Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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52 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Gill Morriss

    Excellent trip with great variety

    We loved our holiday to Ecuador because of the very varied itinerary, the stunning scenery, a very friendly group and because Eddy was a capable and enthusiastic tour leader. In addition, the quality of the food and accommodation exceeded our expectations. Our favourite place was the Chimborazo National Park with the walk down from base camp being exceptional for the tundra like scenery and the fabulous view of the snow-capped high peaks of the Andes. In addition, the Amazon Rain Forest was brilliant for the boat journey to the lodge, the fascinating night walk, the animal rescue centre, visit to a local family and the wonderful wellies which were a necessity! People were friendly everywhere, the hotels wonderful, with some providing whirlpool baths and food was great with good variety. Nowhere seemed too busy and we didn’t see too many tourists. Eddy, our tour leader, worked hard throughout, conveying his enthusiasm for the country which, combined with his warmth, made him one of the best guides we’ve had. All in all, a fabulous trip that I would recommend to anyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Chimborazo national park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Gill Morriss

    Excellent trip with great variety

    We loved our holiday to Ecuador because of the very varied itinerary, the stunning scenery, a very friendly group and because Eddy was a capable and enthusiastic tour leader. In addition, the quality of the food and accommodation exceeded our expectations. Our favourite place was the Chimborazo National Park with the walk down from base camp being exceptional for the tundra like scenery and the fabulous view of the snow-capped high peaks of the Andes. In addition, the Amazon Rain Forest was brilliant for the boat journey to the lodge, the fascinating night walk, the animal rescue centre, visit to a local family and the wonderful wellies which were a necessity! People were friendly everywhere, the hotels wonderful, with some providing whirlpool baths and food was great with good variety. Nowhere seemed too busy and we didn’t see too many tourists. Eddy, our tour leader, worked hard throughout, conveying his enthusiasm for the country which, combined with his warmth, made him one of the best guides we’ve had. All in all, a fabulous trip that I would recommend to anyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Chimborazo national park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Gill Morriss

    Excellent trip with great variety

    We loved our holiday to Ecuador because of the very varied itinerary, the stunning scenery, a very friendly group and because Eddy was a capable and enthusiastic tour leader. In addition, the quality of the food and accommodation exceeded our expectations. Our favourite place was the Chimborazo National Park with the walk down from base camp being exceptional for the tundra like scenery and the fabulous view of the snow-capped high peaks of the Andes. In addition, the Amazon Rain Forest was brilliant for the boat journey to the lodge, the fascinating night walk, the animal rescue centre, visit to a local family and the wonderful wellies which were a necessity! People were friendly everywhere, the hotels wonderful, with some providing whirlpool baths and food was great with good variety. Nowhere seemed too busy and we didn’t see too many tourists. Eddy, our tour leader, worked hard throughout, conveying his enthusiasm for the country which, combined with his warmth, made him one of the best guides we’ve had. All in all, a fabulous trip that I would recommend to anyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Chimborazo national park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Kevin Parsons

    Fantastic and Stunning!

