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.

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  • Reviewed January 2018
    James D

    Best Holiday Ever

    Hotel is run by a family. I cannot overstate how well they treated us. Buffet meals three times per day. Free WiFi. The snow was amazing. We had no cross country skiing experience before. Tour guides were excellent and coached us around 3-4 hours per day. Massage / Pilates / Yoga classes helped greatly with muscle soreness. I thought I was relatively fit, but I found by the end of the morning session I was happy to relax for the rest of the day. Despite eating well, I think I have lost a couple of kg on the trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to ski 10k by myself.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The fitter you are the more fun you will have. Rooms are comfortable but not luxurious. There is plenty of space to relax in the lobby of the hotel. The hotel has a gym, billiard table, sauna and table-tennis table. If you are looking to ski and then relax it is fantastic. If you want to party and dance all night, this is not the right place to go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    From what I could observe, the hotel gets a lot of repeat business, and for good reason.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Lesley Berry

    Undiscovered Atlas

    I have been on many similar trekking trips but this was the first time that I travelled with Exodus. I did not quite know what to expect compared to other companies but from start to finish the holiday was well organised and thoroughly enjoyable partially due to Exodus but mainly due to the leader, Mohammed and his support team. We were plagued with truly abysmal weather for the first half of the week: sub zero temperatures for much of the day and gales ( which are,apparently, very rare!! ). My tent broke in the middle of the first night requiring an emergency decamp to the mess tent and then collapsed together with about 50% of the other tents, the mess tent and the toilet tent ( which blew away down into the valley ), on the second. Strangly, though, these experiences added to the bonding within what was a truly great group rather than detracting from it. I will admit that this may be a peculiarly British tendency!! The cimb to the top of Jebel Aklim in bright but arctic conditions was truly inspirational and the night that followed in the teacher's house in Tagara ( Mohammed opted for this as an alternative to a third night of camping to allow us more than three hours sleep!! ) a humbling revelation. For the second half of the holiday the weather reverted to more normal conditions for the time of year, we actually were able to strip down to less than three layers for the first time and continued in this vein to the end. The scenery throughout was tremendous. The walking well paced and interesting although as previous reviewers have stated VERY VERY ROUGH and the group amazing: Totally FABULOUS!!! (will stop here as I have run out of superlatives!! )

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of Jebel Aklim in arctic conditions ( sub -20C ) and the realisation that this is about as cold as I have ever experienced and this is Morocco!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Throughout all of the drama Mohammed remained at all times calm and in control and he organised alternative accomodation at the teacher's house in Tagara when he sensed that we had had enough. His knowledge of Berber culture and history and the passion with which he conveyed it to us was inspirational and throughout the trekking the pace he set was just right based upon the individual abilities within the group and the timescale of the walk. A truly excellent leader

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not rely on your expectations of the weather in Morocco as it can get VER, VERY COLD ( and windy but that's another matter altogether ) The terrain is often ( seemingly ) pathless, rocky and very rough so boots are ABSOLUTELY essential and if your idea of a toilet is not a hole in the ground containing someone elses human excrement then this is probably not the holiday for you!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great experience. Put your first world lifestyle on hold for a week and give it a go!!
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Chris Ellis

    Cross country skiing in the french pyrenees

    This was one of the best cross country skiing trips I've ever been on. Bolquere is an excellent base with easy access to a range of varied cross country skiing locations. The Hotel l'Ancienne Auberge was slightly old-fashioned, but clean, warm and comfortable with charming and helpful owners and staff. The food was good and sometimes excellent. Having wine included with dinner was an added bonus. The leader, Bob Mason, had put together an excellent and varied programme of skiing visiting different areas each day. He was sociable and encouraging, looking out for all the members of the group at all times. He was helped by Anne, local guide and ski instructor, who provided helpful pointers to improving technique and lots of info about the surroundings. The snow conditions and weather were excellent throughout our stay. I hope this holiday stays in the brochure as I intend to return next year. Thoroughly recommended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting back on cross country skis, having not been skiing for a few years, and finding that I had not forgotten the basics. Stopping to admire the dramatic mountain views that we got from skiing at over 2000 metres above sea level most of the time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bob Mason was an excellent leader. He had redesigned the programme of cross country skiing at Bolquerewhich, as a result, was varied and at exactly the right level for the grade 2/3 group. He was supportive and encouraging - always looking out for all the members of the group. He really helped the sociability of the holiday - for example by providing afternoon tea in the hotel when we got back from skiing each day. Anne (local guide and instructor) provided helpful pointers to improving technique, lots of local information and was good fun from start to finish.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not a holiday for beginners (too many ups and downs) but if you can manage the basics I can't envisage anywhere more suitable as a cross country base.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Alan Imeson

