Turtle, Ecuador

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

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  • Reviewed May 2019
    Gabi S

    Lifelong ambition realised

    The whole holiday exceeded our expectations. Our guides were exceptional and our group gelled immediately. The number of flights and time spent in airports was tiring but didn't detract from the overall wonderful experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Really can't decide. It was all amazing! That iconic view of Machu Picchu; the scenery; the wildlife in the Galapagos.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Adolfo Salazar in Peru and Berny Jacome on the Cachalote Explorer were THE BEST!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read all the trip notes; they are excellent. Take good waterproof jacket for Peru/Machu Picchu and a pac-a-mac type for Galapagos. You may well not need it in Galapagos and you won't want to carry anything bulky. The ATMs in Galapagos were few and far between and only gave out relatively small amounts. Try to make sure you have enough currency to cover everything before you get to Galapagos as the credit card machine on the ship may not work!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would go back in a heartbeat. If time and money had been no object, we would have done the two itineraries in the Galapagos, back to back.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Sophia Spurgin

    Fabulous Holiday

    I had a fabulous holiday to two inspiring places - Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. Although the journeys were long and tiring everything worked like Clockwork. We were lucky to have like-minded fellow travellers who we got to know really well by the end of the holiday. The Galapagos was particularly good and the boat ad it's crew were excellent. We were well looked after with hikes, snorkelling and excellent food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I particularly enjoyed our trip through the Mangrove with turtles and penguins and taking photos at every opportunity.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two group leaders who were exellent : Adolfo Salazaq who looked after us in Peru. He was always cheerful and through his contacts, always got us where we needed to be. He joined us to meals and answered our questions well. We liked him very much. Berny Jacome in Galapagos was superb. He was extremely knowledgeable and very pleasant and confident in his job. His skills as a guide were impressive in someone so young. I would highly recommend you use him wherever possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go!
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Michael Streatfeild

    Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands

    This truly was a holiday of a lifetime and we would have no hesitation in recommending anybody from 20's to resonably fit 70's to go on this holiday with Exodus. The age range of our group was 30 to 71 and we gelled together very well, p[robably partly because of the quality and variation of the tour, with many group activities but time for space if you needed it. Machu Picchu is amazing but then gets trumped by the Galapagos and being on the Cachalote, a schooner with only 16 births, was a huge bonus. Lovely crew, great boat and we went places that others sometimes didn't so had bays, snorkelling and some walks all to ourselves. The organisation was excellent, hotels comfortable with a good breakfast and the experience unforgetable. It was our first time with Exodus but hopefully not the last.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Impossible to say, there are too many, but our first glimpse of Machu Picchu, indescribable in its beauty, size and location surrounded by stunning mountains and deep valleys would be one. Isla Genovesa, with its frigate birds, boobies, short-eared owls and huge density of birds and other wildlife would be another, together with. swimming in various locations with turtles, sea lions and stunning fish. including three hammerhead sharks (optional!). Mention must also be made of the waved albatross on Espanola courting, sitting on nests or flying along the cliffs, amazing..

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three, in Peru, Quito and the Galapagos. All did an excellent job. Wilmer was warm, welcoming, enthusiatic and helpful as well as patient. Gloria in Quito again welcomed us warmly, was very knowledgable on the excellent tour and terrific in helping when one of our party injured themselves. Similarly David in the Galapagos gave us a terrific tour. He is both very knowledgable and passionate about the islands and their unique wildlife. He ran efficiently to time without ever rushing us and worked well with the captain and crew of the Cahalote. When snorkelling, with the help of the Panga drivers, he guided us well and ensured our safety. Because we were with David for a week on the boat he wins the prize but we cannot find fault in any of our guides.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be surpised by the altitude in Cusco. Just take things slowly. If you don't do the one day Inca trail walk and the weather is O.K., go up to Macchu Picchu that afternoon. Expensive but well worth it. It is quieter in the afternoon and it then gives you two sessions to enjoy this astonishing place at your own pace. The morning tour is excellent but only covers a small area. If you snorkel in a swimming costume (i.e. not wet suit) be sure to wear a tee shirt - I didn't the first day, big mistake! Mastercard works at ATM's almost always, debit and visa cards often don't, especially in the Galapagos. Preferably make sure you have plenty of dlooars for tips, drinks and small souvenirs, cards etc. before you leave Quito or even better, Peru.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you can, go. This tour is all you could hope for and more and the advantage of being a small group, even on the boat, massive.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Julie Jackson

    Peru & Galapagos, with Amazon extension

    A fantastic trip and one I would seriously recommend to anyone wishing to combine Inca sites with wildlife and a completely different culture to the UK

