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
    Richard Christian

    Not as expected

    Having previously been on trips snowshoeing in winter in Finland and trekking in the French Pyrenees during the summer months, I had an expectation of a snow filled adventure on this holiday. Unfortunately we were unlucky to have no snow! On another trip, blue sky and sunshine would have been great but it was not what we were expecting. To be fair, Miguel our guide did take the group snowshoeing on some ski resort pistes during the week and on the final day, after a bit of a drive, led us on a memorable trek through pine forests up to spectacular mountain views. The Hotel Victor was nice, clean , comfortable with very friendly staff. The breakfasts were very good and there was a good choice of three courses for dinner in the evening.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best part of the trip was on the final day when we trekked through pine forests to a mountain refuge and the onwards up to a view point to see magnificent views on the distant peaks. The trip to the village of Sort to visit the jail where Allied Pilots etc escaped over the Pyrenees from France during WW2 was a moment for reflection.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Miguel is a very enthusiastic, knowledgeable guide. He was very organised and we always felt that we were safe and in good hands. He is very passionate about the Catalan people and his evening talks about the history of the region, way of life and flora and fauna were very interesting. He has a great sense of humour and the evening routine of translating the menu for the next days dinner from Catalan to English was always a good laugh. There is no doubt that his humour made up for the lack of snow.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do check a reliable site for the weather forecast for your trip and take the appropriate gear. Miguel will asses the fitness of the group on the first day and he will adapt the following hikes accordingly. Be honest with him if you find the first day hard. Our group of 8 were all experienced hikers and our treks were in the challenging range.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus can't control the weather so do check and be prepared for unexpected conditions. The area is full of trails with beautiful views.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Claire Willis

    Brilliant Trip

    A fantastic trip. What a joy for a non-skier to be so high up in snow covered mountains. I loved Sarajevo and the Bosnian people. A great activity trip with the opportunity to find out more about the tragic history of Sarajevo.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved being at one with the varied snowy landscapes. Most days we barely saw anybody else on the mountains. The walk in the fir forests of Igman mountain was pretty special, aided by great weather & soft snow.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Samer was an excellent guide, ably aided by Benjamin. They could not have been more supportive or better.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No experience needed. Expect to fall over, but in soft snow!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Peter Sumpter

    Snowshoeing versus global warming, perhaps?!

    To state the obvious, snow is very much necessary on a trip such as this. So when the quantity is rather lacking and the quality is rather poor, the trip has the potential to disappoint. The departure date unfortunately coincided with a period of un-seasonably warm weather, such that the snow that had been present only a week or two before (see other reviews) had retreated well up the mountains. Although the group leader tried his best to find routes to make good use of our snowshoes, there was no way to produce the walks that I had anticipated. For me, the setting at the edge of the Pyrenees, the nice family run hotel, an enthusiastic and entertaining group leader, the cheese and wine tasting, and a very agreeable group of eight of us couldn’t compensate for that lack of snow. There was probably some great walking that could be done under the circumstances, but understandably the group leader was keen to find opportunities for us to use our snowshoes, even where that involved the edges of ski runs and rather thin and icy snow. From previous reviews, it’s clear that this trip usually delivers the expected experience. But my week in the Catalan Pyrenees was not usual – a week of full-on sunshine (great) that meant daytime temperatures in Dialp of up to 16C (not so great). And that was a pity. My rating of the trip is therefore primarily based on the snow conditions.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the snowy peaks throughout the week would be the highlight. If pushed, then I’d say reaching the summit of the Espot mountains on day 4 was the most inspirational, with the views that were presented all around.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Miguel is friendly, keen for all in the group to have a good experience and works hard, and that included accompanying us for much of our free day. He looks to adapt the activities to the weather / snow conditions and to the abilities of the group. He was perhaps a little too keen to push us, recognising that we were a reasonably fit group. That pushing did have its rewards, but it would have been good to be more involved in the decision making. Miguel is very passionate about Catalonia and imparts information on a variety of topics in the evenings (a little too detailed for me, at times!).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Glorious quantities of snow are not guaranteed. Pack those layers – although in my case plenty of the winter clothing wasn’t required. You might wish to consider bringing more than the recommended 1 litre water bottle, given the time you'll be out and active - have both a flask and a bottle, perhaps. Take note of the activities detailed in the Trip Notes rather more than the general grading of a 3 (Moderate) activity level. There can be a significant amount of walking in snow and of elevation gain while doing so.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nope.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Louise Holstein

