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 August 2019
    Peter Gomes

    Tour du Mount Blanc Hotel - terrific two week Alpine trek through three countries

    This trip proved to be a brilliant way to hike five valleys, three countries, and enjoy stunning Alpine scenery en route. Accommodation is generally good, and the food hearty & plentiful but it is all about terrific walking territory in the shadow of the Mt. Blanc massif. Lots of "Wow" moments. Do not underestimate the hiking fitness required with each walking day being 10-12 miles (16-19 km) with ascents of 1,000 m - 1,600 m (3,000' - 5,000') and corresponding descents. However the pace set by our guide Kim was sensible throughout so we had time to chat as we walked, take photos and enjoy the wonderful views. Trekking time was generally 6-8 hours each day albeit actual walking time was consistently around two-thirds of this. The other third being photo stops, coffee/ice cream stops (lots), two lunch stops (eating little and often was good advice), etc. Rest days were well placed in the timetable and meant that we all completed the 110 mile (180 km) circuit in good shape.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In terms of hiking, probably ascending the 2,500 m cols which took us across the frontiers into each of Switzerland, Italy & France, plus the steep (600 m) ascent of the Col du Trichot on walking day 9, and the sumptuous views of Mt Blanc as we ascended 1,600m to Brevet on the final morning - celebrated with champagne at the top. Aside from the hiking were two "Must Do"s. One was on the first rest day - taking the Skyway Monte Bianco cable car from Cormayeaur up to Punta Herbronner and then the frankly fantastic 5km panorama trip over to the Aiguille du Midi. Absolutely superb views over the glacier and of Mt Blanc itself. Kim suggested we get there for 06:30 when it opened which proved great advice as we had the viewing platform to ourselves & avoided the later crowds and queues. The other was the tramway from St Gervais up to Nid D'Aigle. Impressive engineering, great views and a chance to hike to the Bionnassay glacier. Do both. Take layers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kim was an experienced IML (International Mountain Leader) and clearly knew the area like the back of her hand - she didn't consult a map once across the whole trip. Her briefings each evening were comprehensive - almost too much so. She was up early each morning to set out food so we could select content of our lunches before we went into breakfast, and her timetabling meant we had plenty of time at every point despite the scale of the hiking each day. She set a steady sensible pace on the ascents and was a demon on the descents - we had fun trying to keep up with her, despite her being older than all the trip participants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes liken the walking to ascending Ben Nevis or Scarfell Pike. This is not an exaggeration as we coincidentally did both three weeks before the trip. You need to be hiking fit to cope with repeated 10+ mile / 1,000+m hikes. Take layers - the weather can change quickly. Carrying gloves, woolly hat, down jacket, rain top, & over-trousers seemed OTT until the sudden thunderstorm on the Col du Bonhomme. Good boots, walking poles plenty of sun screen are also recommended. Finally, those with water bladders proved more adept with keeping hydrated than those us with water bottles. I picked one up in Decathlon (£10) on our return to Chamonix.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would certainly recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys hiking. The route well chosen, food plentiful, accommodation sound and guide knowledgeable. The scenery is simply glorious.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Philip Atess

    Fantastic trip

    Another well organised and memorable trip by Exodus. Varied activity and ran very smoothly including transport, accommodation and food. Guide very knowledgeable and passionate about his country. Would definitely recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the various sections of the wall and getting to shake hands and get a signed book from the person who discovered the Terracotta warriors.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Passionate and knowledgeable about his country. Tried his very best to make sure the group enjoyed the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the Terracotta extension as you see a more authentic China than Bejieng. Xi-an is much cheaper £3-£4 for huge meal and drink and overnight train journey is certainly an experience. You can get away with shorts on the walks and certainly only need summer walking boots but ensure they have good grip as some sections of the wall are steep. Only take very light waterproofs, Chinese just use umbrellas. Practice using chop sticks before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • Reviewed August 2019
    Nadia Ashraf

    You HAVE to book this trip!!!