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Viewing Machu Pichu from the Sun Gate. Swimming with turtles off Floriana. Getting so close to the wildlife on Genovesa. The peace and serenity of a canoe ride at Napo, with only the tropical noises to listen to.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack light! Reasonable toiletries provided in all hotels. There is very limited space in the Cachalote cabins (even less so for two single people sharing) so a small squashy bag is much better than a suitcase, Eco-friendly soap and shampoo are provided on board as are towels for use on the beach as well as on board. Take two items of footwear only for Galapagos - a pair of hiking boots for walks on the islands and a pair of sandals for beach or wet landings as we went either barefoot or wore socks on board. Take strong insect repellant for Napo if you are prone to bites (not really needed in the Galapagos though Espanola Island has a lot of very annoying flies which take no notice of any repellants!). Take Magicool and a loose hat if you are going to Napo - we had no rain during the day but it was very humid and hot. Wellingtons are provided by the lodge and they like you to wear these on all land trips, not your own hiking boots (which we took but didn't use so wasted space in the bag!). A pair of light sandals or trainers are ideal for wearing around the lodge or any of the trips where you stay in the canoe.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All in all a superb experience and I would thoroughly recommend.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Michael Streatfeild

    Machu Picchu & Galapagos

    It is hard to believe that we could have found a better way of visiting Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands than with Exodus. Our group of 15 ranged in age from 30 to 71 and would highly recommend this holday to anyone in that age range or a bit beyond. This truly is a holiday of a lifetime with everyday providing some new experience and excitement whilst still having time to relax in different situations. The organisation was good, the hotels comfortable and friendly with good breakfasts and the boat, the Cachalote, with only 16 berths plus a great 6 man crew and our guide, the perfect way in which to visit the Galapagos Islands. I cannot recommend this holiday highly enough.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many, almost impossible to say. One would have to be the very fist site of Machu Picchu, quite extraordinary, awe inspiring and no photo can do it justice. Despite this Galapagos was the highlight and the most inspirational moments probably the number and proximity of the birds on Genevosa, the Waved Albatrosses on Espanola and snorkelling with giant turtles, sea lions and the stunning fish.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Kay Kelly

    A big tick off the bucket list!

    We researched options for visiting Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands on the same trip and found that the Exodus trip offered a great combination, allowing plenty of time in both locations and with good itineries. We appreciated the small size of the party (15) and the knowledgable and helpful local guides. The Vieja Cuba Hotel in Quito was quirky and lovely, with friendly staff, but I wouldn't have chosen the hotels in Cusco or Agua Calientes - they were a little too 'budget'. The crew of the Cachalote were fantastic, anticipating every need and providing a faultless service. The tiny cabin space was something of a challenge, with only a couple of small shelves for storage and the bunks are definitely not for the claustrophobic, but that's the price you pay for the privilege of sailing in a small boat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day trek along the Inca Trail from Km 104 to Machu Picchu was challenging but absolutely wonderful. Arriving at the Sun Gate and looking down on Machu Picchu as the crowds were leaving at the end of the day was one of the highlights in an altogether fantastic holiday.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wilmer in Peru, Gloria in Ecuador and David in the Galapagos Islands were all knowledgable, professional and helpful. Both Gloria and David went out of their way to look after an injured member of our party, and David in particular went to a lot of trouble to ensure she was able to enjoy as many of the excursions as possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a purely personal observation, but not being able to flush toilet paper on the boat, and having to put it into a bin with no lid was enough to stop up my metabolism for the week! The bin was only emptied once a day as well! The provision of bio-degradable nappy sacks for used toilet paper would have been more hygenic.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One of our party really struggled with the ascent on our Inca trail trek, slowing down the group to the extent that we only just made the time at Winay Wayna. Highlighting the difficulty of the walk when people book would give people chance to prepare or opt out.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Linda Stead

