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
    Geoffrey Stevenson

    An Excellent Overview

    This was an excellent introduction to a fascinating country which is rapidly recovering from a bad history. It is blessed with a multitude of natural resources and can grow anything in the diverse climatic regions which we experienced. Tourism can only help. This tour showed a selection of regions from the cool capital, the colonial Villa de Leyva, the coffee region to the hot Caribbean coast. I enjoyed the many ecotours and museum visits. The hotels were generally good and the travelling was often long, to be expected in a large country. It felt safe, the food was diverse and invariably very good. The only disappointment was on the last day, the Caribbean was too dangerous to bathe in, and nearly always is in this locality.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed travelling through the fruit growing areas and seeing the vast and diverse areas of cultivation.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader was very knowledgeable about Colombia but a bit of a loner.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Hang on to your possessions in busy areas.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Alex Davids

    Interesting Trip, pity about the Guide

    A good introduction to the variety of the country based on the Foreign Office’s areas that are safe for travel. The hotel in Bogota was cold with no way to heat the room. This wasn’t helped by arriving at 4:30 am and discovering later in the morning that the window to the room had been left open all night. The quality of buses used on the trip was variable with the one used from Cartagena to Palomino being in particularly poor condition. Highlights were the coffee region with its colourful towns and the variety of outdoor activities there, and the time spent in Cartagena. I’m not sure that the time spent in Palomino was worth it, unless you simply want some time to ‘chill out’ at the end of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The free half-day spent in Cartagena getting to know the old town at my own pace. I spent memorable time in the courtyard of the University Graduate School where some of the ashes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose work I greatly admire, are buried under the memorial to him.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I was very disappointed by the poor group leading and organisational skills of our tour guide, Juan Carlos. Plans for the day were not always clear and timings were sometimes changed without the whole group being informed. When there were problems raised by the group, he allowed things to escalate rather than take control of the situation. This was all exacerbated by his poor command of English, where he constantly substituted Spanish words of English ones (‘articulations’ for ‘joints’ of the body, ‘conventional centre’ for ‘conference centre’, etc.) . As a result, his well-informed explanations were hard to follow and often only made full sense to me later when I got back my hotel room and read my Lonely Planet Guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t lock your luggage if you are booking it through from Santa Marta to London via Bogota. The integrated locks on my case were cut, despite being TSA compliant and the bag ruined. Avianca staff tell me that this is a common occurrence and we should have been warned about it at check-in or by the group leader.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Martin & Margaret Wolverson

    Discover Colombia

    A beautiful and very varied country., Always felt safe (in Bogata you are never more than a hundred yds from a policeman). Weather was great - not too hot and only half hour of rain in the fortnight. Coach travel was fine, never more than 1.5 hours without a stop. The internal flights are a neccessary evil to cover the distances. The walking tour of Bogata on first day started early AM (not PM as in trip notes) so we had little chance to rest after journey. We had rest time in the PM but this is all the wrong way round. We added an extra night at end of holiday in Bogata (daily flights to Heathrow) this split the journey time up so we had enough energy for the 3.5 hr drive home from Heathrow and helped us to acclimatize to the lower UK temperatures. Hotels Meson de los Virreyes and Casa Mara both excellent. If Exodus still use Hotel Salento Real, be prepared to abandon this and move to one of the many other hotels/ hostels in the lovely town on Salento. At the coastal ecohotel, couldn't find, and guide didn't know of any ''hiking trails in the area around the hotel''

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Graffiti, Music everywhere, Jeep Willys and walk and lunch in Corcora Valley, Coffee tour, Orchid farm and lunch

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan Carlos was a lovely man, very knowledgeable of history, but could be a bit vague on timings. It's a shame he didn't accompany us for group dinners. We were left to our own devices invariably splitting up.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Watch out for holes in pavements, we took torches but most places were very well lit.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Philip Nield

