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 September 2017
    Barbara Robert

    Land of the Jaguar

    For those interested in wildlife and the possibility of seeing a Jaguar in the wild, this trip to the Pantanal of Brazil is an affordable winner. Logistics were well coordinated, accommodations were fine though it should be noted the Jaguar House Boat is not luxurious but more than adequate for its remote location on the Paraguay River. The three nights at the very nice Araras EcoLodge were a pleasant bonus. Our guide, Tony, could not have been better. He is experienced, knowledgable and very pleasant. With his skill we had three jaguar sightings during our time on the Paraguay River. Contrary to the Exodus trip description, the majority of the time is spent scouring the river banks of the main river and its narrow channels. It was quite a long distance by small speed boat to the Taima Ecological Reserve and that was reserved only for our last day. According to Tony there are jaguars in the Reserve but they are more difficult to see and eluded us. However, we had excellent caiman, giant river otter and bird sightings. The abundance of birds in the Pantanal was extraordinary and I personally saw over 90 different species. Tony knows them all! So, if you are "into" birds and jaguars, you will be well entertained. The majority of our group of 13 were interested in photography so that was enjoyable. One goes in the dry season to spot jaguars more easily but you will not see the Pantanal flooded as depicted in many photos. One needs to go in a different season for that experience; I am already dreaming of a return trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Spotting my first jaguar in the wild!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding. Could not have been finer. Very professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a could DSLR camera with 400mm lens if possible. Lots of long shots.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    While on the house boat, there is an option to go on a night land safari. Cost was $35 per person paid directly to the boat owner/rancher. Personally I felt it was overpriced for the experience.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    David Woodhams

    Land of the Jaguar

    Overall a relatively full on experience with very little 'down' time. An amazing abundance of wildlife especially birds. A trip that definitely lived up to expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last day on the Paraguay River when we spotted a Female Jaguar and cub on a rock adjacent to the river on our return journey from the National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was an excellent guide with very good knowledge of the birds and mammals and his spotting skills were amazing

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As we were travelling in the dry season it did get very hot 40C + and somewhat dusty but worth it in every way.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We left the UK with the hope that we would see the main targets of our visit, Jaguar and River Otter. Not only was our expectation rewarded with one sighting, but 3 groups of Otters, 4 Jaguars and the Hyacinth Macaws as well as numerous other mammals and birds. A truly wonderful experience and the stay on the houseboat was GREAT
  • Reviewed September 2017
    J. Thomson

    Land of the Jaguar - and other wildlife

    The trip provided the wildlife viewing we had hoped for - five jaguars, plus giant otters, armadillos, anteater etc etc and a wide variety of bird life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a jaguar cub emerge cautiously from its den before playing with its mother.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was very good at spotting and identifying wildlife, both mammals and birdlife. All the trips and transfers ran smoothly due to his involvement.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On my visit the weather was dry, sunny, and hot, up to 40ºC. It cooled to about 20º around dawn. Go prepared for a range of temperatures - check the Caceres weather forecast. The trip notes do not make it clear that at the lodge activities such as horse-riding and canoeing are part of the programme. You may wish to check that your travel insurance covers these.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Jenny Hicks

    A great trip of two very different parts

    This trip is in two parts. Four days on the Jaguar houseboat looking for jaguars, the boat's a bit cramped and you spend all day on the river, but the sight of your first jaguar makes it all worthwhile. Then the fantastic Araras Eco Lodge, which is spacious and relaxing and the bird life is amazing! You need to be prepared for long days and you need lots of patience, but it's definitely a fantastic experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sight of our first jaguar of course, as well as a mother being suckled by a young cub. But also the kingfishers, the storks, the skimmers, the sight of a potoo completely disguised in a tree - load of special moments!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was great at spotting jaguars, but I think his real passion showed through, which is birdlife. He has a great knowledge of the local wildlife and birds.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It can be windy (and cold) on the early morning boat rides, so take a fleece, sunglasses and moisturising cream. Take long trousers and 100% deet mosquito repellent as they bite through your clothes. You get so hot and dirty, but if you rinse clothes through at night they are dry by the next day. Be prepared for very long boat rides looking for jaguars (sometimes 6 hours) and you need to be patient. You may sit looking at a jaguar for a couple of hours, during which it hardly moves! The lodge is wonderful - spacious, relaxing, great food, wifi and amazing birdlife everywhere. Horse riding and kayaking and a night drive are included at the lodge and part of the Exodus itinerary. Brazilian electricity sockets have changed in the last 18 months and in hotels and the Lodge they are recessed - you need to buy an adapter locally.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Amazing trip - a long journey to get there and you have to rough it a bit on the houseboat, but it's definitely worth it! Exodus arranged an Iguassu Falls extension which we did before before our group trip which was fantastic - worth spending some extra time in Brazil if you can.
  • Reviewed September 2016

    When can I go back?

