Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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17959 Reviews

  • Reviewed October 2021

    Spectacular

    What a wonderful experience! I had complete confidence in our tour guide Karl - his expertise, knowledge and humor made this trip a wonderful trip. Karl was able to assess our group and tailor our hikes to our abilities and challenged each of us. His knowledge of the Dolomites and the incredible history of the area and his explanations made this trip incredibly interesting as well. He kept our minds and bodies busy! Hotel Adler - wonderful to come back to after a day of hiking. The spa and pool was such a nice luxury to enjoy after a day of hiking. The food was plenty and delicious. The staff at Hotel Adler made every effort to ensure our stay was perfect. I highly recommend this trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The breathtaking views of the mountains. I was in awe.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl was fantastic! I have complete confidence in his abilities and enjoyed listening to him tell us about the Dolomites and the history of the area. His sense of humor made every day fun. He set the bar VERY high for any other group leader that I may have on my next adventure!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book with Exodus!
  • Reviewed October 2021

    A Real Adventure

    When I got back I was asked several times ‘did you have a good time / holiday’? It felt like the wrong question. This trip required a LOT of physical effort, with consecutive days of several hours walking up steep inclines. But damn… what an adventure!! It was an ‘experience’ – clambering up rocky dirt tracks in an arid heat the first day, before sauntering through Berber villages that feel like a lost world. Ascending to cooler climes with endless vistas that seem to go on almost to the Atlantic Ocean… to clambering over scree fields in the dark with only your head-torch spotlight to illuminate the final push up the mountain before you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a petite lady in our group turn up at 5am for the climb, after the previous day spent recuperating in bed dealing with an unexpected illness… and then leaving me in her dust!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Youssef was a star. Though young, he had a calm about him that inspired confidence – you always felt looked after, and every contingency prepared for. Once he realised my mischievous sense of humour he also displayed a deft ability for dead-pan wind-ups. He also displayed supreme patience – which sadly was needed more times than should have been the case due to one member of the group who turned up woefully out of shape and IMO should never have been on the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Exodus category for this trip is ‘Challenging’. I would not disagree with that. I’m early 50s, a little too fond of real ale, and only an occasional hiker (partly due to problems with mechanics of one foot, but I won’t bore you on that…). I booked this trip with 2 months to go, and started to do some prep – each weekend going on hike for couple of hours, maybe 6-8 miles over rocky ground. I also started some cardio (jogging to the pub) and weights (deadlift) – but of course it’s impossible to prep for a 4000m mountain in the UK – my main motivation being “I don’t want to be that person holding everyone up at the back”. In the end I did ok, almost always being in the middle of ‘the pack’, only close to the summit starting to find breathing difficult. In comparison: one person turned up with no prep, but he’d been there before, works as a farmer, and got the nickname ‘Terminator’ – he took it all in his stride. Another turned up hugely overweight, and poorly conditioned… every day he held us up again and again... until Youssef was resourceful enough to allocate the cook (!) as his personal baby-sitter! In conclusion: be realistic with yourself about your fitness levels. Don’t be that person, that as one of our members wittily said: “let himself down, let the group down, and let the mountain down”!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I didn’t take poles – they seemed really useful, as opposed to me skipping from one scree boulder to another. Similarly fluid bladders with those tubes you can just sip from as needed. Youssef’s mother makes chocolate cakes from heaven – she should be on MasterChef. There are lots of cats on the trail… make friends with them and they will help you.
  • Reviewed October 2021

    Spectacular

    The Dolomite landscape is spectacular in itself, but having our guide Karl to show us paths and sights and history off the beaten path are what made our trip fabulous. Hotel Adler in Villabassa made our stay evenings luxurious.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl did a great job understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the group to provide opportunities for challenge for all. His thorough knowledge of the area and humour made for a great trip.
  • Reviewed September 2021

