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 July 2019
    Pam Bell

    Stunning scenery

    Five guided walks through beautiful scenery. The moderate grading was just right, with a varied selection of walks through alpine meadows as well as some more challenging steeper ascents. All giving stunning views of mountain peaks, waterfalls and lakes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Gasterntal Valley was the most challenging walk, but the sense of achievement when finally eating lunch overlooking Kanderfirn Glacier was worth all the of the climb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was excellent; aware of all of the groups capabilities and setting a pace that matched it. She was very informative, friendly and supportive, whilst always ready to share a joke.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When arriving at the airport, leave through the Swiss exit to meet the Exodus guide, not the French/German exit - very confusing as they don't come out in the same place. Take gloves and hat for the Kanderfirn Glacier walk (as well as the normal layers and waterproofs) - its cold up there even in the sun.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Grant Cadden

    Go on this trip!

    The week was really fun and well organised. Plenty of different activities in an amazing location. Great activities, food, accommodation and leaders- would definitely recommend this trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the canyoning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leaders were really accommodating, fun and knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Would recommend the paragliding and advanced canyoning optional activities.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Gary Lavin

    Sucessful and Safe

    A lovely and interesting trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The temple complex of Pranbaman

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very informative and helpful

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy climbing all possible volcanoes

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The snorkelling is fantastic
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Garance C

    Great landscapes in the Swiss mountains

    This trip covers one of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland, including sights of famous summits. I really enjoyed hiking in a varied and pristine environment, seeing deep blue altitude lakes, lots of waterfalls and powerful rivers going down the mountains as snow was still melting this time of year. The hikes were really adequate for a grade 3 with a few steep parts to keep it interesting and some flatter ones, going through hidden valleys full of spring flowers of all sorts. Very good level of accommodation in a comfortable family hotel where enjoying food and taking time to relax is taken very seriously! We even had a nice welcome drink to get started for the first briefing with our leader. Loads of activities to do on the free day like visiting nearby Interlaken, paragliding, going down a mountain slide or renting an e-bike, that some of our groups tried very successfully!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Discovering the local culture and landscapes was a highlight. We were lucky enough to sample some local cheese kindly offered by a lady who makes her own cheese in an altitude chalet where we had stopped for coffee.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz our leader was extremely helpful and very well prepared. She knew how to advise us on the equipment needed so that we were all well prepared for each walk, and where to stop for water refill etc. to make every day very enjoyable. She was careful about checking on us but also leaving space for us to go at our own pace.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you bring good boots, and if you can, bring some walking poles, they can come very handy on rocky surfaces and when going down long stretches.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Steve Deutsch

    A fantastic journey around Southern Peru

    An amazing trip full of insight and excitement. 3 weeks seeing the Coast, the Desert, the mountains and the jungle. Lots of early starts but worth it to cram in as much as possible. So many highlights including the Ballestas Islands, the Nazca lines, Arequipa, Colca Canyon and its condors, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, local festivals, the Moonstone Trek, Machu Picchu, the jungle...

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Following the Moonstone Trek, high in the mountains, for 4 days and 3 nights, camping in the wilderness and waking up to snow one morning, meeting virtually no-one, supported by a great team. Visiting Machu Picchu which really is as amazing as the pictures suggest. Going to the Amazon jungle, which was fantastic, such a change from the rest of the trip, with lots of wildlife to see.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruce was fantastic. Friendly, committed, cheerful, and informative he kept us to time and schedule and was great company too, even giving up part of his day off to take us to another site.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just be aware that although the trip is rated leisurely / moderate there are lots of early starts and lots of travel on the coach, with limited downtime, particularly until Cusco. But its a great trip and there's so much to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go, its such an interesting country.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Phill Dixon

