Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed July 2019
    Chris Hull

    Enjoyable Peruvian trekking

    This is a great trip to visit Cusco, The Andes and Machu Picchu, including physical, culinary and cultural delights. As with all activity at altitude, a good fitness level is no guarantee that altitude symptoms will not occur, however it will certainly make the trekking more manageable and help assure that the group remains together. The Moonstone Trek provides the opportunity for high Andean trekking away from the crowds that can be experienced on the "Inca Trail". However, from discussions with other travelers, the Inca Trail offers greater variety of flora whilst trekking in the cloud forest. The landscape on the trek is stunning, but generally involves fairly barren and rugged mountain-scapes, as might be expected at such altitudes. Visiting in July, the days were warm to hot and the nights often sub-zero, requiring a range of clothing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It’s difficult to identify a single highlight, but Machu Picchu is set in a stunning landscape and a marvel to behold, whilst Cusco offers a more Spanish colonial feel and waking-up on a mountainside always stimulates the senses.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabrizzio, our main tour leader, was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No amount of training can counter the impact of altitude, but a good fitness level should help assure enjoyment whilst trekking and even walking around Cusco. A good sleeping bag and warm layers will help with avoiding the evening/night cold and getting a sound sleep.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Niamh K

    Great week - stunning scenery!

    Another great Exodus trip. Breathtaking scenery, pleasant walks & good company made it a very enjoyable week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The rugged coastline with fantastic beaches - I particularly liked Sagres.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Luis & Sofia were great - attentive, well organised, knowledgeable & catered for all needs of the group. They did a fantastic job in showcasing their beautiful country & went out of their way to ensure we all had a good holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Highly recommend this trip - book it!
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Jane Bell

    A great introduction to hiking in Greece

    The trip was well constructed with a varied walking itinerary. There were some spectacular views, testing climbs and beautiful riverside moments, as well as the sights at Meteora. The accommodation was comfortable and the food options well thought out.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the first sight of the Monasteries at Meteora - but there were plenty of fabulous views throughout.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leader was helpful and responsive. He made sensible adjustments to the itinerary to capitalise on good weather and was sensitive to the wishes of the whole group

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Dragon Lake day is a long day but reasonably paced. We were very lucky with the weather which is obviously not assured for all trips - good waterproofs would be wise whatever the forecast. It would have been rather miserable if soaking wet and the refuge is unheated in Summer so there would be no chance to dry out. Extra snacks were welcome on the longer days. The ‘kit list’ accurately reflects what is necessary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The village guesthouses greatly exceeded expectations.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Frances Carr

    To the source of the Ganges and much more.

    Stunning Himalayan scenery combined with the fascinating spiritual side of India to be found in Rishikesh and Gangotri.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The time spent at Tapovan, camping at the base of the beautiful Mount Shivling and walking through the snow towards Meru base camp surrounded by spectacular peaks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were very lucky to have Rajeev as our group leader. He is a from the area which made a big difference when he led us off the usual tracks and knew alternative routes when one of the paths was closed due to rock falls. We were privileged to be taken to his home in Barsu where he introduced us to his family who gave us tea and hospitality while it poured with rain outside. A rare, intimate glimpse into local life in this rural location. His English is excellent and he was able to answer all our questions as well as being a good companion within the group and a mean card player.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The hotels were a little more 'basic' than those usually used by Exodus in this part of the world so be prepared to use your sleeping bag on occasion and wear flip-flops around the rooms and bathrooms.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The downside of this holiday (and the reason I've only given 4 points instead of 5) was the horrendous traffic jams we encountered. In particular the journey from Barsu to Gangotri. We sat in insane traffic jams for (literally) hours on end while buses and coaches tried to manoeuvre past each other on a narrow road with seemingly no traffic rules. The journeys all took much longer than the trip notes suggest and after consulting with the group, a couple of the cultural parts of the itinerary were abandoned. The hill station of Mussoorie was massively congested with traffic and the noise of horns combined with the awful pollution levels made it particularly unpleasant to walk around.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Alan Colgate

    Undiscovered Trails of Cape Verde

    The trip was different from what I was expecting but very enjoyable at the same time. Some of the trails were difficult for me especially when going down steep slopes and I was not the only one who felt it should have been graded 4 not 3. As I am interested in geology I found the island of Santo Antao particularly interesting with the frequent evidence of its volcanic past. Also the local guide was passionate about 'his Island' and very informative. One problem which could have been avoided was that when we were at Cha de Morte (I think that it was the name) we were kept awake all night from 9pm to 7am with extremely loud broadcast 'music' as it was their annual 'festival' just that night. To sum up I am glad I went!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    1. The exciting ferry crossing to Santo Antao (the sea was quite rough), and 2. the coastal walk on Day 5 to Ponta do Sol. The cliffs are geologically extremely interesting. Although the walk is very hilly there is a decent coastal path the whole way so the slopes did not bother me at all.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A very friendly helpful person.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    To note that many of the paths require a good balance going down and the later suggestion by Exodus of bringing walking poles was necessary for those not so agile.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Island are anything but 'green' as the name may suggest. It never rains but relies on moisture from clouds on the higher points similar to Madeira and the other Atlantic Islands.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    andrew goodwin

