Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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17956 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2021

    Wonderful walking in Spain

    Have just returned from a hugely successful trip to Sierra de Aitana and can thoroughly recommend it! The trip had all the ingredients of an Exodus holiday that will live long in the memory: a knowledgeable, organised and thoughtful guide in Jose who grew up in the area and knows the hills and mountains like the back of his hand; a charming hotel with welcoming staff and delicious home-cooked food; a beautiful and varied landscape with eye-popping scenery and, in my case, a really friendly group who were great company throughout the week. The trip was a real antidote to the onset of Winter in the UK being mild even at this time of the year. I would imagine that it is equally attractive in the Spring and Summer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to get up high in the hills and enjoy the dramatic scenery and views of the sea. It requires some effort obviously but that is more than repaid by the pleasure of being in such a lovely landscape.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jose was excellent, a confident guide who knows the area so well and was able to mix up the walks to suit the weather on any particular day, taking into account important issues of safety. He is very knowledgeable, being able to provide lots of local context during the walks which really added to the experience. His sandwiches were delicious (!) and he mixed extremely well with the group, not imposing himself unduly but making himself available to provide help and advice when it was needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice would be to take advantage of this lovely spot and pay a visit! The trip notes are comprehensive and provide a good guide on what to take. You need a reasonable level of fitness to get up high to enjoy the views but Jose makes sure it isn't too gruelling and takes account of the inevitable range of fitness levels in the group.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel is about an hours drive inland from Alicante on the coast and there is an opportunity to visit the seaside towns on the rest day. Again, Jose provided all the necessary info and arranged transport etc.
  • Reviewed November 2021

    Great way to shake the post covid blues

    A fantastic week walking in a little known area of Spain but not far from an over visited coastline which we could see from the comfort of our delightful family owned hotel just outside the village of Benimantell with views across to the much visited castle of Guadalest. We ate all but one dinner in the hotel and it was authentic home cooked spanish food and delicious and came with good local wine. Breakfasts were plentiful and there was always coffee, chocolate and a variety of teas available to the Exodus group although we had the place to ourselves. The walking was challenging at times but definitely doable for anyone used to hiking and we were led by Jose who has a passion for the area, is very knowledgable and always wants his trips to support local businesses. We were lucky enough to have a great group and there was much shared laughter especially after one of the amazing gin and tonics available in the hotel (one was more than enough).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After 18 months stuck in the UK it was all inspirational and i wouldn't have changed anything. You can't beat being in the outdoors on mountains with fantastic views and not too far to travel

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jose is a terrific leader. He is mountain leader qualified so perfect for leading the walks but he is also a mountaineer when he has spare time. He is extremely knowledgable, passionate about supporting the local area and has excellent english and a terrific sense of humour. He was up well before the rest of us making our lunchtime sandwiches which were universally amazing and could be guaranteed to produce some little treat from his pack at elevenses. I would say one of the best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't think its southern spain and ignore the advice to take windproof, waterproofs and hat and gloves. You may not need them.....but then again you might.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wouldn't hesitate to do this trip again
  • Reviewed November 2021

    Bonhomie, gelato and beautiful towns

    The trip is full of spectacular scenery. The towns in particular, Amalfi, Positano, Capri, and Ravello are lovely, and great to photograph. The walks usually have a view of the dramatic coastline, and include the Path of the Gods, worthy of a T-shirt. The group was really friendly, which really made the holiday for a single traveller.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, was spectacular. The villa, statues and gardens and the view from the 'infinity terrace' were great on a blue-sky day in October.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Severio was great. He was a very experienced guide. He took good care of the group, arranged the itinerary according to the weather forecast, and gave us a lot of local information.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking is not as easy as the trip notes suggest. The coastline is very rugged. One walk has over 2000 steps downwards, and on others the paths are steep and rocky. Walking poles are recommended (some were available at the hotel).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel and food were good. There is a nice mix of included meals, and days where you can check out the local cafes and restaurants. Bomerano is a good location (at the start of the Path of the Gods), but it is not easy to explore further towns on foot, eg on your day off. The arranged minibus transport, when not included in the trip price, are quite expensive.
  • Reviewed November 2021