    Fascinating country

    Colombia is a fascinating country with a rich variety of people and climates (all good). Given the size of the country we needed to travel a lot, so saw the insides of buses and airports more than most trips. The places we visited were all different and interesting. Colombia feels like it's in the early stages of waking up to the benefits of tourism - and that's both a good and a bad thing. Nowhere was crowded, but also few places were "fully prepared" (eg signage only in Spanish). The food was a pleasant surprise; (we'd heard that it's for meat eaters but there was lots of choice of vegetables, fish etc and glorious fruit at breakfast).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were two. Seeing a traditional "cowboy/cowgirl" dance event in the main square in Bogota on Sunday. The pride and joy coming from the dancers was catching. Coming close (but not really close enough) to the tribe of indigenous Indians near Tayrona. They're distinguishable by their dress. It would have been wonderful if we'd encountered other tribes.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He wasn't as organised as other Exodus group leaders. It started well when he got photocopies of all passports at the first hotel and thereby avoided the unnecessary fuss we get used to (on other Exodus trips) at subsequent hotels on checking in. But timekeeping wasn't good. With 15 guests there are always slow-coaches and group leaders need to instil just a bit of discipline. Sometimes messages weren't clear, ie not everybody heard everything. For example on most Exodus trips the guide will use the time on the bus to give us guidance, rather than waiting till the bus stops.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you've been worried about Colombia don't be. It's a welcoming country. But check the trip notes as you'll spend quite a time travelling. The Bogota flight was more manageable than I thought - I've had much worse jet-lag going to other places. But! Beware if you're travelling through Bogota airport. We left from Santa Marta for Heathrow via Bogota and our suitcase was opened and trashed (by police we assume) at Bogota airport. We discovered this at Heathrow. Nothing stolen; but a broken suitcase and a bureaucratic ordeal lies ahead. Other Exodus travellers had similar experiences.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Taki Payazidis

    Wonderful Tour

    Just came back from this wonderful tour of this lovely country. The tour was very well organised and diverse in it's content. All the places we visited and the activities were different which made it all the more enjoyable. Colombia is a very big country which meant that there were a couple of long days travelling with internal flights but that was to be expected. I loved this tour and would recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Salt Cathedral, Coffee tour, Cartagena.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Anne Grabham

    A fabulous trip!

    When I told people I was going to Colombia for a holiday the reaction was always the same - Really?? Isn't it dangerous? What do you want to go there for? It's a shame that a country gets a dodgy reputation and, in the case of Colombia, a totally unjustified reputation. Wherever we went people were friendly, we felt completely safe and at ease and the scenery was stunning. I'm sure there may be areas of the country which aren't so good for tourists to visit but this is surely the case in most countries. The trip is a wonderful mixture of culture, sightseeing and walking and with plenty of free time to explore further on your own and spend time in cafes watching the fascinating street life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many highlights but for me Villa de Leyva was very special. It's main square (apparently the largest public square in Colombia) had no huge statue and/or water feature in its centre as you would expect from a square of this size (just a very small statue) and was also completely unevenly cobbled all over. Surrounded on all four sides by low rise, white washed buildings, with a beautiful backdrop of green mountains behind, gave it a very special quality and made it quite clear that this was a Latin American town not a European one. When 6 men on horseback unexpectedly appeared in the square, galloped round two sides and out again it made it just perfect! Guitarists abound in cafes and on street corners adding to the atmosphere. Bogota was a surprise. I was expecting it to be a fairly nondescript city, just used as a starting point for the trip, but it was a real delight. The old city was fascinating to explore with beautiful buildings, interesting museums and lively street life. The Cocora Valley was stunning - a really beautiful area. Cartegena we knew would be lovely and it certainly didn't disappoint. Oh, and the Salt Cathedral! Simply amazing!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan Carlos was friendly and very knowledgeable about his country. He suggested some good places to eat and in Cartegena introduced us to Colombian street food which not only was delicious but also extremely good value! He was particularly helpful to me when my suitcase failed to turn up at the start of the trip. I wasn't reunited with it until three days before the end of the holiday but Juan Carlos spent a lot of time emailing and telephoning people trying to locate it for me. He helped me fill in endless forms and accompanied me to the airport to pick it up when it finally appeared.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wear long trousers and use insect repellent in the coffee plantation! We had a great time picking coffee and exploring the plantation but I was badly bitten!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Colombia is a beautiful country - lush and green, with stunning scenery. The towns are so pretty with their colourfully painted houses and the people are friendly and welcoming. I would have liked to have seen more of the country, a three week trip would have been great.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Andy Davies

