Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

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  • Reviewed December 2017
    Traveller -

    Trip of a lifetime!

    What a way to see a stunning country! Cycling in the heat of the desert, walking through the Siq towards the Treasury at Petra, sleeping under the stars in Wadi Rum. I'd always wanted to go to Petra, so in trying to build a holiday around some time in Petra, it made perfect sense to pick up a bike and see the country rather than sitting in a stuffy coach.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Treasury emerge at the end of the Siq. Something I've wanted to see since childhood. Stunning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Isa was so passionate about Jordan, keen to answer all our questions and tell as many stories as he could. His tour around Petra was particularly memorable. The bike team were also fantastic!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't expect any down time - it's a jam packed trip!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Mary Fenelon-Bourke

    Fantastic Vietnam

    This is a very busy but fantastic taste of Vietnam. The whole trip was flawless from start to finish & every possible experience that could be added was added to ensure that we experienced as much as possible of this lovely country.We moved from location to location & activity seamlessly thanks to great organisation. Our hotels were always very well located which is a help on a busy holiday. Our guide was amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several. A. The cycling in the Mekong Delta. B. Visiting places like the War Remnant's Museum &Chu Chi tunnels, names familiar from war coverage. C. A cycle in the rain from Hui to Thank Toan Bridge through tiny villages & rice fields. D. The climb & caves in the Marble Mountains. E. The home stay in the Mekong. F. The lanterns of HoiAn

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thanh Vo our leader is amazing. His knowledge of Vietnam is excellent. He is helpful, cheerful, punctual, knowledgeable & funny. He made all of the travelling & activities seem very manageable. Nothing was too much trouble & he was literally available 24/7. He organised group meals & sat with us at all of them. He is a true leader & very inspirational.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A. The Train Journey from Hanoi to Hue is the least enjoyable aspect of the trip. Bring a pillow case & a liner as the bed clothes did not feel clean. It was very hot on the train. A mosquito net might be useful for this journey. B. For the homestay, you need to bring an overnight bag but as this will be on bus or boat while you are doing other activities you can bring as much as you think you need as you wont have to carry it. We originally thought that we would have to carry our bags on the hike. Bring flip flops for the hill tribe homestay for the showers. No need for a mosquito net as this is provided. All 16 of us shared a room in the hill tribe home stay. The homestay in the Mekong was lovely with no need to share. C. Bikes were well fit for purpose. A lot of off tarred road cycling so the gel seats were useful. Previous reviews about the helmets supplied being of good quality were correct. D. everything you need is supplied on the boat in Halong Bay. Bring a swim suit for the kayaks as you will get wet.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Weather: In November warm clothes were required for the North, rain gear fro the Middle & light clothes for the South. Hotels: The hotel culture is different to Europe. We had experience of people being called out for make up or other minor stains on towels etc before check out & a fuss being made. Beware your dirty linen will be paraded in public!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Brigitte Hease

    A childhood's dream come true.

    When I was a child, I read Tintin and the Temple of the Sun. Several decades later here I was, in Peru, a wonderfully diverse country in terms of its geography and culture. Our like minded group of travelers quickly became a team. The itinerary was excellent, taking into account increasing altitude levels, so by the time we started the Inca Trail, our bodies were acclimatized. The great variety and magnificence of the landscapes surprised us. We saw astonishing wildlife on offshore islands, mountain high volcanoes dominating historical cities, flying condors over deep canyons and beautiful valleys. There was the colourful culture of Lake Titicaca and Puno ; the iconic Inca Trail with amazing porters ; the beautiful cloud forest worthy of an RHS gold medal ; many splendid and mysterious archaeological sites ; tempting craft markets and cuddly looking alpacas and llamas ; excellent food and pisco sours... all eased and facilitated by our very experienced, organised, calm and knowledgeable guide Holger.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many ... but seeing Macchu Picchu bathed in golden sunlight from the Sun Gate brought a tear to my eyes... as did a cloud of pretty yellow and orange butterflies dispersing over the water as our canoe gently approached...one of nature's magic spectacle in the Amazon region of Peru.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Holger was very experienced, caring, knowledgeable, organised, calm and enthusiastic. We appreciated his great experience of the Inca Trail. He was excellent at flagging areas of difficulty such as steeper sections, pointing out flora (orchids) and fauna along the way. Highlighting good vantage points to take photos, explaining the history and archaeological heritage of the sites, whilst making sure we were all fine along the way. One of the best guides we have had on a mountain trek with Exodus.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This itinerary included some long bus journeys necessary to cover the vast distances between cities, but there were many stops. Our bus was very comfortable and we could enjoy the fantastic landscapes passing by as well as discreetly taking photos of colourful local costumes.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Brigitte Hease

