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 July 2019
    John Atherton

    Silk Road cities and sublime scenery

    Cities tend not to be high on my list of places to visit but I was surprised by the many parks and green spaces offsetting the large buildings and wide roads in all the cities visited. Of course the amazing architecture of the mosques, madrassas, minarets, mausoleums, museums and markets were impressive and interesting – with a wealth of information from both our tour leaders and local guides, all of whom spoke excellent English. The train journeys and the brief ride on the Metro in Tashkent made pleasant changes to the coach travel. Good to see family groups enjoying the warm evenings in pedestrianised streets and squares, parks, local cafes and bars, etc. No litter, no noisy groups of youths, just a nice atmosphere. Though the planned overnight train ride to Kazakhstan didn’t happen owing to international cancellation at little notice, the replacement coach was large and comfortable. In the morning traffic to Almaty many more upmarket cars were on the roads, after very few in Uzbekistan. The short drive out of Almaty with the walk up to the waterfall was a welcome change from the city streets. Then the long drive into the Kyrgyzstan countryside was literally a breath of fresh air; with the vast lake, snow-capped mountains, rushing rivers, flower-strewn meadows and leisurely walks. Not forgetting the impressive golden eagle demonstration. I would have preferred more than one night at the Yurt shores of Lake Camp. A couple of days later, an afternoon swim at the “seaside” on the Issyk Kul Lake was refreshing. Inevitable long road journeys were offset by ever changing views, excellent driving, mainly good roads and frequent stops.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Kyrgyzstan countryside and the happy atmosphere in the city pedestrian areas throughout.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Dillshod and Ermek were excellent, knowledgeable and considerate. Different personalities, Dillshod the more experienced.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Drink the local draught beer - it's good and inexpensive. Lots of religious buildings so long trousers/skirt and covered shoulders often expected. Most public conveniences incur a small cost for women and for men, be aware of your currency note value!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All hotels were clean and comfortable (with good quality loo paper)!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Sabina Latif

    Minarets, mosques, mausoleums to mountains

    This was a fantastic trip with a real mix of architecture, landscapes and cultures. Lovely tour guides and drivers to help and support. I was astonished by the sheer scale and intricacies of the buildings in Uzbekistan which contrasted with the beautiful snow capped mountains in Kyrgyzstan. My personal highlights were the overnight train and yurt camp experience!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the sheer scale and stamina of the mosques, mausoleums and madrassahs in Uzbekistan including Registan Square.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 group leaders, one for Uzbekistan (Dilshod) and another for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (Ermeg). Both were great but in different ways. Dilshod was warm and kind and made us laugh, he was very knowledgeable. He did however give us too much information and it would be better if he slowed down and gave bite size chunks. Ermeg was so open and honest with us and shared his knowledge with us at a really good pace with the right amount of info.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is very hot in certain towns in June and July!... there are two hotels with pools so pack your swimming costume... you will need a torch for the yurt camp... take Tupperware or food bags as we have a lot of picnic lunches and most of the hotel breakfasts were really good buffets!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Sarah Morrow

    An interesting tour of the Balkans

    This is a very interesting and varied trip through Montenegro and Bosnia Herzogovina, covering countryside, mountains, culture and history. A lot is fitted into a relatively short time, so it involves quite a bit of travelling, but the countryside is stunning and our driver was excellent, so it was really worth it. The mountains are reminiscent of the Dolomites, but without the crowds. The cities are medieval and very quaint, but still bear the scars of the Balkan war of the 90's. The war exhibition in Sarajevo is particularly thought provoking and well worth a visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sarajevo

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was young and enthusiastic
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Lisa K

    Amazing !

    I loved everything about this trip. It was my first solo trip out of the country so I was a little nervous but it far exceeded all of my expectations and I was worried for nothing. Eduardo, our tour leader was wonderful and I made life long friends in our group. The itinerary was perfect taking you to all the amazing sights around the Amalfi coast. You return to the hotel late in the day with a couple hours to shower, relax, have a drink or two by the pool before dinner. Each day is a combination of guided tour and a little bit of free time to wander around on your own or with others. Transportation is completely taken care of even on the free day but some of it is an additional cost you pay that day or the night before. Well worth it to not have to deal with bus and ferry schedules and have it all taken care of for you. Driving is crazy there as are the lines so this was really convenient. The sights were breath taking, each place being more beautiful than the last. The food at the hotel is literally to die for. Each meal is delicious as is the wine. The rooms are comfortable, the service is excellent and I cannot say enough good things about our guide Eduardo who is so proud to show off his country, is charming, fun, funny and beyond welcoming. He knows everybody ! Our group had a blast together and Eduardo made sure everyone had fun. On the last day 5 of us went on a bus to the Naples train station, 2 to get on a bus, myself to board a train and 2 others to get to a hotel in Naples. Upon arriving in the parking lot we were confused about where to go and all of a sudden out of the crowd, Eduardo appeared running toward us, having just dropped others off at the airport, he wanted to find us to make sure all of us knew exactly where to go like a super hero appearing out of the chaos just to help us and say goodbye again ! There were amazing things to see at each place and then a little bit of time to enjoy a drink, gelato or wander in and out of the shops.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved everything. the quiet beauty of Ravello, taking the cable car up to the top of Capri, the sapphire blue water everywhere, the amazing lunch while hiking the Path of the Gods. I do not think I can pick a favorite out of everything I saw and did. This area of Italy is truly spectacular. Pompeii and Herculean are very interesting, the color of the water along the coast is breath taking, Positano and Sorrento are utterly charming...it goes on and on. The beauty of the entire region was completely inspiring

