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 April 2019
    John Duxbury

    Only suitable for experienced photographers with top quality equipment

    I went on this trip when it was led by Paul Goldstein. The accommodation was superb, I like the setting and Paul is unquestionably an outstanding wildlife photographer, but I was disappointed by several aspects of this trip. The area really isn't "teeming with wildlife", so we struggled to find a lot to photograph ending up spending about 7 hours (2 half days) photographing sea waves. Whilst some of the group enjoyed that, I didn't. Because of the weather we weren't able to photograph whales, which is understandable enough, but I was disappointed to discover that it would have been at an additional cost anyway, something that is not mentioned in the Trip Notes. I was expecting the leader to circulate round the group to advise on how we might improve our photographs, but he concentrated on taking his own photographs which he then shared with us in the evening. That is a perfectly valid way of operating, but I was expecting more individual help so I think it is important that you do not book this trip if you are expecting to be tutored. Finally, I would say that this trip is really only for experienced photographers with top quality lenses - Paul told me that both of my lenses were not really good enough. (I did hire a lens, but that adds to the cost.)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Fantastic setting. Great food. Loved ice fishing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding wildlife photographer who leads by taking his own photographs and then showing you what he has taken.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have top quality lenses able to cope with the low light levels. Ideally you need a wide angle lens with a large aperture (f.18 or faster) and good quality telephoto lens.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is not a lot of wildlife to photograph, so be prepared to spend a lot of time photographing waves.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Liz and Alastair Bradshaw

    Fantastic!

    Such a brilliant trip! We went hoping, but not expecting, to see the Northern Lights; we did and they were amazing. But the trip is so much more than seeing them. The scenery is stunning and the itinerary allows you to really get a taste of the area. The activities were varied- ice fishing, visiting the space centre, whale watching, open campfires, lots of stops to photo the views and local wildlife whilst in the minibus, a dip in the hot tub, a trip to a local gift shop that makes and sells their own goods, as well as time to do your own thing. Nigel, his wife Ingvild and team at Andøy Friluftssenter are the most welcoming of hosts. The accommodation is excellent and the food was amazing, most of which was sourced or produced locally. Nothing was too much trouble. Their knowledge of the area and enthusiasm for what they do was first class. Having our last evening meal together in the ‘lavvo’ was a perfect way to end a glorious few days in a very beautiful part of the world. Can’t recommend highly enough- thank you!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See above!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was fab! (Part from his choice of football team...!!!) As above- an exceptional host. Made you feel very welcome. Great knowledge and nothing was too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not really!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus communication was great, thank you for good organisation.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    JENNIFER SCHWARZ

    Lofoten in winter

    Do you want to stay in a comfortable cabin with glorious views from the back terrace? Do you want to see amazing sunrises and sunsets in beautiful locations? Then this trip is for you. We had to do some serious hunting of the light in unexpectedly dramatic weather conditions for the time of year but this just added to the experience. Photographer Stig and support Stevan found us gaps in the weather and glorious locations especially secret ones unknown to all but the locals. Both photographers gave generously of their time and expertise to ensure that we all came away with some amazing images. Thank you both for a memorable time. Add to that Mother Nature was kind to us and gave us a fabulous display one night.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a truly remarkable Norther Lights display seemingly bursting above us and all around us, spiralling round the mountain and reflecting in the water at our feet then sending shimmering curtains of light across the view eliciting oohs and ahs from everyone. And the best bit---it was just our group in the location---we had it to ourselves.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As well as being a great photographer himself, Stig is a very patient and willing teacher and ready to share his expertise with everyone. He knows the area well so can take people to the best locations. He gave generously of his time, up early and to bed late to ensure everyone had the best experience. This is the second time I have been with Stig and would very happily go with him again as well as strongly recommend him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel with an open mind, accept the things you cannot change (like the weather!) and embrace all that the location has to offer including local industry (mainly fishing) as well as scenery which changes all the time. Watching the light drawing veils across the mountains from our cosy cabin was just such a pleasure.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would I go again/ recommend it---of course!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Jackie Freshfield

    Lights, Camera, Action!