    XC Skiing Norway

    Really great trip thanks. Lovely location, excellent guides who were terrific hosts as well. I feel transformed physically and mentally after this fantastic break.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Ilsa's proud face as I skied down my first big slope

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing and inspiring

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Come ready to be tired and happy at the end of each day
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Evelyn Alpert

    Amazing!

    This is a fabulous trip for those wanting to begin knowing and understanding India. We were a very small group of only 7 and our guide Krishna was exceptional. I could have done without the overnight train, but I suppose it is part of the experience, and you will survive it (bring earplugs!). I combined this trip with the tiger safari, which was a perfect way to experience different kinds of India. I hope to get back to India soon again, and won’t hesitate to go with Exodus!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Varanasi without a doubt!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Krishna is the best leader ever! He’s knowledgeable, helpful, funny, energetic, and he treated us like grownups. He would offer us opportunities to do things “out of the box” which inevitably turned out to be fun with more local flavor. He’s a treasure and you should try to travel with him!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the weather! It was much cooler than I expected, based on everyone telling me how hot India is.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Madeline Russell

    Bolquere, French Pyrenees

    A wonderful week exploring a variety of trails through the forests in the Bolquere area of the French Pyrenees. Snowy trails with snowy trees, whose snow gradually melted during the week so there was more birdsong. An afternoon of steadily climbing up past pine trees with icicles shining in the sun like Christmas decorations. Almost empty tracks and great places for lunch stops including 2 Mountain refuges. Views through the trees, or along the ridges of other snowy mountains. An excellent Exodus leader who looked after us so well and had some wonderful stories! A lovely old French hotel which is very much part of the local village, and served various Catalan dishes. Well organised transport each day. An excellent week blessed with snow and sun to enjoy this area which has so much to offer the cross country skier.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Steadily climbing up along zigzagging tracks to the top of the ridge and seeing the mountains around us. Well worth the steady and well contoured trails. Seeing trees decorated with their icicles sparkling in the sunshine! Watching a young deer leap across the trail ahead of us, and later a group of deer grazing in the forest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nothing was too much for Bob. He made sure everything was fine in the hotel and when we were out during the day. On his day off when we decided to take the 'Train Jaune' to a nearby walled town, he came down to the station and stayed with us to make sure we got on. However, after an hour, his lengthy phone calls dicovered that 'they' were on strike. Returning to the hotel he organised coffee, accompanied us on the local bus to a hotel for lunch and then brought us back a quieter way through the woods. Due to his experience of being in this area we were able to have 'afternoon tea' when we came back from our skiing, an area to meet for a drink before the evening meal, and wine with it. It was like the icing on the cake!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No ATM in the village and not easy to access one at the other places we stopped. Euro guidelines in the trip notes were pretty accurate. Bolquere village has 2 hotels a general store and a post office, so no pharmacy. Flask for a hot drink wasn't necessary, but we had good weather!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great place for cross country skiing!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Julie Knuckey