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eduardo was fantastic. So knowledgeable, fun, funny and engaging. He had terrific energy and made sure everyone had fun. He talked and laughed with each person individually as well as with the entire group. It was a fabulous experience and he made it all the more special. I can't say enough great comments about him and the entire experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Italy is very hot at the end of June/beginning of July plus the heat wave this year. Bring cool clothing and sunscreen. A day pack to carry water and sunscreen was helpful and a hat Most everyone changed for dinner because you wind up back at the hotel, also bring something for the final night which is a farewell dinner Bring extra money for the additional items not included in the tour. ATMs are everywhere Bring a bathing suit if you want to enjoy the pool at the hotel Exodus caters to the group from England so the bus doesn't leave until the end of the day on the last day because of the flight back to England. If you choose to leave sooner to go somewhere else ( I took a one hour train back to Rome) you will have to pay for it on your own or share the cost with others in group. Exodus transportation is only for this exact time. It was not a problem to ask Eduardo to arrange transportation and 5 of us shared but I felt it was a bit unfair Exodus charges anyway. The path of the Gods is not easy but it is doable. The hotel has walking sticks. I thought it was helpful because some of the rocks are high to climb up and down. Eduardo was also there to lend a hand. In the heat a lot of people were huffing and puffing but the scenery and the lunch were well worth the effort. I'm so happy I did it ! Try a limoncello spritzer, eat everything, stop for gelato and try a new flavor every day. Take tons of pictures!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was an amazing trip of a lifetime
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Peter Nelson

    Great trip, poor company service

    The trip itself was excellent. Run by a local company (Malabiu) the guide (Shaun) worked extremely hard and his side kick cook (Jona) were both very profesional and knowledgeable. Geology information was a bit sparse, but customs and culture info was very good. The small group gelled together well. Be warned they is a lot of travelling with many miles on Namibia style roads - basically very dusty and stoney dirt tracks. Food and drink is cheap in Namibia and the lodges are comfortable if basic. The main down side was the company (Exodus) which did not respond effectively to queries asked. Also did not pass on important information to the group guide which meant that arrangement were compromised. For 10 of us in the party there were five different group flights - not their finest hour. Overall, I would certainly recommend this trip to others.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing lots of different animals in their natural environment

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent knowledge and very professional

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above summary

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    See above summary
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Janet Wilson

    From Russia with Love

    This is a fast-paced tour covering 4 cities in 7 days with almost as many modes of transport. The whirlwind of Moscow and St Petersburg is tempered by the quietness and quaintness of Novgorod and Pushkin. I had no idea what to expect of Russia and you can almost be put off by the visa application process alone, but what I found was a friendlier, cleaner and much greener country than I expected. This trip gives you an ideal mechanism of seeing the key tourist sites plus a little of the country and leaves you wanting to go back to sample more.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first time I saw Red Square had the sun just starting to set, with clear blue skies. The image of St Basil's and the GUM department store being lit up will never leave me. And who knew that a trip around the Moscow underground could be so impressive?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Artem was patient, entertaining, informative and constantly ensured that we got the most out of our trip and our free-time. There were 16 of us on our trip and I'm sure he often thought he was herding cats. Our group got on really well and Artem definitely ensured we had fun as well as culture during our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This may be classed as a leisurely/moderate trip but trying to see everything you can means pounding the pavements and museums for an easy 12 miles per day. Although the trip notes advise purchasing opera/ballet tickets several months in advance, our experience was that (in June) any site you may wish to do in your spare time, E.g. Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg, also needs to be booked a long time in advance. And if anyone offers you horseradish vodka - run!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'm veggie and had no problems getting food during the trip - we tried Russian, Georgian and Armenian throughout, with some nods to Asian and pizza in between. There is so much to do in St Petersburg that I'd recommend having an extra 1 or 2 nights to give you time to see more and just do some people watching - but beware that in June there are gazillions of cruise ship passengers.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Sarah Eddington

    Leave the West Behind

    If you want to leave the west behind until the last city on this incredible journey, then welcome to the former Soviet States that make up the silk road. This trip has everything, religion, wildlife, nomad living and amazing countryside and mountains. Forget McDonalds and Burger King, at times you won't even get social media!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    staying in a Yurt high in the mountains, seeing the nomad people living their lives as they have done for 1000's of years

    What did you think of your group leader?

    our group leader was good, and the local guides and drivers were exceptional

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not expect western standards, the food is basic at times as are the toilet and shower facilities. There are no home comforts which is what makes this trip what it is. Do not go expecting to get Wifi and social media, it isn't going to happen at times
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Justina Mclaughlin