    Caveat: I have given this trip a 3-star rating but that's because it is very much weather dependent (Northern Lights and Landscape Photography) and we had appalling, freak weather conditions, and I came home disappointed that we didn't have more opportunities for lights/photography. However, we had one superb day of sunshine and an amazing Northern Lights show with excellent photographic opportunities, and if I was reviewing this trip just on that one day, it would be 5 stars as the light show was INCREDIBLE! The Lofoten Islands are remote and beautiful but it's a long way to go for a short duration (6 days in total with 2 full days of travel bookending 4 days in the Lofoten Islands). We had mixed fortunes on the weather front – we traded a beautiful first day of stunning blue skies and an AMAZING Northern Lights show for 3 days of utterly filthy weather, which was a shame, particularly as there is really nothing you can do when you have 48 hours of rain/hail/gales/sleet etc. Stig did his best to find alternative things for us to photograph in 'interesting' conditions but it was a rather tough gig for him. However, the light show we DID see was just incredible and I feel priviledged and lucky to have witnessed it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Northern LIghts show on our first full day in the Lofoten Islands was simply incredible, better than I thought possible. We were wowed by swathes of irridescent green and purple lights shimmering across an inky sky full of twinkling stars and a blood red moon. Even better, we captured it in camera thanks to excellent tuition and tips from Stig and Steven. Unforgettable!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stig Brondbo is an excellent leader; very helpful, patient, enthusiastic and fun. His passion for the natural world and for photography shines through and his patience with us rather more amateur photographers was very welcome. It must have been very stressful to have 8 people on the trip desperate to see the Northern LIghts and to be faced with a terrible weather forecast; but Stig did his best to find 'filler' stuff for us to do. However, I think we wasted the only 'good' day we had with faffing about with food shopping when we could have been enjoying the amazing landscapes instead, and perhaps Stig could have directed the timings on that day that a little better. However, the lights came out that night and we were just about ready for them, and he and his colleague Steven were hugely helpful to us on the photographic front. I have photos to treasure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Weather-dependent trips are fraught with the danger of disappointment, so keep a positive attitude even when it is chucking it down, and if possible bring stuff to do in down time, and hope for good cabin mates (I give them 5*!). If photographing the Northern Lights bring the widest possible lens (I hired a Sigma ART 14mm which was superb) and a heavy-ish tripod. If staying self-catering then bring a few staples (eg pasta, pesto, salt, pepper, porridge) as it's not cheap in Norway! We stayed at Sakrisoy Rorbuer which was the perfect location, as well as warm, comfy and well-equipped, plus gorgeous views from the balcony (one of our party sat on the balcony photographing the Northern Lights for 2 hours!) . Bring hand-warmers for inside your second pair of gloves; they last for ages and I found them essential items. Pray for good weather!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Lofoten Islands are remote. Two plane journeys and a 3-hour ferry away. It's a long way to go for a short trip which is so weather dependent, and the return journey – after 3 foul-weather days – was not great, taking 17 hours as flights were delayed and we missed a connection, and should have been on the earlier flight from Bodo as we hung around there for 5 hours in total. If you are considering a Northern Lights trip then read the journey times carefully!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Cathriona Lawlor

    Hunting the Light

    We travelled to the Lofotens for a photography holiday to capture the northern lights and the beauty of the islands. I really enjoyed this trip; the Lofotens are beautifully scenic. We weren't hugely lucky with the weather, but the company was great and this more than made up for the storm and the wind.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This was definitely seeing the Northern Lights on the first night of the trip, it was amazing; we were treated to a fabulous show. Also, a chance trip out to the balcony resulted in a fly-by of local eagles, which was a surprise treat. I was also really lucky with my cabin-mates; we were very well matched, which meant that no matter what the weather or delays, we could still share a laugh, joke and good conversation.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stig and Steven went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we got the most out of this trip. Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate and we were caught in one of the strongest storms to hit the area in years. This made the leaders' job even harder as they tried to maximise our opportunities to get out and about during breaks in the weather. It was my birthday on the trip and I received a beautiful, hand-made cake from Stig, which was promptly devoured! This was a lovely surprise and I definitely think it should be encouraged for all birthday travellers...

