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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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4726 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Cathérine Delnooz

    Not off the beaten path, mainly just strolls

    In part beautiful walks over wall and with views. In part disappointment: strolls, not off the beaten path, no local rural life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walk at Gubeiko and Juankou are great!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jack: touristy leader, good English, does not follow itinerary - lunch is more important than hike.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not go on this trip if you want an all off the beaten holiday. Day 2-3-7 are a real disappointment. There is no real experience of local life in villages. Hikes are often just strolls and much shorter than stated in the itinerary.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Nick Ball

    Tough but rewarding Mera Peak climb

    Tough but rewarding holiday resulting in successful ascent of Mera Peak - many thanks to Bikash, Kaji and Ngima! The first week of the holiday trekking around the Hinku valley is good acclimatisation preparation although if you are not used to steep uneven ground (think lots of large rocks and boulders) it is hard work with long days - climbs and descents are of the region 700m a day. Some extra sessions were also added to further help acclimatisation and practice climbing using the jumar and abseiling, plus walking on the glacier in crampons. These were useful as I hadn't used crampons for nearly 4 years. I thought the itinerary was well planned and felt well prepared once ascending from Khare to Mera La, the High Camp and the summit. The teahouses on the route are basic but good - many have internet, coffee and bakeries (especially on the main route up from Kote to Tangnag to Khare) but be prepared for many meals of Dhal Baat, veg fried rice, macaroni, tuna pizza or similar. Suggest bringing a water filter unit or you can spend a lot on boiled water every day. At Khare I hired the climbing equipment and full down jacket and trousers for the summit and was glad I'd hired all the warmest gear available as there were very strong winds on Mera Peak on the day of the summit ascent so some of the group had to turn back. The middle section of the ascent in particular is very testing and seems to endlessly go up a steep slope up for several hours with what seems like slipping back 1 step for every 2 steps taken. However once the sun comes up and you start to see the outlines of the mountains you get a massive boost and it starts to feel a bit easier. The views of the mountains get more and more spectacular the higher you go, but there are also amazing views and scenery in the forests in Hinku Valley and on the last few days going back to Lukla via the Zatrwa La on a huge stone staircase. It was warm and sunny on the return (Oct-19) so crampons or Yaktrax weren't needed here. Returned to Kathmandu for a free day to try and relax and recover during Diwali celebrations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Mera Peak for the first time, and during the summit ascent when the sun comes up and you start to see the outlines of the mountains was a massive boost. The scenery is amazing throughout.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bikash was excellent - very knowledgeable and approachable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The teahouses on the route are basic but good - many have internet, coffee and bakeries (especially on the main route up from Kote to Tangnag to Khare) but be prepared for many meals of Dhal Baat, veg fried rice, macaroni, tuna pizza or similar. Suggest bringing a water filter unit or you can spend a lot on boiled water every day. If you use walking poles these can be bought cheaply in the many hiking shops around Thamel in Kathmandu. They also managed to re-sole my hiking boots after they started falling apart before the trip! Bring lots of spare money as you can spend a lot of equipment even before getting to Lukla and there is a limit to how much you can take out of ATMs per day.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Fred Swaine

    Excellent time in Jordan

    An excellent way of seeing parts of Jordan. The trek in Wadi Rum was wonderful; a great way of taking the area in at a pace that allows one to appreciate its natural beauty. Scrambling up Burdah to the stone arch was fun and was a change from the daily trekking. Support worked well, particularly enjoyed the omelettes that were made for breakfast one morning. Petra is magnificent and appreciated our guide Mohammed leading us to the less crowded areas, explaining how the city developed and managed its water. Little Petra was fascinating and only has a fraction of the crowds at Petra itself. Would highly recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The desert nights were warm enough to sleep outside the tent under the stars - starry sky was splendid - it was a quiet highlight of the trip for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mohammed Abdul Aziz was a great group leader; engaged with all members of the group and a source of history and understanding of the surroundings.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Trekking was relatively easy and should not deter people from doing the trip. We did pause in the early afternoon after lunch so we were not hiking at peak temperatures.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A fine means of experiencing parts of Jordan.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Karen Sanchez

