Turtle, Ecuador

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed July 2019
    Jane Thackray

    Brilliant holiday

    This was our first group cycling holiday and it did not disappoint. Emanuele, our guide was so brilliant. He was patient, kind and funny, and the whole tour was well thought out, with amazing scenery and lovely accommodation. We felt safe and looked after, and everyone in the group was good fun and like minded. Will definately do another trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All of it. The scenery, good weather and people, plus the guide, Emanuele

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emanuele was amazing. Calm, patient, interesting, and funny. He was well organised, and it was obvious he has a passion for cycling, and his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try not to worry about your ability as the trip is well organised, and everyone waits if you are a bit slow. There is scope to be faster or slower as everyone stops at various points until the group is all together. There is a back marker, so no one cycles on their own.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Rose Langley

    Amazing Mongolia

    We saw only a small portion of such a huge country , within days we’d seen Steppe, desert ,mountains and cliffs , perfect sunrises and sunsets and the never ending stars in the sky.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The vast nothingness , looking for miles ahead and seeing nothing but scenery with the odd Ger. 2 whole days driving the Gobi and seeing only the odd goat farmer, no other tourists or cars. Visiting the camel and horse breeders and seeing the nomad way of life and of course the Genghis Khan statue .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Odka was great , she kept us informed of all the plans for the day ahead and has so much knowledge about the amazing history of Mongolia. Her English was very good and nothing was too much trouble for her.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Ger camps were very comfortable but be prepared for no phone signal or WiFi for most of them perfect for switching off completely (bliss) There is a lot of travelling on a few days but stops were around every 1.5 to 2 hrs ,on our trip the cars were comfortable with air-conditioning and 4 people to a 6 seater so roomy enough too. I went for vegetarian meals as I’m not a big meat eater and it’s a very meat heavy country mostly mutton and chicken , my meals were lovely ,rice,pasta,vegetables and fruit so a perfect choice for me.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is perfect for a taste of Mongolia it has a good itinerary and with Naadam included it was a real insight into the Country and the Mongolian way of life, Bayarlalaa Mongolia
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Denyse LeBrun

    Exceeded expectations!

    A blissful week of exhilarating trekking and comfortable lodging. The trees were of very reasonable length and level of difficulty. Every trek offered a different type of trek, terrain and views of the Dolomites. From finding am azure blue lake, to rolling hills of wild flowers, to wooded paths to raw limestone. Every day better than the previous. The hotel was stunning and very comfortable offering a plethora of food for all tastes and appetites. The quiet town allowed for a true escape and the opportunity to cycle on your free day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day was an inspiration atop a mountain with a view of the Dolomites. My favourite day was monte piano and the opportunity to walk around a mountain.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl is a brilliant and nurturing guide. His ability to ensure every hiker is comfortable and content is only surpassed by his knowledge of the terrain, paths, history and botany. He is clearly comfortable in the area and enjoys making sure everyone is happy. His sense of humour puts everyone at ease and facilitates early bonding among the hikers. He goes out of his way to give everyone their best possible experience and adventure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring poles, all weather layering clothes, good solid boots and sunscreen. Have enough cash as ATM doesn’t work well. Use the pool to relax after the hikes and bring earplugs as although the town is quiet, the doors slam shut and can be echoed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip truly exceeded my expectations In every way. This was my second trip with Exodus, having previously partaken in Mont Blanc Highlights. I expected Dolomites to be less spectacular but it was indeed more spectacular with the contrasting colours and as I’ve mentioned the variety of terrains and views. The hotel was accommodating to my gluten-free vegan diet. The itinerary was perfect and every part was flawless. Lucked out having a wonderful guide and group.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Chris Hull

    Enjoyable Peruvian trekking

    This is a great trip to visit Cusco, The Andes and Machu Picchu, including physical, culinary and cultural delights. As with all activity at altitude, a good fitness level is no guarantee that altitude symptoms will not occur, however it will certainly make the trekking more manageable and help assure that the group remains together. The Moonstone Trek provides the opportunity for high Andean trekking away from the crowds that can be experienced on the "Inca Trail". However, from discussions with other travelers, the Inca Trail offers greater variety of flora whilst trekking in the cloud forest. The landscape on the trek is stunning, but generally involves fairly barren and rugged mountain-scapes, as might be expected at such altitudes. Visiting in July, the days were warm to hot and the nights often sub-zero, requiring a range of clothing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It’s difficult to identify a single highlight, but Machu Picchu is set in a stunning landscape and a marvel to behold, whilst Cusco offers a more Spanish colonial feel and waking-up on a mountainside always stimulates the senses.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabrizzio, our main tour leader, was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No amount of training can counter the impact of altitude, but a good fitness level should help assure enjoyment whilst trekking and even walking around Cusco. A good sleeping bag and warm layers will help with avoiding the evening/night cold and getting a sound sleep.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Paul Marr

    A good introduction or a nostalgic reunion.