    If I could do it again I wouldn't hesitate

    If you could gurantee the same team, group and even half the wildlife encounters I'd book it up tomorrow. We were very lucky with both the wildlife and to have such an enthusiastic and fun group of guides and guests - which made the trip all the better. The locations are stunning - in two days in the Masai Mara we saw the big 5 and had an epic balloon ride at sunrise. Then we were off to Lake Nakuru and the rhinos and flamingos took centre stage, with the smiles getting wider as the wildlife encounters got better. Sleeping within 300m of a waterfall in Nakuru was a highlight and despite being the most basic, was my favourite campsite - hearing lions and hyeenas calling in the night while sat around a campfire checking out all the stars. At Jinja even novice rafters got to experience the thrill of white water and again the provided photos and videos had us all laughing and reliving the day. The Adrift campsite was also brand new and had great facilities. So the experiences built, Murchison has impressive waterfalls and the boat trip was a good way to get out of the heat of the day. Gorilla tracking in Budongo again had us being lucky, being in the middle of chimps hunting, a once in a lifetime opportunity and not something to be expected, but if you get to experience time with the enigmatic chimps you cannot be disappointed. Queen Elizabeth has less diversity of wildlife but still provided lots of Elephants and on the river you see birds and elephants everywhere. Lastly the gorillas - I did two treks and they were both different but magical experiences. The first involved a long trek but we were surrounded by a group and followed them, experiencing interactions with several different family members. This would be a tough trek if you are not physically fit and used to walking up hills. The second trek involved spending an unforgettable hour with Xmas, the largest silverback in Bwindi and his 1 and 2 year old babies. We could not see other members of the family and the trek was shorter and easier, but a very close and magical encounter - when a baby gorilla looks at you from less than 7m you get a sense of how special and priveledged your time with them is. You are also given certificates to help remember your time with these beautiful animals The trip to the genocide museum was a very poignant reminder of what Rwanda has been through as well. Some facts - the trip involves a lot of early starts and quite a bit of travelling. Your reward is the trip of a lifetime. The truck is large and spacious but keep things in the lockers or that room fills up quickly. You will need to be able to walk up steep hills for the gorillas, but the team takes things slowly and chooses the best path for the group. Campsites often had showers, toilets and a bar so have some dollars for these. A lot of Ugandan service stations and almost all of Rwanda wanted local currency. Some things to note - the Rwandan border was the most difficult to cross, with a problem getting our taxi across taking 2hrs but providing a great side adventure - a sense of humour about delays and acknowledging that you may be asked seeminglystupid questions is par for the course. Get some snacks and drinks before crossing as there is nothing on the Rwandan security zone. The Exodus team were fantastic throughout, working hard to fix any problems ( airline lost bags), keep our trip moving smoothly and provide fun and share jokes over Albert's fantastic cooking ( his cooking may expand your waistline). Gilbert was the charismatic tour leader with lots of local stories and knowledge, Stoney the unflappable driver who always made time to help, Albert the fantastic chef with all the catchphrases and a personality larger than life, and Charles the youngest and ever smiling and helpful team member eager to greet and hear of our days adventures. A good team feels like family not a crew, these guys felt like family and helped knit the group together. I feel exceptionally lucky to have been on this trip, I've travelled a lot and this will remain a trip to remember. If I could do the same or similar trip with the group and crew I would book it tomorrow, if you promised me half the wildlife too I'd still jump at the chance. Thanks Exodus for another epic adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Spending time with the gorillas and seeing the look on everyone's faces as they encounter these incredible animals up close.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gilbert was really good at bringing people together and engaging the group. He was also active in securing us better times for chimp trekking and minimising time on the truck / getting good plots on campsites. A lot of what he was doing behind the scenes in planning / logistics was while people slept on the truck so he could chat and sing songs when we were all awake. He also had excellent wildlife and historical knowledge and was happy to share The only problem we encountered was on the day the team weren't there at the Rwandan border - and over the phone he was working on a solution to get us moving

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a folder for certificates they give for gorilla trekking Have a sheet or blanket to sit on in the truck as the vinyl seats can get hot in the sun ( thanks Vio) Have some small Ugandan and Rwandan currency so you can buy things at service stations if they don't accept cards or dollars ( Rwanda the bars all wanted local currency). Pack some extra clothes in your daysack when flying - airlines lose bags so have at least a change of clothes to last you a day or two. Go to Carnivores in Nairobi it is a great meal and intro for the group. Don't expect glamping but this is comfortable camping and you get to hear lions calling.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If the team running this trip do any other Africa trips I'd gladly go on them
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Laurie Thurston

    Spectacular Experience in the Italian Alps!

    If you're looking for an expertly organized trip guaranteeing you laughter, new friendships and adventure, you simply MUST choose this trip to the Dolomites. Unbelievably, each day is better than the last. Your week will be filled with super fun hikes, spectacular scenery and lots of cultural experiences.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Spending my days in the company of these amazing mountains -- experiencing them from different angles, at various times of the day, in all sorts of lighting -- proved magical. I appreciated getting to know the area very well. Even though all of the hikes were different and every view unique, each day afforded gifts of its own. Truly, a wonderful experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl freaking rocks! His vast knowledge of the area and the people -- everyone knows him!! -- made every day even more fun. He's organized and on point, but also very laid back and responsive to the needs of both the group as a whole and as individuals. We were a varied group from ages 16 to 72 and he kept us all challenged and engaged every step of the way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack your sense of humor along with rain gear (though we got super lucky weather-wise...but it's the mountains at high elevation, so be prepared). And pace yourself when it comes to the AMAZING food! The dinners are epic ;) You'll love the Hotel Adler: fantastic staff, great accommodations and a super fun little town. On your free day, try out the bike rental and explore Villabassa and Lago di Dobbiaco...don't forget to stop for gelato (Karl will tell you where to go!!)....I would say, if you want a super hard core hiking trip that logs a ton of miles with very little stopping to enjoy the journey, this may not be the trip for you. But if you want to work off your dinners, get your heart rate up a bit and enjoy the views as you climb, this is a perfect trek!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Many of the people in our group had taken trips with Exodus before and had nothing but wonderful things to say about their other trips. This was our first outing with Exodus and it will NOT be our last. I am excited to continue exploring with this organization.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Richard Cooper