    Trip from Johannesburg to Cape town

    This was a very memorable trip which took in so much of South Africa's wild life, past histories and south Africa as it is now. Our guides were excellent in their information about South Africa, the animals and the cultural and political shaping of South Africa. We traveled very long distances and experienced several game drives where we saw most of the larger animals including several close sightings of lions. Visits to Lesotho and Swaziland were a pleasant contrast to the seemingly more affluent and efficient South Africa. Rouke's Drift visit brought the film Zulu to life, The landscape changed from fertile farm estates to scrub land and desert, everywhere though needed rain, they hadn't had good rains for several years. We traveled by minibus and a larger more comfortable safari bus and the air-con didn't work, so it was hot & tiring , however all the accommodation was different but comfortable and adequately equipped. Food was mainly very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A horse ride in Lesotho through the villages. Seeing the penguins and a visit to Robben island to see and learn about Nelson Mandela's incarceration there.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader & driver for the 1st week tried hard to give us an enjoyable experience, however having not lead a trip to where we were travelling before, she and her driver were replaced in the 2nd week by excellent group leaders with fantastic knowledge of all aspects of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for very long drives, the roads are good but it is important to remember that this is Africa and things do not always go to plan! Take plenty of sun screen etc. enjoy all the experiences. I only was bitten by mosquitoes in Cape Town which is a non malarial area, so I am not really sure malarial prophylaxis is necessary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think if I did it again I would stay longer in some areas as there was so much more to see.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Peter & Liz Rooke

    Discover Sri Lanka review

    This is an enjoyable trip with a good variety of activities. If you have been to India before you will find Sri Lanka surprisingly different. If this is your first trip to the sub-continent it is an excellent introduction. We didn’t climb Adam’s Peak, but the other activities on the trip were all good, including the traditional Sri Lankan games that we had been apprehensive about, but which were great fun. The accommodation was generally good apart from the Giritale Hotel which is undergoing building work and our initial room was unfinished. At Nuwara Eliya the group didn’t stay at the Hill Club, but at the Mirage King’s Cottage, which was very pleasant and a little way out of town with lovely fresh air and gardens. The food on the trip was fine, we particularly liked the midday meal on the cycle ride day. Exodus arranged for the group to refill our water bottles from a large container on the minibus, which worked well and helped minimise plastic waste.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a lot of good moments on the trip. The ones that particularly stand out are: climbing Lion Rock, white water rafting and the Temple of the Tooth ceremony. Also, we enjoyed the cave temples at Dambulla and the optional boat ride through mangrove swamps.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nalaka was a lovely chap who got everyone smiling. Douglas, our driver, and Amal, the Driver’s Assistant, were both excellent too. Nalaka was very caring and dealt with any issues promptly and effectively. He made us aware of the need to be courteous to hotel staff and the beach ladies at the Insight Resort; many of the staff are boys from local farms who are doing their best to be helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Insect repellent isn’t listed under Essential Equipment in the Trip Notes, but you need to take some. Binoculars aren’t listed either, and these are very useful for the wildlife trips. Horton Plains: the walk is harder than it sounds, it’s partly on uneven ground and involves some ascents and descents. We were fine, but a couple of people in our group really struggled and ended up missing lunch and nearly missing the train too. Whale watching: we paid a bit extra to have a private boat just for the group and this was well worth it. The boat pitches and rolls quite a lot out once out at sea and we recommend you take sea sickness pills. The cycle ride was good fun, easy going on level ground, but do take time at the start to find a bicycle that suits you both in the height and length of frame – some are more adjustable than others. Lastly, we found some of the hotel bathroom and shower floors were very slippery – take care!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take an open mind and try all the activities, this trip covers a wide range of activities, and some of the ones we weren't wild about were other group members' highlights. If you've been to India, Sri Lanka is similar but different: generally cleaner, with less hassle and more organised. If you haven't visited the area before then this trip provides and excellent introduction. Oh, and although we saw lots of elephants and other wildlife we didn't see a leopard, remember, it's not guaranteed.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Alex Jacobs

    Amazing Holiday!

    This is a wonderful, wild trek in the anti-atlas mountains. Stunning scenery in brilliant remote landscapes - we didn't see another tourist all week. The walking is not too challenging, but has enough uphill sections to make you feel you've earned your delicious lunch and dinner. The campsites were in incredible locations. Our guides Lahcen and Hassan were brilliant - so attentive, kind, and supportive - as were the fellow travellers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing on the top of Jebel Aklim with panoramic views and a picnic lunch.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Sue Nicholls

    Awesome

    Absolutely fantastic holiday everything and more that we could of ever dreamed of

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was the whole holiday

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Darren was really good

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Warm socks
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