Our first experience of Exodus. Be prepared for many flights (13 takeoffs and landings). Always up at first light and bed at dusk; non stop, but not rushed. Stunning scenery at every turn & wonderful flowers April/May. Wildlife in Galapagos so close it's within reach, but you musn't. Absolutley not fazed by humans. Small boat ideal, and every port of call different from the last. The guides in each region were superb. Excellent English, good sense of humour and fantastic knowledge of their speciality. Truly a holiday of a lifetime! Well done Exodus; I am sure we will be using you again.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were two. The first was on the one day trek to Machu Pichu. The moment you turn the corner at Intipunku (Sun Gate) and seeing Machu Pichu in all its glory for that first moment.
The second was being so close to mating albatros and blue footed boobies! They were all pairing up for this year and going through their courtship just inches away form us. An awesome spectacle! Swimming with the sealions and penguins was also terrific fun.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Hugo and Ricardo in Tambopata lodge were our excellent guides, and their knowledge of the flora and fauna was very good. Carlos was out group leader in Peru, but his speciality is the Inca history, so he took a more backseat approach whilst we were in the rainforest. He was brilliant, and certainly knew his stuff. He also had to oversee our travel arrangements within Peru for the trip (up to the point we left Lima). We were all very sad to leave him when we flew on to Quito!
On the Cachalote 1, Santiago was our guide (and therefore I suppose our leader). His knowledge was considerable and I think he was more strict in adhering to the rules of the islands than some guides. There are quite a few, for the well being of both the wildlife and the islands themselves.
All in all, we couldn't have asked for better leaders/guides.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
To keep the weight of your bag down, there are plenty of laundries in Cusco to do washing after the rainforest and after Machu Pichu. You have to leave half your luggage in safekeeping when you go to the rainforest, and again when you go on the the train to Machu Pichu (even if you walk). You do not need towels, as they are provided. Even swimming ones whilst on the boat.
Again, when you get to Quito, you can leave all the rainforest and heavy trekking stuff behind as there is not much storage on the boat. You do not need walking boots at all for this trip. In the jungle, if it is wet, you walk in wellies that they have. (Just check for holes - both mine leaked badly!) For the day trek to Machu Pichu and the tour itself, good trainers/ waterproof walking shoes are sufficient. On Galapagos islands, you either use Teva's for wet landings, or walking shoes. On the boat, bare feet are the order of the day as they do not want sand etc all over the boat.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
- Just do it. It is a brilliant combination of places to visit. As you leave Peru you feel as if you are starting a second holiday when you arrive in Quito and Galapagos. Don't let the long flights and stopovers put you off!