    A stunning first trip for us to South America - Ecuador has it all. This trip took us on a journey through all the ecosystems of this beautiful Country, from the turbid Amazon with it's humid jungle to winding mountain roads overlooking houses clinging impossibly to the slopes from where a living was hewn from fields bathed in cloud. Subtle changes in the costume of indigenous residents highlighted this varied community, whilst equally subtle changes became the norm as one climbs from the rain through the cloud forests to the highlands with vegetation that appears barren until you look closely at the beauty of the tiny alpine flowers and plants.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, the desolate, windy expanse of the foot of Chimborazo had a beauty of it's own and, the sight of the volcano peak, with it's glaciers and blanket of cloud streaming from it's summit is a view I will remember forever. The experience was made more memorable when picking up a lump of basalt rock that, despite the cooling wind, was quite warm from the equatorial sun's rays.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ivan, our leader was clearly passionate about his Country and quite knowledgeable indeed on all aspects of the trip encounters. Always ready to share this knowledge, he was also quite willing to share photographs he had taken as well as help us to home in on wildlife so we could likewise capture the moment. He made every effort to include all the group and on the occasions where we had "free time" was always keen to show us more of the sights, which is how some of us found ourselves in a Medical museum in Cuenca poring over antiquated dental chairs, ophthalmic equipment and Iron Lungs!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take layers. The climate is such that whilst overall warm, layers help control the changes bought on by wind or the ever changing clouds that block then release the strong sun. We found simple cagoules with layers beneath plenty sufficient for the rain we encountered (which was minimal, it being the end of the dry season). As for mosquitos, we both dressed appropriately long trousers/sleeves when required, combined with liberal doses of Deet, Avon 'Skin so Soft' and mosquito coils at night whilst in the rain forest. Did it all work? - absolutely, I was not bitten at all, whilst Karen received a small bite when we decamped the coach unexpectedly to see a troop of Howler monkeys!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Muck in! Work as a Team with your fellow travellers and you will get more out of it. If you get a chance to try something out, go for it - that is how I found myself ploughing a furrow with an ancient plough pulled by two oxen! Embrace the local food, it is unbelievably tasty. I found green bananas quite pleasing whilst Karen took a shine to the local sugar can juice spiced with alcohol brewed from that very plant!
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Jeff Seymour

    You’ve got to see Ecuador

    If you want variety then look no further; this trip had it all and more. Scenery (stunning), history, wildlife and culture. Boat trips, train rides, walking, easy hiking, wildlife spotting. Volcanoes, Rain Forest, Cloud Forest, the Andes, sugar and cocoa plantations. I even learnt how to use a blowpipe. Great weather throughout the two weeks; only rained for one day (in the rain forest, so expected).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the Devils Nose railway but many, many other moments came a close second.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ivan Tarapuez is a typical example of an Exodus guide; simply excellent. His knowledge, friendliness and dry sense of humour made him special. A credit to his industry and country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pick up the phone and book the trip.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Craig McGarrity

    Andes to Amazon

    Gret indroduction to ecuador (Land)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Amazon Jungle

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cloud Forest only really for bird watchers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Trip to Cotopaxi would be more widely appreciated than Bellavista (I think)
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Sarah (and Angus) Maude

    Stunning beauty in a geologically active area.

    Ecuador is a fascinating, varied and often stunningly beautiful. Apart from high up on some volcanoes, it is very green, with deep valleys dissecting the layers of rock formed of volcanic ash. The people are very friendly and the " indigenous " (as they are known) still live in traditional houses in some mountain areas and have colourful fresh food markets. The programme was well planned, taking in cloud forest, rain forest, the high Andes and the coastal plain. There were activities to appeal to various tastes including bird watching, exploring geologically active areas and wandering in the old colonial centres of towns like Quito and Cuenca. I enjoyed watching the scenery on the long coach journeys (occasionally obscured by rain, it being the wetter season). The hotels, especially the haciendas and the Santa Lucia in Cuenca, were comfortable and large portions of food usually tasty. With so many places included in the itinerary, the pace of the tour was fast with little "spare" time, but that enabled us to see and experience so much.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenic walk around the Cuicocha crater lake, beautiful and geographically interesting. The valley side train journey to the "Devil's Nose". The walk in the Cajas National Park - hills like the Scottish Highlands only bigger.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabian, our group leader, was excellent. He worked hard to ensure everything was in order every day but always appeared confident and relaxed. His experience and sense of humour made him a good "minder" for the group, keeping us in order! He kept us well informed about the places and our future movements. I like the way he has so much respect for his countrymen, not allowing us to take inappropriate or intrusive photos.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a full-on tour with little time to relax, except possibly on the long coach journeys - unless, like me, you don't want to miss seeing everything you pass.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you to Exodus and to Fabian for a wonderful experience.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    philip isenhouer