    Fantastic Diverse Tour

    Wow. Just returned from an amazing trip and can't believe how much we did in the time. Colombia is colourful, very friendly and safe. Juan Carlos was a great guide and he looked after our wonderful group very well indeed. A lot of travel but in a country so vast not unexpected. Huge variation in climate from cold in Bogota to steamy and humid near the Caribbean. Fantastic food and lots of options Fabulous safe experience and my third trip to South America; don't hesitate just go! Recommend you go one day early to recover from the trip; Exodus arranged this for me and it worked like clockwork. I am planning to return to Colombia independently next year based on this experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sitting at the orchid farm eating lunch whilst dozens of hummingbirds were feeding right next to us. Last group meal on the beach with a bonfire and Latino music with the waves almost lapping our feet! The colour of the buildings and awesome food.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juan Carlos was great. Very professional and intelligent kind man who really went out of his way for me several times. He needs to work on his table tennis though :)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above. Book a day early to recover from the flights. We started at 8am and some people had only arrived at the hotel at 4.30am. Bring mosquito spray for the coffee plantation tour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Fabulous experience from booking to return.
  • Reviewed May 2018

    Amazing Experiience and am Awesome Group Leader

    I along with my wife went for the Discover Colombia package and it was a marvelous experience which we will chersih forever. Starting from the journey to reaching the place, sightseeing, food, accomodation, everything was just the way we wanted and we didn't had to compromise on anything. We loved the way we were shown around the country and definitely would love to go once again with Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The moment when we two suddenly wandered off from the group and couldn't find them. Hilarious but that was an exciting moment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dedicated, professional, friendly and very supportive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    None.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Barry Cooper

    An Interesting visit to a diverse Country

    This Tour travels firstly to Bogota and then to other areas of Colombia some of which are a considerable distance from the capital so there are several internal flights using the National Airline Avianca and always on modern Airbus aircraft. Colombia is a vast country which is only now emerging from a long period of unrest and consequently some areas of the Country are still not considered safe to visit. The areas visited on this Tours are safe and give an excellent impression of Colombia from the Colonial architecture of Villa de Leyva to the busy city of Cartagena and the rural landscape around Salento.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is an impossible question when the trip is made up of so many interesting moments and I wish Exodus would rename it for this review.. Bogota is a busy Capital City and the graffiti decorating so many buildings is interesting and often works of art in themselves, the journey by Jeep Willy into the Cocora Valley culminating in a sight of a condor something very rare in this part of Colombia, and lastly the old city of Cartagena very busy with cruise ships calling but vibrant

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Unusually, we had two leaders, Juan Carlos and Andreas. Andreas was in training and his friendly approachable disposition complemented Juan Carlos's efficient leading so we were superbly led Nothing was too much trouble for either leader and they were always they to help and support.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a busy tour and you arrive in Bogota Airport at 0400 and you start the City sightseeing at 0900 so if you can arrive a day earlier, it would be less tiring.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I linked this tour with Discover Costa Rica and the two two complimented one another. Colombia was Historical and cultural whereas Costa Rica was Natural History. If the dates fit and you have the time, I can recommend this arrangement.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Stella Pilsworth

    Discover Colombia

    A wonderful introduction to a complex country. The colour and architecture of the historic towns we visited was was fascinating and vibrant. The people were welcoming and friendly and Tayrona National Park and coastline was just beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cartagena was the place I wanted to see and I wasn't disappointed. Hearing the horses hooves clopping around the old town at night as they took the carriages through the beautiful narrow streets was lovely.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Friendly and agreeable but he certainly needed more experience. He was out of his depth with a group of 15 or so seasoned travellers.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You do need to be reasonably fit to keep up with the group and participate in the long walks. Also the last day involves a hike out of Tayrona to get the coach and it is a long journey back home before you can shower unless you book an extra night in Bogota.
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