Turtle, Ecuador

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

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4918 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2020

    Fresh air, sunshine, mountains - a heavenly February escape!

    Fantastic trip - wonderful walking and scenery - almond trees in blossom, spectacular geology, great company and camaraderie among the group, a very knowledgeable and attentive guide (Jose) who clearly loves his home region and wants to share it with others as well as being a competent and experienced mountain guide, a comfortable family-run hotel with a personal touch in a tranquil location, copious amounts of very good food... We were lucky in having perfect weather in February and it was a tonic to get away from stormy Britain.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The two ridge walks were my favourites, with the 360-degree panoramas across the mountain ranges.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jose is an excellent leader, very personable and kept us laughing and on our toes. He tended to every member of the group and was very aware of people's different needs. I found all he had to tell us about the local politics, history, culture etc. very interesting. He is very well organised and conscientious - I don't underestimate how much hard work his job is but he performs it all with charm. Finally, he clearly places safety and wellbeing front and centre.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have only done 'moderate' rated holidays before, don't be put off by the 'moderate to challenging' rating of this holiday. Yes, it is challenging at times, but if you are of reasonable fitness and hill-walking experience (read the trip notes on this!) then go for it - it's just a question of pushing yourself a little harder and it pays off in terms of the views and sense of accomplishment. Being a pessimist I couldn't quite believe that it would truly be warm in February and at the last minute ditched several t-shirts and my sunhat from my packing - if you go at this time of year, pack for all temperatures! We had 19 degree sunshine but it does get chilly in the evenings (I appreciated the evening fire in the restaurant). Most people on the free day chose to relax close to the hotel. I went to Altea and Villajoyosa on the coast and had an enjoyable day - transport between the two by tram/train is easy and we even swam in the sea. It was a good way to break up the week and see another side to the region.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Only that I would thoroughly recommend this trip. I didn't think that the Picos de Europa week could be beaten within Spain but I enjoyed this one equally - the peacefulness and remoteness of the location is really surprising given its easy proximity to Alicante and the rest of the coast. I would be interested in similar trips elsewhere in Spain - Cabo de Gata looks good, Exodus!
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees

    A pleasant weeks snow shoe walking in the Catalan Pyrenees, although it was unseasonably warm so we had to go quite high to get decent snow. It's a beautifiul range of mountains with lots of traditional villages which are much nicer than the overdeveloped skiing centres in the Alps. The hotel in Rialp was fine, with a comfortable bed and powerful shower. Overall the food in the hotel was very good, although my bathroom could have done with a bit of TLC and the rooms are short of sitting space for couples, although there is always the bar area. Our tour leader was Miguel Ibanez, who's company deliver the tour as a package for Exodus. He has a deep love of Catalan and delighted in showing us the mountains and the local produce from the region.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final days walk above Espot, where we carried on abve the refuge into a bowl with a frozen lake and mountains all around. I also enjoyed the visit to the little museum in Sort on our rest day where we were told about the WWII refugees and Allied pilots who escaped via the Pyrenees.
  • The most beautiful views I have ever seen...

    ... and I've been to Canada, so that says a lot. Our group was extremely lucky with the weather. You basically walk up and down mountains every day, nothing interesting about that. It is the weather that controls what the views look like. I regret nothing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When I look back at my pictures, there are two moments that stand out. At the end of our visit to Brasov, we stopped at a viewpoint on our way to the restaurant. That view was epic. It was nightfall, the lights in the city were on and behind it, you could see the mountain, it was breathtaking. The walk to Bran was the most beautiful. I can not put it into words. I enjoyed every second of that walk.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas, the group leader was perfect. He knows the area really well and has a lot of experience guiding groups.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes. For some bizarre reason, I hadn't done that and I didn't have the right gear. Luckily I was able to borrow it, but still. I felt uncomfortable doing that, knowing I could break or lose something.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Brilliant Trip

    This is the fourth consecutive year my wife and I have done this trip, initially in Trins, then Seefeld and now Achenkirch. Despite some inclement weather for the Alps this was probably the best trip of all. Great group who gelled together, nice hotel and great food. As usual all the mountain huttes were a real treat. A really nice mix of walks and the treat of a toboggan ride after great coffee at the hutte at the top of the run.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After using the Karwendel lift the views of Achensee and the mountains from the top.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The third year Paul McDermott has been the group leader. Terrific leader, nothing is too much trouble and always a smile. Joins in the evening cards which was great fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good waterproofs as we walked for a day in torrential rain.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Highly recommended

    I can't recommend this trip enough. Having twice done its predecessor in Seefeld and also its sister summer trip, I had high expectations and wasn't disappointed. The scenery is spectacular, the hotel comfortable, the food excellent - we worked our way through a long list of Austrian and Tyrolean specialities each evening. Cosy Gasthauses and sunny terraces provided perfect surroundings for lunching on soup and strudel, a cable car gave stunning views over the lake and the more adventurous of us (not me!) took the chance to try toboganning down from one afternoon cake stop. Plenty of options for the free day - visiting Innsbruck was popular with our group though I went for the snow-shoeing over the pass in a blizzard option, fabulous but exhausting. And card games full of laughter and banter after dinner rounded off each day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing at the top of the pass, as a novice snowshoer on the free day, realising I'd made it up there on sheer willpower and the encouragement of my companions when half an hour before I'd wanted to just lie down in the snow and stay there..... A group who kept on laughing despite the weather......Watching a fabulous lady fight her way up a hill despite being exhausted and toboggan down in triumph.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a conversation about good leaders and great leaders and that the great ones go the extra mile, make you think you can do things , work tirelessly to see everyone has a great time. Oh, and let a couple of novices tag along on their one free day when they head off on snow shoes...…. This one is definitely in the 'great' category.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're dithering about whether it's for you, book it and have a go. And take a kettle if you like an early cup of coffee, Austrian hotels don't have them in the rooms.
  • Reviewed February 2020
    June Egglestone