    The Pluses and Minuses

    This is a nice tour with some highs and low points. Highs: Sachatamia Lodge for birds and I mean lots of different types and numbers. Chachimbiro Hots Springs, excellent We got onaly a 10 minutes and a 30 minute boat ride in the Amazon River Basin. Cajabama Indian Market, great local color of locals selling and buying fruit, vegetables, plants. Hiking in Cajas National Park for animals viewing and great scenery Churute Eloological Reserve for mangrove swamp boat ride to see many birds and bird species. Lows: San Clemente Indigenous Community, slow moving and boring. Papallacta Hot Springs, over crowded Not enough boat on the river time in the Amazon Basin. Should be at least 2 hours per 2 days. Banos, over rated town

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sachatamia Lodge for birds and I mean lots of different types and numbers. Chachimbiro Hots Springs, excellent We got onaly a 10 minutes and a 30 minute boat ride in the Amazon River Basin. Cajabama Indian Market, great local color of locals selling and buying fruit, vegetables, plants. Hiking in Cajas National Park for animals viewing and great scenery Churute Eloological Reserve for mangrove swamp boat ride to see many birds and bird species.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabian is an outstanding tour guide. Exodus should be happy to have him

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go only in Andes dry season, July-September

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus needs to add more boat time on the Amazon Basin rivers. 10 minutes and 30 minutes are about 3 hours too little.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Brian Helsdon

    An excellent but busy trip

    This is an excellent tour in a country where variety really is the spice of life. You go from the Andes highands, in fairness this is most of the trip with heights, not including the peaks of 2600 to 3600 metres, to the cloud forest, rain forest and the hot and very humid coastal belt. It is very well designed but there are some long coach days. For example on day ten (to Cuenca) we did not finish until after dark having had two long coach rides. It also helps to be reasonably fit if you are to enjoy the more strenuous walks at Chimborazo and Cajas national parks. There are things I would leave out if I was designing the itinerary. For example there is the AmaZoonica Animal rescue centre which says it is not a zoo but it is really and a crowded and disorganised one at that. The Ingapirca ruins were really a non event and mostly reconstructions. One disappointment was the Mangrove boat trip. It did not happen. This was January 2nd and the boatmen simply did not turn up.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Two moments stand out. The first was the climb up Chimborazo from 4800 to 5000 metres. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. The second was at Cuenca. we were there on new year's eve. Totally unexpected and unplanned we came across a massive parade with local ethnic groups demonstrating their affinity with the deity. There were loads of floats and children and adults in colourful costumes plus music.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eddie was excellent, extremely knowledgeable and well organised. He was at ease with the group and enjoyed a joke. He had to cope with several issues affecting group members and did so calmly and effectively without this affecting the attention he gave the rest of the group, a real asset.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Outside of the rainy season you don't need a mosquito net for the rainforest. We didn't see any at all. For the rainforest take a bag that is big enough for all the things you will need for two nights in the rainforest. The boat to the lodge is not big enough to take the main bags. Also make sure you have a powerful torch both for the night walk and the room. There are candles but the matches and match boxes provided were useless.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take plenty of layers. On the last day we went from 3600 metres plus to sea level with temperature changes to match. It was the coldest and hottest day in one.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Rosemary Muirhead

    Excellent Trip

    We flew in 3 days early to see more of Quito, which was a good idea as had altitude headache first day. Could easily spend more time in Quito. Tour is full on, varied and really good. Poundland ponchos came in useful for showers, even in the hailstorm as we weren’t cold because we were walking. Spent $300 in total. Would recommend to anyone of reasonable fitness. Excellent holiday

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved the night walk through the rainforest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Edi was excellent, best tour guide we have had so far.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Poundland ponchos, deet, if you like wine Clos litre boxes in the supermarkets are great for a pre dinner drink (a box costs $6 which is the same as a glass in the hotels)