    Great Overview of Iceland

    As with all Exodus holidays - read the detailed itinerary carefully and you should not be disappointed if you choose to go. We had yet another superb Exodus guide in Kristian (I have probably mis-spelled that!) who was also the bus driver for the 16 in the group which I think is the maximum. Inevitably you spend a good deal of time on the bus but no surprises there, that's why I stress to read the itinerary. The views are constantly excellent and Kristian would stop regular to stretch legs and admire the view. This holiday gives a good overview of the entire island. Although a good deal of the driving is on gravel roads do not expect to be taken deep into the interior where the really rough roads are that need specialised transport. Just one night in each place but all the hotels were fine with the possible exception of the one in Akureyri. Our room was adequate but some had tiny rooms with poor showers. Some of the more remote places offer very limited menus, if you like lamb and fish you'll be okay! We had a vegan in the group who had very limited options at one place. Highlight was undoubtedly the last day when Kristian rejigged the itinerary (with our permission) so that we could trek to the Fagradalsfjall volcano, which Kristian had heard was ramping up activity. Wow! We were treated to specular displays of erupting lava and Kristian told us that in 25 years of guiding we were the first group of his to witness such a thing. Weather was mixed as you would expect in early September. Two very wet days - one with a gale - and 4 days of blue skies and flat calm, the other days being between those extremes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Witnessing the volcanic eruptions of the Fagradalsfjall volcano.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kristian was excellent. Kept us informed and amused!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Clothing wise, you need layers and waterproof over trousers are useful. Currency: I took no Icelandic money and never needed any. Everywhere accepts a card - even the pay toilets. On the first meeting I said to Kristian "I have no local currency, do I need to get some?". His reply was "Most Icelanders have no local currency either!"

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As with all Scandinavian countries food and especially drink is expensive.
  • Reviewed November 2021

    Project de-stress!

    Relaxing walking in a relatively undiscovered part of Portugal - beautiful coastal scenery, great food (lots of fish!), great company. Our little group was SO happy to get away post-pandemic! The walking was highly enjoyable, and relatively undemanding for an Exodus trip - though some of the sand dunes can be good for the thighs! The first two hotels were fine, but the Sagres place is a REAL treat - a fabulous place to end the trip. I really did not want to come home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was such a joy to get away somewhere so beautiful that I rarely stopped beaming all week - the first sunset at VN de Milfontes was a great moment, as was getting so close to nesting storks. I loved all the walking - such a stunning coastline.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I walked through security at Faro airport and a familiar face was smiling at me - such a pleasure to see Luis, our leader from a previous walking trip to the Douro. I've done many walking & discovery trips with Exodus, and Luis is amongst the best - attentive without being school-teacher-ish, informative, passionate about his country and annoyingly fit......an excellent guy to share a giggle and a glass or two of vino, great company

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The packed lunches are huge! If you can get an earlier flight see if there are other travellers with whom you could share a transfer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only reason I haven't given this trip a 5 is the flights - there are SO many options to Faro, Exodus really shouldn't be choosing one which means arrival at the hotel 10.30 at night - especially when VN de Milfontes is a great little town to explore. My advice from the office about getting an independent flight & transfer wasn't very helpful.
  • Reviewed November 2021

    Very Special Holiday With Great Leader and Hotel

    This holiday had all the ingredients that you could wish for, for a great holiday. Amazing olive-growing countryside; a lovely friendly hotel; wonderful food; a chatty group of other guests; and a superb, knowledgeable, caring leader.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Pretty much all of it. The tapas lunch in a “typical” Andalusian pretty village; the limestone walks overlooking the olive-groves; the lunch at the monastery; the Penon walk with an amazing scenic view at lunchtime; the impressive “King’s Walk” along the side of a cliff; the day-long visit to Seville with its Royal Palace house and gardens; and an extra trip to Ronda for a short visit. The hotel, owners Joke and Cartouche, plus their staff, made it all really comfortable. All wonderful thanks!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Michael Newcomb, was just the best leader! He was very friendly; responded sympathetically to anybody’s individual needs; was SO knowledgeable about the fauna, flora, geology and culture; gave many snippets of information as we walked, and in a concise, easily understandable way; obviously loved his job; but above all, he was just very caring and kind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking is not very difficult. There are often coach journeys of about an hour to the start of some of the walks or days out, but the coach was very modern and the driver, Antonio, was a very careful driver.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was worried beforehand about all the Covid related paperwork. However, in the end, it was all pretty easy with 1) double-jab proof - best with QR images 2) Spanish country entry form 3) UK Personal Locator Form document completed in Spain before return and 4) lateral flow test pre-booked for undertaking within 2 days of return. But check what is needed when you go. It was a really great holiday.
  • Reviewed November 2021

    A wonderful trip!