    Excellent Trip

    A great trip for trying the basics of several types of winter sport.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting back my confidence on skis, and also, finding some good alternate winter activities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jan was an excellent tour leader, and a lovely person. The group was the full 16, and he managed us all well, and made sure we were all ok.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    YakTrax were useful to have. Hotel rooms have hairdryer, but not very powerful, so you may want to bring your own. Bring a thermos, then you can fill up at breakfast and take hot drinks with you for the day. Take layers. Pizza place just up the road does great pizzas (and other food). Traditional Slovak restaurant Koliba a bit further away I would also recommend. I would recommend a few days in Krakow before or after the trip, if you have time. Do take advantage of the sauna in the hotel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I thoroughly enjoyed every day, and would recommend this tour.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lucy Hockenhull

    Extraordinary landscapes and fabulous snowshoeing.

    Loved the snowshoeing. Each of the walks held interest and the challenges increased as the week progressed. We enjoyed the opportunity to sled down from Taistner Alm near Lutterkopf. Hotel Adler is wonderful with a lovely spa, fabulous 4 course dinners, picnic packed lunches and extensive breakfast buffet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every walk was unique and had its own appeal, but we especially enjoyed Monte Piano as the weather and views were superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Jenny had extensive mountaineering experience but was new to this area and trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Anyone with reasonable fitness can enjoy the walks but you really do need to be pretty fit to make the most of this trip.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Katie Szkornik

    A wonderful , relaxed week of walking on the Almalfi Coast

    I really loved this trip to the Amalfi Coast, and it was just what I was looking for in terms of a relaxing, but active, New Year break. A nice mix of walking and culture, with no early starts or late finishes and plenty of time for a relaxing coffee or two after walks had finished. The Hotel Due Torri where you stay for the whole week is a family run hotel with a nice atmosphere, delicious food, and a fabulous range of cocktails (the limoncello spritz was the 'drink of the holiday'!). Enjoyed the opportunity to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as a trip to the crater of Vesuvius. Thanks also to our tour leader Teresa for helping to make this a fabulous week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to Pompeii. Fascinating guided tour and Pompeii really exceed my expectations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Teresea was great. I especailly enjoyed all the local food treats she shared with us during our walks! It was also nice that she sat and ate dinner with the group every evening, and made an effort to really get to know everyone.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is not always warm in southern Italy! I wore four layers the day we went to Pompeii and was just about warm enough. If you go over Christmas and/or New Year make sure you pack some warm clothes, and hats and gloves.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be great if Exodus could offer a greater range of trips over New Year. I've met many poeople who want to spend Christams with family, but then like to get away shortly after for a week or so. Most companies only offer a limited range of trips at this time of year.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Ruth Toller

    Great place to spend New Year

    Real getaway for New Year with a great group of people and excellent guides and support. Energetic enough to justify all the food we were presented with but plenty of time to relax.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lying on the frozen river watching the stars (unfortunately no Northern Lights that particular night). Optional snowshoe on the Little Bear Trail was really good and contained the hardest section of the whole week due to the previous days' weatehr conditions

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Good communicator, very knowledgeable and willing to give us some indepedence. went out of way to be helpful

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for changes of plan if the weather conditions make the original impossible, but alternatives will be equally good. Take slip-on shoes to Russian End (outside toilet) to avoid having to put on boots every time

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Very well fed and various dietary needs were well met but catering facilities mean there can only be one main dish for a meal. Mealtimes were "flexible" as the guides/leaders also did the cooking. Celebrating New Year in a cabin with no electricity or running water (but plenty of heat and candlelight and a sauna) was special.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Bailey Troccoli-Hughes

    Does not get better then this!

    I highly recommend this trip for anyone who loves the mountains, hiking and Spanish culture. Our outstanding, charismatic guide Jaime took great care of us from start to finish; from transfers, cultural knowledge, outdoors expertise I always felt we were in excellent hands. Jaime knowledge and love of the mountain range and culture added invaluable insight to our Spanish adventure. The cozy, family run hotel we stayed in was situated partially up a mountain providing breathtaking views. As well, the family running the hotel ensured we received delicious, authentic Spanish food every day... Easily the best Spanish food I have ever had! The 3 others I traveled with and myself are fairly active and hike regularly at home, as a result we did not find the 5 hikes challenging. However there was some technical spots and it was very rainy and windy (still lots of fun!) the last day so I would recommend proper hiking shoes and some hiking experience. This was my first exodus trip and after my outstanding experience I would definitely do another!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting people from different parts of the world of all ages! The 3 others I traveled with and myself were the youngest in our tour group and the only ones from Canada! It was very inspiring to see individuals in their 60s conquer these hikes with minimal problem! As well, it was a lot of fun to get to know the others in our tour group from other parts of the world that share the same passion for hiking and mountains!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Jaime was awesome! His outgoing personality and love for the mountains made the trip extremely exciting and memorable! I had complete confidence in his abilities and knowledge of the mountains. Jaime took great care of us throughout the week long tour by offering us support on our hikes, ensuring all our transfers were organized, sharing knowledge and advice on how to maximize our Spain trip, etc. All guides should take after Jaime's compassionate and personable ways... we loved our week adventure with him! :)