    Perfect introduction to Greek islands

    I had never been to Greece before and decided that this trip might be a good place to start. I wasn’t disappointed. It was well organised with walks of just the right distance and variety for me and in good company. All hotels were comfortable although plumbing a little variable! Thanos was an excellent guide and insured that we got the most out of the trip. Nothing was too much trouble. He was particularly good at organising mealtimes; choosing excellent restaurants and swiftly calculating everybody’s individual bill at the end. I thought all three islands were beautiful but particularly Paros . Santorini is definitely worth a trip for sensational views and a great walk but not somewhere I would return as just too busy in the main centres -a forest of selfie sticks! My only regret is not spending a few days in Athens at the beginning or end but all round a superb trip. Thank you Exodus. I’ve already booked the next one!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too hard to pick just one; exploring the labyrinth of little streets on Naxos and Paros breathtaking sunset on Santorini and hiking along the caldera there. We are very lucky with the weather which made the ferry trips enjoyable as well , beautiful views

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thanos Was an excellent guide nothing was too much trouble. He was extremely knowledgeable about all three islands pointing out interesting historical and geographical features along the way.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Annie Hibberd

    Magical mountains in Italy

    This beautiful undiscovered corner of northern Tuscany was both a delight and a surprise, and especially gorgeous in all its autumn glory. If you love mountains and views come here. If you love trees, they make the walking even better. There are Medieval villages too and gorgeous local food and wine. Perhaps a little more strenuous than other grade 3 trips, but with a good pair of boots, walking poles, lovely Braccicorti cooking in your belly and the best guide ever, you will reach heights, literally, you hadn't imagined. With two exceptions, all of our group were 60+ and it was all achievable and a good challenging mixture of climbs and descents (with a fine hostelry at the end in most cases!) The walks were all interesting and varied in the amazing geography of Garfagnana with a brilliant day out to Lucca in the middle of the week. Don't hesitate - just go there!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the top of Monte Prado in clear warm weather in late October. The autumn colours of the beech trees, which extend to the tree line, were just beautiful - and catching a glimpse of a golden eagle on the way down. Walking up through the dappled light of the beech woods, knowing there were wild boar, deer and even wolves (higher up) unseen, but there nonetheless.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara is probably the best guide I have had the pleasure of walking with. Her love and knowledge of the area shines through as well as her vast skill and experience at getting the very best - plus a bit more - out of us motley crew. If I knew she was leading another trip (assuming the endurance levels were within my reach!) I would not hesitate to choose it. She went above and beyond to make two birthday celebrations on the final day most memorable - especially her home made cakes!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take good boots, definitely walking poles - and learn how to use them properly. Layers and rain protection. Late October was lovely and warm on most of the days, but a hat and fleece at the summit was welcome, even in bright sunshine. Leave your busy life behind and be ready to immerse yourself in the amazing peace of the mountains.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to be amazed and delighted.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Lajos Hanzel

    A fantastic trek and Machu Picchu

    Memorable hike in the Andes without any other turist on the trek, fantastic valleys and mountains plus 1 day Inka trail reaching Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. This was an all-in-one trek.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After an Exhausting steep hike to 4600m ridge suddenly getting the first glimps of Mt. Veronika...wow!!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thanks to our leader, Fabrizio, I know much more about Peruvian life, culture and the Inka history.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Add an extra day in Cusco for acclimatisation just in case your flight is delayed or cancelled.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Ron Hunt

    TNX191008

    Great trip fulfilled all our expectations. The trekking was hard work but the scenery made it all worth while. The guide was excellent as were all the porters and local guides. And really appreciated the comfort of the lodges and the good, varied foods they provided.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sunrise views of the Annapurnas from most of the lodges, especially Himalaya Lodge in Ghandruk and Basanta Lodge in Dhampus.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Prem Gurung was excellent. Extremely knowledgeable and friendly, he made sure that everyone who needed any sort of help was looked after by himself or one of the other guides/porters. Attentive and professional in everything he did. Nothing asked of him was too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't need to take much in the way of protein bars. On the hard trekking days the lodges provided a substantial mid morning snack. And had no problems with runny noses, so brought home lots of packs of tissues.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    4 of the Ker and Downey Lodges didn't provide Wifi, although there was a signal in their village. Should be rectified for luxury lodges.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Phillip Burrows

