Turtle, Ecuador

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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.

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  • Reviewed May 2019
    Dave Johnson

    Fantastic experience!

    The Picos de Europa is a great National Park to experience wonderful mountain ranges at a moderate hiking grade. We were very fortunate to have an excellent tour guide in Nacho who really looked after us and filled the days with great facts on the local area and wildlife. The walking group was a wonderful mix of ages and backgrounds and we bonded from Day 1. The hotel accommodation was good but I have to highlight the excellent customer service from Jim/Pillar and their team. The food each night was simply fantastic...4 courses which would grace any London establishment. Also, a great bar to socialise in after the walks! Thanks everyone!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Taking in the wonderful mountain range of the Picos.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nacho was a great group leader...full of wonderful local facts, history and knowledge of the surrounding wildlife.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Terry Brown

    Cow bells and Cuisine......

    This would be a 5* PLUS trip for me, but it has to be mentioned that it does lose a star because the cow bells on the very beautiful but very close cows in the adjacent field kept us all awake half or most of the night which is not helpful when you are mountaineering the following day! It seems Jim the hotel owner can do nothing as its not his field. Having said that the hotel was great, all staff were happy, helpful and always willing to please. The food was really amazing again 5* plus which you don't expect on a walking trip. It was truly one of the highlights. So now what to choose? the wonderful group of people that came together in an inspiring way, all having fun, helping each other, laughing a lot and enjoying every minute of our trip. We were a true team. So what's left? oh yes our wonderful, kind, caring fun leader Ignacio or Nacho to us. He is great and truly looked after us all and was enthusiastic and knowledgeable too. Finally of course the walking! Well, what a place. Glorious scenery, magical walks, varied and interesting. Some were a bit tough for me especially when hot but that was my age and ability rather than the level. I've been on many Exodus trips this one is right up there as a great one.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day was inspirational - can't pick one. Walks were so varied it's hard to pick. Maybe, just maybe the wonderful G&T's that awaited us at the hotel at the end of each days walking.............

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic, fun, friendly, caring and not only that he was very handsome!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take ear plugs - they are essential. I'm sure notes suggests poles - not every one used them but I needed them. A fan - it gets hot up there!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Really great trip and as always I cannot decide which was better - the group or the walking!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    karen lane

    Such a beautiful place

    Excellent walking in the mountains. I loved the fact that it wasn’t crowded and on one day we didn’t see anybody else on the walk. The hotel has mountain views and the food plentiful and tasty. The owners Jim and Pilar are lovely.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking along the stunning Cares Gorge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    ‘Nacho ‘ was excellent. Knowledgeable, sociable, organised. Couldn’t have asked for a better guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cows have bells on them . Ear plugs may be useful at night!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would love to go back if Exodus did an alternative itinerary with some different walks.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Simon King

    Great week in the picos

    An absolutely outstanding trip! The hotel was very comfortable and the food we had was outstanding. The picos themselves are beautiful and every walk was spectacular. Our guide Alfonso was excellent and the whole trip was extremely well organised. Thoroughly recommended. I hope to return to this beautiful part of Spain soon.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the walks were excellent but the gorge walk was a particular highlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Alphonso did a great job.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get a decent waterproof if going in April. My one was anything but waterproof. Good shoes or boots are a must. It can get very warm quickly from quite chilly mornings so wear layers. I would go out of season at the start or end of the year again. Our tour had the picos to ourselves but when we were leaving on the Easter weekend it got very busy. Make sure you try the local blue cheese, it is spectacular.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Many thanks for such a great break.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Alan Gelson

    Varied walking in The Picosd'Europa

    It was probably the most challenging trip that my wife have done together and despite being in our 70's we felt equal to challenges with Alvarro's encouraging approach. The walking varied from forest trails to gradual ascents with some sce=rambling on the penultimate day. The Cliff walk on the free day to Llanes was delightful and a contract with the mountains. The Carres gorge was very special and we were fortunate to be there at a cool time of year and with few other walkers, We have been on half a dozen or so trips with Exodus and this was up there with the very best

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Scrambling to the top of a 2000 metre peak

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was conscientious knowledgeable and utterly committed to our safety and enjoyment. He was one of the very best we have travelled with- almost up there with Sarah Bull.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect to be challenged but there are many opportunities to opt out if the going gets too tough. The Hotel may appear a bit spartan and basic but the quality of the service and the food and the overall spirit of the place is exceptional.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All praise to Jim and Pilar for creating something very special
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Janet Milne

    Spectacular limestone scenery

    This was a very interesting walking holiday with spectacular views, wildlife, flora and fauna. The trails took us into some very quiet valleys away from the main tourist routes. The hotel was excellent in terms of service, accomodation and meals. The staff were very friendly, helpful and welcoming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Despite being in September, there were still some orchids in flower. We often saw vultures soaring above. The scenery was quite spectacular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Jairo was very knowledgeable of the area and shared with us his passion of the Picos mountains.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As always in mountainous areas be prepared for all weathers! On the rest day we did the coastal walk to Jannes which was very pleasant.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Eleanor Freckleton