    A magical trip

    A comprehensive cultural tour that also incorporated the different landcapes of Peru. The Inti Raymi Festival was spectacular and whilst the trip notes don't specify, we were seated in premium seats with great views at Sacsayhuaman. Its worth the extra cost to experience Inti Raymi!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Its difficult to choose just one as each day revealed some new place or aspect of Peruvian culture. Machu Pichu really is stunning and as magical as it looks in the photos. I personally found travelling through the Andes very inspirational. I hate long journeys by road (I suffer from motion sickness) and I was dreading the road journey but the scenery of the Andes really is breathtaking. So glad we traveled overland instead of flying straight to Cusco. Its inspired me to consider further overland journeys.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Giuliano was an excellent tour leader. He ensured all our transfers, arrivals, hotel check ins and local guided tours were well co-ordinated. He was knowledgeable on local places and history, he was also very responsive to requests from members of the group to do additional activities, vary the itinerary. As a tour leader who has previous experience of gourmet food tours he also gave us some great recommendations for eateries.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The pace of the trip is full on and everybody suffered a little with altitude. Some were very tired, others developed sinus problems, others had upset stomachs or felt nauseous. Only one encountered breathing problems and was immediately put on oxygen and handled expertly by our tour leader. I personally opted to take Diamox for altitude and had no problems breathing at altitude but I did still experience slow digestion and on occasion had an upset stomach. Fortunately I had a big bag of medical remedies from home and my advice would be to bring these with you. I recommend bringing hydration salts and over the counter remedies for an upset tummy/indigestion. I bought a ticket to hike Montana Machu Pichu 3 months in advance, for the morning of the 2nd day in Machu Pichu, . Since there are only 400 available a day, mountain hiking tickets sell out months in advance, if this is something you want to do email Exodus and they will advise you the date you need to purchase the ticket and details of timing. Be aware you have to be very fit and get up early (5am) and be back at the hotel by 2pm. Practical suggestions of things you should bring for the trip - A stash of tissues, antibacterial wipes (essential), small overnight bag/daypack and a good supply of cash. Opportunities to use credit cards are limited to the more expensive shops and restaurants. Also whilst ATMS are available, they are not always on the doorstep as you often stay in remoter locations.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The age demographic of the group took me by surprise. I was the only person there under 50, everyone else was at least over 60 and there were 17 of us. Whilst my travel companions were all good fun and young at heart I did, at times, feel like an outsider. Useful info to have: Luggage allowance on the internal flight to Lima is 23kg and you are permitted an 8kg bag in the cabin. Tipping Kitty was $83, it would have been good to know if Exodus had advised us of this in advance. It is worth having the tipping kitty as there are a lot of places where carrying our own bags could become a chore. Fortunately the bell boys and drivers did this for us and were tipped from the kitty. Shopping for artisan items is better when travelling in the Andes. If you see it and like it, grab it as you go, I found less unique items available and those that were ended up more expensive in Lima.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    george tarbuck

    Adventure of a lifetime

    The trip is excellent, coach journeys over the Andes, moonscapes and volcanoes with snow on the peaks. Machu Picchu is stunning. The condors were happy to come out and play. The hotels were good. The homestay on the island was charming and the people genuinely hospitable without being pushy. The food served to us on the homestay was the best meal I ate in Peru, simple and tasty.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the condors.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Guiliano was the best tour leader. Always on hand to help, sorted every situation flawlessly and with a sense of calm, even when assisting one of the group with oxygen when they were unwell at altitude. What stood out was the forward planning and anticipation that Guiliano showed. We could get on with enjoying the holiday whilst knowing that everything was under control.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take American Dollars.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go on this trip.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Hannah M

    A nice holiday in a beautiful region

    This is an enjoyable trip to a beautiful region. There is a combination of stunning mountain scenery, church architecture, and an overview of the history of these two interesting countries. It's a comfortable trip with decent hotels, nice transport, and not too much waking (although it would not be a good option for travellers with limited mobility). The days, particularly in Georgia, are long and there isn't much 'downtime'.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My favourite places were the monasteries of Sevanovank, Norovank and Haghpat in Armenia. The Armenian scenery in particular is really impressive.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The trip has two leaders, one for Georgia, one for Armenia. Both were very competent and well organised and ensured the trip ran smoothly throughout.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are lots of long drives. These are on good roads in a comfortable bus so aren't difficult, but take something to do e.g. a book or ipod. The walk up to the Gergeti monastery is steep on rough paths and requires a small amount of scrambling. I managed it despite being unfit (but otherwise physically able), but it's not one for people with limited mobility. The walk itself doesn't really offer much in terms of things to see, it's just about the physical challenge and exercise, so don't worry about missing out if you're not sure. The penultimate day finishes mid afternoon so you get free time in Tbilisi afterwards - this is most useful if you travel when the days are longest. The last full day is very long and we didn't get back until nearly 10pm, so don't expect to do anything then. However the most common flights used don't leave until late afternoon so you do get the morning free on the day you go home.
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