    This was a terrific holiday, despite the weather being the coldest on record for that time of year.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Predictably, seeing a jaguar for the first time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was excellent. His knowledge of the wildlife was first rate. And he came horseriding with us on the last day!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't assume the weather is going to be hot, whatever the online sites tell you in advance. When we arrived in Cuiaba it was hot and humid - then the cloud rolled in, so thick that it sometimes looked like twilight at midday. It rained - not a lot, but if I hadn't taken a raincoat I'd have been in trouble. Going upriver into the wind was a bitterly cold experience, and everyone was wearing everything they had. Six layers! The guides had scarves round their faces, dark glasses, and woolly hats. All you see was their eyes... and those eyes gave us four jaguar sightings. The wildlife came out to platy whatever the temperature. But when we arrived at the Araras Eco-lodge the weather changed, and it was glorious.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Jaguar Houseboat did not have Wi-Fi, so we had to play games when it was too cold and wet to do anything else in between boat trips. The food was great. The Araras Eco-lodge was wonderful, with friendly staff, good food, and a cayman almost within touching distance of every room. (They eat fish, luckily.) There were no mosquitoes, which was a surprise. I've been on a lot of Exodus holidays, but this was one of the best.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Stephen Harford

    A short trip but very enjoyable

    We went on this holiday principally to see Jaguar, Giant Anteater, Giant River Otter, Tapir and Hyacinth Macaws. We opted for a short trip combining a boat hotel and and land-based lodge. We had been with Exodus previously and felt they would do a good job. Food at both venues was very well prepared although a little monotonous at times. Travel arrangements were very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We saw 7 Jaguars on the river including a pregnant female and a lover's tiff between a young female and adult male. Saw giant river otters a number of times and while we only saw giant anteater and tapir once both were superbly close and long viewings. Our main interest is usually birds and these didn't disappoint with good views of various macaws, parrot, herons and some noteworthy viewings of sunbittern at Araras Lodge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Tony, was very helpful and knowledgeable and he would always try to meet everyone's requirements. Originally from Guyana clearly his English was very good. In addition the guides at the Jaguar Boat and the Lodge were also very helpful, particularly Paulo on the Jaguar Boat day trip craft whose ability to spot wildlife at a distance was quite remarkable. The drivers transporting us between venues were also very courteous, safe and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It may not be appropriate for all trips but when we were there was a surprising cold wind particularly when out on the river in the early morning. If you have room in your luggage it would be worth taking some warmer clothing just in case.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some cabins on the Boat Hotel were quite cramped as they had 4 'short' bunks. Other cabins seemed more spacious with less beds. It might be worth viewing the available accommodation and selecting the most appropriate.
  • Reviewed January 2016
    Lesley Carder

    Land of the Jaguar

    A fantastic experience, with far more wildlife sightings than I expected. We saw three jaguars (some of the group saw five), with great opportunities to both observe and photograph these beautiful animals. We saw dozens of species of birds, caiman, capybara, howler and capuchin monkeys, coati, armadillo, peccary, brocket, tamandua and the iconic giant otter and giant anteater. We were lucky enough to glimpse a very rare jaguamundi too. Excellent accommodation; although the houseboat was quite basic we were made to feel very welcome.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several. If I had to pick one, it would be spending four hours one morning watching jaguars mating. Unforgettable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was excellent, he knew a tremendous amount about the animals and birds we saw. He also had great people skills. The local guides and staff were all friendly and helpful. Cicero Kurtz (houseboat) was incredibly knowledgeable - and caught the catfish for our lunch!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of mosquito repellent and antihistamines. I have never experienced such aggressive mosquitoes, they bit despite Deet, skin-so-soft, garlic tablets, and impregnated clothing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Eco-tourism is very new in the Pantanal, and the area is very unspoilt at the moment. I hope this does not change.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Karen White

    Land of the Jaguar

    Amazing array of wildlife. Providing you don't mind roughing it a bit and don't mind getting bitten (a lot!), this is a fabulous holiday. Must have been good as I came home with over 2500 photos!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the jaguars and the giant otters! Although I love the close encounter with a pygmy anteater; loved the capybaras and can't believe how many caiman I saw - carpets of them - literally!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony's knowledge of the local wildlife was amazing. He was also very good at spotting it including a tarantula spider on a night safari!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The boat accommodation was basic. if your cabin is on the river side, be prepared to share your evening shower with a lot of flies! Be prepared to get BITTEN! I got bitten by a multitude of bugs and these blighters can bite you through layers of clothing and Deet! One of my colleagues found that they couldn't bite through the life jackets on the boats but that was about it! Pack long socks - you often need to tuck your trousers (pants) into your socks to help stop bugs biting your legs!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you don'tmind roughing it a bit and coping with a fair bit of travelling, go for it! The wildlife including a huge variety of birds is amazing and Exodus do take you off the beaten track where there are very few other humans or tourists so you get exclusive access to the wildlife.
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