    Picos de Europs - Stunning Scenery

    This was a week in the hills that I will never forget! The scenery was absolutely stunning - every day different - and we got marvellous views on all the walks, which were all very enjoyable. Our hotel was a great base - it is billed as the one star hotel with five star views, but I would add to that and say that it also provides five star food and five star hospitality. In addition, the town of Arenas de Cabrales is very nice to wander round, not too big but still a good selection of shops, bars and restaurants. All in all, a great experience and one I would consider repeating in a few years time (I have never had a bad Exodus holiday but this one was particularly enjoyable).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is very hard to pick out a single moment, but the walk on our last day was extra special. I picked a challenging departure (grade 5) and on the last day we did two tops - Mancondiu and San Carlos Peak. As well as feeling good at managing the technical challenge (not that difficult really!), we were above the clouds for a lot of the walk and that made it seem extra special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jairo was a star. He has a fantastic personality and he really helped to foster a good atmosphere within the group. He was a confident leader on the hills and made sure that we were all comfortable with the technicalities of each walk.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This was a Level 5 departure - you need a good degree of fitness for the walks, but as long as you have done some preparation beforehand then it is definitely achievable. I would also highly recommend using walking poles - I used them for all the walks apart from the Cares Gorge. Our weather in September was really good the majority of the time, without being unbearably hot. However, given the altitude do expect the occasional shower and be prepared for all eventualities. One of our walks had a long muddy section, not helped by the heavy rain experienced just before we arrived. As noted on another review, if you enjoy lazing on the beach, then if you do the coastal walk I would recommend spending more time on the beach at Poo rather than at Llanes itself (we stopped at Poo for pre-lunch drinks but didn't spend any time on the beach as it was slightly overcast that day). Finally, I added on a few extra days at the end of my holiday to visit Bilbao and then up the coast to San Sebastian. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in both places so would highly recommend these if you want a holiday extension.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can't recommend this trip highly enough, for me the best walking holiday in Europe that I have done with Exodus so far.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Mike Hackney

    A Fabulous week in the Picos De Europa

    Excellent holiday in a beautiful area for walking. The walks were well organised and gave us a great introduction to the area. Importantly, the accommodation, the staff and particularly the food was outstanding. I thoroughly recommend this holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The panoramic views of the Picos from the top of the hills we climbed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alfonso was an excellent group leader. He was well organised, informative and very attentive. He has a great sense of humour and was a significant reason for the great atmosphere amongst the Group

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Very much a trip worth making and a thoroughly enjoyable holiday

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I believe that the standard of the food at the hotel and the leadership of Alfonso were key to the overall enjoyment of this holiday
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Gill Jacobs

    Wonderful holiday

    The Picos are a beautiful part of Spain, lush and green with limestone peaks and very quiet. Apart from on the gorge walk we saw very few people when we were walking. The hotel owners describe the hotel as a one star hotel with five star views and the views certainly are fabulous but I wouldn’t describe the hotel as one star! More as simple, homely and friendly! The food at the hotel was very good. The hotel owners, Jim and Pilar, are very good chefs and spent a great deal of time each day to produce a really tasty 4 course dinner for us which was very welcome at the end of each day. We had a lovely group and a great guide and I would recommend this trip to anyone who likes walking in beautiful scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beautiful scenery and wildlife - vultures, eagles and chamois! Clear, starry skies at the hotel.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alfonso was our guide and he was lovely - caring, thoughtful and fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it!
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Steven Adcott

    Picos revisited

    This was our second trip to the Picos de Europa as we enjoyed it so much last time in 2014. It didn't disappoint. The walking is moderate so those with basic fitness will have no problems, you don't return to the hotel exhausted, there is sufficient time to relax with a drink or even wander into the town for a browse before the group dinner. The food in the hotel is really good and the owners, Jim and Pilar are hands on, cooking the food and helping with transportation and are a delight to chat with.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walks are designed to be different and the views will blow you away. To see vultures riding the thermals so close is a real treat that when the odd eagle appears it is easy to be blase. We had a full group and 25% had experienced this trip before, which is testimony to how good it is.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alfonso was our leader, who was a stand in as the regular leader was away on a break. it is fair to say he was great. His knowledge of the area and the wildlife was astounding and his English was exemplary. His love of the outdoors and enthusiasm for nature endeared him to the group immediately.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sensible and be prepared for adverse weather. We had a couple of rainy days and it can get a bit chilly when you are high in the mountains. All obvious and common sense really. Hair driers are available to borrow, and don't forget your plug adaptor.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We found the bed in room 203 uncomfortable and the pillows hard but exchanged the pillows, some guys brought their own pillows! A minor niggle but still 10/10
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