Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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  • Reviewed June 2019
    Lynda Hine

    Self guided La Palma

    Over all we really enjoyed this trip. La Palma is a bio-reserve so that once you are away from the banana and tobacco plantations around the main towns, most of the island still contains the natural vegetation. Going in May as we did, we walked all day and saw no one on the coast path other than the occasional local working in their fields. We saw more people on the Caldera and and Cumbre Vieja, but still very few. The geology, scenery and vegetation is amazing and well worth taking time over. Santa Cruz de la Palma is very pretty and worth exploring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Two main ones stand out. The views from the rim of the Caldera de Taburiente and seeing a 'giant' lizard at the bottom of one of the barrancos (valley) which is actually believed, by some, to be extinct! (By giant, it is actually about 13 inches long, we are not talking Jurassic Park here).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As we were self guided this is not relevant. That said Alberto, who was our contact on the island, was very helpful and answered any questions we had quickly and efficiently via texts.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Allow yourself more time than the information gives you. The time stated is fine if all you want to do is walk, but if you want to stop and look at the plants, rocks, scenery, banana plantations etc. then you will need longer. This is particularly so on the Cumbre Vieja day, yes one could power walk it in the 4 - 5 hours given, but stopping to look at the incredible views, examine the volcanoes, including diverting off the main route to 'summit' many of them and so on does take time, but is well worth it. We allowed 6 hours but still ended up having to rush the last few km. Be aware that, as it is unspoilt, you are only staying half board in a hotel for three nights. Other nights are in apartments where you will have to go out for the evening meal (Exodus do arrange this very satisfactorily) and you will need to walk a bit for this. Also, one morning you have to walk for your breakfast. (This is not really a problem, it is part of the adventure, though the bar was shut the day we were supposed to visit it).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be really helpful to receive other information about the island in advance. It was not until we were flying home that we realised we had almost walked passed some interesting cultural and geological 'museums'. Had we known, we would have made time to visit them. (Again, if you are just going to walk from a - b as fast as you can, then this would not be an issue for you, though you will miss so much). We will return to La Palma now we have been introduced to it as there are so many bits we could not see in the time, e.g. the whole of the west side.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Matthew Grimes

    Awesome and varied walks

    A really fantastic 6 day walking holiday. It is fairly relentless as there are no real breaks, but the scenery is stunning. From the black rocks and sand of the coast line to the lush banana plantations, dense mountain forests to the moon like surface of the volcanoes it had something for everyone. It is definitely a grade four climb and you need to be comfortable with heights and mountain footpaths with no safety barrier. The island (especially in the north) remains relatively untouched and this island is so different to the others in the Canaries. May was a great month to walk and we hardly saw anybody on the routes we had. A strong recommendation!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think some of the views into and out of the ravines on days 2 and 3. The volcano walk is also awesome. What is great is that the North of the island is very unspoilt.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your time - don’t rush the walks. We generally took an hour extra each day than the guide book suggested to really suck up the views. We also managed to get much cheaper flights going via Madrid and Tenerife, than a direct flight. It takes longer of course, but we saved over £400.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Elizabeth Smith

    Excellent way to walk in La Palma's rugged scenery

    Well organised trip with all we needed to do some reasonably strenuous but not technically challenging walks in a mixture of coastal and volcanic terrains. The travel arrangememts, accommodation and food were all fine, and it was good not to have to move on every night to new accommodation(3 moves). The route guides were straightforward for the most part and the paths well marked. La palma is relatively unspoilt and we liked meeting almost no-one on several of the trails! Weather was fabulous.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Caldera crater walk was stunning - the rock formations have to be seen in real life - photos don't do them justice.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the number of steepish descents and ascents the ravines (of which there are many) entail - they're fine but good to be mentally prepared!
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Richard Goulder

    A lovely holiday in a beautiful place

    The trip was exactly what we were after - an energetic short break in a sunny location but with plenty of down time to relax. The island is a fascinating place - beautifully rugged and a amazing variety of vegetation ranging from cacti to banana plantations and giant dandelions to pine forests. The paths are incredibly well marked so it is very easy to find your way and the instructions provided complemented them. The trip was very well organised by Exodus and the local operator Natour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking along the top of the Caldera looking down on the clouds and the volcanic landscape.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although the walks aren't long in distance be prepared for a lot of up and down! Walking poles are highly recommended as some of the descents are very steep.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only annoying factor was the inclusion of the evening meal within the package. Whilst the meals we had were generally excellent, there was little choice and we would have preferred the flexibility to chose off the main menu. In Santa Cruz the evening meal was at the same restaurant on all three nights and whilst it was a lovely restaurant choosing from the same set menu was very limiting, particularly for my partner who does not eat gluten. We ended up only eating there two nights and therefore, incurring extra cost. I would recommend taking off the evening meal and reducing the cost of the holiday accordingly. The fixed price menu will still be there was those that want it.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Michael Freedman

    A great trip

    I really enjoyed this trip. The walking was probably closer to challenging overall than moderate, as almost every day involved vigorous and often very long climbs and descents, sometimes on difficult surfaces.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views from the Caldera de Taburiente were incredible. Also the sense of satisfaction and rewarding panoramas on completing some of the more arduous climbs. I also really enjoyed meeting the local people, who are really friendly.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were self-guided - the notes and map were largely adequate, though occasionally signage or instructions were not completely clear. The local manager was responsive to queries and requests, for example to switch some walking days around due to weather conditions, and not wanting to eat in the same restaurant 3 times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's a great way to see plenty of the island and have everything logistical taken care of for you. We found that we got a lot of benefit from being able to chat to people in Spanish - this is a much less touristic island and good English is not so widely spoken.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do leave time to do a couple of extra walks - we went to Los Tilos, which was very tranquil (and walked out to Los Sauces afterwards), but we were also told about the marcos y cordero tunnel walk (needs a full day I think).
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Heather Hardie

    Self-guided trails of la Palma

    La Palma is a walkers' paradise, with beautiful landscapes, lots of variety, a good standard of accommodation, good food and drink, an excellent bus service and a large number of well-marked trails. Unusually bad weather at the start of our trip meant a few walks had to be changed from those planned. The trip manager did a reasonable job here, and was receptive to our suggestions, but we would have done walks more to our taste if we had had our own walking information, like a guidebook. Although most of our walks were great, we had a couple of days that could have been better spent if we'd had more information ourselves. .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Spending a wonderful day climbing up and down four enormous and remote gorges, eventually arriving at Franceses, high on the hills overlooking the sea (day 4). Walking at Los Tilos (the laurel forest) - one of the unscheduled walks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were self-guided, so no leader, but we had a contact with the trip manager, who was helpful, especially in arranging alternative walks when the weather meant plans had to be changed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do your own research before going so you can customise the walks to suit your own preferences, if possible. Of course, with accommodation booked in advance, there are imitations to this.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Peter Ritchie

    Superb Walking

    Superb walking on well marked trails. A fantastic variety of spectacular scenery on such a small island. Well worth a visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views on Days 6 and 7 - Caldera de Taburiente and Ruta de los Volcanes

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A - The route notes were generally good and the paths were very well signposted - although there were a couple of places (in the notes for Days 1 and 4) where they needed some clarification or correction. A good map was also provided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Walking along the coast involves traversing a lot of fairly steep sided barrancos. Be prepared for a lot of up and down and very little flat walking on those days! Be prepared also for some slippery underfoot conditions in a few places. If you normally use them, be sure to take your walking poles.
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