    You will not be disappointed with this trip: stunning vistas every step of the way, great sense of achievement, great people; including John, our exceptional Mountain Leader and lovely hot chocolate and tarte myrtille at the mountain refuges.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making it up Brevent on the the last climb to complete the two-week trek!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    John is an exceptional Mountain Leader: very experienced and certainly knows his stuff. He had a knack of popping up beside you for support any time you were feeling anxious about the path or there was a precarious snowy/icy section or river crossing. Certainly felt very safe in his hands. He is very knowledgable about the mountains, flora and fauna and has stories about his own adventures around the world to keep you entertained with. Set the perfect 'Fairy Step' pace on the hikes to make it seem almost effortless, which made all the difference, especially in the 35 degree heat we had on some days. Very well organised and always made sure we had a good spread for lunch. Even good at opening the impossible gherkin jars!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although this is a summer trek, there was plenty of snow still on the path for our trip in June, so be prepared!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do not hesitate to book this trip - you will not regret it!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Kevin Stewart

    Our first Exodus trip; it'll be hard to beat!

    This was our first trip with Exodus and, whilst I had heard good reviews from friends, there is always an element of the unknown; the challenge level, the food, accommodation, the other group members etc.. This trip was excellent in all respects and has set a very high bar for future Exodus trips I will be taking.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our guides were the most inspirational part of the trip for me - two very different characters who complemented each others skills and personalities and really made the trip the great success it was. You wouldn't have known it was their first trip together. Of course going to the summit of Mt Toubkal was a challenge achieved, and doing the trip with my son was great. One lovely memorable moment was an exchange a couple of us had with some children who were selling buttermilk/kefir on the path into Imlil on our last day of walking. Rashid chatted with them in such a genuine, open way that we were all quickly smiling and laughing and left with a delicious drink!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outsanding

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If, like me, you're too old to like sleeping on hard ground, get a portable camp cot. Folds down well into your kit bag. Mine is FE Active branded, (other makes are available, no recommendation implied or paid for!) and is light and sturdy enough for a 90kg man. It made sleeping a pleasure. We took a couple of extra days in Marrakesh after our trip, which I would recommend, but probably not in July or August! The daytime heat forced us to spend our days by the hotel pool, so we only went out in the early morning and evenings.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Margaret Goodge

    Amazing Adventure!

    A wonderful trip which was superbly organised.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at the Sun Gate at the end of our trek and glimpsing Machu Picchu below was an emotional moment. Arriving at the summit of Dead Woman’s Pass on day 2 was also special. Both of these moments were enhanced by sharing the experience with a lovely group of fellow travellers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julio was a wonderful leader. Organised, knowledgable, friendly and empathetic, his skill in leading our group was superb from beginning to end. As a group, we knew we were in safe hands. He was very ably assisted by Anthony, whose easy going, friendly personality really added to the group dynamic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trek is graded as ‘moderate’ but day 2 of the trek to Dead Woman’s Pass is quite a challenge, especially in the hot weather in which we were ascending. Combine that with the effects of altitude, and putting in some training, in advance of the trip, is definitely useful. Give yourself an extra day in Cuzco prior to the beginning of the trip if possible. It definitely helped me adjust to the altitude. On the trek itself, walking poles are invaluable. Even members of our group who normally don’t use them, found them very useful in the descents. Although some snacks are provided on the trek, I would recommend taking more. The food prepared by the chefs is excellent (especially given the facilities they have at their disposal) but you’ll burn a lot of calories and I found I needed extra snacks. Finally, if you are travelling as I did in July, the night time temperatures really do drop. I used all my extra layers to keep warm.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’ve wanted to trek the Inca Trail for a very long time and it lived up to all my expectations. The Inca Trail in Comfort trip was a fantastic trip and I would thoroughly recommend it to others.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Rob Dyer

