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 November 2018
    Arianna Jakositz

    Patagonian Adventure

    From the vast, isolated Patagonian Steppe to the gorgeous Andes mountains, delicious steaks and empanadas, challenging but rewarding hikes, weather prone to dramatic changes within 15 minutes, glaciers, penguins, pumas, and guanacos galore.... this trip has it all. Upon returning home, we pulled out our roadmap of the region (thanks again for giving us yours, Xavier!!!) and talked about what else we’ll see when we come back one day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was completing the first hike. Not only did we have perfect skies and weather for our views of Mt. Fitz Roy and glaciers off in the distance during this hike, but as a new hiker I definitely had a sense of accomplishment that I could actually do this in the first place. My husband would say the hike in Torres del Paine was most rewarding, as he thought the trail and views were better (I didn’t partake unfortunately, but was instead treated to a more private tour of the park with two other members of the group who also weren’t up for the arduous trek that day). We also booked an extra excursion during our free day in El Calafate to hike on Perito Moreno Glacier that we both agree ranked as another favorite part of the trip. We missed our way more fun Exodus group, but still had a blast drinking from glacial streams, hopping over crevasses, and silently eating lunch on the middle of the glacier while listening for distant avalanches. Pictures don’t do Patagonia justice — it’s unbelievably beautiful, and every viewpoint was in its own way an inspiration.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was amazing! I had been hoping to have him as a guide as previous reviews really raved about him and we were not disappointed one bit. From being very open with us, to having all the best advice of what to eat, to saving us at the last minute in the little ways (like giving us a copy of the roadmap that we missed out on, or arranging for some trekking poles for us on a moment’s notice) to the bigger stuff (taking one in our group to the doctor to make sure everything was all right after a bad fall, or frantically making sure we were all checked in on our flight to Buenos Aires after an airline strike the day before) he really worked hard to make sure everyone had an enjoyable experience. This is only our second Exodus trip but we can tell Xavier is a high-caliber guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A few things: 1) The full-day hikes really are tough. Poles are a must if you don’t want to feel completely wiped out. Also, just as an FYI, they are both around 14 miles with 3000 to 4000ft of elevation gain (starting from a fairly low elevation though) with a lot of that gain being in some rather steep, shorter sections. I wish I had trained ahead of time so that I could have participated in all the hikes, including the free day one the *entire* group went on in El Chalten except for us. 2) Breakfast in most places is going to be toast with a few small pieces of ham & cheese that you might be really sick of by the end of the trip. Pack extra snacks if this is a concern! 3) Cash only in most places, no joke. Especially with the fluctuations in the Argentinian economy these days, your cards are mostly unwelcome. There’s a bank in the EZE airport right by the customs doors (before or after — we went after) that has a very fair exchange rate and, if I remember correctly, takes GBP as well as USD. In Chile, cards are accepted everywhere except the middle-of-nowhere toilet stops you’ll desperately need, so you only need a small amount of Chilean pesos. 4) If your heart is set on a glacier walk in El Calafate or a penguin walk in Ushuaia, these things sell out early. Let your guide know days in advance you’d like to book these (with the hopes of getting a spot), or book them yourself ahead of time. Note that the penguin walk may make you miss out on the morning walk in Tierra del Fuego though, so choose wisely! 5) A lot of times in restaurants, Xavier was nice enough to give us a taste of what he’d ordered. You’d think after a couple times we’d realize he was routinely ordering the best dish and copy him but alas we did not. So my advice to you is — if he’s your guide — ask what he’s having before you order. The man knows what to pick!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really — just have fun if you choose to go on this trip! Accept that the bus rides can be a bit long and uneventful, and that you’ll need plenty of cash on this trip, and then roll with any inconveniences that might arise. You’re in the middle of nowhere a lot of the time and it’s amazing how well orchestrated the trip actually is considering that.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Nadine Born

    Fabulous trip

    A fabulous trip to Patagonia. A great group, super guide and fabulous scenery every day. My sister recommended that I take this trip as it was one of her favourites and I agree with her. It will stay in my memories for a long time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many candidates but the day walk to the Torres del Paine just about wins the prize. The views were spectacular and we were exceptionally lucky with the weather so could see the towers very clearly.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were very lucky to have such an experienced guide as Xavier. He ensured that everything about the trip went smoothly and always focussed on our needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit beforehand as the treks are hard but we’ll worth the effort,
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Mark Billington

    Amazing sights in Patagonia

    What a fantastic itinerary Exodus have put together for this trip. From bustling Buenos Aries with its steaks to die for to stunning sunrises on Mt Fitzroy, we experienced it all. Another highlight was Perito Moreno The worlds quickest moving glacier ringed by the snow capped Andes, A quick hop across the border to Chile brings you face to face with the mind blowing Torres Del Paine National Park before ending at the worlds end Ushuaia and it’s penguins and brilliant wildlife. Without doubt the trip of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the granite horns in the Torres Del Paine National Park, for as long as i can remember I’ve looked in awe at the mountains in magazines but to see them face to face was a dream realised.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier, was good in lots of ways, friendly and as helpful as he could be, often going out of his way to ensure others enjoyed their holidays.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take hundreds of pictures and soak in that amazing scenery.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Margaret Lowe

