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
    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
    Alan Stuckey

    Another great trek

    For those that enjoy trekking amongst dramatic mountain scenery this trip is a perfect fit. During this trip the Dolomites seemed to be full of flower-filled valleys surrounded by high, stark mountains - with a fair sprinkling of lovely lakes. The hotel was very comfortable, with good food - including packed lunches, and our own minibus delivered us to the start of the walks each day. The walks got more challenging as the week progressed - but this suited the group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most people have seen pictures of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo - the 3 chimneys, but the day spent trekking all around these and up adjacent mountains exceeded all expectations. We walked above giant gorges, across narrow scree covered slopes, into rocky valleys and up mountains. And everything was dominated by the wonderful views of Tre Cime. Our guide was canny too. Despite it being 'peak'(!) season with many visitors to the Dolomites we found little used tracks away from the crowds.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl was a good leader who went out of his way to ensure we all enjoyed our trek. He had in depth knowledge of the area which led to diversions to several interesting features eg the barbed wire factory behind Tre Time and the caves on Monte Piana.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our group was a mix of couples and people of both genders on their own, coming from Australia, Canada, America, UK etc. The age range was from 16 ( our granddaughter ) to 'old' yet everyone jelled very quickly. So if you fancy the trip do come!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trek up Monte Piana was great and our guide did provide some background information on the battle front between the Italians and Austrians in the First World War. Maybe a couple of pages added to the Trip notes would be useful.
  • 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.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Patricia Carr

    Trip was what it said on the tin

    The whole trip was enjoyable and it was definitely Volcanos and Temples. I had travelled to Bali before but the majority of the sites that I visited this time were different from those I visited last time.I

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was to see Borobudur and Bromo that I booked the trip. But saying that I loved taking part in the cleansing ceremony and climbing the volcanos.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Juno was fantastic. He made sure everyone was happy and nothing was too much trouble. I did the 2 optional volcano climbs and he was there for support and encouragement when it got tough for me. His sense of humour and attitude towards his work was great and well appreciated.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As long as the trip notes are read there are no suprises. If planning to climb the volcanos take walking poles. Expect getting to the view point for Mt Bromo to be congested.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only thing that was slightly disappointing was the stated thermal pools. The pools themselves were ok but I did not expect it to be a spa resort. Also one of the restaurants that we stopped off for a lunch ( sorry I can't remember the name) was sadly lacking.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Christopher STEEDEN

    South East Alaska

    This was a new part of Alaska for me to visit and the main animals for me on my agenda were Brown bears and Black bears and Whales - Humpbacks and Orcas in particular . Although there was less bear viewing than i expected the whale viewing for the Humpbacks in particular was so spectacular that the fact i did not see so many bears did not matter so much. We had one very good day with the black bears at Anan Creek and unfortunately we did not see any brown bears at Pack Creek. However , we did witness and photograph hours upon hours of bubble net feeding - some right next to our yacht - as well as breaching from both Humpbacks and Orcas to a lesser degree. The Yacht we travelled on - The Island Roamer - was excellent and far more spacious than i anticipated and the four crew were superb also . All four were very professional , knowledgable and very friendly. The food prepared by the chef was probably the tastiest food i have ever tasted !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment was probably the first Humpback bubblenet feed . We then went on to see another 60 / 70 feeds over the next 7 hours and then then another long session 3 days later !! For me another great moment was a mother black bear and cub salmon fishing at Anan Creek.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I have been on trips with Paul Goldstein on numerous occasions and he is first class . He had an excellent relationship with the captain of our yacht and this made the trip easy going but very focused as photographing the mammals of the area was the main criteria of the trip. When we arrived at Pack creek to see the brown bears it was obvious to me on arrival that the chances of seeing a bear - probably due to the unseasonal warm weather - were quite low but rather than waste a day waiting for the chance of seeing a bear Paul made a decision to go elsewhere and ultimately that decision allowed us to see an incredible show of humpback breaching later in the day .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Binoculars are vital , casual travel clothes only required , a monopod or tripod are really only required for the two bear viewing places - Anan Creek and Pack Creek . A pair of shorts for the yacht were for me a good choice as were a light pair of shoes for walking around the deck rather than heavier walking shoes or boots.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip to South East Alaska was excellent although this particular trip leant more towards whales - humpbacks and orcas - than bears but we also saw many eagles and there was one session with sea otters plus some interesting behaviour with Dall porpoises. Alaska is a large State and this trip will probably give travellers the taste to see other parts of Alaska.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Catherine Mclaren

    Fantastic trip

    Lovely holiday in the Rockies, varied walks, great guides who cooked 3 course meals every night on a 3 ring gas burner. Bus time kept to a minimum but we covered a lot of ground. Just remember, you are in the mountains and the weather can be variable, the averages given in the trip notes can be deceiving!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Camping in the back country was fabulous, including the helicopter trip in.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both leaders were great, Vincent had a lot on his plate on this particular trip and Maggie was a great second in command, doing the majority of the cooking - couldn’t fault either.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It will probably be colder and wetter than you might think,
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Michael Curtis

    Excellent walking holiday.

