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An incredible experience travelling from Beijing to St Petersburg by train, unforgettable and fascinating to travel with a like-minded group of people, all aware of a standard level of comfort, all curious to learn with an open mind, either by engaging in interesting conversations on the train or just by quietly observing the varying and stunning landscapes along the way. Ways of life, culture and nature, steppe and forest, people and humanity, small villages and impressive cities, this trip is nothing short of an epic experience of a life time.Read more
Excellent - the whole trip ran smoothly which was a combination of the excellent organisation and knowledge of the tour leaders and a great group of people who respected each other and the tour leaders, so no one was ever late for meetings or departures. I would highly recommend the tour and G Adventures. The only point I would make is about the tipping. Raul did always say this was optional but I think everyone felt obliged to tip and in fairness the tips were always well deserved. But all the tips add up (-120/130) - this should be highlighted in your brochure to allow people to budget it into their costs/ spending money - it was a hidden cost which took some people by surprise.Read more
I travelled with my wife and we both reach 70 this year. Hitherto we have travelled independently through many countries around the world. We have discussed the merits of a small group tour as we get older. We decided on this trip quite late and rather than rush my preparation we decided to trial the Exodus offering.
The Exodus itinerary was well laid out but even with this mental preparation we found the amount of coach travel in the first days of the trip quite daunting. Travelling independently we would probably have taken 3 weeks on this itinerary. There was no location that we would have wanted to miss and the tour leader was excellent in outlining the history, politics, economics and geography of each place visited, Often accompanied by a rum punch! The hotels were a mixed bag - we would have been happier with more homestays at the Casa Particulares and thoroughly enjoyed the 2 we visited. Food was middling but far the best was to be found in the small "pop up" restaurants to which our tour leader introduced us.
Other members of the party were a mixed bunch and easy to get on with. Even so, where possible we tended to eat independently although the majority were happy to eat as a group. For us, the inevitable downside of group travel was the limitations imposed by timings that required 18 people to gather, travel and do things at broadly the same time. We've learned that we're not quite ready for this type of holiday. But when we are I suspect that it will be Exodus to whom we return.
I'm not sure that we were "inspired" at any stage. We did particularly enjoy discovering the political history of Cuba from a Cuban perspective. In this our tour leader was particularly effective.
Think hard about the balance between the difficulty of arranging independent travel and the inevitable constraints of collective arrangements in a small group.
A whirlwind tour of 3 amazing countries. Nicaragua is still in its infancy as far as tourism goes. Lake Nicaragua, volcanoes, wild life are all mind blowing, particularly the visit to the Masaya crater (where visits are limited to 10 minutes owing to the effects of sulphur in the air). The scenery, landscape and rain forests of Costa Rica are not to be missed, especially walking around Arenal. The Caribbean coast of Panama is superb for dolphin watching and visiting indigenous villagers on their own island.
The wildlife and walking in the Costa Roca rainforest
Alex is, quite simply, the BEST tour guide we have had the pleasure of meeting. His knowledge of flaura, fauna, wild life, geology is unsurpassed. He always went the extra mile to ensure that our holiday remains one to last in our memories for the rest of our lives.
Many people mistakenly think malaria pills are required. We (as did the most of the party) used Deet50 spray and were absolutely fine.
Many of the hotels were on the edge of towns, requiring taxis to visit the town centre. It would be better to get some (if not all) hotels to be within walking distance of amenities.
It was an amazing trip - I was attracted by the variety it offered and it didn't disappoint: wildlife/National Parks, colonial cities, Caribbean Islands, mountains and of course the Panama Canal. We got a great sense of Central America including its history which is fascinating. So many different boat rides too which were great.
It was the first time this trip had been run and they just need to sort a couple of the hotels out which they said they will do - the majority were lovely.
No one moment but 3 or 4 favourites: Granada, the slow boat trips early morning and evening in Tortuguero NP; the overnight stay in Cahuita/ Puerto Viejo (very lively coastal town, felt like being in Jamaica!); the day out on the boat from Bocas del Toro (take tour 2) - exceptionally good and very much worth the money; the Panama Canal.
Alex was absolutely excellent - the best Exodus guide I've had. He stayed with us throughout the trip and we had local guides also in Nicaragua (Elvis who was great fun and very knowledgeable and helpful) and Cesar and Philippe in Panama. Alex has this amazing telescope which allows you to take your own photos of the wild life through it - felt a bit like cheating but very good!
You go on 10 different boats over the 15 days - they were all amazing even if a couple were a bit "edgy"!
You definitely don't need anti- malarial tablets though you should take care to cover up/use insect repellent.
Although the trip is "Leisurely" be prepared for early starts (5.30 -7am) about 50% of the time.
It was hotter than the temperature chart indicated - mostly about mid 30s - though the mini-buses are all air-conditioned and almost all of the hotels were too. The internal flight to Panama City is great but watch your luggage weight. Nicaragua is quite cheap but Costa Rica is about as expensive as the UK.
About the food - a lot of rice and beans and rice and chicken as you would expect AND a lot of Italian Pizzas and Pasta almost everywhere which we did not expect!
