Turtle, Ecuador

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28 Reviews

  • Reviewed October 2019
    Alex Campbell

    Just amazing!!!

    This trip was fantastic from start to finish. Really well organised by Exodus. We loved every minute of this trip, the Inca sites you visit along the way and the amazing scenery just make this amazing, it really does make it about the whole 4 days of hiking rather than just the last one when you arrive at Macchu Picchu. We were lucky to be hiking with a fantastic group of people and our guide and porters were incredible. The chefs and porters deserve a special mention, the food was incredible, and arriving at camp every day to find everything set up and a drink waiting for us made it feel much more like glamping!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say, on the last day of hiking the guide for us up early to climb a little higher and we watched the sun come up over a glacier, the porters arrived with hot tea and it just felt a little unreal and magical. Of course arriving after 4 days of hiking to see Macchu Picchu below you is incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruce was AMAZING, nothing was too much trouble and he knew so much not just about Incas but about all the flowers and everything we saw along the way, it really made the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go prepared for an adventure, and ladies take loo roll in your back pack everywhere, it's often in short supply!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you to everyone involved in making our trip so memorable we planned this a year ago and it totally lived up to our expectations!!!!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Sophie Penney

    Very beautiful and interesting trip

    The views on the trek were really wonderful, Cusco is a beautiful city. There is lots to see on this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top on the 2nd day of the hike was a big sense of achievement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tina is very kind and friendly. She did a very good job of looking after us and checking that we were managing with the altitude.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    One little thing, the kit list is missing toilet paper. Of course you can get it there but I would have preferred to know in advance that you need some for the trek! And yes it really is that cold at night you definitely need to bring properly warm clothes. Walking poles are marked as optional but we wouldn’t have made it without them! The amount of stuff you are allowed for the trek is quite small, smaller than it sounds anyway, so plan carefully.
  • 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 July 2019
    Sarah and Richard Swan

    Inca Trail incomfort and Amazon extension

    Amazing and challenging adventure! We did the Inca Trail in comfort with the Amazon extension.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking through the Sun Gate together as a group after 4 tough days of trekking and seeing Machu Picchu come into view. Our amazing, strong and cheerful porters. Respect! Our leaders Julio, Anthony and Roldan. Jungle wildlife.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julio and Anthony on the Inca Trail were outstanding. Friendly, approachable, kind and supportive. Julio also very good back in Cusco etc. Lots of recommendations and advice. All clearly explained. He even came with us to the airport when we left for the Amazon. Could not fault them! Roldan for the Amazon extension. From the moment he met us at the airport he really looked after us. His knowledge and care he has for the jungle are second to none. We were so fortunate to have him as our guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Embrace the adventure! Look for Exodus sign outside the airport. Do not be taken in by random people who approach you in the airport with offers of help. If you can give yourself an extra day in Cusco to get over the flights. Do the Inkan Milky Way walking tour. Ask for a room at the rear or side of the hotel if you are not used to traffic noise! Stick to kit list. We didn't take rain ponchos but had it rained in the Amazon it would have been useful. Take lots of snacks for the treks (some is provided but you may want more!). Bring inflatable pillow for the Inca camping. Altitude: we took diamox, bought local product recommended to inhale and avoided alcohol to start with and were fine!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's tough and challenging but the most amazing adventure with wonderful people and supported by excellent local guides, porters and chefs.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Robert Walden

    Fantastic, well organised trekking holiday.

    Great guide (Mike) who was very knowledgeable, great fun and very helpful to everyone in the group. Porters and food provided on the trek itself were outstanding. Weather was generally very good which obviously helped our enjoyment and the scenery stunning. We were also fortunate enough to see a spectacled bear on the "run up" to Dead Woman's Pass. An experience you will remember for the rest of your life - no matter how young you are!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final morning when we got up at 5.30am to stand above the clouds and witness snow-clad mountain peaks in the early dawn sunshine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A1. We could not have had better. He went the extra mile. He emphasised the entire trek was our holiday - not just the final destination. How right he was.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Warm thermals at night time essential. Altitude is a problem to some degree for most people - Mike provided a herbal decongestant to rub on our palms and inhale. A decongestant would probably be useful to pack - a bunged up nose is not conducive to good sleep at any altitude.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We have never had a bad holiday with Exodus!
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Marcia Nash

