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
    Dave Hyslop

    Cycling Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama

    Would class myself as a 'veteran' having been on many previous cycling adventures but this is the first trip I have ever left feedback on. I realise that when you return from holidays you are on a high but I can honestly say this is one of the best, maybe even the best cycling trip I have done. The whole thing gels completely. The cycling, the views, the rafting, the different cultures, the wildlife, all brought together by a fantastic support team makes this a 5 star trip. Breakfasts are early, sometimes 6-30am, to get you cycling before it gets too hot, but this means you have downtime at the end of the day to relax, and take everything in before dinner. It's a full on trip with always things to do, then bang, a day off on a pacific beach before going at it again. Brilliant planning. Loved every minute of it. Thanks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In no particular order.....Masaya volcano....... The rafting where the wildlife was awesome, Iguanas, crocs, lizards, monkeys, beautiful birds (saw more Ospreys in 2 hours than I have seen in my entire life!).... Seeing a Toucan.....Working hard to get up the hills.....Those awesome views....... Chino's obvious love for his country and the whole area.... The children shouting hello as you cycle past.... the anticipation of that first cold beer after a hot day in the saddle knowing that the weather is cold and miserable back in the UK!!!!!!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The luggage of some of our group did not arrive so Chino took on the responsibility to chase it up and was brilliant at keeping everybody informed at what was happening. When the weather deteriorated in Costa Rica (and boy did it deteriorate!) he took the decision to change the itinerary and move us over from the Caribbean coast to the Pacific coast, that included changing cycling routes and hotels. All this done with the minimum of fuss and just presented to us and off we went! So much work done behind the scenes. He was of course supported by his team of Albarro (Nicaragua), Paul and Ronaldo. Special mention here for Ronaldo who after the changes in Costa Rica must have spent around 8 hours driving in sections to get across Costa Rica and Panama, and we still got two cycle rides in that day. Viva Ronaldo! Pura vida guys.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you enjoy cycling and wildlife this trip is for you! All 3 countries accept US dollars so you don't need to change any money on arrival in Nicaragua. Food is good and plenty throughout, standard of cleanliness is also good in the soda's and restaurants. Bike quality is also good and we had very little maintenance problems (3 punctures and 1 broken chain I think across 16 of us). Biscuits, fruit, water and hydrating powders are always available.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Rachael Johnson

    Jolly Hockey Bikes

    What a fantastic way to see 3 fantastic countries. This trip however is not for the faint hearted - expect to be on the go 24/7 from the moment you land in Nicaragua. Despite this trip being focused around cycling it was so much more than that with plenty of activities off the bike. If you are looking for a real adventure with lots of laughs along the way then this is the trip for you. Cycling - There was a real mix of cycling from tarmac roads to gravel tracks. There were some challenging hills that required a decent level of cycling fitness to complete especially in the heat that reached over 100 on some days. The views were spectacular and wildlife was spotted along the way. We averaged around 30 miles a day and our group was fairly fast so this was usually completed within 3-4 hours. The approach to the cycling was pretty relaxed so if you wanted to stop at any point for a rest or to take photos you were free to do so. The cycling catered for everyone and it was up to you if you wanted to race or just relax at the back! We had our guide along with 2 support cyclists (mechanics) in Nicaragua - Roberto Aguilar (aka Chino), Albaro and Paul and then for Costa Rica and Panama there was just Chino and Paul. The support vehicle, driven by the very safe driver Ronal, was always on hand to assist anyone who may have been struggling, to provide water, rest-bite or even extra fuel (fruit & biscuits). Other Activities - One of the trip highlights for me was going up to the top of the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua at night and actually looking into the top of it - looking into the top of a live volcano was something that I never thought I would have the opportunity to do - breath-taking! Volcanic Spa at La Fortuna (Costa Rica) - a great way to relax in the evening after a days cycling. It was like being in heaven with Cocktails on hand! River Rafting (Nicaragua) - our guide spotted all kinds of wildlife that unless you have the eye for you would have never seen. Crocodiles, Toucans, Iguanas and much more. Nature trail on Ometepe, natural Spa........ There is just too many things to mention. A special mention has to go out to our tour guide Chino and his support staff who were exceptional. If you are considering this trip - DO IT!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views Wildlife Masaya Volcana Natural Spa on Ometepe Island Volcanic Spa - La Fortuna River Rafting Meal in Panama Old Town at Las Bovedas

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto Aguilar AKA Chino - Fantastic. His local knowledge was exceptional and he was fluent in English. Really couldn't have asked for a more helpful guide who by the end of the trip had become a friend. He couldn't do enough for us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The support vehicle is always on hand so you always have access to your day bags. There is no need to carry anything on your bike with you apart from cameras etc.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Lindsey Taylor