    I'm 70 years of age, for me this was an opportunity to revisit some of the Cols I rode 15 years ago, a reminder of the wonderful scenery in good company and looked after by a guide who kept us smiling and safe. The weather was hot and sunny, over 40C in the valleys so it was blue skies and clear views, sun cream and lots of water were essentials. We ate in restaurants chosen by our guide and the food was always good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was seeing the top of the Col d'Izoard again and getting over the Galibier.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thierry is a lovely man with a warm and friendly personality and an appealing sense of humour. He has lots of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm which he puts to good use to make sure that everyone in the group feels supported, encouraged and safe. He works tirelessly and literally does the extra mile every day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get plenty of miles in your legs before attempting this one, climbing for up to 30 kilometres on gradients of 8% needs strength, stamina and determination. Try to practice your descending skills too so you can enjoy the reward for your efforts.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Dining in the evening can be as late as 9pm, we were on the road before 8am most days to avoid the hottest part of the day on the climb.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    M B

    Volcanoes & Temples Indonesia

    Recently returned from this trip . The contrast between Java and Bali , both in terms of landscape , population , costs , is striking. In Java many members of group were regularly asked for a picture , with locals standing alongside . Bali being more of a tourist destination , particularly for Australians , this photo request never happened. Lots of volcanoes and temples to be seen and explored. Lots of history and differences in religions. Snorkelling in Menjangan island ( Bali) was amazing, even the walk in from beach area had so many species of fish to see.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Borobudor was fascinating , as was Prambanan.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juno was informative and ensured we were aware of our surroundings , meeting points etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The volcano walks were a challenge but do-able with determination and time. Sunrise , being a natural phenomenon , doesnt guarantee clear views , just enjoy what you see when you see it. Pay attention if any monkeys about at temples, they are surprisingly quick at grabbing things and scaling nearest tree.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You are in an earthquake zone , we had the unexpected experience of a plus 5 earthquake while in Denpasar. A tale to tell the folks back home , all safe and only us tourists excited.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Maddie Hallwood

    A bladder stretching, inspiring, bumpy, simply amazing adventure!

    This is not a trip for anyone seeking a rest. The days are long and you aren’t going to get a nap on the bus unless you nab a front seat or can sleep literally anywhere. However, you will get to see some absolutely amazing creatures in the wild that you will not see anywhere else, see the magnificent baobabs, fake baobabs and fake fake baobabs and find yourself in more different landscapes and climates than you can reasonably expect in one country. So many people have told me Madagascar is on their wish list but, until you have been there, you can not imagine it. They need all the tourism they can get in order to help more locals understand how conservation can actually benefit them and, with the rarity of species that Madagascar has, the sooner you go, the better.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I admit to getting tearful at my first sighting of an Indri in the wild - these animals do not survive in captivity. And actually finally getting close enough to a mouse lemur for me to see it with my own eyes - I could have watched them all night ( as they didn’t pay any heed to us). And, of course, actually getting up ( and down) the Tsingy. And the photos of the Alley of the Baobabs at sunset still take my breath away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rija is simply fantastic. She exudes passion and knowledge for her country and its peoples and nature, always seeking ways for us to understand more or have the answers to our questions. I particularly appreciated how she sought ways for us to interact with the locals so that we could all gain from the experience. She is very thoughtful, seeking to consider everyone’s particular preferences or circumstances and maintaining a sense of humour through out that is positively delightful. However, the test of a good guide is when things don’t go to plan and we had a little bit of an unscheduled extension to our trip. Rija was calm, clear and reassuring and, even when we had no idea when and how we would get home, we were happy to trust her judgment. I trust Exodus to treasure their relationship with Rija, she is an ambassador both for Exodus abs Madagascar.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good torch and spare batteries. I hadnt realised just how many hotels do not have 24 hour electricity and I used my torch for pottering around inside my bungalows at night much more than for the night walks! The roads in Madagascar rival any I have seen anywhere else in the world for poor condition. But Dama, our main (modest) driver is capable of taking that bus anywhere. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised at the standard of hotel and food throughout the trip. There is an opportunity to do laundry after a week. All hotels we were in had WiFi at reception when they had electricity on and some had sufficient connection to support WhatsApp calls... how times have changed.. I suffer from vertigo and I managed the Tsingy ( with the help of my fellow travelers) - and I am glad I did. This trip ends with an internal flight back to the capital. When the trip notes say that internal flights can be unreliable, take that very seriously and don’t plan anything you really can’t miss for the days immediately after you get home just in case. Exodus did a brilliant job in getting us back as soon as they could, just like we knew they would.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you have a sense of humour, a sense of wonder and like an adventure, do this!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Mike Giles

    Much more than it says on the tin!