    The Dolomites Never Disappoint

    In truly bewildering fashion, every view in the Dolomites is a good view -- this is the fact my husband and I came to discover on our wonderful week in the region, hiking through the valleys, mountains, and villages. The history of the region is deep and fascinating (and remnants still exist and can be found on your hikes!), the landscape stunningly gorgeous, and the food and hotel top-notch. I can't recommend this trip enough and my husband and I were exceptionally pleased that this was our first trip since the start of the pandemic! We had been here before on the Exodus cycling trip, but feel as though the region is much more memorable and enjoyable through hiking. Super glad we opted to return!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's impossible to pick just one. Every day's hike was gorgeous and rewarding, with a bit (or a ton) of history to go along with it. Our walk to Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee was beautiful and pleasant, with the juxtaposition of its historical significance at the end of WWII leaving us with plenty to reflect on. Likewise, the WWI leftovers scattered in the forests and mountains serve as reminders to the futility of war. It's a struggle to articulate the feelings evoked by the reminders of so much bloodshed in the exact location where you're simply gobsmacked at the natural beauty and current tranquility of your surroundings.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Karl was, quite possibly, the exactly perfect guide. His knowledge of the region, familiarity with the people and landscape, and deep appreciation for it all made us feel fully engrossed in the area. Likewise, his innate knowledge of the areas we hiked and superb attention to the group's pace and interests kept us on time and constantly engaged every day. The man is a true professional, through and through, but he's also great fun to have a beer and chat with as well! We genuinely couldn't have hoped for a better leader for this trip -- he made an already fantastic experience near perfect. Thank you, Karl!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring good hiking poles! Be prepared for rain and sun, warm and cool weather! Especially in September we seemed to get it all, but I also remember the weather being similarly variable in June from our past trip here. Also, lovely as the Hotel Adler is, you may get stuck in a room where you're going to hear the church bells (and 5am deliveries to the grocery stores next door...) every single day. We wished we had some earplugs... Curiously, our first time here we heard absolutely none of that so it is a gamble. Best to have them just in case! Also, training for steep ascents and descents on the hikes is also not a bad idea. Especially on the Monte Piana/Monte Piano hike, you're in for straight up at the beginning. Likewise, at the Tre Cime park, the ups and downs are no joke. All of it is great fun to look back on and give yourself a rightly deserved pat on the back for though (along with a beer!).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you're making your way to Niederdorf not with the included-flight folks, I am strongly convinced it's *much easier* to get there from the Austrian side than from the Italian side. The train station is about a 5 minute walk from the hotel and might be worth considering if, say, you wanted to join from Munich.
  • Reviewed September 2021

    Great mixture of hiking and sightseeing

    Really enjoyed the variety in this trip. There was a walk every day plus the chance to visit the historic parts of Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar. Most days there was an opportunity to swim in the sea. Some of our group opted out of the hardest walks, which gave them time to have a relaxing day by the sea.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There wasn’t one single moment, but I particularly enjoyed all the views from the various high points that we walked to. We were lucky with the weather and didn’t get rained on all week.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Jelco (Zelco? Not sure of spelling) was excellent. He was endlessly patient, very organised and fun to be around.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I approached this as a walking holiday, so didn’t pack properly for the swimming. I wish I had taken swim shoes as getting in and out the sea is on stones at all locations and was painful. I also only took a travel towel and didn’t take a beach cover-up. The Lufthansa flights weren’t at the most convenient of times and transited via Frankfurt. In these COVID times it makes sense to use group flights in case of cancellations. In normal times I may have considered booking my own flights instead.
  • Reviewed September 2021

    Walking in Andalucia

    What a perfect holiday! After a long time full of Covid restrictions, it was the perfect get a way. Yes, not my first choice, BUT I am so, so glad I was on this trip. Not one regret! A week with beautiful, relaxing walks in different regions; some very well known like Caminito del Rey (but defenitly a must see), others a in less touristic region but nevertheless still worth the climb (El Penon and Sierra de Grazalema). All this guided by a wonderful guide, with an overall great knowledge and fun character. The free day in Seville is defenitly to recommend. The small hotel is a little gem in between the olive trees, lovely owners an d a very good chef in the kitchen.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day had its little beautiful highlights; the tapas lunch on the local square between the Spanish families, the amazing scenery and fantastic walking in the national Park of Siera de grazalema, the breathtaking views of the Caminito de Rey,and even getting lost in Seville was fun!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mike, Miguel or Michael....What a great personality! Full of knowledge about the area, always in a good mood and in for a laugh. Really making sure all of us were feeling okay and enjoying the trip to the fullest. Never afraid to go, literally, the extra mile to give us an extra ordinary service.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a great holiday; full of wonderful walks, professional guide, good food, cozy hotel, explore Seville city, time to relax,... etc ENJOY IT!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    a region well worth a visit! Nice variety of beautiful walks in different areas and one day of culture inSeville.
  • Reviewed September 2021

    Loved it!

    I am just back from an amazing week in North Cyprus as part of a lovely group, and led by fantastic guide, Gizer. This trip is an interesting combination of walking and history which I very much enjoyed. It was very hot at times; one of my highlights was swimming in the Mediterranean at the end of a long walk from Kantara on day 4. We all went on the optional trip to Famagusta - this was well worth while. We also very much enjoyed the local food and drink in the evenings!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Covid threat is taken very seriously. Some places we visited required production of our vaccination/PCR documentation before entry (even although we were outside and very few others were there). I felt safe at all times. If you are a UK arrival and have not filled in a Passenger Locator Form before, I would recommend that you have a look at it before you travel to ensure that you have all the details required to hand. You can partially fill it in and save it for submitting later.
  • Reviewed September 2021

