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 September 2018

    The Trip of a Lifetime

    A Synopsis of this amazing trip. . . After a long drive, a beautiful ferry journey, and a short 2-hour hike on the first day, we hiked every day, 11 days without respite; a daily trek of 8-14 miles climbing a total of 32,000 feet. The stunning views were worth every step; rolling green hills littered with vibrant wildflowers, sometimes dotted with grazing sheep and cows, jagged cliffs and enormous mountain peaks outspreading around us as far as the eye could see. We had the wilderness to ourselves. Besides an occasional shepherd or odd hiker (we saw perhaps 10 hikers in 11 days), the mountains were our private domain. Most nights we stayed in shepherd’s hut or rustic guest houses, and the living conditions were sometimes trying. The huts had limited electricity, cold water that was delivered directly from the mountain, one toilet, sometimes shower, shared by 17 people, and tight sleeping arrangements on the floor or bunk with separate rooms or buildings for men and women. Getting clean, sorting belongings for daily living, and dealing with basic needs was an ongoing struggle. Without proper sanitation, many of us including me and my husband, contracted food borne illnesses. It was pretty awful and the food was never enjoyable after the days of sickness. These huts were the shepherd’s family homes and we were invited guests. Besides cooking for us, they still shouldered their unending work, including the herding and milking of their animals which, in awe and wonder, we watched the procession. This was the real deal. Like a step back in time, we experienced a way of life that has endured for centuries. And here lies the paradox of discomfort: the rough living conditions were the price we paid for the utter joy of hiking in pristine and remote wilderness in almost complete isolation. True authenticity, by definition, cannot be faked. One must take the good with the bad. The Via Dinarica mega trail is still new and the region has a long way to go in their efforts to develop an infrastructure along the way. We have been blessed to be here in its infancy; it will never be as wild and unique as right now.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    At our first hut, watching the shepherd and his wife strategically herd the hundred sheep into their paddock for the night, the wife snatching the ewes at the entrance gate, one by one, to swiftly milk them before they joined their brethren. Wonderful and hilarious all at once. A scene I will never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Two leaders; very knowledgeable of the area. Very good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you train for endurance and cardio you'll be fine. I got fitter and stronger as the days went on and never felt like it was "too hard". Bring hand sanitizer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was our 6th Exodus trip and this was the best yet. Unforgettable.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Alvina Labsvirs

    Unspoilt Mountains

    A wonderful trek in an unexploited part of the world

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being surrounded by a crown of limestone peaks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good knowledge of history but not of flora or fauna.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for trekking through areas with no tracks or trails.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Joseff Rees

    Great trip!

    This was my second Exodus holiday. Totally different to my first but just as enjoyable and memorable with a great group of people and guides! The walks varied in length, technicality, altitude and difficulty however the scenery and landscape was beautiful throughout. Accommodation types varied from hotels to shepherd huts to guesthouses however the hospitality offered in the more remote parts was exceptional. I do not think there is anywhere else in Europe where I could be eating and sleeping as a tourist in people's actual homes! All food was locally sourced with plenty of Raki on offer!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was beautiful scenery throughout the trip with hospitality that was second to none. I enjoyed visiting this region with such a welcoming and friendly group from all walks of life. The welcome, food and accommodation provided at the Triangle Woodhouse in Montenegro was brilliant. Argon (owner) was very proud of his food, home and Raki! Enjoyed it so much I bought the T-shirt! I enjoyed how peaceful the shepherd huts were. The only noise and light was natural and to hear all of the animals including a wolf whilst camping was rather cool.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorian and Arvin were two very passionate and proud Albanians who clearly loved their country and tried their very best to showcase what Albania and its culture had to offer across the region. Both answered any and all questions to the best of their ability. Dorian was the leader who used his contacts in the region while Arvin was the smiling face of the operation - both complimented each other well and ensured everybody enjoyed their time in this beautiful part of the world.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Being a new Exodus trip at times the distances in the trip notes were slightly different to what was actually walked - mainly more - however being a walking holiday, walking is to be expected. Embrace what the region has to offer. During the last evening meal in Tirana, tourism in the area was described as 'embryonic' and very much in its infancy. Give the region a chance and expect the unexpected at times but also expect and experience exceptional hospitality from all throughout.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Visit the area before it changes too much! Nowhere else in Europe will you find such rural and traditional way of life according to the seasons.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Brenda Howcroft