    The holiday was based in a village high up in the alps, at about 2000 metres. There were two guides, one leading a moderate-grade walk and one leading a challenging-grade walk and each day clients were able to choose which one to join. Some stayed with the same group all week, others switched between groups. The weather was very good except for one day, and we were able to see snowy mountain peaks many miles away. There were patches of snow at higher altitudes on one of the challenging walks. We saw marmots on some of the days. Most walks started from the hotel, but on two days local buses were used to get to the walk start point. There was plenty to do in the village, with restaurants, shops, cafes and a couple of small museums. St Veran is a small ski-ing village in the winter and there were a few closed-down ski-lifts, but nothing to spoil the views.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think this was reaching the pic de Caramantran at 3025 metres in the moderate-grade group (bear in mind that the walk started at 2340m that day). There were excellent views of mont Viso in Italy, which still had some snow on it. You could walk over the border into Italy for a few minutes. It was windy there. Everyone shook hands on reaching this point.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I walked with both group leaders on different days. Both were very competent and spoke English very well. Both had a good knowledge of the history of the local area and knew the routes well. Yves led the challenging walks and Isabelle led the moderate walks. Both guides ate with the group in the evenings. On the free day, they gave us an informal tour of the village, explaining its history. On the challenging walk on the last day, there were some difficult stretches near the top and Yves made sure everyone was safe. The leaders provided marked-up contour maps of the walking areas, something I have not experienced before on this type of holiday. This helped clients to make up their minds which grade of walk to go on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's a good idea to have walking poles if you are going to do the challenging-grade walks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is a long bus journey of over 3 hours between Turin airport and St. Veran. The scenery is nice and there is a stop about half-way. The walking footpaths were un-crowded. We only came across a few locals and no other large groups.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Linda Cunningham

    Perfect Adventure

    I can not recommend this adventure enough: Mongolia is a special country and Exodus provided the ideal adventure to highlight all aspects of Mongolia and Mongolian life. We aren’t really mountain bikers but the biking was superb - not particularly easy - but truly enjoyable in terms of terrain, scenery and fun riding. We aren’t really campers - but have to admit it was kinda enjoyable in the end 😎. Food on the trip was exceptional - we were v well fed: breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon snack, substantial dinner. Ghana and her assistant certainly kept us well fed. We even had a shower and a proper sit down toilet on camp 😎. The whole Mongolian support team were superb and NK - our guide - was a special guy. Knowledgable, funny, kind and considerate - he really made our adventure special.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Biking along with a herd of Mongolian horses zooooming alongside us was pretty special. Although the laugh we had playing football v Mongolian team was hilarious 😆

    What did you think of your group leader?

    NK was superb: can’t fault him in anyway. Knowledgeable, funny, cheerful, friendly and v capable. He made our adventure special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get out on your mountain bike and get away on this adventure: you’ll love it. I’d highly recommend going on the Naadam departure.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a v special holiday. Mongolia was special, NK and his team were special. Naadam Festival was exciting and fun and I felt Exodus has pulled out all the stops to make the Festival experience great for us.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Lucy Chaldecott

    A marvellous week in the mountains!

    My dad and I have just returned from the Dolomites. We had an absolutely amazing week and I cannot rate it highly enough for keen mountain walkers. With varied walks, beautiful views, excellent guides and cheerful company from fellow hikers, it has been a very memorable week; I am so pleased that i chose this spectacular trip. Thank you to everyone for making it such a happy holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beautiful, high up ridge walks with undulating paths stretching for miles ahead, with dramatic views down into the valleys. Standing in the snow at the top of Piz Boe at over 3,000m was also pretty inspirational!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Albert and Martin were outstanding leaders, and they swapped between the grades of walks each day so we got to know them both. They proved to be not only organised, knowledgable and highly competent, but also kind, friendly and funny. Thanks for all the excellent mountain refuge stops!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go prepared for all weathers and temperatures - sometimes we needed shorts, sun hats and sun cream, and sometimes waterproofs and gloves. Best be prepared and take it all! Dad and I hired bikes for half of our free day which I would highly recommend. Also enjoy the sauna downstairs in the hotel, and take a kettle for your room if you’re a keen tea drinker!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Best to stick to either grade 3 or 5 for all of the week to avoid overlap in the walks between days. Other than that, just book this trip, it is beautiful and you will love it!
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