    Wonderful Trip

    We were one of the lucky first groups able to travel post-Covid lockdown, and what a way to re-start travel! The trip was excellent with a fantastic mixture of cities, culture, landscape and activities. Morocco is a very diverse country, with so much to see and experience. I found the people friendly and welcoming, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Our guide, Fouad, was outstanding, as was our driver Mo-Mo, and both took such good care of our group from start to finish. There were too many great experiences to mention them all, but the walking tours through Rabat, Fez and Meknes were all awesome - all of the local guides were so enthusiastic to share their country and knowledge with us and we were very lucky to get to experience it with them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sleeping under the stars in the Sahara was a dream come true. We were lucky to have perfect clear skies and the Milky Way was incredibly bright and clear. Waking up early to take an optional morning camel trek out to the dunes to watch the sunrise (having already camel trekked for the sunset the previous day) and seeing the sand change colours as the light changed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fouad was absolutely outstanding. He went out of his way to make sure everyone got the most out of their trip and was constantly organising added little extras (tea and cake at a local home in the Atlas Mountains; local live music demonstration on the edge of the desert; organising for specific shops to open early so a few more last-minute souvenirs could be purchased). He was super organised and never once lost his smile and humour. He took great care of everyone, especially when a few of our group member suffered from dodgy stomachs, and made sure everyone had access to pharmacies and extra stops whenever necessary. He was truly like family by the end of the trip. Likewise, our diver Mo-Mo was such a lovely gentleman, always ready with a smile and a helping hand. He took incredible care of us in the bus and made us all feel very safe whilst on the roads.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Embrace the culture and the experiences and go with the right attitude to try everything (ride the camel, climb that sand dune, try the tagine, explore the souks). Do not go expecting 5* western accommodation, facilities or food - it is not that kind of holiday. Be prepared that, although the trip is rated "leisurely", it is not a relaxing, slow-paced trip. The holiday is pretty full on for the whole two weeks to ensure that you get the absolute most out of it and it is completely worth it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Make sure you leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs - beautiful leather goods from the tanneries in Fez; art and silver jewellery in Essaouira; pottery in Meknes.
  • Reviewed September 2021

    Fabulous, though in the heat of September 2021 probably more moderate than leisurely.

    Breathtaking views, fabulous fresh Greek food and time (if you have the energy left) to stroll 5 minutes to a local beach at the end of each day's walk. Our guide Charlotte (known to literally everyone on the island as Nanou, had an infectious smile, bags of enthusiasm and a motto of 'everything is possible' to help make this holiday memorable. With temperatures being hotter than normal, some of the steeper ascents were a little hard work, and I'd recommend taking walking poles just to help you up and down the steepest parts of the walk to see the 700 year old Roman Columns.. The hotel is quite basic, but the water is drinkable straight from the tap as the supply comes from a stream. Your room will have a kettle and a supply of local tea and coffee, so if you hanker for a brew in your room, you can.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching 700 year old Roman Columns perched on the hillside (it felt like a mountainside), and seeing the views back down to the port of Karystos and Castello Rosso perched on an adjoining hill, that was to be our next ascent. Worth all the effort.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Charlotte was excellent, and really helped make the trip memorable...on the second days walk we passed a vineyard and feigned shock that it wasn't on our itinerary to visit for the wine tasting tour...;-) For the 4th day's walk to the reach the Roman aqueduct, Charlotte rejigged our route and arranged for us to have the wine tasting tour; a superb way to end that days walk...Went above and beyond each and every day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring walking poles, even if you have never used them before, there are parts, possibly more on the descents where you will be grateful for having extra help / reassurance with your footing; mine are a cheap pair and were perfectly adequate. Walking trainers might just about be okay on the morning walk to Marmari, but for the rest of the routes, ankle support walking boots are essential. Free up plenty of memory on your phone / camera; you'll have so many opportunities to take photograph. If you have a drone, bring that too; sadly it was too windy on the walk to the Roman Columns, but I have some great images from other days. The Greek flysafe drone map can be found at https://dagr.hcaa.gr/#map_page

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks for another great walking holiday., hopefully see you again next year for another adventure.
  • Reviewed September 2021

    Wonderful Cornwall

    A very enjoyable 6 days walking. I've only marked it as very good as I had rooms that looked over roof tops and air conditioning units in both hotels. Some others in the group had harbour views and very big rooms. Be aware that the Old Custom House in Padstow has stairs up and down all over the place. Quite an adventure finding your room!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The north coast is stunning and the visit to The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had Gaby and Tatty as our guides. They are exceptional young women, multi-talented, organised, caring and fun. They always had a supply of snacks and wine gums ready when required! They made this trip very special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you pre-book a taxi if you are going by train to Bodmin Parkway. There were only a couple of taxis there and they were both pre-booked. One cabby tried phoning for me but couldn't get anyone. The bus was supposed to arrive in 3 minutes and 35 minutes later we were still waiting for it. Luckily then a taxi did arrive that took me and two others to Padstow.