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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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577 Reviews

  • Great insight into Catalonia

    A week snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees, with good snow and a great guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Great views on our last days when the skies fully cleared.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Miguel was particularly good and gave a detailed and very personal insight into Catalonia and the Pyrenees. He give evening talks on Bears, the geography of the Pyrenees and even local cheese sampling with very good wine provided to ensure an authentic experience. He was clearly well informed about the region and picked each days walk with a critical eye on the weather and where we would experience the best snow conditions and weather. He has a wealth of experience and was open to sharing his views on the region, its politics and its challenges which gave a more in depth view adding to the overall experience. He is someone I would be delighted to meet up with again.
  • A great week, despite very little snow.

    I'm just back from this trip, and had a great time. The trip was full, with 16 people, and everyone was lovely. Villa Hermani is a great small hotel, and the food is excellent. Katharine and Herman are lovely hosts, and their Romanian cook is excellent. Our walk leader was Leo, their son, and he was good fun and a very capable guide. He had to make some difficult decisions because of the dodgy and changeable weather, and the varying abilities in the group,which he handled very well. It was great to have Rares (Alex) along as a second guide, and we really needed him at times. Magura - like most of Europe - has had a strange winter, so there was only a dusting of snow when we arrived. But, with that and a couple of further dumps of snow during the week, we managed 2 walks with snowshoes and 1 with yaktrax, as well as ordinary walking in hiking boots. I liked the mix of walking and cultural visits - bears, Saxon history, Bran Castle. And I stayed for 2 days in Bucharest at the end to see a bit more of Romania. It was so different it seemed like a totally different country!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lunch at the Curmatura Cabin - it snowed heavily while we were inside, and the whole world had changed when we came out.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Leo was excellent. He was very capable in the outdoors, and very sensible in his approach to problems. He was very aware of our health and safety - helping us up and down difficult bits, cutting side branches off fallen trees etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Have at least a modicum of fitness. It's not terribly strenuous, but neither is it leisurely. Most people hadn't snowshoed before, and that was fine. And definitiely bring yaktrax or equivalent - you'd be lost without them if you have ice like we did. And this is not a holiday for people scared of dogs - farm dogs run free everywhere, and are completely unavoidable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I probably spent a bit more than I expected, mainly on alcohol...
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Stunning scenery and exciting activities

    Finnish Lapland is exhilarating. So clean and spacious and quiet. We may not have seen the Northern Lights but the snowmobiles, huskies, reindeer and wilderness lodge all made up for it. An action packed weekend. Lovely food and hotel. Equipment provided was good. The guide Jenni was brilliant.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sunset across the frozen lake at the wilderness cabin. Speeding across a lake on a snow mobile at midnight. The delight of seeing the excited huskies rolling in the snow and drinking it. Feeding the baby reindeer.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jenni, our group leader was amazing. She worked so hard, staying up very late to try to locate the Northern Lights. Her cooking at the cabin was fantastic. She looked after us all very well. She was very knowledgeable and an excellent host. We all loved her Finnish irony.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a non stop weekend, and be prepared for very late nights. Take flip flops for the wilderness sauna. Contact lenses are better for the activities if you have them as glasses steam up very quickly. It does get very cold, but as long as you follow the trip notes and layer up and use the centres equipment you will be fine. Hotel and cabin are lovely and warm.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although this seems like a costly trip for only 3 nights it is well worth it as you get to travel to Europe's last wilderness and there are minimal costs once you are there: only alcohol and souvenirs. All food, including tea and coffee is included. Finnair were excellent too. Plenty of leg room, clean new planes, films on board and free drinks.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Walking in a winter wonderland

    This trip is a great way to get to know a corner of the Dolomites in the winter. The walks take you through wonderful scenery, often with no other people around. Walking up peaks in the fresh snow is a great feeling, especially when you get to the top!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    -

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jenny was not only a great leader, but also great company. Her love for the mountains shines through all the time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are at a decent level of fitness. Some experience of walking up and down mountains (not necessarily in the snow) is essential.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees

    Excellent trip & a great hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cathar grave stones,Tírv, Aigüestortes National Park, Espot mountains

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Miguel is a very competent mountain leader. He is also a walking encycopedia on Catalan history.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees

