even for basics like bread or fruit . I found it hard to understand how the poor local population could afford to live at these prices

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting tortuguero

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent very knowledgeable pleasant hard working and considerate... Guillermo Gomez is his name

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take colones or pay by Visa card. If you are British and buy US dollars to take with you, you then end up converting dollars to colones at a poor local rate and lose out twice on the currency conversion If you are elderly you may find the high altitudes at Monteverdi and at savegre a problem. My 82 year old mother for example managed most of the rest of the trip ok but became ill in the high country Good binoculars and camera a must for the birding departure
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Tim Shaw

    Snowshoeing in the sun

    The amazing weather meant that snow was fast disappearing, but our leader, Miguel, still found some excellent routes. There were some enjoyable snowshoeing challenges, and outstanding views of distant peaks. Miguel also shared his passion for Catalonia and its history,food and wine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The reward of fabulous views after a hard traverse uphill to Creu de l’Eixol.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. Flexible in choosing appropriate routes for the group members.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Anne Farrow

    Title is appropriate

    Had great week in Bolquere. Lovely group and lots of snow and sunshine. Varied routes each day and really good food at our mountain stops. Hotel small and friendly and delicious 4 courses every night. Every detail of the trip taken care of by Bob our guide. As an improver, I think I did meet most of the challenges - only took my skiis off once on the last day! I didn’t hear another English voice all week which is a big plus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The third day after it snowed and we skiied to an isolated mountain refuge. For me, the skiing was much easier in the fresh snow and the scenery was beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The village is very small. Take some reading materials.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I liked this trip because we were surrounded by locals - not an English voice to be heard. The village is tiny so do not expect any cafes or bars.
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