    An amazing trip

    Cycling is such a great way to see a country and this trip didn’t disappoint. There was a great range of cycling from tarmac roads to rough off road. Cycling experience and fitness is a must. The roads are undulating and on some days there were some long climbs, made all the more difficult in the heat. It also meant there were great views! In addition to the cycling there were great trips and even some free time to relax.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to highlight one moment. The whole trip was an experience. It was fantastic to see the views and wildlife whilst cycling along but one highlight would have to be getting so close to an active volcano!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a fantastic team, they couldn’t do enough for you and all worked really hard. Our leader Roberto (Chino) went out of his way to ensure that everything on the trip was perfect.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Deciding what to take is always difficult. Cycling gear can be rinsed through in the hotels although drying can sometimes be a problem. Snacks are provided whilst cycling and the minibus is always nearby so you don’t have to carry everything with you on the bike, stick it in a day bag on the bus. Clothes when not on the bike are very casual and long sleeves and long pants are handy to cover up in the areas where more mosquitoes are out. We did get bitten but not too bad. Things that don’t crease are ideal and good packing is essential so you know where everything is, there’s no time to keep unpacking your case.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend the white water rafting in La Fortuna, it was fantastic. We went with Arenal rafting, they were brilliant and great value for money. Take dollars in small denominations as you get change in local currency.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Lisa Meanock

    An outstanding cycling trip

    What a fantastic way to see 3 countries 'on a bike'. Not being a cyclist and having a knee operation in July I was a little sceptical about whether I would be able to complete 2 weeks of cycling but the trip was just the right balance of sight seeing and cycling. The cycling was challenging but very enjoyable with 'amazing views', the terrain was mixed which added to the experience. Our guide for the trip (Roberto Aguilar aka 'Chino') was outstanding couldn't have asked for a better one, his knowledge of all the countries was fantastic and really helped us in understanding the history of each. I felt the trip was quite expensive for a young couple and I feel if it was cheaper would appeal to more younger people to book. Chino's support for the 2 weeks was Albarro and Paul who were also great and really helped the weaker cyclists but also challenged the more experienced cyclist too which was good. Even when we lost Albarro at Nicaragua and just had Paul for the remaining trip the standard didn't slip. Due to the weather in Costa Rica on the Caribbean side our trip had to be changed at short notice whilst this may have been stressful for chino this didn't show and didn't impact on our tour and it all went through smoothly and didn't impact too much on the original itinerary. What I would suggest for future trips would be for the hotels to offer free laundry whilst the weather was warm it was humid and if hand washing we struggled to dry them and with staying only 1 night in some hotels you travel with damp clothes so didn't really smell fresh when eventually dried and needed washing again. I would also recommend exodus invest in purchasing kit to cover the maximum size of the group. There was 12 of us within our group and all our luggage was delayed for 1 day which meant we couldn't take part in the first day cycling because there was only 2 spare helmets but if there was spare we could have purchased spare clothing and still took part. Our first day wasn't ruined because chino stepped into action and arranged a trip for us around the local town on horse and cart which was fantastic to see.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm not sure I can specifically call out one inspirational moment of this trip the whole trip totally exceeded my expectations the right balance of cycling and sight seeing. Not once on this trip will you be bored, action packed and just fantastic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I can honestly not say anything negative about our trip leader Alberto Aguilar 'chino' everything planned perfectly to the minute. His mileage estimations for the bike rides was spot on which helped me pace myself and keep me going. He explained everything clearly and honestly and nothing was too much trouble. If I was book another cycling holiday I would love chino to be our guide he really did make our holiday an absolute pleasure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take spare cycling clothes in your hand luggage in the event of cases not arriving. Have your laundry professionally done as you will struggle to get it dried if hand washing. Power banks are a must so you can charge all your gadgets, (phones, garmins, watches, go pro's). I would bother with energy gels etc because the trip provides fruit, granola bars, re hydration powder for your drinks etc.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Will definitely be booking another cycling holiday following this excellent experience with exodus.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Chris Hunt