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    LOTS of layers. Hand/foot/pocket warmers and one cabin mate had USB-rechargable hand warmers, of which I was very jealous. A sturdy tripod in case you're treated to the same winds we were... As the trip was self-catering, some thought beforehand could be spent thinking of the food situation/cooking etc. Nothing is cheap in Norway.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were delayed on the Bodo - Oslo part of the trip and as a result, I missed my additionally-booked return flight to Dublin. Due to the fact that Exodus does not book flights from Ireland, this meant that the cost and problem of re-booking this flight was solely up to me. Whilst I appreciate that the delay was not Exodus's fault, the exacting timings for this trip meant that I felt that I had to go with Exodus flights and book add-on flights myself. Delays happen very often during travel and this situation was very frustrating for me at the end of what was already a very long day of travel. This will unfortunately have to be factored into any future trip with Exodus, as I did not feel supported or particularly valued as a customer coming from Ireland. They just weren't interested in those not travelling from the UK.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Anne Bonham

    Simply wonderful

    Best light show I have ever seen with the Northern lights not dissappointing us, getting better each night of the 4 nights that we were there. Highly recommend this trip and though Northern lights are the main attraction, the rest of the trip has much to offer which felt like the bonus. -Orca and Sperm whales; beautiful and serene scenery;wonderful hosts and terrific fresh food; comfortable accomodation and ideally placed to see the lights from; catching a fish with a simple rod; walks in wonderful snow. The trip felt longer than the 5 days with wonderful sunrises, sunsets and the northern lights ensuring that every part of the day had something different to offer. And there were a lot of daylight hours! This is by far the best chance of seeing the elusive northern lights which was well worth waiting for. And though seeing them is never guaranteed, you would be very unlucky to see none over the 5 days.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    flashing, shimmering and expanding rich green northern lights dancing in the night sky

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An expat with the accent to prove it settled in Norway with his norwegian famiy, and together focussing on providing an all round high stndard of care and service to their customers. Very good and wonderful traditional local cooking.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mini bus got cold particularly around the feet so be prepared with good socks, shoes and clothes. Phone cameras will not capture the Northern lights but any basic camera with a selection of settings will get something , even if grainy. And you will want a photo to capture the experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip did not dissappoint. And being Norway was of a high standard.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Anne Bonham

    Simply wonderful

    Best light show I have ever seen with the Northern lights not dissappointing us, getting better each night of the 4 nights that we were there. Highly recommend this trip and though Northern lights are the main attraction, the rest of the trip has much to offer which felt like the bonus. -Orca and Sperm whales; beautiful and serene scenery;wonderful hosts and terrific fresh food; comfortable accomodation and ideally placed to see the lights from; catching a fish with a simple rod; walks in wonderful snow. The trip felt longer than the 5 days with wonderful sunrises, sunsets and the northern lights ensuring that every part of the day had something different to offer. And there were a lot of daylight hours! This is by far the best chance of seeing the elusive northern lights which was well worth waiting for. And though seeing them is never guaranteed, you would be very unlucky to see none over the 5 days.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    flashing, shimmering and expanding rich green northern lights dancing in the night sky

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An expat with the accent to prove it settled in Norway with his norwegian famiy, and together focussing on providing an all round high stndard of care and service to their customers. Very good and wonderful traditional local cooking.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mini bus got cold particularly around the feet so be prepared with good socks, shoes and clothes. Phone cameras will not capture the Northern lights but any basic camera with a selection of settings will get something , even if grainy. And you will want a photo to capture the experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip did not dissappoint. And being Norway was of a high standard.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Duncan Magrath