Very busy and fascinating insight into three beautiful countries, led by excellent guides and accompanied by an enthusiastic group of fellow travellers.
The experience of visiting two new countries,Nicaragua and Panama and the knowledge and communication of our excellent guides,Elvis and Alex.
Alex stayed with us throughout the trip and worked tirelessly to ensure everything ran smoothly.Could not have asked for more, first class.
In Nicaragua Elvis was the main guide and his knowledge and passion were shared at every opportunity, his zest was infectious and for me he was an outstanding guide and personality, hope to meet both again!!!!!
It is a very full and busy itinerary but worth every moment-book now!
Currency wise all three countries seem to favour US dollars.
Having already visited Costa Rica previously for the wildlife, the culture and history of Nicaragua and Panama were mesmerising,a real surprise as I thought this wasn't for me-how wrong I was!!!
Just back from a wonderful adventure travelling the length of Nicaragua , Costa Rica and Panama .
Rid yourselves of preconceptions about war torn Nicaragua , over populated Caribbean beaches and that Panama is only about hats and canals and you will have a great experience .Travel from Volcano to jungle and experience the wildlife, geography and culture of this little travelled path through Central America . Be prepared for early starts and busy days along with the excitement of some rustic boat rides into the interior and you will not be disappointed - ..
Looking into the lava lake at Massaya and ALL of our wildlife encounters - too many other wonderful experiences to select from ....
If the Gods are on your side then you will be accompanied by the best guide we have ever encountered - Alex- and for Nicaragua, superb local guide and side kick Elvis . Well done Exodus for engaging Alex - his encyclopaedic knowledge , sense of dedication and all round great attitude made this trip near perfect .
Reality check - this isn't a foody trip - The food wasn't bad and matched the trip note budgets but not the highlight of the trip . The good news is that the local beers were excellent and not too expensive - water was freely available as part of the tour and don't forget to take your water container .
Malaria tablets aren't required but bring your insect repellent , plenty of sun cream and a hat as the temps and the sun high
Dollars throughout were easier than credit card .
Swimming opportunities at many places - if you have two swimming costumes take them - humidity is high and they don't always dry overnight before you travel to your next venue
If you don't have a complex camera / lens for those distant shots , iPhones are excellent for quick pictures and take great pics through a spotters scope - our lovely guide Alex took time to help us get great pictures through his excellent lens and then we air dropped the pic to each of the group !
A fantastic introduction to Cuba, its culture, history, music, dancing (and cocktails!)
Loved it all!
Ray is the best leader I've had on any group holiday. Informative, funny and encouraging during our attempts at dancing. I couldn't rate her highly enough. She made it a memorable trip.
Don't expect too much of the Casas and then you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Take the optional Cadillac ride; it was great fun!
This was an opportunity to experience some of the many faces of Russia, from the austere grandeur of Moscow to the opulence of St Petersburg, as well as the quieter charms of Novgorod and Pushkin. Traveling on the overnight sleeper train from Moscow provided a taste of real Russia away from the everyday touristic experience, as well an opportunity for plenty of group bonding. Russia in wintertime is magical, from Red Square at night to the frozen lake at the Catherine Palace and the canals of St Petersburg.
An afternoon trip to the Museum of Wooden Architecture near Novgorod provided an opportunity to see country life. It was so quiet and peaceful with some amazing buildings in a spectacular woodland setting.
A musical evening at the Bolshoi Theatre also provided an opportunity to experience the friendliness of Muscovites. Lost at the bar, we were befriended by a Russian lady who was intrigued that we had chosen to visit Moscow and eager to help us.
Eugine's organisation was faultless. He enabled us to to enjoy a holiday that would have been difficult to organise ourselves. He led the group with good humour and his insights into Russian life, history and culture transformed our experience.
The first couple of days in Moscow involve a lot of walking. Make sure you have comfortable footwear and are prepared for this. The pace in Moscow is quite hectic but relaxes considerably once you get to Novgorod.
An unforgettable holiday with lots of culture, good food, good company and an insight into Russian life.
This is a typically busy Exodus trip which covers a lot of ground in a short period. Despite having a lot to fit in, it's well structured and certainly lived up to our expectations. Going in February means that we avoided what are, apparently, huge crowds in St Petersburg and if you're lucky with the winter weather (we were) then its very beautiful.
Sitting in the Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg as a service took place - incense, music, and the incredible interior made it very moving.
Our tour leader was excellent - efficient, friendly and eager to assist without fussing.
If you've been on an Exodus trip before you'll know that you pack a lot in and you have to be organised and prepared for being on the move and getting around by a variety of means. Lots of walking between sites and not much down time - but that's how you pack so much in. Emphasis is on the cultural and historic sites - museums, churches and so on, so that needs to be your main interest to get the most from the trip. You have a night on the train from Moscow to Novgarod which is fine but do bring your earplugs and eyemask if you want a night's sleep.
We really enjoyed the trip - its more conventional than some because Russia itself is a more familiar cultural experience than many parts of the world - but with so many people talking about our relationship with Russia at the moment its a great time to have a look.