    Exceeded Expectations

    This trip exceeded our expectations! The cycling was often challenging with some biggish hills in hot weather but also great fun (what goes up has to come down) and mostly on well made roads without too much traffic. Two longish sections on dirt roads challenge the suspension but are fine in the weather that we had for those sections. At the end of the trip we felt we had achieved something worthwhile. But it was not all cycling with trips to an active volcano, hot and cold springs and and wildlife spotting during river rafting among the notable highlights. The trip accommodation and food ranged from good to adequate. The hotel at Las Lajas and the last meal in Old Panama being particular highlights. The trip was well organised and well run with Roberto (Chino) and his team doing a great job. They responded very well to the issues of our delayed luggage and very poor weather in the Caribbean. The latter meant that we had an extra night at Las Lajas which was more than welcome. Chino, Paul and Ronal had become great friends with the group by the end of the trip. If you enjoy a bit of a challange and doing something a bit different from the usual holiday routine then this trip is for you - overall a superb experience which is going to take some beating!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The tour team of Chino, Paul and Ronal helped to make this trip special - I think they turned something that might have been hard work into a truly enjoyable adventure for the whole group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto (Chino) was excellent - responded well to any issues that arose and made sure that we were all fed and watered before he himself sat down to eat. Socialised well with the group whilst also retaining our respect as a leader throughout. His daily briefings and leading the singing on the bus were highlights (he's quite fond of Queen). Chino was more than ably supported by Paul (guide/mechanic) and Ronal (driver) - they made a great team. Special mention to Roberro who was with us only for the Nicaraguan leg of the tour - we missed him when we moved into Costa Rica!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    During the dry season you don't need as much DEET as you think - there are only a few areas where mossies are a problem and our bite count was surprisingly low. My wife and I got through only two 100mm sprays for the whole trip. Also take some travel wash - it is possible to use hotel soaps, shampoos etc to wash your cycling kit but provision of hotel stuff isn't consistent. You may also wish to regularly wash your water bottles - we used hotel shampoo but as before provision isn't consistent. White water rafting is a blast - if you don't fancy the optional ride in La Fortuna then white water rafting is great fun.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Peter Booth

    Two of Team Jolly Hockey Cycles ( 12 members )

    Having cycled extensively in the UK and Europe we were invited to join the JHC on this Central America cycle trip. Holidaying with family, old friends, new acquaintances and four strangers could prove daunting, however, it turned out wonderful from the offset. This was far more than just a cycle trip. ( Hardcore cyclists need not apply) It turned out to be an education in history, cultures, wildlife and geography. All of which ticked all our boxes. The cycling was a joy each day with all 16 of us able to stay within our own limits, take time out for photography or just stand and look at everything around us. When we fancied a blast, we did just that. That easy. The hotels and restaurants offered good accommodation and local food with varied menu's to suit all tastes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspiration, where do you start. Everything was different, so inspirational individually.I have never cycled three amazing countries in 16 days. I have never looked down an active volcano. I have never been on a river raft and seen more Iguana's, Osprey's, Crocodile's, Monkey's, Lizard's, Vulture's etc. etc. in one day than I have seen in a lifetime. I have never sat in a hot spring with a pina colada in my hand. I have never been so close to one of the worlds largest engineering feats, the Panama canal. etc.etc. All inspirational in their own way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We could not have a better group leader, Chino, and support team, Paul, Ronaldo, Alvaro. We arrived with all our luggage missing so instead of losing our first day Chino arranged a sight seeing trip around Granada by horse and carriage. Paul took the other four cycling, (no luggage shortages) and we all met for lunch. We had serious weather issues on the Caribbean so the itinerary was changed to keep everything flowing smoothly. Chino ensured everything was in order, including hotel and meal service, briefings throughout the cycling to ensure we were abreast of what was ahead and the never ending information of the history, culture and geography around us. He carefully explained the difference in the standard of living of the people we met and encouraged us to meet with them. It wasn't just business, we could babble on with all the team about ourselves, themselves and just about anything.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Credit cards accepted everywhere. Small US dollar bills, no larger than $20. Laundry available at some of the hotels and widely at La Fortuna. There is all the in-ride snacks, fruit, energy drinks and bottled water with the bus and plenty of places to purchase more if you need. For those nervous of foreign bus drivers, don't panic. Our driver, Ronaldo, never once broke any speed limit, made any dangerous manoeuvres or gave us any cause for concern.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Quite simply, if we do not take another holiday, this one is our holiday of a lifetime.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Sally Birch