    I couldn't speak more highly of this trip. The scenery was absolutely stunning; the areas provided a great variety of walks with spectacular views. The accommodation was perfectly situated to start most of the walks directly from the hotel. It was also within walking distance of the bars and restaurants in Benimantell and Guadalest. Having said that, the food at the hotel was wonderful and so there was little need to venture further afield. Homecooked, nourishing and delicious food from the hotel was perfect fuel for the trekking.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning scenery which provided the perfect backdrop for every lunch stop.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jose absolutely made the trip - he was knowledgeable in every area; environment, nature, plants, culture, food, history. His knowledge of the mountains was second to none, having been responsible for opening up many of the walking routes of the past few years and mapping out the terrain. He was so experienced that he was able to change and amend routes when weather necessitated this, which meant we didn't lose out too much because of the rainy conditions. Plus, his sandwiches were delicious and were a real treat after a long morning of walking.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely book this trip - highly recommended.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Jose and the staff at the hotel were wonderful - thank you so much for making the trip so memorable.
  • Reviewed November 2021

    Stunning walking

    This trip takes you through the most beautiful parts of the Mediterranean walking with a guide and also discovering the wonders of Pompeii and Vesuvius. The hotel had a nice feel as family run, spotless and comfortable rooms, we were well looked after for breakfasts and dinner each day, and the barmen fixed some mean cocktails for us.!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day long walk of the valley of the Gods and Vesuvius.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Seve is half Sicilian, half Greek, and was all you would expect from a good guide and more. He was highly knowledgeable of the area, well connected with the locals, experienced, and understood and managed group dynamics very well, and had a very good sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking can be a bit demanding with many steps some days but so worth it with the experiences you get. My advice would just get some exercise in a week or o before you go. I'm 95 kg and 62 and did ok.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The town of Agerola makes for an excellent base. Most activities started with walking from the town. It is small but not touristy like Amalfi and Positano and felt like a lived in and authentic place .I would do this all over again in a blink of an eye!
  • Reviewed November 2021

    Portugal walking and wine

    Very enjoyable with brilliant local guides and great hotels . More difficult flying from Manchester than Gatwick but would recommend,not too arduous walking and interesting holiday

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I had a sore Achilles so was a bit limited by it but loved the visit guided around Porto and the visit to a winery with great homemade lunch included .COVID tests last day was awful as missed a boat trip and we were stressed filling out the PLF too

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring good walking shoes or boots as hilly and loose stones etc .They provided walking poles and everything else

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Make sure you join main group to first hotel as a long way ,too long for a text . This is for those on flights that are not the main one Gatwick
  • Reviewed November 2021

    We are travelling again!

    This was a thoroughly enjoyable trip -- we were lucky to have such fantastic weather in October. The tour offers a great overview of the highlights of Sicily and many ideas for a return visit. We visited both historical and natural sites and had an opportunity to sample fantastic local cuisine. Hotels were comfortable and some offered rooftop terraces with views.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many highlights but I suppose my favourite day was the visit to the temple of Selinunte in its natural setting. It feels very untouristy, especially in the aftermath of the Pandemic. I love Noto and the other baroque towns -- Ragusa and Modica, as well as the stunning landscapes of the Zingaro. I also loved the Roman mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tiziano was charming, helpful, and good-humoured. We had a lot of laughs along the way. He is passionate about his island (and especially Palermo). He tried his very best to make everyone happy and to point out different things that could be of interest to different people.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip could could be expanded a bit -- the visit to Erice was rushed and it would have been nice to have some time in Trapani too. A visit to Scicli should be included too, since we are in the neighborhood and it is a UNESCO site.