Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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  • Reviewed July 2019
    Jo Ware

    A well balanced, challenging trip

    It was with some trepidation that we embarked on this walk. Not having participated in an organised holiday for many years and being rather "senior" in age we were unsure whether we had picked the right grade. However, from the time of booking to our return, the trip went without a hitch. The Tuscan scenery is stunning, and we loved the accommodation at Agriturismo Braccicorti - comfortable, homely accommodation with home produced Italian food. The walking was varied and challenging in places however never beyond our capabilities. This was mainly due to Sarah our excellent guide who had a wealth of knowledge and experience and in a short while was able to assess the groups abilities - and encourage when necessary. What a sense of achievement when we reached the summits! A balanced itinerary of four days mountain walking, an interesting walk around the local villages with Luigi and a visit to Lucca ensured a holiday to remember and one to be recommended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the summit of Monte Sumbra and Monte Prado

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Knowledgeable, encouraging and observant

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Exodus for the quality of the trip and efficiency at every stage
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Heather Franks

    Brilliant week

    We had a really brilliant week - Sara our guide was the best ever and went out of her way to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves and accommodated those who couldn't quite manage to do every walk all the way. She also managed to organise fantastic weather - not wet and not too hot and a great group! The accommodation was in a fantastic location with a lovely outdoor pool. The family were friendly and produced scrumptious home cooked food from local produce.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a golden eagle majestically glide through the air - below us! I decided to simply watch rather than fumble for my camera to get what could have been a fantastic picture but miss the spectacle.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I have been on 20-30 group trips with Exodus and other companies over the past 11 years and Sara was one of, if not the, best group leaders I have had. She was always professional and approachable and did whatever she could to ensure our enjoyment.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was a bit hesitant about booking this trip (activity level 3) as I am "getting on" and having to reduce the activity levels I do. However the walks were easier than I anticipated because of the amount of shaded woods we walked through and a lot of the gradients were more gradual than I expected. We didn't have to do a couple of the tougher end bits to the summit. Both times I (and others) opted out of the summit the group was retracing it's steps and we were able to sit and wait with beautiful views - no hardship!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lovely get away from it all week!
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Corrie Huntley

    Excellent

    Despite poor weather conditions we did fabulous walks, with the leader taking the weather conditions into consideration, so we therefore had the best experiences.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching a viewing point where I saw the summit of the next mountain, and then achieving that summit without realising that was our destination. I had actually said I didn't think I could get there to some of others whilst standing looking at it, and I'd just presumed that wasn't where we were going.... I found I was capable of more than I realised with the support I got from our leader Sara.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic. Very caring and supportive to all the group members. Aware of their individual needs and concerns. Answering all the questions with her extensive local knowledge plus promoting the Exodus company wholeheartedly during conversations.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go with an open mind, relax and enjoy. Do not hesitate to share your concerns and worries with your leader.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Ron Powell

    Great holiday - despite some unkind weather

    I decided not to downgrade the holiday because of two days of bad weather. Our guide could not have done more in the selection of walks, and they were still good - if soggy - while the scenery was all you'd expect when the clouds lifted.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several, the views over Lucca from the tree-covered Guinigi Tower, and from the summit of Mount Sumbra, plus the view from our room when the clouds eventually lifted.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara could not have done more to make the most of the weather with which she was presented on the first two days, and her arrangements in every other way were spot on, including her advice for the non-walking day. A great companion and guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all weather, even in Italy in May.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Elaine Richards

    Lovely holiday despite the weather!

    The walking in this area is spectacular, through beech or chestnut forests up to amazing peaks. We did not have the best weather but the walking was still a joy. The accommodation is homely but with all the facilities that you require from a hotel with special touches such as being able to make you own hot drinks at any time. The food was locally sourced and well cooked. The pool is a welcome addition although unfortunately we weren't able to make the most of it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 360degree views form Monte Sumbra and visiting the hermitage of San Viano.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This is the second time that Sara has been our group leader. She is an inspirational leader, she brings a group together and manages to get the best out of everyone by giving them self belief. She knows her stuff and shares her love of the area that she is in.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you love walking in beautiful surroundings you will love this trip
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Louise Caughey