    A childhood's dream come true.

    When I was a child, I read Tintin and the Temple of the Sun. Several decades later here I was, in Peru, a wonderfully diverse country in terms of its geography and culture. Our like minded group of travelers quickly became a team. The itinerary was excellent, taking into account increasing altitude levels, so by the time we started the Inca Trail, our bodies were acclimatized. The great variety and magnificence of the landscapes surprised us. We saw astonishing wildlife on offshore islands, mountain high volcanoes dominating historical cities, flying condors over deep canyons and beautiful valleys. There was the colourful culture of Lake Titicaca and Puno ; the iconic Inca Trail with amazing porters ; the beautiful cloud forest worthy of an RHS gold medal ; many splendid and mysterious archaeological sites ; tempting craft markets and cuddly looking alpacas and llamas ; excellent food and pisco sours... all eased and facilitated by our very experienced, organised, calm and knowledgeable guide Holger.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many ... but seeing Macchu Picchu bathed in golden sunlight from the Sun Gate brought a tear to my eyes... as did a cloud of pretty yellow and orange butterflies dispersing over the water as our canoe gently approached...one of nature's magic spectacle in the Amazon region of Peru.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Holger was very experienced, caring, knowledgeable, organised, calm and enthusiastic. We appreciated his great experience of the Inca Trail. He was excellent at flagging areas of difficulty such as steeper sections, pointing out flora (orchids) and fauna along the way. Highlighting good vantage points to take photos, explaining the history and archaeological heritage of the sites, whilst making sure we were all fine along the way. One of the best guides we have had on a mountain trek with Exodus.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This itinerary included some long bus journeys necessary to cover the vast distances between cities, but there were many stops. Our bus was very comfortable and we could enjoy the fantastic landscapes passing by as well as discreetly taking photos of colourful local costumes.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Pam Peers

    Great introduction to this wonderful country

    This was a busy trip covering a lot of ground! It was my first trip to SE Asia and I feel the itinerary was well thought out to provide an overview of Vietnam. We also did the Cambodia extension, which was excellent

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a lot of them: Halong Bay was very beautiful, though very busy and in danger of overcrowding unless numbers are restricted. Our private boat was a welcome refuge from the crowds. Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum was very interesting. The homestay in the Mekong was lovely - many of our group would have preferred to spend an extra night there, perhaps reducing the time at Hoi An?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bao was excellent and really helped us share his love of his country. He was great at finding interesting and unusual places for us to eat, even in locations where most of the other restaurants were offering identikit tourist-orientated menus. Bao managed very well the balance between organising us and our activities and giving us plenty of free time to do our own things.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't take too many warm clothes - you'll only need them in Hanoi, if at all. Do take lightweight clothes that are easily laundered - wherever we went, Bao could arrange laundry services that were efficient, fast and extremely cheap by UK standards. Do take lightweight rain protection i.e. a lightweight folding umbrella and/or cheap plastic waterproof with a hood. Don't bother with 'technical' rain protection Do take anti-mosquito protection. We used Incognito and found it very effective. I quite enjoyed the overnight train journey and slept well - it's certainly not luxurious but it was clean and moderately comfortable, though earplugs and an eye mask are a good idea.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Cambodia extension was excellent and I'm very glad we did it. Angkor Wat is superb and lived up to all the hype, and the Phnom Penh visits were very moving.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Pamela Woodward