    Patagonian Highlights

    This trip was all that we had hoped for- and more. We travelled a lot, yet each day brought us something new & exciting. Fantastic awe inspiring scenery, wonderful wildlife (condors & even a puma, to name but a few) & such lovely people, Such a beautiful country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The ascent to the bases of Mount Fitzroy and Torres del Paine in glorious weather, along with viewing the Mereno Glacier at such close proximity plus seeing a puma so close to where we were walking

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was such a great leader. He was so enthusiastic & knowledgable about his country & worked so hard to ensure we had a really good holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it! You won’t regret it. Well worth the effort & all the travelling
  • Reviewed November 2018
    David Lowe

    A brilliant holiday

    This has been a successful trip in every sense. We are well travelled with Exodus and this ranks high in our experiences.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is hard to choose one but high up on the list of memorable things: * walking in spectacular mountain scenery - Mount Fitzroy, Torre, Torres del Paine (great weather helped no doubt); * standing close to the Perito Merino glacier listening to the cracks and groans of the ice as lumps fell away; * seeing the local wild life - many birds, guanaco, fox, hare armadillo, penguins, seals and even a puma!; * experiencing the Patagonian wind en route to Torres del Paine. For location certainly one of the most memorable hotels we have stayed. * the coach drives which gave a clear picture of the vastness of the grasslands in this part of the world.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was a star! His local knowledge of all aspects of Argentina and Chile is extensive. He shared this willingly with the group at large or with individuals. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he went out of his way to make sure that things went well and that the group was having a good time. He was always ready with recommendations for an optional visit, for somewhere to eat, for what we would need for any part of our trip. He also wanted to know about us as individuals and told us about himself (not always the case with Exodus leaders in my experience)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are a couple of things: * layers of clothes are the order of he day. The weather is changeable (we had snow, rain and sunshine all in one day!) and it can be very cold. * "water for the coach drives as well as something to nibble [email protected] was helpful advice we were given. * for photographers don't forget a spare battery and extra cards - the scenery is spectacular. * for those who are not used to eating red meat, don't worry. We had plenty of options when it came to choosing what to eat. On the other hand don't miss out on the steaks - they are seriously large but delicious.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    M B

    AAA - Patagonian Highlights

    Saw a lot of Argentina and Chilean Patagonia . Trip Notes accurately reflected the activity days, the two long walks are challenging and taking trekking poles is a must ( if you normally use them ) . The end couple KMs of both walks are steep uphills so may be a bit harder for some. However you can turn back / drop out of the final section if you wish .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No one moment comes to mind.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier Espil is passionate and friendly . He gave detailed information at all times but left us to make our own decisions with that info. i.e. suggested places to eat , when to change money , restaurant pricing and food selection .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that ATMs are very temperamental with UK chip & Pin cards. sometimes they work , mostly they dont . This might be obvious at start of transaction or you might get taken all through security , down to cash amount selection and then a message appears saying transaction disallowed. Everyone in group ( British cards ) had issues in several locations. Only Bank of Patagonia in El Calafte and Ushuaia allowed cash withdrawals without any issue whatsoever . There is only 1 ATM in El Chalten , at tourist office and it spent most of its time out of service / rejecting cards ( British / French / Australian ) . Current - Nov 2017 - restaurant exchange rate was 17 or 18 Argentine dollars to USD. So you could pay for things in USD cash at that unofficial exchange rate and receive any change in Argentine money . Some restaurants do not take USD in denominations below 20 USD and apparently high denomination notes 50 USD / 100 USD are the preferred denomination when changing money at bank / exchange office.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Apparently Xavier is a fan of Colmans mustard , so if you have bit of luggage space spare I am sure a jar would be appreciated ! Be aware for internal Argentina flights hold luggage is 15KG and this is enforced . Its worth double checking on web site of Aerolineas Argentina , but dont get caught out having to pay excess luggage fees - they are not cheap .
  • Reviewed November 2017
    John Taylor

    Patagonia at its best

    This was a great non-stop trip with Xavier, who was a wonderful guide. The trip exceeded our expectations because of Xavier’s in depth knowledge.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mountain days, the included glacier visit and the guided walk in Tierra del Fuego were all equally inspiring, and the tango show made a great finale.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was the best tour guide we have been on holiday with. He was permanently cheerful, enthusiastic, responsive to the whole group’s and individual needs and great fun to be with. Xavier also had excellent relationships with the local guides, who were all equally enthusiastic about their specialisms.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    These are the things which are described very accurately in the trip notes. We did experience four seasons in a day: snow, sun, torrential rain, high winds, calm etc, so you need lots of adaptable clothing and waterproofs. The two day walks and the additional day walk the group did were long with step sections over rocky paths (all the walks were 20km long). The travel days by bus were very long. Everything on the whole trip, except wine, was on a par with London prices (this is not a cheap destination). Add about 10% to the guide prices given in the trip notes. You can complete the trip with dollars, with no problems then with non-functioning ATMs or restaurants which won’t take credit cards. The downside of this means travelling with large amounts of cash. (There is no need to take Chilean pesos.) We travelled out a day earlier to enjoy Buenos Aires; we wished we had taken two extra days because there is so much to do in Buenos Aires.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Remember that this is South America. You need a patient and relaxed attitude to everything to enjoy this holiday.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Robert Atkinson