    Inca Warriors

    Fabulous trip; very well organised and executed by Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    View of Machu Picchu from Sun Gate

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Awesome. Mike is best tour guide ever. Well organised, efficient, calm in the face of problems, good humoured at all times, great company, knowledgable and informative.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Better exchange rate in Peru than in UK and several bureaux d'echange in Cusco accept sterling, which would save losing twice on exchange rate, so wait until arrival to buy currency if you will have time before setting off on trek. Try to obtain several single sols as most public toilets cost one sol. If you take photos of people they will expect a sol. Don't underestimate amount of tipping: we each tipped support staff (porters and chefs) around 250 sols between them and the assistant guide around 80 sols for the 4 day trek. We each tipped the main guide about 150 sols, which was recommended by Trip Adviser and on the assumption that he got paid more by Exodus but, with hindsight, perhaps we should have given him more given how hard he worked and how much value he added to the whole trip. A lightweight lamp for your tent would be useful as there isn't much daylight left when you arrive at camp and you get up in the dark. A headtorch is essential and either a spare or spare batteries. I think more people who didn't take Diamox felt unwell than who did so, on balance, I would say take it. I wouldn't recommend coca leaves, though, as I suspect they gave me a headache (and they taste disgusting). We had the opportunity to leave stuff at the hotel in Ollantaytambo whilst on trek and pick it up after the trek before going onto Aguas Callientes, where we spent 2 nights instead of 1 because of a rail strike, so it is probably worth leaving a set of clean clothes there. Eating out is very good value. Meals at non-touristy restaurants cost under 50 sols including a drink. Touristy restaurants c 70-80 sols, including a drink. A local beer costs 6-8 s, a glass of wine or pisco sour 15-20 s. If you want to try guinea pig, do so at the restaurant recommended by the tour guide. Alpaca is good at most restaurants. Souvenirs at markets are good value. I think I spent 1300 sols in total, including 5 hats and a scarf, meals and tips.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would highly recommend doing this trip with Exodus
  • Reviewed June 2019

    The Inca Trail in Comfort 30 May departure & Lake Titicaca Extension

    This was a brilliant trip. The Inca Trail in Comfort was well organised & a good mix of trekking and sightseeing. Our guide, Mike, was great & the camping porter team were inspiring. The camp chef provided excellent meals. The hotels were comfortable & the camping was as good as camping gets. The group gelled well together. The Lake Titicaca Extension is also well worth doing and good value. We were very happy with all aspects of the trip & would recommend it to anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the whole trek: highlights included the first view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate, the spectacled bear we saw from the trail, reaching the top of dead Woman's Pass, the view from our camp site on the last morning, rowing a reed boat on Lake Titicaca ...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mike was a brilliant leader. He is extremely knowledgeable and was keen to share with us. He is friendly to all and certainly helped the group to gel. He is considerate of the needs of the group and provided help when appropriate to those who needed it. He organised the trek well and kept the group together. He organised a variety of restaurants for lunch & dinner, all good, and even booked us a restaurant in Puno (Titicaca extension) which was an excellent recommendation. He is considerate of health and safety, the environment and the local community. Mike was great and we were very lucky to have him as our group leader. Davis and the camp team were also very good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a brilliant trip - book it as long as you have a reasonable level of fitness and enjoy walking, (and don't have bad knees - there are a lot of steps). Bring good walking boots, well worn in. Use poles (you can hire locally, or buy in UK for similar price - must be telescopic / adjustable with rubber ends.) If leave is not a concern, consider arriving a day early in Cuzco to acclimatise. Bring a good head torch. We didn't go to the hot springs so no need to carry swimming costume / large towel / flip flops on trek. Hotel Casa Andina (Aguas Calientes) provided shampoo so no need to carry on trek. We could have left some stuff in Hotel Pakaripampu (Ollantaytamo) before the trek, to collect after Machu Picchu on way back to Cuzco. Minimise the weight in your ruck sack. If leave is not a concern - the Lake Titicaca extension is excellent value. Don't be put off by the drive - it's in a comfortable coach & includes 4 stops & lunch. Don't under estimate the amount you need for tipping. Although the exchange rate is better in Cuzco it's convenient to arrive with a little local money. The exchange rate was approximately the same changing pounds into dollars in UK then changing the dollars into sols in Cuzco as it was to change pounds directly into sols in Cuzco. However all the exchange outlets would exchange dollars (including very near hotel San Agustin Plaza) but they didn't all exchange pounds. Western Union in Main Square exchanges pounds. We spent approx 1450 sols per person for 11 nights (incl 1 night in Cuzco pre tour & Titicaca extension). If you do the Titicaca extension, include the reed boat ride, and book the Balcons de Puna restaurant for dinner & floorshow.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was great. Thanks to Mike for excellent organisation & guiding. Thanks also for organising extra night in Aguas Calientes due to train strike.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Martin Atkin