    Cycling Vietnam

    Our group of 18 was expertly looked after by the leader and support team. At the end of each day we looked forward to the meals proposed by the leader and all were excellent. The trip gave a good insight into rural and urban Vietnamese life and the leader was very knowledgeable about the many cultural sights on the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A highlight was an 18 mile downhill ride in the Central Highlands from Dalat travelling through the National Park with dense woodland and many cascading waterfalls.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leader was very passionate about Vietnam and had a great sense of humour which kept the whole group fully engaged throughout the trip. He was very knowledgeable about the historic sites and cultural places along the route and in the cities. Nothing was too much trouble and he was available to us at all times. His menu selections for our meals including our 'optional' meals, which everyone took, were outstanding

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It can rain - heavily - but it is warm!
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Susan Ross

    Amazing experience

    I travelled on my 50th birthday, determined to conquer the 'unknown' and explore a country that has always fascinated me since a young age. It's a hard core trip with lots of early starts but well worth any exhaustion as the exhilaration you experience, at all the new sights, smells and scenery is beyond any adjectives. It is a complete sensory experience and an opportunity to participate in this beautiful country and it's stoic people. I believe with Exodus, that I saw Vietnam perhaps at a more authentic perspective and for that, I am grateful. The food is wonderful, the sights are breath taking and the history is intricate and fascinating.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most of my trip was inspirational as, personally I love history. A cycle tour to Cham Island was very humbling and gave me the opportunity to speak with a Veteran from the Vietnam/ Cambodia war. We had a family lunch in Hue, which was amazing to experience 'home cooked' food. Latterly, we visited the Cu Chi tunnels, which whilst fascinating, certainly brought a sombre reflection to my trip ( but a good sombre!)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nhi Pham was our guide and a wonderful young woman. She was caring, precise and kept us all under control ( not that we were overly wild!) Her knowledge of local history really brought Vietnam alive for me, with antidotes and localisms. Without her, my journey and experience would have been very poor. Nhi takes great pride and respect her country, therefore making her a wonderful ambassador for Vietnam.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some warmer clothes for the north and be advised that the overnight train journey is 'an experience'.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Karthi Pillai

    Cycle Sri Lanka - Amazing trip with some challenging cycling

    This was my 3rd trip with Exodus, and it was a really great experience. Sri Lanka is a wonderful country, very lush & green as it is a tropical country with lots of rain, so it is just green everywhere. The people are very humble & friendly, they speak English in most places, except in some really remote areas. The cycling itself was challenging, due to the heat factor, as it is quite a humid & hot most of the time. Overall, the trip exceeded my expectations, & I really enjoyed the cycling as that is what I was looking forward to.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The simplicity of the people & how humble they are, extremely friendly, and especially since we are on bikes, they are always fascinated by where we have come from & where we are going to, and the fact that we are cycling everywhere. Ridging through very remote areas is really refreshing as well, a nice break from the busy & polluted cities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh is a great guy & a great leader, a great sense of humour, and goes out of his way to do more that what is expected of him & always does it with a smile.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some days of the cycling can be quite challenging, so ensure you have a decent level of fitness. I am fairly fit, and there were a few days that were tough. The weather plays an role as well, as it is very humid & hot, it adds to the difficulty of the cycling, so ensure you are prepared. Stray dogs are everywhere, lying in the middle of the roads roaming around, they are generally harmless, however, as you will be on bikes, they like to run after the bikes, sometimes giving up after a few meters, but sometimes they can chase you for a while, can be quite scary, but you just need to kick you leg out at them & shout at them & that will hopefully get rid of them. Lots of sunblock & insect replant is a must. The food is not for everyone, can be spicy & you may not get western food in all places. Keep hydrated, as it is extremely hot. Some of the accommodation is not the best, think we had 2 places where is was very basic, but that is expected, as some parts are not central & a little remote.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It is a lovely trip, just be prepared for some decent cycling, and ensure you are ready for some real work, especially up the hills, climbing up to the tea plantation area was an epic ride, & very tough. Mostly enjoy the sights & sounds, as it was a really great trip with a great tour guide as well, who not only lead us cycling, but also gave us a lot of history on the country as well as some added activities, like a hike up to amazing lookout points.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Shamini Mahadevan