    A pleasant weeks snow shoe walking in the Catalan Pyrenees, although it was unseasonably warm so we had to go quite high to get decent snow. It's a beautifiul range of mountains with lots of traditional villages which are much nicer than the overdeveloped skiing centres in the Alps. The hotel in Rialp was fine, with a comfortable bed and powerful shower. Overall the food in the hotel was very good, although my bathroom could have done with a bit of TLC and the rooms are short of sitting space for couples, although there is always the bar area. Our tour leader was Miguel Ibanez, who's company deliver the tour as a package for Exodus. He has a deep love of Catalan and delighted in showing us the mountains and the local produce from the region.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final days walk above Espot, where we carried on abve the refuge into a bowl with a frozen lake and mountains all around. I also enjoyed the visit to the little museum in Sort on our rest day where we were told about the WWII refugees and Allied pilots who escaped via the Pyrenees.
  • The most beautiful views I have ever seen...

    ... and I've been to Canada, so that says a lot. Our group was extremely lucky with the weather. You basically walk up and down mountains every day, nothing interesting about that. It is the weather that controls what the views look like. I regret nothing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When I look back at my pictures, there are two moments that stand out. At the end of our visit to Brasov, we stopped at a viewpoint on our way to the restaurant. That view was epic. It was nightfall, the lights in the city were on and behind it, you could see the mountain, it was breathtaking. The walk to Bran was the most beautiful. I can not put it into words. I enjoyed every second of that walk.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas, the group leader was perfect. He knows the area really well and has a lot of experience guiding groups.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes. For some bizarre reason, I hadn't done that and I didn't have the right gear. Luckily I was able to borrow it, but still. I felt uncomfortable doing that, knowing I could break or lose something.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Brilliant Trip

    This is the fourth consecutive year my wife and I have done this trip, initially in Trins, then Seefeld and now Achenkirch. Despite some inclement weather for the Alps this was probably the best trip of all. Great group who gelled together, nice hotel and great food. As usual all the mountain huttes were a real treat. A really nice mix of walks and the treat of a toboggan ride after great coffee at the hutte at the top of the run.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After using the Karwendel lift the views of Achensee and the mountains from the top.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The third year Paul McDermott has been the group leader. Terrific leader, nothing is too much trouble and always a smile. Joins in the evening cards which was great fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good waterproofs as we walked for a day in torrential rain.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Highly recommended

    I can't recommend this trip enough. Having twice done its predecessor in Seefeld and also its sister summer trip, I had high expectations and wasn't disappointed. The scenery is spectacular, the hotel comfortable, the food excellent - we worked our way through a long list of Austrian and Tyrolean specialities each evening. Cosy Gasthauses and sunny terraces provided perfect surroundings for lunching on soup and strudel, a cable car gave stunning views over the lake and the more adventurous of us (not me!) took the chance to try toboganning down from one afternoon cake stop. Plenty of options for the free day - visiting Innsbruck was popular with our group though I went for the snow-shoeing over the pass in a blizzard option, fabulous but exhausting. And card games full of laughter and banter after dinner rounded off each day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing at the top of the pass, as a novice snowshoer on the free day, realising I'd made it up there on sheer willpower and the encouragement of my companions when half an hour before I'd wanted to just lie down in the snow and stay there..... A group who kept on laughing despite the weather......Watching a fabulous lady fight her way up a hill despite being exhausted and toboggan down in triumph.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a conversation about good leaders and great leaders and that the great ones go the extra mile, make you think you can do things , work tirelessly to see everyone has a great time. Oh, and let a couple of novices tag along on their one free day when they head off on snow shoes...…. This one is definitely in the 'great' category.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're dithering about whether it's for you, book it and have a go. And take a kettle if you like an early cup of coffee, Austrian hotels don't have them in the rooms.
  • Reviewed February 2020
    June Egglestone

    Excellent Trip

    A great trip for trying the basics of several types of winter sport.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting back my confidence on skis, and also, finding some good alternate winter activities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jan was an excellent tour leader, and a lovely person. The group was the full 16, and he managed us all well, and made sure we were all ok.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    YakTrax were useful to have. Hotel rooms have hairdryer, but not very powerful, so you may want to bring your own. Bring a thermos, then you can fill up at breakfast and take hot drinks with you for the day. Take layers. Pizza place just up the road does great pizzas (and other food). Traditional Slovak restaurant Koliba a bit further away I would also recommend. I would recommend a few days in Krakow before or after the trip, if you have time. Do take advantage of the sauna in the hotel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I thoroughly enjoyed every day, and would recommend this tour.