    Trekking in the dramatic Pindus Mountains

    Beginning in Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, we travel westwards by minibus for 4.5 hours to reach Zagoria with its spectacular arch stone bridges. The scenery was spectacular walking amongst 5 of the bridges which date back as far as the 17th century and is a masterpiece of local architecture. There was a hike up to the Astraka Mountain refuge which commanded a 360 degree awe- inspiring views of rugged mountains and watching the sunset was amazing. The trek ended in Meteora where we arrive to another spectacular sunset over the rock pillars of mountains where monasteries are located on the tops. We followed the hiking paths of the 12th century monks and visited one of the top-cliff monasteries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the Astraka Mountain hut and seeing the breathtaking mountains surrounding the area. Also one of the best sunsets I have ever seen. Seeing the monasteries perched on mountain tops and the formation of stone column type mountains was also another highlight for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stavros was very knowledgeable and insightful of the history, geography and culture of all the regions and imparted this on to us with enthusiasm. The group was large and he had many questions to deal with which he did patiently. He was aware of people's abilities and kept everyone in sight and waited at regular intervals for the back markers including myself. He even carried my rucksack at the end of a grueling long day. Stavros was an excellent and patient guide with a great sense of humour and seemed to care for everyone in the group. You always felt in safe hands with Stavros leading.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do train hard for this trek. There are some steep ascents as well as hot weather conditions to contend with. Some of the days are quite long arriving back to the guest houses after 6.30pm. Trekking poles are essential especially helpful on steep descents.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trek takes you through some dramatic and awe-inspiring scenery in the Pindus Mountains. Be prepared for sensory overload!
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Yvonne Fitzpatrick

    Excellent

    Adventurous walking & scrambling along the dramatic coastline & remote villages of Island of Evia. Tasting delicious cousin of their culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving, meeting the group leader & the rest of the travellers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Cecile was very passionate about Greece, Karystos Isle of Evia & the adventures she was taking us on. Safety conscious & a lovely sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you take all equipment that has been advised. Strong boots which supports your ankles very important as you could easily twist your ankle/s in the rough terrain.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be open to your adventures & enjoy every moment.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Ray Wronski

    Great way to get into nature

    Nepal has always been a place I have wanted to visit, especially due to the fact it hosts some of the tallest mountains in the world. I chose the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek because I wasn't sure my reaction to the high altitude of Everest Base Camp and also it was different. I lucked out with my trip for many reasons: small group (5 trekkers, 2 guides, 3 porters), good weather (sunny and clear mornings, no rain while walking), great guides (Ram and Maila took great care of us and made sure we all made it up to ABC and back with no incidents). During our trek we saw many other groups, specifically on the first few days and it surprised me that their "guides" did not keep the group together or seem to be properly pacing. The Exodus guides made sure we took smart breaks and typically had one person leading, the other at the back so as to not leave people behind or spread the group out too much. For me, waking up each morning getting closer and closer to ABC, seeing the sunrise gleaming off the white snowy peaks of the Annapurna range, those are images that are forever engrained on my memory (and camera). This trek has lots of stone steps, and although I consider myself physically fit, it is demanding. However, the payoff is seeing the beauty of Nepal and being removed from modern amenities like cars and other conveniences. I found the food in the tea houses good value for the money, especially Dal Bhat, which is almost an 'all you can eat' meal. Overall the trip is a great way to see the Himalayas and experience a bit of Nepalese culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the porters, not just for our group but on all the paths. The loads they carry and the means by which they carry the bags/construction materials/etc. should make you rethink what you may complain about back at home. We sometimes struggled on the trails with our day packs (maybe 7-10kg total) and some of these porters were transporting 50kg worth of concrete or long steel bars for buildings. Besides that, just seeing the mountains every morning. I took lots of photos, many of the same peak but from various distances and angles. For me, I couldn't get tired of seeing that beauty.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ram and Maila were great. They took excellent care of us, made sure we stayed healthy and safe, and had fun with us. The small group allowed us to get to know each other and that made a big difference in our experience on this trek.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definite items to bring if you are unsure what is really necessary: toilet paper, walking poles, layers. Don't worry too much about brings lots of clothes; if I were to do this trek again or another similar one, I would stick with maybe 3 changes while trekking and 2 more for the days in the cities. Also the food is quite inexpensive so if you aren't ordering dessert or soft drinks you can expect to spend about $12-17 (or equivalent) per day (about 1500 - 2000 NPR). If you forget any trekking items and arrive in Kathmandu early, go to Thamel, you'll get great deals.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be open and don't expect 4 or 5 star quality in the tea houses. Saying they are basic is being kind; however were we surprised in a few (positively).