    Great trip to see Northern Lights

    We had a wonderful holiday, and cannot recommend Andy Friluftssenter enough. Nigel and Ingvild went out of their way to make us feel welcome and ensure that we had a good time. If you are searching for the Northern Lights, you need to accept that nature will not always play ball and so it is important that you enjoy the rest of your time here and treat the Northern Lights as a bonus rather than the only reason for coming. We had heavy cloud cover and snow for three days, but for our last night the cloud disappeared and we saw the Northern Lights. We had a bright full moon, without which they probably would have been even more spectacular. Even if we had not seen them, we would have had a great few days, with the wonderful views and lovely food. My wife is a coeliac, and the gluten free bread and rolls they baked were delicious, and they also coped with a lactose intolerant guest. All food is local with each night a different meal. Cod, Char and Moose pie were delicious and then on the last night venison cooked in front of us on an open fire in a Lavvo, while we popped in and out looking at the lights. We had a different activity in each day, a trip to the Andoya research centre, where we learnt about the Northern Lights, and had great fun in a simulated space mission. On the second day, we had a visit to a reindeer farm to meet the jolliest of Sami farmers, and learnt about her traditions and met the reindeer. On the third day we went ice fishing on a lake, and cooked what we caught on an open fire. Each day was different and thoroughly enjoyable, and was much more fun and interesting than I had expected. We went in early March, and despite being in the artic circle, it was not too cold, apparently due to the Gulf Stream. So pack lots of thin layers, and ski gear is fine. There is no light pollution (other than the moon) so there is no need to go driving long distances to search for the Lights, you literally do walk outside and look upwards. If you want to take photos though, you must have a tripod. We thought that a four night trip was going to be one night too long, but in fact it was perfect, the variety of activities meant every day was different, and of course there is a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights. In our case if it had been a three night trip, we would have missed them. So overall an excellent trip, we had good company, excellent hosts, and of course we were fortunate to see the Northern Lights. Easy for us to say now, but we really would have enjoyed it if we hadn't seen the lights.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last night was very special. Wonderful food cooked in the Lavvo, dashing in and out to look at the changing Northern Lights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nigel was excellent. Went out of his way to ensure we had as enjoyable a holiday as possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to have a wonderful time, even if you don't see the lights. Pack as if going on a ski trip.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Christine Gau

    Amazing lights

    With Northern Lights you are always cautious, and I went knowing that we may not get them, but we we very lucky and had lights on each of the 4 nights. So if that happens don't expect any rest. The location of Andoy Friluftssenter is great, you have options of either staying close to your cabin and nipping back in side during a beak in the lights, or a couple of places down on the waterside with no more that a 10 min walk giving you plenty of options, and then if on one of Paul's groups as we were the ability to go further afield in the minibus. The days are filled, as well so don't think this will a restful break. The Andoy Friluftssenter is great, the location, the cabins, the host and the food. A great weekend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the Northern Lights, they are magical and you do need to remember at some point to put down your camera and watch what is happening around you, as at times for us is was a full 360 degree view.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul is passionate about getting you in the right spot so not for the fainthearted as he works tirelessly to get all of you there.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure that you know your camera, and are confident that you can make changes to the settings in the dark. Wrap up warm - you can be out there for a long time so layers are important.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great long weekend, packed with activities so that even if the lights don't appear you will still have things to do.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Please note this review refers to the Photographic Special departure with Paul Goldstein. This has a slightly different itinerary to the regular trips, which Paul does not lead.

  • Reviewed February 2016
    Joanne Hart

    Northern de-Lights

    This trip ticked every box and exceeded my expectations and I think I can say the same for the whole of the group... The accommodation, food (in particular the Moose Pie), location, hosts (Nigel & Ingvild) and hospitality were all top notch. We crammed so much into 4 days - it felt like I'd been away for at least a week. The main purpose of the trip was to photograph the Northern Lights and boy, did they deliver? Yes, they did.... 4 nights on the trot for hours at a time - I felt truly blessed to be there!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Northern Lights of course!! And seeing a shooting star on my birthday...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well, what can you say about Paul Goldstein? He certainly worked hard making sure we all had lots of photo opportunities and make the most of the lights

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you like photography, the cold and northern lights then book it!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Did I mention the Moose Pie?

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    Please note this review refers to the Photographic Special departure with Paul Goldstein. This has a slightly different itinerary to the regular trips, which Paul does not lead.

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