    Fantastic walks in the Tyrol

    This holiday has it all - great walks, scenery, guides, hotel, food... highly recommended! I didn't have any particularly high expectations of the holiday after reading the brochure and booking it, but I was pleasantly surprised, it's very well thought out and location is excellent. I did the challenging walk each day guided by Paul, these were well planned, and even with some clouds on occasion, the views were stunning and there was an abundance of alpine flowers. The hotel is well located right on the lake, with comfortable rooms. The food is no-nonsense but very good and plentiful, which I appreciated after a day's walking, and has lots of choice in the menu. There were wheat-free options for evening meals and breakfast, and they even gave me gluten free bread each day to make sandwiches with for lunch.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views over the alps in every direction were stunning. Taking a moment (or half an hour) to lie on the top of the Rofanspitze on my day off in the sunshine with crystal clear views in every direction over the alps was particularly memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul was excellent at leading the group, knowledgeable about the flora and fauna, and particularly funny when doing charades to try to get us to remember the names of the flowers! Now was that a trombone or a trumpet Gentian Paul?

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I can only speak for the challenging walks: Walking pole(s) are useful especially for some of the long steep downhill sections if wet under foot. Take some reasonable hiking boots which you will be comfortable walking in on rocks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whilst I did the level 5 (challenging) walks and highly recommend these, I think this holiday is really good if you're not sure what you can do (or want to do), since you can choose the group to walk with each day. (In response to earlier reviews) the WiFi in the hotel was fine on my Android device. I found it refreshing to take a swim in the lake overlooking the mountains (there is a protected area for swimming very near the hotel).
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Terry Penfold

    Great walking in a beautiful area

    Lovely walking in good company with great leaders, good food and comfortable hotel. The group was split into level 3 and level 5 graded walks. We did the level 3 walks and found them excellent. The weather was mixed but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Cake cafes featured prominently in the itineraries. Wild flower identification was a hot topic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to say. Occasionally getting to the top of something was a bonus but seeing chamois, marmots and edelweiss was exciting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Louise was a great leader. She paced the days well and was able to improvise brilliantly if things didn't quite go to plan. A survival bag became a forgotten waterproof on one occasion and there was no problem when we found a cable car was out of action - we just studied the map and changed the route within a few minutes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As a centre-based holiday, this would be hard to beat. Don't expect to lose weight. Just go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The first day's walking was largely on forest tracks and therefore a little disappointing but the other days made up for it. I think I would have liked longer, perhaps ten days or two weeks to allow for further exploration and maybe some more settled weather, but you can't have everything.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Angela Jackson

    Pleasant cycling trip

    This is a pleasant cycling trip but as some reviewers have previously highlighted despite the grade 2 we were often arriving at the hotel about 5.00pm or later and so we didn't have much time for relaxation off the bikes. This was not too much of a problem until the arrival in Obidos which is worthy of some time to look around. There are some diversions from the original route following the devastating fires in 2017. Generally good hotels are used, The Literary Man in Obidos is very interesting and quirky.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not really inspirational - but overall this is a very pleasant relaxing trip. We had great company. We had a short guided tour of Porto prior to the wine tasting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ricardo worked really hard all week and was well supported by Ruben. He took some videos of us cycling which he tried to edit each evening for viewing whilst giving the next days briefing. Both were really nice guys who were enthusuatic about the outdoors and Portugal.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The kitty for lunches worked out great and I would recommend as everything was ready prepared on our arrival with a good choice of food, this included picnic lunches as well. Book extra nights in Porto and Lisbon as they are both worthy of more time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The last group meal is really the one in Obidos with suggestions of places to go in Lisbon if you wanted to experience Fado. We did not get a guided tour in Lisbon but we were dropped off right in the centre, a guided tour is really not practical given the size of the city. I think it would be better to give everyone a city map with the hotel and nearest metro station marked on it - so you know the way back and with some recommendations of places to go depending on your interests. For the nights when group meals are not organised it would also be useful to be provided with a map and suggestions for restaurants. We can highly recommend the Wine Bar by Cristal in Figueiro de Foz which was very close to the hotel - don't be put off by the name as this was a great little tapas bar with fantastc food.
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