Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed June 2018
    Mike Giles

    Been to Italy? Now visit Puglia

    Like many people we meet we did not know Puglia existed until we saw this trip. A gem of a region, very different and so suited to a short leisurely summer trip when time is a constraint to a full-on distant adventure tour for which Exodus is otherwise renowned. Distances travelled are comparatively short so it easy to fit in many of the historic, architectural and geological sights with ease.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The caves at Castellana are pretty impressive and the largest complex we have ever visited. However, a ‘Wow’ moment, after arriving at a fairly grotty end of Matera, was stepping onto the main square viewing platform to overlook the entire “Sassi” in which we were to later stay and explore.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Barbara Schito was our tour leader and guide in all aspects of the trip. As a native of Puglia she was so enthusiastic in her wish to impart her knowledge and love of the region. Her delivery is passionate and charming and so much part of the whole experience

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The food (and wine) of the region is first class and we found it to be reasonably priced having spent only 60% of our budget. As meat-eaters we were very pleased to find ristorante Carnivori in Lecce with choice cuts in the chill cabinet, cooked and served in traditional style before embarking on a week dominated by (very nice) pizzas, pastas and breads.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The weather was exceptionally hot for the time of year, with occasional thunderstorms and it is worth considering these eventualities.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Nigel Read

    Sicily parkrun

    Here is a short report of the parkrun Sicily holiday Greatlines Run report 2nd and 9th June I wasn’t actually present at Great Lines on those dates, so by way of explaining my absence I should explain I was in Sicily. Not just any holiday but the first parkrun holiday organised by Exodus, one of parkrun’s sponsors. By tweaking their standard holiday to include two Saturdays we were able to run Etna (no not around the crater) and Favorita near Palermo. There were 20 of us, including parkrun founder Paul Stinton-Hewitt CBE, with ages ranging from 35+ to 80+ and we all got on really well, hardly surprising as we are all parkrunners. Etna, the only run on the east of the island, not far from Catania where we flew in had a revised course of four ‘giros’ due to a fire bringing down trees and blocking the regular course. It was hot, around 25 degs and included running on volcanic ash rather like coal dust and took me 32:01 minutes. The run was between 825m and 840 metres above sea level and I recorded 133m elevation gain. There was water and cake waiting at the finish, with our group finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th, an Australian visitor in 5th. There were other Brits not in our group and a Russian. They even presented us with key rings in the shape of a tee shirt. One of the octogenarians tripped over tree roots but was ok. After a hike to some of the lava flows on Etna, it’s still active of course, followed by wine tasting - hiking is thirsty work, there was much moving from hotel to hotel as we worked our way around Sicily in a clockwise direction, visiting Syracuse for its archaeological site; on to the UNESCO Baroque town of Noto and Agrigento's Valley of the Temples, there were churches, cathedrals, villages high on steep hills where we appreciated the skill of our driver and a visit to a nature reserve where some went for a run, some a swim, a few squeezed in both. The second parkrun at Favorita, one of four parkruns near Palermo in the north west was three laps of a squarish fly swat shape course on dusty but sometimes very stony paths, in the foot hills of a mountain. The course was much flatter than Etna, recording just 34 m elevation and only about 50m above sea level. We had a couple of fallers with scuffed up knees, another on the way to a nearby sports centre where we had a €2 shower, maybe it was all the wine! There were a couple of happy smiling local twins, Barbara and Francesca who finished together. Paul put his arm around me announcing that we also were twins, obviously only our mothers could tell us apart. After much cajoling the male guide, Rosario turned up with shorts, one of us had registered him and he did his first parkrun in 37:33 while the female guide, Francesca who specialises in hiking holidays walked with the tail runner. She will soon be off to Afghanistan! All the hotels were bed and breakfast only so generally we had evening meals together, Rosario leading us to suitable establishments. The final return to Catania followed a road along the north side of the island, stopping off at Cefalu, where I grabbed a quick swim. Continuing through innumerable short tunnels whilst trying to knit a poppy and on to the final hotel in Taormina and another swim. I should have recorded the walk down to the rocky beach and the return up hundreds of steps which took half an hour. Wasn't a particularly cheap holiday and I think we all had to get extra euros before the holiday was over, but it was a brilliant. There will be a similar cycling holiday later in the year, taking in just one parkrun. The parkrunners came from Yorkshire, East Anglia, West County, the South and London, home runs being Aldenam, Herts; Crane Park, London; Gorleston, Suffolk; Netley Abbey, Hants; Eastville Park, Bristol; York; Woodhouse Moor, Leeds; Bushy; Kingston upon Thames; Tooting; Richmond Park; Salisbury and Worcester and Greatlines of course

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    See above
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Paul Barnes

    Great Trip

    Really enjoyed the trip. A fascinating island, great food, wonderful history. My only criticism is that we tried to cover too much, which at times led to us only reaching our hotel at 19.00.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cooking tutorial

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is a pretty hectic tour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Rosario was a great host and guide. He very much became one of the group.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Paula Guyver

    Wonderful archaeological sites

    Herculaneum and Pompeii were outstandingly good, seeing the artefacts in the Museum at Naples helped put the earlier visits into context. Walking to the top of Vesuvius was fantastic and seeing Capri was wonderful. Amalfi and Ravello were also very enjoyable and deserved four stars. I felt the Path of the Gods walk had no place on this trip (perhaps only as an option for those who wanted to do it?). I did not the think the strenuous nature of the walk was adequately explained and an overall rating of 'leisurely' for this holiday certainly does not apply to the Path of the Gods. Several of our group would not have done the walk if they had known what it would entail. Positano was lost on me because by the time I had completed the walk I was hot, tired and dusty and not in the mood for sightseeing or shopping. I felt the rest of our day in Naples could have been better spent elsewhere.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Herculaneum and Pompeii - they were the reasons I booked the trip and they more than exceeded my expectations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eduardo's passion and love for his country is obvious and his energy and enthusiasm were impressive. We were a difficult group for him - a large group with two fallers on the Path of the Gods both of whom needed medical attention and stitches. I think he struggled to look after us all on that day - possibly the group was just too large for one person to manage? Although I think he did his best in difficult circumstances.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The pace of this holiday is marked as 'Leisurely'. The Path of the Gods is not leisurely and after our trip, that happened to coincide with the visit of two of the directors of Exodus, they will hopefully consider reassessing and reclassifying the description of the day spent on the Path of the Gods. There is a lot of walking on this trip and very little down time.
  • Reviewed June 2018

    Take this trip!