    cycling vietnam

    We were "blown away" over and over again on the trip. Our guide Lam and the support team were beyond excellent. They seemed to know what we needed before we did. Everything was done with a smile and a positive attitude. Over and over again they were checking our bikes and gear. I am so very very impressed with them!!! The weather was hot hot hot in some places and torrential rains in other places. Luckily, no wind. I am coming off from a previous biking injury (broken back and sacrum) and am also taking medication that inhibits my physical ability so I usually finished towards or at the end of the group. I also was not able to finish the Pass however, the guides made every effort to help me out and let me ride in the bus when needed--with no frowns given. The bike rides down the two passes were amazing and had me shouting with joy. The food--excellent. The places Lam had chosen for us to eat were safe for our foreign stomachs as well as being traditional Vietnamese food and good as well. The mid ride refreshments perfect--and often. I have such a positive feel for this trip and the excellent guides. I have been fortunate to have been on several trips with 3 extended biking trips and this trip with the guides, scenery, cycling route... was one of the best.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day I completed the 95 KM day. I have some physical deterrents so I was super excited that in spite of them, I was able to do it. Also, the descent from the two passes. Wow, what a ride! Also, the almost comical riding in the torrential rains with a smile on our faces. The continual "Hello" from the children. We, being from the US did not know how we would be received and the positive attitude and embracing by the Vietnamese was a lesson as well as a humbling experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lam, our leader---oh my gosh! Excellent. Like I mentioned, I have been on several guided trips and Lam was one of the best I have experienced. Lam was accompanied by 3 others--Tang, Long, and Y. They anticipated what we would need before we even knew we needed things. They worked so well together. What a team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The weather can be extremely hot as well as humid. I don't think, unless you live in similar weather systems, that you can fully prepare for that. Train and do what you can to prepare but even if you cannot do the hills and passes, you can still be a part of the adventure. If having to ride in the bus once or twice gets you to experience this adventure, then "just do it". As I get older, I realize that I do not have to be first but to be part of it is so fulfilling.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only hesitation I had with the trip was that there seemed to be several on the trip that were in extremely good cycling condition. They seemed to want to push the pace and wanted to be first or near it. Since this was my first time in Vietnam, I wanted to experience the countryside and it's people and stop to take photos, or marvel at something I saw or stop and go back to take a photo when I passed a school with young students and everyone of them called out "Hello" to me. Lam, our main guide kept stressing that this was a holiday but I felt that if I stopped to take the photos I wanted, I would keep the others back. This was a frustration. This was not Lam's doing but more the pressure from many of the other cyclists. I can do the push push push here at home with just concentrating on the road in front of me and seeing how hard I can cycle but in a new country, I want to experience that country--not the push. I don't know what to suggest to change this... one of the extremely fit cyclists would turn around and redo some of it. Perhaps this could be something suggested in situations like this. ???
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Tim Brooks