    Ordinarily fans of group holidays we chose Tailormade for this trip as none was available the week we wished to travel. We were so impressed with the service that this may now have implications for our future adventures. Although we sometimes missed the company of fellow travellers we enjoyed the same itinerary and were blessed with the undivided attention of our guide, drivers and specialist wherever we went. We rarely handled our bags and as Seniors we welcomed an additional hand that always seemed available when alighting boats and other vehicles in which we travelled. The Islands are very different and each has its own ecosystem and character. Centrally based good quality hotels in both Sao Miguel and Faial enable main features of both to be fully explored without constantly moving on. Every type of land and sea transportation is readily available and Island hoping is easy using local ferries and inter-island air services.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Of course, the highlight of the trip must be Whale and Dolphin Watching. This is mainly focused around Peter’s Café Sport a unique establishment in Horta where you can mingle with the locals, boat skippers, conservationists and likeminded visitors becoming part of a clique exchanging daily experiences of sightings of these cratures and many others too. Properly briefed and kitted out we set out in groups of no more than a dozen aboard RIBs accompanied by marine specialists and directed over CB by spotters strategically located on the coastline. These boats are ideal for the purpose not only offering a fast exhilarating ride over the distances to be covered but a stable viewing platform riding easy on the swell near the creatures encountered. On one trip we saw at least nine individual whales diving and feeding, also a mother with calf so close you could smell the breath. On another we were accompanied by a huge school of dolphins teasing the skipper with their agility to dive and reappear unexpectedly at any point around the boat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nuno Garcia was our Local Guide, and local in every way. He seems to know everyone on and everything about the Islands where he was born, lives and so obviously loves. Add to this his naturalist knowledge and professionalism he is the perfect guide. To the two of us he became a friend and travelling companion and it was sad and strange when he did not come home with us!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The weather may be stated as variable so pack accordingly. However we found it generally kinder than forecast and did not unpack either fleece or rain-gear at all during the week. If you intend bathing in thermal pools don’t wear your best swimsuit or one that is dominantly light coloured, it may not stay that way!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In a Euro economy we expected European costs but were pleasantly surprised by favourable prices in restaurants and shops.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Gary Cox

    A fantastic iconic adventure.

    Did i enjoy this trip,you bet.From the start to the end this trip was a revelation,everyday was an highlight.Back home after 3 days,and iam still buzzing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Peru is so much more than Machu Picchu,which of course is fantastic.For me,the homestay on Lake Titicaca,the local market next to San Pedro market in Cusco were truly memorable.I could go on,and on,everyday was inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was probably my adventure of a lifetime,and Daniel,our group leader,made this happen.His organisation skills,his patience,his passion for Peru were exceptional.Through his leadership we experienced a magical Peruvian adventure, many, many thanks Daniel.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of spending money(you will need it)and enjoy Peru.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't just read these reviews,go,go,go to Peru!!!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Dexy D

    Chocolate Hiking in Chamonix

    Fantastic fun week of hiking based at Chalet Chocolat with amazing hosts Zohi and Ben and top guide Emma. Nothing was too much trouble, including parking my car on demand ;-) Amazing three course meals every evening and interesting and varied salad options for packed lunches. Felt like staying in someone's home rather than a chalet. And the cakes made every day were outrageously delicious. We were made to feel very welcome and Zohi and Ben were very happy to share their knowledge of the local area, which was another bonus. We laughed a great deal this week and that was often due to their relaxed and welcoming manner. The hikes were also varied and challenging and never short of a spectacular view!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Mont Blanc from almost every angle! Having dinner directly watching the sunset over the mountain and meeting a great group of people who I hope to stay in touch with.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    It was Emma's first tour as an Exodus leader and she did a great job. She shared her vast experience of trekking with us and managed the group very well. She had lots of fun ideas to bond the group and was happy to support everyone as they needed. We enjoyed her company over the week.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be fooled by the level 3 rating. Even at this level, some of the hikes have significant ascent and descent and require a certain level of fitness. Poles are helpful.
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