    My sister and I have just completed this tour and we absolutely loved it! The walks were tougher than we expected but worth every aching muscle at the end of each day!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the end of the first day when we looked back at our achievement! We also really enjoyed the hike up to Monte Tre Calli although it was probably the most work.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Vania, is a lovely young woman, a gem, and a credit to the company. She was well organised, always courteous and ready to laugh and talk with our group. I would happily take another walking trip with Vania.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Use walking poles. And read the reviews! I didn't read many before the trip. We didn't really know it would be so hard on calves and knees. The poles really helped. Also you're looking down a lot to see where you're walking. Don't forget to stop and look at the views. They are truly beautiful!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Hotel we stayed at for the week was comfortable (apart from very hard beds) and clean. Food was plentiful and scrummy. Staff were amiable and attentive. Cooking activities were fun too. The vibe here is quite relaxed. Have a good look around the village of Bomerano, too. It's very pretty.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Alan Colgate

    Walking

    The walking was more difficult than I expected partly because of wet conditions making some of the treks very muddy and uneven, as also used be cattle grazing. However the 'Classic Cares Gorge' trip was very good and exciting going up but most of us found it somewhat tedious on the return journey as it needed continual concentration to keep on the path. The accommodation and food was excellent and the views from the hotel dining room were fantastic, with mountains right up to the snowline. On both journeys Easy Jet were on time. The only snag from my point of view was that it takes me 2 hours to get to Stansted whereas Gatwick is 10 minutes away.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Although I managed to get a poisoned foot which received treatment in a nearby village where I was taken by the local leader Nacho Soffia, the next day the walk up towards the summits of Mancondu was beautiful with a large variety of roadside flowers. (Half of the group opted out to walk down to a village rather than go up to the peak). It was one of the best walks with very varied scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, obviously new the area well, friendly and considerate.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Allow for very muddy walks, depending on local conditions before the trip. No problems from insects, even amongst the trees.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Pam Marmelstein

    Fantastic holiday!!

    Had a fantastic time. Great guide, very knowledgable and very competent, lovely group and some good challenging activities. Accommodation and food was good to excellent. Had the most fabulous meal at the home of an Sicilian family; all produce from garden, including home made wine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Guided walk up Etna was the most awesome track

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was lovely, friendly, and really informative and knowledgeable re volcanoes and local history. Always happy to help, very good at organising all our movements and logistics. Also caring and helpful re any health issues for members of the group. Couldn't have wished for a better guide! Everyone in the group agreed she did a fantastic job!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit and healthy, take enough T shirts as the walks are hot and sweaty!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Had a fab time! Many thanks to Exodus and particularly to our local guide!!
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Pam Marmelstein

    Fantastic holiday!!

    Had a fantastic time. Great guide, very knowledgable and very competent, lovely group and some good challenging activities. Accommodation and food was good to excellent. Had the most fabulous meal at the home of an Sicilian family; all produce from garden, including home made wine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Guided walk up Etna was the most awesome track

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was lovely, friendly, and really informative and knowledgeable re volcanoes and local history. Always happy to help, very good at organising all our movements and logistics. Also caring and helpful re any health issues for members of the group. Couldn't have wished for a better guide! Everyone in the group agreed she did a fantastic job!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit and healthy, take enough T shirts as the walks are hot and sweaty!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Had a fab time! Many thanks to Exodus and particularly to our local guide!!
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Brian Muir

    Walking in Andalucia

    A fantastic holiday superbly guided by Michael . Loved every minute from start to finish at the Cortijo Rosario. The staff and Roger the chef looked after us superbly. The accomodation is idyllic with fabulous views over the olive groves to the mountain of El Penon . Although the walks were relatively easy they were interesting and scenic and the walk in the Caminito Del Reay was breathtaking. The group of 10 were a great bunch ,got on with each other very well and were a pleasure to be with.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Caminito Del Reay. Exhilarating .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michael Hanscomb was excellent in every way. He was informative and passionate about the local area and led the group well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Cortijo Rosario is a wonderful place run by lovely people and is a great place to relax before and after walking. Roger the chef cooked some fabulous food and kept us going with his tasty packed lunches on the walkes
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Molly Wallis

    Excellent tour

    Fabulous tour - it covered everythingI wanted to see or do, and much more -it exceeded my expectations. I loved every minute. Everyday was different and a pleasant experience. Great guide, great group, great fun, great tour, not to be missed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing the Great Wall of China at Mutiayun! That was an achievement for me - I didn't think that I would manage to climb to the top but I did!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - Kris, our tour guide, is professional, knowledgeable, friendly and caring - exceptional. Kris made the tour fun and a fabulous experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Manage your own expectations and others about limited access and availability of wi fi and ability to contact family and friends easily. Take "roll on" or "liquid" insect repellent and not pressurised or "flammable" ones as these are not allowed in cabin luggage on trains, or aircraft.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I highly recommend Exodus and this tour - excellent trip and a great tour company.
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