    Awesome mountain views with hospitality to match

    Point to point through the Mountains of Northern Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo. You climb at least one mountain a day, enjoying the view and a packed lunch at the top. If you crave 'the middle of nowhere' you will love this trek.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was humbling to meet the big hearted people of these mountains, so hard working, whether it be trekking with horses to get the luggage to the next shepherds huts, bringing tents to our campsite or providing banquets of artisan food using meagre facilities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorian hails from these mountains which is a real bonus. The group was a competitive lot, decked out in performance logging technology, at times they craved more information about the daily challenges ahead.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Shepherds huts were same sex dorms, either mattresses on the floor or bunks, toilets could be a hole in the ground, showers a bucket of cold water close to the hole in the ground. at one place the ladies walked up the hill, round the corner and bathed in the stream! When the hotels nights came we made the most of the facilities! Food is artisan, handmade cheese, home baked bread, lots of tomatoes, peppers and cucumber. Interesting soups, spinach pie and the famous flee pie. It's chilly in those hills at night bring a fleece I managed without Lekke, survived with Euros Head torch was really useful to navigate the accommodation/read at night Arrive for this well trained, it's a tough trek, lots of steep uphill, steep downhill, rough terrain. Crazy running 5K/10K/half marathons/marathons seemed to be a popular pastime of our group.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Get here quick! before the forager/basic farming lifestyle disappears and too many tourists arrive to take a look.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Ruth Toller

    People, scenery and flowers

    A challenging trek surrounded by wild flowers through ever changing scenery meeting very friendly people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hospitality of the local people was very special. Their facilities might be basic but the welcome from our hosts each night more than compensated. The scenery constantly changed and the variety of wild flowers was probably the best I've met. You meet a way of life that is fast disappearing where the shepherds spend the summer months in the mountains.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well organised and knowledgeable about the area and history (but not of the natural history) and always willing to try and answer questions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Lots of ups and downs each day, not always on good paths, so need to be prepared for this. Don't expect luxury accommodation but you do get a very warm welocme. We were lucky with the weather but it can be unpredictable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip is new this year and still evolving so wasn't exactly as the trip notes, and will probably have some more adjustments.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    John McIntosh

    Really interesting

    I really enjoyed this trip, which included some fantastic treks in some of the remoter parts of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. Some of the accommodation was indeed basic (as flagged up in the brochure) but the welcome from local folk was fantastic. Some of the food was less varied that I am used to, but it was beautifully prepared - tomatoes, stuffed peppers, locally-made cheeses, very tasty home-made bread, with some more elaborate meals also provided. The walks - about 8 to 10 miles a day - were mainly along good trails, and taken at a reasonable pace. The countryside was very lush and pastoral, far less arid than the mountains of the southern Balkans. Helpful guides, and a very friendly bunch of fellow travellers. This tour gave us a real taste of a rural way of life that has died out elsewhere in Europe.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved one of the early walks involving a trek over the mountains from Albania, into Montenegro and Kosovo, with our main luggage carried by horses/mules. And, although the hike up and down one of Albania's highest mountains was long and not without its challenges, it was memorable and I'm glad to have done it. The hospitality of the locals was memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I found both leaders to be very friendly and helpful. Our minibus driver was very careful and I felt safe with him driving.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you like a luxury lifestyle 24/7, it is not for you but if you are prepared to rough it slightly, it is to be highly recommended. The more basic accommodation was mixed up with occasional nights in fair hotels. Well worth doing. Although it was warm, it cooled down in evenings and was dark by just after 8pm.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    John McIntosh

    Really interesting

    I really enjoyed this trip, which included some fantastic treks in some of the remoter parts of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. Some of the accommodation was indeed basic (as flagged up in the brochure) but the welcome from local folk was fantastic. Some of the food was less varied that I am used to, but it was beautifully prepared - tomatoes, stuffed peppers, locally-made cheeses, very tasty home-made bread, with some more elaborate meals also provided. The walks - about 8 to 10 miles a day - were mainly along good trails, and taken at a reasonable pace. The countryside was very lush and pastoral, far less arid than the mountains of the southern Balkans. Helpful guides, and a very friendly bunch of fellow travellers. This tour gave us a real taste of a rural way of life that has died out elsewhere in Europe.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved one of the early walks involving a trek over the mountains from Albania, into Montenegro and Kosovo, with our main luggage carried by horses/mules. And, although the hike up and down one of Albania's highest mountains was long and not without its challenges, it was memorable and I'm glad to have done it. The hospitality of the locals was memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I found both leaders to be very friendly and helpful. Our minibus driver was very careful and I felt safe with him driving.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you like a luxury lifestyle 24/7, it is not for you but if you are prepared to rough it slightly, it is to be highly recommended. The more basic accommodation was mixed up with occasional nights in fair hotels. Well worth doing. Although it was warm, it cooled down in evenings and was dark by just after 8pm.
  • Reviewed August 2018

    Amazing local hospitality

    This is a fantastic trekking holiday taking you to parts which have barely seen tourism before. The walks are all varied and you see some spectacular scenery. The hospitality you receive is wonderful, you are welcomed everywhere you go. The accommodation is basic, but very characterful with lovely owners. It is a great adventure through a less known part of Europe.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The welcome we got everywhere we visited. Some amazing views along the way!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorien is a wonderful leader always looking out for people's needs. His father once owned the company, and it is a lovely experience being shown around someones homeland.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walks are challenging and some of the paths are not always as well maintained as you might be used to, so do prepare to get fit before travelling, you will enjoy it much more. You are very rarely walking on the flat and are either walking up or down. It is worth the effort, one of the best Exodus trips I have been on!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are up for an adventure in an unexplored part of Europe and are ok with basic accommodation, this is the trip for you!
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