    Fantastic tour

    The tour excellent from start to finish. The walking was well planned and supported brilliantly by John our mountain guide. The hotels were good and arrangements for transfer of our gear worked without a hitch. One of the best holidays we havd ever had.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sense of achievement of completing the last day’s climb was fantastic. John kept us together always as a group. Everyone felt supported Shen they needed it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. John managed to create a cohesive group. He managed to keep a sense of fun while inspiring great trust in his knowledge and skills. Could not have been better.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it! It is challenging but manageable for anyone who is fairly fit.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Mark Latham

    On the roof of Africa

    Review of my Exodus trip to Kilimanjaro in The Herald: https://www.heraldscotland.com/life_style/16237809.travel-trek-to-the-summit-of-mount-kilimanjaro/

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See the above link.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See the above link.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See the above link.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    See the above link.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Michelle Carter

    Moonstone Trek

    I chose to do the Moonstone Trek - a remote and quiet Inca trail reaching the dizzying heights of just under 4700 m. I was the only person doing the trek and had my own guide, chef and 2 horsemen. I thoroughly enjoyed the trek, beautiful scenery, remote small communities and Inca sites en route. My guide was very knowledgable and i learnt about about the history of the area en route. I was looked after extremely well: fantastic food and hot tea and water in the morning. I highly recommend this trek and Exodus, it is a once in a lifetime experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing Accoccasa and reaching the top to experience the view - it was breathtaking (aside from the effects of altitude i mean!) and i felt a real sense of achievement. Having a few minutes at the top gave me time to reflect and offered me a refreshed perspective. Sorry a bit deep!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Smithy was very amenable and knowledgable. He was on hand to sort out every little issue and make sure we were aware of the options for activities (outside the trek) and then organise it for us. Having someone local made a real difference to our experience as we were able to eat at amazing restaurants and experience the best of what Peru can offer.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It says in the trip notes that poles are optional - my view is that they should be deemed essential. I do not normally use poles when hiking in the UK but i took them with me and i am so glad i did. There can be difficult terrain to navigate and i experienced snow on the 3rd day which made the trail very slippery. They really helped going up hill when you are struggling to breath and your legs are like lead weights! The temperature ranges from zero to mid 20's. So bring lots of layers. Yes you need a sunhat & sunblock AND a winter coat and thermals!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whilst Smithy took the rest of the group on the Inca Trail, my guide for the Moonstone Trek was Vannya. She was incredibly knowledgable and i learnt a lot from her and was an excellent guide - she made sure i was OK at all times, advising me along the way. So i felt well prepared and reassured at all times. Valentin was a fantastic chef and cooked some amazing food - the best of Peruvian cuisine and all on a small kerosene burner. The horsemen, Carlos and Enrique did a great job of getting my things to the next camp and setting up the lunch tent and the evening camp. The hot tea in the morning and hot water to wash in was very welcome. I am truly humbled to have been taken care off so amazingly well by such kind hearted, talented people.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Jodie Boldy

    Great trip if limited amount of time

    Great trip to do with a limited amount of time, but due to limited amount of time you have a pretty gruelling day on day 2 of the walk

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of course

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was nice and informative, perhaps a little serious, I love a bit of banter but a great guide all the same

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can do the longer Toubkal trip I would. Day 2 of the walk was really long and tiring, coming down is hard work with the loose scree and as we came in July due to a milestone birthday,it was absolutly baking hot

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We had the airport transfers in with the trip but our return transfer did not turn up, we had parted ways with the group and guide that morning as they were all on earlier flights. Ended up having to get a taxi which we had to pay for arriving at Marrakech airport (notorious for how hectic it is) a little later than planned. I have contacted exodus about this a couple of times but they have yet to reply to me.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    William Pearce

    Summit fever!wonderful

    Wonderful feeling on reaching the summit after a midnight start !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit! Watching and joining in with the African team final celebrations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    JT(Justin) was great.more cheer leader than group leader. An inspirational guy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Better to hire a jacket , sleeping bag and ground sheet.our trip was very dry and dusty and gaiters were very useful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Tanzanians have a structured tipping scheme! So if you are going to contribute make sure you have the funds available
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