    Not cheap but worth it in many other ways

    Overall a great trip made better by the people in my group and trip leaders (even though we had a change over after Nicaragua). A wonderful experience slightly blighted by lost lounge for the first 5 days and then me having a non cycling accident on the first day in Panama. However the group and the trip leaders were awesome, a real opportunity to see people at their best. So helpful, so caring and so accommodating, every one of them really made sure I was able to enjoy as much of the holiday as possible. Stunning sights, food, adventures and guidance and support from the leaders and so much to laugh about and enjoy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many....seeing my first volcano and active too. Massages in the tree tops, the panama locks, the hot spas, the boat trips, the stunning beach in Panama, animal spotting and rafting. The views were stunning and the people were so friendly and welcoming.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had Roberto initially, who is very experienced and knowledgable and worked tirelessly to get my suitcase back to me and ensure I could participate as much as possible. Then we switched to Rafa, who despite being younger and newer, was so much fun and the best male nurse in the business ;) His support during and after my accident, in the hospital and helping to redress my wound twice daily, was without doubt a lifesaver. And his good humour and patience during my "colourful language" with each cleaning session (hehe) meant that tears always ended in laughter.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bug spray was only needed for a couple of nights but useful. Pack your first days cycling gear in your hand luggage, esp shoes (cycling in the equivalent of flip-flops wasn't fun initially). You'll need cash, for the most expensive of trips i've done with Exodus, this had the least about of meals included but cashpoints are available. I literally only took US Dollars as everywhere accepted them and gave change in local currency to each country that i just then used before we crossed the next border. Sunscreen!! I took 4 sets of kit and that was more than enough, could have survived on less (and i did initially). DOn't be precious about sticking to the trip notes, relax and have fun, this is the time to let someone else make decisions and you just ride and see what comes next around the corner!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Well worth it and that's coming from someone that cycled Nicaragua in 1 set of kit and shoes 2 sizes too big and couldn't cycle Panama due to injury...........but it was an adventure and I laughed so hard that it was good for my soul instead of my quads this time :)
  • Reviewed January 2018
    john odonnell

    CENTRAL AMERICA Nov11th

    After braving the ridiculous American vetting of transit passengers[I was lucky came in through Dallas not Houston]things immediately became better.The tour leader and staff were really good.The trip was well organised and the staff were on the ball at all times.The group were really great and mixed well.The three countries were so different and added to the enjoyment of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the most inspirational theme of the trip was that all three countries were providing power or attempting to through renewable energy e.g. wind turbines. Made me ashamed to be Australian given our energy policies.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Worked so hard and so determined to ensure we had a good trip and an enjoyable one.The supporting staff were great as well and worked very well as a team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a great diversity in the countries and a simple example is added taxes to meals for example Costa Rica is the best example of this.I slightly overspent on budget but it was no big deal.Learn some Spanish I had not and wished I had

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I missed on doing the local evaluation and regret it as I would have liked to pass on my gratitude to the staff led by Jackie Garcia I would appreciate it if you[Exodus]could because they deserve to be acknowledged for the efforts put in by all three
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Ali Farrall

    Cycling in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama

    This was an amazing trip. The leader team were extremely professional but also really friendly and helpful - a perfect balance. The cycling was superb; routes were varied in terrain, views and challenge and so much thought had gone in to the itinerary. We saw so much in a short time that it was one of our best ever trips.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think there were too many, but body surfing on the Caribbean coast was a highlight, as was seeing a whale from a beach in Panama, cycling like a demon down fast roads through a short downpour, managing to get up a really big hill in 35 degree heat or singing the Hokey Cokey with a class of Nicaraguan primary school kids- take your pick!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was brilliant. I will be looking out to see if some future trips can be arranged as I would love to go on more adventures with him and his team. We learnt lots about the history, geography and culture of the places we went to, and always felt very safe in his hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Your kit will get soaked in sweat and won't always dry in the humidity, so use the laundry when available and take old stuff that isn't too precious. We are fairly fit and did some extra cycling beforehand and I'm really pleased we did as it made it all the more enjoyable, so do try and be ready for the distances.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can't recommend this trip enough. It was by far the most expensive trip we have ever done but I am so pleased we went for it. Roberto, Paul, Jackie and Luis were brilliant.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Fiona McLennan

    Exceptional Cycling

    Absolutely fabulous cycling trip. Stunning scenery & superb organisation. Hot, sweaty and at times challenging, but always fun with a great group of people and exceptional group leaders. Pre organised lunches and added extras with the islands, volcanos , spa pools , along with the Panama Canal and restaurants really added to the diversity of the experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting fitter and faster and by the end of the trip actually feeling inspired & ready to do the hills again!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    My group leader was Roberto (Chino), along with Paul and Jackie who will lead her own group in November. We had a lovely driver Lois too, whom kept the team supply of water and freshly cut delicious fruit going during our breaks, along with our safe transfers. The team were fabulous, professional, friendly and worked with everyone. The leaders provided advise and options and certainly set an impressive pace cycling. They had great comaradery with each other and the group. Exceptional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    # Take padded cycle shorts # Take small denomination $USD

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I suggested on my evaluation form that as we all arrived from London we were all up very early for our fist day in Granada. Due to this I would suggest that breakfast could be brought forward. Given that the day/ cycling could start earlier to give everyone a bit more time to appreciate and explore the magnificent town Granada. We left at 3 for Masaya Volcano which was perfect timing for the best viewing of the Volcano.
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