    Inca Trail In Comfort - 30th May Departure

    This was a challenging but most rewarding of adventures on the Inca Trail. A group of individuals of varying ages, abilities and backgrounds became a team over the 4 day trek. Our guide and leader, Mike, was inspirational giving of his knowledge, experience and friendship throughout.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    While Machu Picchu was the end of the trek it was camp on the third night together with the sunrise on the fourth day that will be my standout memory. Waking to a glorious sunrise on that last day with the clouds filling the valleys below was an awesome sight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mike was a fantastic guide and leader. Whether it was recommendations on places to visit in Cuzco, his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Peru and Inca or his care for those having difficulty at the higher altitude his energy and enthusiasm exceeded all expectations.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure your fitness levels are as good as possible. This will ensure you maximise your enjoyment.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I will certainly be looking for further opportunities to travel with Exodus.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Scott Semple

    Spectacular trek with the best trek leader

    The trek to Machu Picchu in Comfort is very much a trek worth taking. Machu Picchu is very impressive as you might imagine, but somewhat overshadowed by the majesty of the Peruvian mountainside that you trek through to reach it. I was blown away by the views along the treks, particularly from Dead Woman’s Pass and our final campsite at 4000m. I do not normally write reviews and the thing that makes me want to is to highlight just how amazing our tour leader Cesar Smith (“Smithy”) was. I have never encountered a more friendly, informative and inspiring trek leader in all of my travels. Easily the best tour guide I have ever encountered. Smithy’s passion for his country, mountains and knowledge of historical contact are impressive enough, but his support for the entire group was outstanding. A few in the group struggled with some altitude effects and fitness. These members were sensitively supported by Smithy, whilst he also facilitated those of us wanting to trek faster to do so. Friendly and informative with a contagious passion for the trek, I cannot say enough good things about Smithy, our tour leader. If you have options of choosing dates with his involvement, he comes with my highest recommendation. In terms of the trip, there are parts that are physically challenging, so I would advise reading the training guide. My wife and I trained for the trip and were very glad we did.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking up over Dead Woman’s pass and the last campsite and 4000m offered breath-taking views.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I cannot say enough good things about our group leader. Easily the best guide I have ever experienced. Friendly, informative without being overbearing. His passion for the mountains and the country of Peru is inspirational. His relationship with our porters one of mutual respect. Amazing knowledge and I genuinely warmed to the man to a degree which surprised me. One of the big highlights of our tour was the tour leader. Cesar Smith (“Smithy”) comes with my biggest recommendation.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes. Read the training guide. Those that had not did struggle with some the challenging sections of the trip. Dead Woman’s Pass is a challenge for most people, so do the training for the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was very impressed with the porter tea. Our chef Luciano demands specific praise. The food was excellent, and varied. The lead porter Alejandro, ran a tight ship, and each of the porters were constantly busy, supporting the entire group. A really inspirational bunch of lads. They had clear respect for our tour leader, who again, I simply cannot say enough good things about. If you have any choice in the matter, try to book a tour with Smithy as your tour leader.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Anne Scott

    Don’t miss the Inca trail with Smithy

    My husband and I travelled to Peru and walked the Inca trail. In over 20 years of travel (and having walked the trail before some 15 years ago) I have never before felt moved to provide a review. Of course the Inca trail and Machu Picchu were, as expected, amazing. The stand out factor was our guide, Cesar Smith aka Smithy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the hard work of the porters and kitchen staff as they all but ran up and down the mountainside with heavy packs as we struggled for breath with day packs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Cesar Smith aka Smithy led the tour brilliantly. He provided support and attention for those who needed it, and freedom for those who didn’t. Smithy shared his passion for Peru, his pride in his heritage, and his love for the mountains in the most authentic way. And always with a good dose of understated humour. Easily the best tour leader I’ve had in over 20 years of travel. It would be worth changing the dates of your travel to be sure you get him as a guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above!