    Wonderful experience

    I would highly recommend this trip. It was my first trip to Italy. I enjoyed the opportunity to intimately experience the culture, food and people in a region that is off the normal tourist path, but extremely beautiful and historic. The Baccicorte agriturismo is lovely and comfortable. The entire Giavenetti family, especially our host Angela, was extremely warm and welcoming and did everything possible to be accommodating. If I travel to Italy again, I will definitely plan to stay at an agriturismo. I appreciate their use of local foods, personal attention and also concern for the environment.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I would say the most inspirational was the sense of accomplishment after reaching the summit of Monte Sumbra on Friday.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara is a fascinating person whom we felt very confident with at all times. She's very professional at all times and also was considerate to everyone in the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sure to bring adequate hiking boots and gear and be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. And bring a sense of adventure and willingness to get along with a variety of people!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Many in my group have traveled previously with Exodus, and I would definitely recommend them. I like the concern for the environment and also the support of the local economies.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Paul Mackay

    Happy walkers

    Wonderful week walking in the quite mountains of Garfagnana gave a real sense of getting back to nature. Sara, our guide, was excellent and helped make the trip truly memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing mount sumbra with views to the coast and Corsica beyond.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara is a star. Amazing guide and one of the most thoughtful persons I’ve ever met.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the weather to be changeable. Area has it’s own micro climate.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Only minor gripe is the single beds are quite small and narrow.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Judy ONeill

    Amazing adventure even though the weather was unusually cold with a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow

    Excellent trip with Exodus. This was my second adventure with Exodus and this one was all that the reviews say. Sara was excellent ! She was very patient, even taught some of us new hiking skills. She kept us all motivated throughout the days despite the weather. Sara was brilliant with her switching up the routes to accommodate the unusual weather keeping us all safe and comfortable as possible. It was fun , challenging, and I would like to do it again with sunny weather. The group was awesome and were fun as everyone kept each other motivated and laughing. The food was wonderful and plentiful. Sara does such a great job of handling all the details and making it a true holiday! I loved not having to plan "where and what to trek and what & where to eat"...a real treat not to be "in charge". My daughter a mother of two young children and I her mother really appreciated the true challenging "holiday" from our many responsibilities back at home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sara helped me as I was ready to give up the first day. But she dropped back with me and taught me how to go at my pace not the pace of the group. I was struggling with "breathing" when I was trying to rush to be with the pack when going straight up hill. We live on a flat island so not many opportunities to train for uphill climbs. I found the upward climbs a little tough but the downhill grades were a breeze. . With her patience and guidance I was able to do all the hikes and enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment. "Elvis" helped me not go down the wrong path so if in doubt follow the dog Elvis!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Has an amazing spirit and wonderful leadership skills. She is the best guide I've encountered to date. Hope to do more trips with Exodus in the future.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack the rain gear as you may need it! Also the gloves and hat were a blessing for this unexpected chilly and snowy weather.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Lesh Karan

    Exceptional tour leader/guide

    Despite the weather, which could have put a real damper on the trip (pun intended!), the trip was made exceptional by our guide, Sara Bull, and the fabulous people we had in our group. I would recommend (and do) any tour that Sara is leading. The farmhouse and surrounds are stunning, too - quintessential Tuscany. And the food cooked by Angela and Flora, delicious.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sara Bull - how she understood everybody's needs and catered accordingly - from the gear to the trekking and even the food. Sara is encouraging and supportive. A wonder woman, really. She also made sure my dietary requirements were met - and that the food for me was just as delicious too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See above. :)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please read the trip notes and bring the trekking gear requested. It's not a walk - but a hike up mountainous terrain, so you need proper hiking boots with a good, non-slip tread and preferably waterproof. Waterproof pants and jacket also worthy to bring. And poles.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Elizabeth Plumb

    Walking in Tuscany.

    Great week despite the weather! Sarah was an excellent guide. She knew the area extremely well and was able to make adaptations to the walks depending on the weather and confidence of the group. The farmhouse was comfortable with great food. The make you own packed lunches also worked well. Would definitely recommend this trip, but if I was going again, I would probably go a bit later in the year when the weather is more likely to be settled. A trip to Lucca on the free day would be my suggestion. A lovely little town, compact with plenty to see.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed being guided by Sarah, over the rocky scrambling part of the walk to the rock arch. I would have been nervous, but Sarah was great at confidence building and got us all through it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sarah was the best group leader I have met. She was very quickly aware of everyone’s abilities and managed us very well. She was very knowledgeable about everything and I felt very safe with her. I would chose any trip I knew she was going to be leading in the future!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the walking is quite steep, but manageable if you are reasonably fit. I would go in June or September rather than April when we had very mixed weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All well organised, including the office staff. We changed our flights a couple of times which seemed to cause no problems. I wonder if some trips should have a Manchester group flight as out of 13 of us, only 2 people came on the group flight from London. 8, came from Manchester!
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