    Annapurna Circuit

    Fantastic trip. Great people, scenery, culture and views. Very well organised and was very well looked after by trip leader and whole exodus team.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting poon hill was very special for me as it was where my grandpa and grandma visited over 40 years ago so I thought of them as I looked across the amazing views. However there were many amazing moments including visiting beautiful monasteries and the feeling after crossing Throng la pass and seeing the amazing view on the other side.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bikash was fantastic. He had a great awareness about all those in the group and how they were feeling and was always helping us to have the best time possible. He showed professionalism as well as being a really fun trip leader. Would 100% recommend him as a trip leader to friends travelling to Nepal. Thanks Bikash!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go to Nepal! It is a beautiful place with beautiful people. Would recommend travelling in winter if you don't mind the cold and don't want the crowds.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Pat Rumpus

    Wildlife and More

    We knew December was the wettest month, but hearts sank when our first wildlife trip had to be abandoned as the river was too high for safety to take us there. However, our guides had a good backup plan and took us to the Sarawak Cultural Village where we were able to see some traditional longhouses and experience a display of spectacular tribal dances - including one of the group having a go with a blow pipe. We were lucky enough to see the bat exodus from Deer Cave at Mulu before the rain started again and forgot to stop. We were evacuated from our comfortable lodges while it was still daylight, wading through above-the-knee water to the restaurant. As it got darker, and the water deeper we expected to spend the night elsewhere than our comfortable beds. However, the rain did stop and the river stabilised so we were eventually boated back. The poor villagers further up the river didn't come off so easily in the worst floods for 14 years. All praise to the Garden Park staff and our guides for their excellent control of the situation, and their help to their neighbours as well as us. Don't forget your PONCHO! Preferably a discreet colour. A wading nature walk next day turned up a scorpion, various lizards and skinks as well as a Paradise Flycatcher and the sunshine brought back the butterflies. From the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary on, the mammals were amazing. The monkeys are real characters with such expressive faces and it was good to see so many mums and babies. Great photo opportunities. Sepilok was a mixed experience. The youngsters are kept the other side of a glass wall and they didn't care for the pouring rain much either - rolling around trying to don sacks and holding leaves over their heads in attempts to keep dry. Although it was disappointing to only see one adult orangutan, it demonstrated how successful the rehab programme has been as far fewer babies and adults are coming in for care. However, moving on to Danum Valley, our outing turned up a mother and youngster orangutan yards from the centre. And they didn't stop coming. Five in a couple of hours. Even the guides were amazed. In all we saw ten or eleven over the whole of the trip, just doing their own thing in the trees. We were lucky enough to see a herd of pygmy elephants on our Kinabatangan river cruises. Again, loads of babies. There were a lot of boats vying for the best position so unfortunately the disturbance to the animals from noise and diesel was to be regretted. The birds were spectacular here too, hornbills, hawks, eagles and little flowerpeckers in the garden as well as more butterflies. Take binoculars and a camera with a good zoom if you want to get any animal shots. You don't need huge lenses - I got some great shots with a compact. And discreet colour clothing. Pack light. It really is 'deal with your own luggage' on this one and there aren't big retail opportunities so small is beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the interactions of the proboscis monkeys Seeing the orangutans wild in the trees Fabulous birds - amazing hornbills and bulbuls Pygmy elephants - adults barely taller than the tall grasses they were eating