    Machu Picchu/Galapagos trip 20th APR 2016

    We would rate this holiday with Exodus at or close to the top of all the holidays we have ever had. It ticks all of the right boxes for quality, knowledgeable guides, smooth transfers throughout, scenery, wildlife, culinary delights throughout the day (Galapagos Yacht), and with a small sociable peer group. All in all, I would recommend this particular holiday to anyone with a sense of adventure and a keen eye for the good things in life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were two inspirational moments. The first was the moment on the Inca Trail when we walked through the Sun Gate and a truly splendid, totally unexpected, panoramic view of Machu Picchu came into sight for the first time. The second was watching a newly hatched turtle make its precarious way towards the sea in daylight with a Magnificent Frigate bird only a hundred metres away. Our group broke into spontaneous applause as it entered the sea while the bird missed out on an easy meal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The Peruvian group leader was friendly, always available to impart his extensive knowledge of Inca culture and architecture, and was keen and unhurried in accompanying just three of us on the day walk up to the inca trail and the Sun Gate. The Galapagos group leader/naturalist was extremely enthusiastic and his knowledge of the wildlife and the geology of the islands was highly impressive. All day and every day he filled our time with walks and snorkeling to see every aspect of life on the islands and surrounding coastlines and at the end of the holiday copied all of his own videos and photos to each of the Group's memory sticks. This Group Leader was superb.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Take a spare memory stick for the Galapagos if there is any chance that your group leader is as good as the one we had. 2. Only pack essential things into one bag for the yacht around the Galapagos. Leave the rest on mainland Ecuador. 3. If you are reasonably fit then you must do the optional day walk up to the Inca trail and the Sun Gate for maximum impact on seeing Machu Picchu for the first time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only nit pick we had was to do with the flight itineraries from the Galapagos back to the UK. Exodus needs to come up with a better flight plan of Galapagos-Guayaquil-night in Quito-Guayaquil-Madrid-UK. That mid section adds more than a day to the time taken to get back to the UK and for no extra gain to the value of the holiday.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Sally Godsell

    Machu Picchu and Galapagos

    This was undoubtedly a trip of a lifetime. Every day was action packed and what we saw and experienced exceeded our expectations. We were fortunate to have a small group so our tours felt very personal and unique. Our guides were very gracious, well educated and enthusiastic . We came away from each tour feeling inspired and well informed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Galapogos trip was outstanding. I was impressed with how well coordinated the visitor tours were. We rarely saw other groups and the impact upon the wildlife seemed minimal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two group leaders. Cesar in Peru and William Lucinu in Galapogos. They were both outstanding . Their knowledge was amazing and they were very enthusiastic. Gloria in Quito was also terrific. I would highly recommend all of them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would encourage the use of hiking poles with covered tips. We hiked over challenging terrain at times. On the trip to Sierra Negra volcano in Galapogos the path was very muddy , steep and slippery. It was raining. One of the women in our group slipped and fell and broke her arm. She had to be evacuated to Santa Cruz and could not continue on our trip. It was devastating for her and was a very preventable injury.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a trip worth saving up for. Exodus provided excellent service choosing charming hotels, seamless transfers to and from airports, outstanding guides and the best boat for seeing the Galapogos Islands. I am looking forward to the next trip with Exodus. We are Canadians. I found out about this company through my sister who lives in the UK. She went to Sri Lanka and Thiland with Exodus and really enjoyed both these trips.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Paul Latimer

    Galapagos and Machu Picchu

    Our trip was fantastic. It exceeded our expectations. All connections and reservations went flawlessly. All guides were punctual, well informed and very helpful. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is really difficult to pick one moment. We enjoyed our group and our activities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two group leaders, one for Machu Picchu (Cesar) and one for Galapagos (William Lucin). Both were excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We had one unfortunate incident on Galapagos in which one of our group fell on a muddy trail and broke her arm. She had to be evacuated and missed most of the Galapagos trip. This might have been prevented if she had had hiking poles with her. In retrospect it might have been better to have cancelled that hike since the conditions were very poor.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We will use Exodus again.
  • Reviewed June 2015
    Lynn Barnard

    Peru, Ecuador and Galapagos

    Overall, I think that the trip was excellent. The Galapagos part of the trip was truly magnificent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The island of Genovesa was like stepping into the garden of Eden, it was truly a tropical paradise. At one point there were four different species of bird in one tree co-existing happily with each other.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Darwin Alvarez was an excellent tour guide, not only was he very knowledgeable about his subject, he was passionate and proud about his country, and he did everything that he possibly could to make our stay and visit to the Galapagos memorable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Cachalote boat is unbelievably "cosy" which is not really highlighted in any literature, so I would advise people to pack accordingly. Also, there was a disabled person on the tour and admirable though it is to not let your disability get in the way of what you want to do, it is definitely not the kind of tour for anyone with any disability.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The first hotel in Peru, the Inkarri Hotel is very below standard. The staff were unfriendly, the breakfast was very poor; they only allowed you to have "one" egg, my husband who has a good appetite asked for two but was told he could only have one ! There were bare wires hanging out of the wall in the bedroom and the heater did not work ( it goes chilly at night ). Also you had to pay for bottled water, whereas other hotels gave out complimentary water. The alcohol on the boat was very overpriced and I did not see anyone buy a spirit or cocktail, I heard that the crew take a profit from the sale of alcohol, which is fair enough, but if the prices had been more reasonable then they would have made more profit ! The flight home was a bit of a farce, we did not fly directly from Quito to Madrid, instead we went back on ourselves to Guayaquil ( which is where we had flown from our return from the Galapagos ) we had to get off the plane go through security etc., only to have to get back on the same plane and seat again ! This in turn caused us to miss our connecting flight In Madrid back to the U.K.