    Land of the Thunder Dragon

    Bhutan is a country whose culture and environment are still free from the negative influences of the modern world. It's a quiet even serene place, free from pollution and benefitting from a low population (just some 700,000 people live in this small kingdom). The five day point-to-point trek was well run and enjoyable. It included visits to a couple of fascinating monasteries. The highlights have to be attending the spring festival in Paro and the half-day trek to the world-famous Tiger's Nest monastery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Although the spring festival in the Dzong in Paro was amazing, it's the unexpected things of most trips which last in my memory. For my trip in Bhutan, this was the welcome we got from the monks in the monastery on the last day of our trek as we headed down the valley towards Thimphu.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Norbu and his team looked after us very well. I hope to go back one day and see more of this lovely country. Norbu informed me that Exodus is thinking about opening a new trek in the high Himalayas in the north-west of the country. I couldn't see this trip as an option in 2018 - but will keep a look out for it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bhutan had been on my bucket list for quite a few years and I was not disappointed. While the cost of the trip is prohibitive, the tourist tax means that there are still relatively few tourists in Bhutan, meaning it's unspoilt. Furthermore, you really don't need much spending money as the tourist tax covers pretty much everything from the accommodation and transport to meals. The only money you'll need is for drinks and souvenirs. This makes the price of the trip more bearable in the overall scheme of things.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go now before others do. We were lucky with the weather on our trek, but others are not so lucky - so go prepared with all weather clothing for the trek. The approach by plane into Paro airport is not for the faint-hearted. However, it's one of the most fascinating airports in the world, rivalling Lukla in Nepal for hairiness. You will be amazed how close the runway is to the mountains. The plane makes a sharp left-turn in its final approach to landing - so have your camera ready for some aerial shots. The terminal building is impressive too with typical Bhutanese painted walls.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Steve Ingleby

    Discover Costa Rica

    An excellent introduction to Costa Rica, and in particular its wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many, although we particularly enjoyed the night walks that were available at the lodges. The forests come alive at night and provide opportunities to see wildlife that doesn't normally appear during the day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - Antonio was a superb ambassador for Costa Rica. He organised additional walks to ensure the team got the most out of their visit. He is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of Costa Rica, and is particularly good at identifying the many different birds we saw and heard on our travels. Mention should also be made of our driver, Alex. Despite limited English he was always friendly & enthusiastic, kept the coach spotless both inside and out, and must know the width of the coach to the nearest millimetre!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a universal sink plug - few hotels and lodges have them. Ponchos (and perhaps over-trousers) are more flexible than a conventional cagoule as it covers cameras & rucksack also. For people enthusiastic about photography, take a flash (if not fitted on camera) and a tripod. There is little light under the canopy even at midday and so shutter speeds are slow. For taking photos of specific species (e.g. amphibians) you may find that use of flash is not permitted (sometimes for all species on night walks) and so a tripod is the only way to get good photos. Make sure you protect your camera from moisture ingress. Rain is exceptional at times and a couple of our party had camera damage as a result.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is no need to change dollars to colones at the airport. Dollars seemed to be accepted everywhere and you will normally get change in colones.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Mary Purnell

    Mantas, extreme weather and good company

    The prospect of sighting whale sharks was the big attraction for this trip, along with plentiful snorkelling opportunities. The MV Felicity has great character and a wonderful crew who couldn't do enough for their guests. We had a lovely group of people and who got along famously from day 1. Snorkelling was well organised and well led by guide Kamey and our multi-talented Captain. However the whale shark experience was a huge disappointment, not because the crew didn't do their best to get us an encounter, but because the whole thing in the Maldives appears unregulated with scant regard for the welfare of the creatures. As soon as a whale shark was spotted, boats sped up from all directions dropping snorkellers and divers in the water. There are no speed restrictions in force, and no limits on numbers and we were surprised to find scuba in use around the whale sharks. We had a talk from someone from the whale shark research project on the boat, which set out guidelines for encounters, but these seemed to be disregarded by many of the boats in the area.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling with manta rays over the reef early one morning. The crew worked really hard to get us in the right spot and I got some lovely photos

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kamey worked really hard to get us the best snorkelling despite the adverse weather conditions, and was very knowledgeable and helpful

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would hesitate to recommend this trip to anyone who wants a whale shark encounter, and come away feeling that the dignity and well-being of the creatures has been respected.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Christopher & Alison Bruce

    Absolutely incredible

    Such an amazing expedition. Paul Goldstein moves heaven and earth to ensure that the most is gained from the trip and no time is wasted. We cannot recommend this experience highly enough, and would do it all again in a flash.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sheer majesty of the place and the overwhelming abundance of the wildlife. Being able to get so close to penguins and seals who have no fear of humans is a real privilege.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Inspirational and a human Duracell Bunny!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book well in advance and as soon as possible. You won't be disappointed!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
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