    Wonderful highlights of this beautiful area

    I booked this trip as a land only holiday as part of a wider trip to Chile and Argentina I was undertaking. I'm so glad that I did ensuring I could enjoy the key parts of the National Parks of Argentina along with the excellent logistics of being part of an organised group with a top notch tour leader. It exceeded my expectations. Well done Exodus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me the most inspiring part of the trip was the two full day walks we did at Mt Fitzroy and Torres del Paine. Despite not having clear weather conditions, we were able to make challenging ascents and to enjoy the key 'money shot' views of each iconic natural landmark just as the clouds broke. With the sun shining through each was revealed just at the right time making the efforts to hike up really worth it. hard work on the feet and knees but so rewarding.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Xavi. An Argentinian who was proud of his country, really knowledgeable, friendly and wanting so much to ensure we all had a great time and got as much out of our trip as we could. He was able to share the history and social context of places we visited as much as the geographical and natural world that we were experiencing. Very honest on how things would be each day, which additional tours were worth the money in the relevant weather conditions and with a superb sense of humour that was really endearing. One of the best group leaders I have ever come across. On our first day in Patagonia, he welcomed us with preparing the mate for all os us to taste and share. To do this may be part of showing us Argentina, however in his culture its an honour to be offered and to receive the mate cup. Lovely gesture. Xavi also had to deal with an individual in the group who was disruptive in their comments and attitude at many times. Despite this challenge he was professional at all times, ensuring that he balanced the needs of all and preventing the nonsense of one person from affecting the enjoyment of the holiday for the others. Thats quite a skill and he did it wonderfully.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are considering this trip I would; Ensure you are fit and capable of the two long days walks and consider taking walking sticks to assist you. Pack plasters for walking blisters Keep your packing light as the internal flights only have 15kg checked baggage limits. However excess baggage rates are really reasonable. Extend your trip at the beginning or end by an extra two days minimum to make the most of Buenos Aires
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Mike Whitton

    Even better than expected!

    A wonderful mix of mountains, lakes, glaciers, wildlife, vast landscapes, huge steaks and friendly people. This was the fulfilment of a long-held dream, made very special by our brilliant guide, Xavier. The climbs to Fitzroy and to the Torres del Paine are fairly demanding, but well within the capacity of anyone experienced with walking in the Lake District or Snowdonia. Regrets? If only we could have stayed longer in El Chalten and Torres del Paine - but this is a 'highlights' trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many! Sunrise on Fitzroy; walking on the Viedma Glacier (don't be put off by warnings of a difficult approach- it's very well supervised and very well worth doing); the 'wild frontier' feel of El Chalten; the remoteness of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel...... Pretty much the whole trip is inspirational. And we were so lucky with the weather.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant. Xavier is informative, funny, hard-working and attentive. Excellent inter-personal skills.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some details in the trip notes are awry: The optional boat trip from El Calafate to see icebergs and glaciers does not include a visit to the Perito Moreno glacier. There is an over-emphasis on taking dollars - we could have paid for pretty much all of it in pesos. The dollar costs of options are rather out-of-date - they cost quite a bit more. On reading previous reviews it's clear that some travellers need to take on board that this trip does involve two long walking days that cover rough, steep terrain - be prepared!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We discovered that there were fixed tent sites near the refugio in Torres del Paine N.P. We wonder if there could be a camping option, as communal 'sleeping' in small rooms can be difficult and uncomfortable.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Kate Harvey

    Patagonian Highlights

    An excellent trip with the opportunity to gain a real perspective of the scale of Patagonia. This trip offers a diverse range of environments from Buenos Aires to the Steppe to the mountains and Peaks of Torres deal Paine. There is a lot of overland travel but this is all part of the experience. The food and accommodation were superb.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved seeing icebergs calving off the Perito Merino glacier and hiking in the very windy Torres del Paine to see the Granite towers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was outstanding. Highly knowledgable of both Argentina and Chile. He had a great sense of humour and was very willing to accomdate the different interests of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take mostly Argentine Pesos, some US dollars and some Chilean Pesos. Additional trips can be paid for in dollars. Food is more expensive than at home so you will need a reasonable amount of spending money.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Might be worth flying direct. Air Europa were appalling and very rude. I don't tend to complain about things but I did on this occasion. Make sure you take a bottle of water on the long flight to Buenos Aires as they only served two drinks on the whole flight!
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