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He organised things well and was a good birder which suited myself and my friend. He seemed to lack confidence in dealing with a group and found it difficult to address us all in one go. He really wanted us to see everything we came for but when things went against us weather wise, he found it hard to deal with. Unfortunately he did lose it with one of the group after a long day when it looked as though a river trip wouldn't be on because of continuing rain and went on a rant 'why don't you like me', 'I'm trying to do my best' and such like which was well out of order and had nothing to do at all with the group member.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Poncho! Umbrella. Waterproof shoes/boots (jungle walks need more than walking sandals). I dubbined a pair of cheap, microfibre lightweight, non waterproof boots and that really did do the business as I didn't want to take heavy leather boots. So can recommend that as a solution. Plenty of good mossie repellent as it gets washed off in the rain. Incognito is a good natural (non Deet) one. Discreet colour clothing Long walking socks and spray them with anti mossie to deter the leeches. I took gaiters and some managed to creep under so wouldn't recommend. Something simple to change into for dinner. Nowhere's 'dressie'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Can thoroughly recommend this trip but possibly not in December. It is so different and truly exciting. All the variety of creatures and plants are wonderful. I thought ginger was just 'ginger' but not in Borneo - there are tomes on the different varieties. And so it goes on - 4 or more huge volumes on orchids - and that's only the ones that have been discovered. It was such a pleasure to see orchids and other colourful, unusual to us, plants growing in the gardens. I loved it all, despite the rain!
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Richard Salewski

    Discover Costa Rica

    Fabulous holiday - due in no small part to our guide Katia, she went over and above what could have been expected. It included early morning and late evening walks to watch wildlife that weren’t included in the tour. Also travelling with a great bunch of people absolutely made the holiday. Can’t wait for my next Exodus trip. Richard

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tortuguero was brilliant and Esquenas Lodge

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Couldn’t have done more to make for a great holiday

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a poncho
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Stuart Robinson

    Victoria Falls to Cape Town Camping Trip

    I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday from day one. The guides were very good and were always on hand to give some assistance if required. Some of the days were fairly exhausting with the travelling and heat but plenty of water was handed out and the bus was comfortable for the long journeys. I am 65 years old and fairly fit but took part in all the activities so this trip shouldn't deter anyone of advanced years. The only slight moans I had were that the canoe trip on the Orange River should have been cancelled owing to the weather conditions - one canoe capsized - and the toilet/washing facilities were pretty dire at the Aba Huab campsite. This was a beautiful location in the desert but the toilets and showers were disgusting. The bus had some problems with a puncture and eventually died in Namibia but the guides whistled up a replacement without affecting our holiday - Well done Nyasha! Overall, I would have no hesitation in recommending this trip to anyone who was prepared to "muck in" with the rest of the group to make this holiday a memorable one.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was at the Aba Huab campsite where about five of us sat round a campfire with a few beers and watched "moon rise" - magical. There were many more memories such as the wildlife at the water holes at the Etosha National Park, the red sand dunes of Namibia at sun rise and the stunning Fish River Canyon.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Nyasha and Sylvia were very good and great company. Nyasha did most - perhaps too much - of the driving and organising and Sylvia was an excellent cook and knew so much about Namibian history, culture and wildlife.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to contribute to the holiday by helping to set up the campsites and packing up - one chap in our group did much of the washing up after the meals! You are not required to help the guides but it helps to break the ice with your fellow travellers and guides - and it feels a little uncomfortable just standing and watching someone else do something that you are quite capable of doing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really - I would just like to thank guides, Sylvia, Nyasha, Clifford and Lukas, plus my fellow travellers for a really wonderful holiday.
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