    Undiscovered Trails of Cape Verde

    A good combination of walking and culture. Spectacular mountain scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the walk from Cha de Morte to Alto Mira was my favourite, but all walks were very good. Also enjoyed the visit to the guitar maker, plus the musical recital.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alveno was very enthusiastic and obviously enjoyed his job. Very aware of the environmental issues, as you would expect.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a strenuous walk in very hot weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The live music during meals could be intrusive and make conversation difficult.
  • Capo Verde Discovered

    Until this Exodus trip appeared, I did not know where Cabo Verde was. We took a chance to go to a country emerging from the 3rd world, and I'm glad we did. Great hikes, interesting vistas, great guides.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was inspired by the people of Cabo Verde. They have struggled from poverty at independence in 1975, out in the Atlantic, without rain and with only the sun and seas around them, to build a liberal democratic country. The people are kind and seem to treat others with respect.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alveno was great. He made all the arrangements work like 'clockwork'. He always made sure we had lots of Exodus-provided bottled water to drink. He also arranged for and joined us for meals outside of the Exodus programme. On each of the 3 islands, we were joined by a local island guide who led the hikes and walks around the sites. Alveno and local guides acted in tandem providing information and answering our questions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In January 2019 Cabo Verde changed entry requirements and taxes. Members of EU-like countries do not need a visa, but pay CVE 3400 (currently euro 31) Airport Security Tax (TSA) on entry. In addition to the TSA, other non-Cabo Verde and non-EU-like nationals must also get a visa for euro 25. Many people who require a visa get one from their local embassy or consulate before arrival at the airport, but Canada has neither. There are 3 lines at Praia airport: International, one for nationals and Visa. We were directed by immigration staff to International, which was wrong, and then went to near the end of the Visa line. We were at least 30 minutes later than everybody else getting through. This was not because there was a problem with our entry but because, while we were getting processed, the rest of the staff appeared to be trying to balance and close up with the head who was on the Visa booth. The group leader along with the other Exodus travelers waited for us. Then the group leader sent us to currency exchange at the airport to buy CVE for the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    (1) This was the second time this trip was offered, the first time being in March. The group flight arrived at ~11PM for both trips, so there was no walk around Praia on day 1 as the trip notes state, which we knew. However, the group didn't know that there were lots of other trip note errors, and these errors helped create some less than pleasant discussions. Unexpected changes, e.g. from a ferry cancellation, are understandable. Exodus should correct the trip notes to reflect the trip that the local company is providing. (2) This trip is rated as moderate. Having done easy-moderate, moderate and more than moderate Exodus trips, I think moderate is the correct assessment. Poles are useful on some sections of some walks; boots are required most days. People can become sore or sick and miss a day or more (I have had both in past Exodus trips). But please don't expect guides and the rest of the group to cater to people who don't want to hike on a hiking trip.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Craig Venes

    Undiscovered trails of Cape Verde

    This was a good opportunity to visit the lesser known islands of Cape Verde. Go prepared for hard walks in high temperatures and an open mind.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk in the Paul Valley was a nice change from the very dry and desolate landscape of the other walks but the best part was completing the coastal walk and arriving at a very nice hotel!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was our tour leaders first time running the tour. He was a very nice person but did get a bit stressed when it was pointed out that our itinerary was different to the one that he had been provided with. This was not his fault and there were several discrepancies despite the trip notes being recently updated. He was very proud of his country and very involved in social projects. All in all, he did a good job and was always on time and very cheerful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure that you are fit before you go. The walks are harder than described and these are made harder by the heat. The second walk was very difficult and may have been better if it had been done later in the tour so that you would be used to the walks. There is also an extra walk on the day that you would go to the farmers market. This is quite a long walk and does not really have any highlights to speak of. Poles are useful as there are lots of ascents and descents. Also wear decent boots with good grip as it is often quite slippery underfoot. Once you get used to the conditions, the walks become easier and you are able to take in the scenery. It hasn’t rained in the areas walked for 2 years so I wouldn’t bother with wet weather gear. Also the temperature was always warm, so a fleece or jumper was not needed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food provided is of a good standard and there is plenty of it. Lunches are generally sandwiches or a pasta/rice salad. Water is provided but make sure that you have enough water bottles to last the length of the walk as it is not always possible to get more on the walk.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    John Atherton

    Interesting and varied walking

    Walking a new area in warm weather looked interesting – and it was. The first walk: a short steep descent followed by an interesting green valley to the coast, was a gentle introduction. The next, on Santo Antao, was hard work, culminating in a very long descent. Might have been better later in the trip when we were a bit more used to the terrain. Good paths in general, lots of cobbled paths plus a bit of loose stuff. Great scenery, rock formations, mountain and coastal views, assorted cultivation, even a couple of monkeys. Knowledgeable and considerate local guides.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Volcanic mountain scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good, proud of her country. Lots of information, good time keeping.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be hill fit – Lakes, Dales, etc. Walking pole(s) useful for descents.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Simple graphical representation of each walk profile in the trip notes would have been useful.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Derek Henderson

    Harder than expected walks

    Although the trip notes said this was a cat 3 some of the treks especially the first day on Santo Antao were a bit harder but that di not detract from a fantastic holiday in a wonderful country. A mixed group ranging from 80's to 40's but all got on well. The guides were great.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the cliff path to Ponta do Sol, especially the "Stations of the cross" section.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was very good, possibly a bit shrill, partly I think because thefe as an Exodus rep reviewing the trip. Like most leaders tended to treat everyone as if they were children. All in all I was very happy with her.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some hard walking and some rustic accomodation. Go with an open mind and you will not be disapointed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    no
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