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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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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Reviews

Fantastic trip - unmissable for anyone who loves wild places and walking

This was a simply perfect trip from start to finish, with a group of experienced walkers and travellers, led by a charismatic guide, Xavier, through wild, remote places which appear frequently as the backdrop or subject of TV nature programmes. The vastness, emptiness and isolation of Patagonia has to be experienced to be understood – the feeling of standing on the side of a mountain range looking across hundreds of miles of wilderness and knowing there is no human there is incredible. We were fortunate to have as our Chilean guides on the W Trek, Polo, Anaïs and Cristian who did a lot more than “guide”, injecting a sense of fun even on some of the more tedious parts of the walks.

Most Inspirational Moment

A 5 minute silence on a bluff overlooking Lago Nordenskjöld to absorb fully our surroundings, ended by the crash of an avalanche on the other side of the valley ("silence" has to be understood in the Patagonian context: silent except for the never-ending wind).

Thoughts on Group Leader

Xavier was excellent, in the best tradition of outstanding Exodus guides. He is a very experienced outdoor guide, has a great sense of fun and is happy to share his encyclopedic knowledge of the social and political history, ecology and geology of Argentina and Patagonia in long trail conversations. As his main relaxation seems to be outdoor adventuring in other parts of Argentina, he is impeccably qualified to lead this trip.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Hope but don't expect good weather. I knew that Patagonian weather could be unpredictable and it was. On one day we had sun, hail, rain and snow and, despite this being late summer, the weather according to the guides was more like late autumn; it was especially cold on the first two days of the W Trek. If you use contact lenses, consider beforehand how you would put them in at 6 am in the half light (or total darkness) of a refuge dormitory with no mirror and nowhere to prop a phone. Don't take a poncho (aka sail) and don't bother with gaiters (the paths are all stony). The explanation in the trip notes of what rucksacks and bags to bring is confusing, but essentially you need a main suitcase (for most of your stuff), a rucksack with about 30 litres capacity or more for the W Trek and, optionally, a smaller day rucksack for the day trips (Perito Moreno and El Chalten). When you are deciding what size of rucksack to bring for the W Trek, bear in mind you will need to leave room for the generous gift of a sleeping bag liner, 1 litre water bottle and travel towel.

Suggestions

The current kit list in the trip notes needs a review: the "optional" items are all essential (except gaiters), especially the headtorch as several of the refuges turn their electricity off at night (a problem if you need to use the loo).

Fabulous trip

A fabulous trip with a brillant guide and group.

Most Inspirational Moment

Completing the W trek in the company of a great group, fantastic leader and 3 entertaining Chilean guides. We really experienced Patagonian weather at first hand, one moment really strong winds, to sleet/snow and hot sunshine in a short space of time!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Xavier was a fantastic guide, always cheerful, very knowledgeable, great organisational skills and took us to some amazing restaurants. Thanks for making it such a memorable rewarding trip.

Advice for Potential Travellers

As everyone says, pack light. Don’t take a poncho as some reviews say. Either use plenty of dry bags or have a CLOSE fitting waterproof cover that is securely attached to your rucksack in several places. At the start of the W trek you are given a sleeping bag liner, travel towel and reusable metal water container. There are plenty of places to fill up a water bottle on the trek so you only need one water bottle. Only ever carry a maximum of 1 litre. If travelling for longer in Argentina get a local Claro SIM card.

Suggestions

The trip notes and equipment to take could do with up dating. The notes about rucksacks are a bit confusing and it would be good to be told what you will get given to avoid duplication.

Classic Patagonia treks

Fabulous holiday with a good balance of trekking and rest days. Not too many travel days for a big country either.

Most Inspirational Moment

The W trek in Chile was exceptional - stunning scenery, fun Refugios and outstanding guides.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Xavier was fabulous, very personable. The perfect balance of being totally organised/aware of the group and what everyone’s travel priorities are but also relaxed and really fun.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Approx a 35litre rucksack is more than enough to carry what you need in Chile. For the rest of the time a smaller day pack is perfect just to carry waterproof layers, water etc.

Suggestions

Really recommend this trip, the two trekking areas covered are truly stunning.

Brilliant and challenging

Wonderful trip. Amazing trekking. Superb guide (Tomas). Friendly group. Expensive but worth it.

Most Inspirational Moment

The W trek in Chile

Thoughts on Group Leader

Excellent. Great fun. He really likes people.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Try not to take too much stuff. You have to carry it all for some of the time.

Fascinating trip to South America

Overnight flight to Buenos Aires business class with KLM. All six of us were up for cycle trip around city centre that day – we stayed in Own Recoleta and met the group[16] the next day for a walking trip! Great group all equipped and ready for walking. Early morning flight to El Calafate and the Torres had a 15 kg weight restriction so left luggage at Own Recoleta. Hotel at El Calafate was very comfortable with lovely staff. First day was a gentle walk around the Perrito Moreno Glacier- we had bright sunshine and did the boat trip so we got close to the edge. We left another bag at El Calafate Hotel an early start by bus to the Torres to do the W Trek. Stay in Refugios commenced- three over the week and six of us shared rooms with bunk beds. Showers were variable – some cold- some very busy. At start we were each given a gift of note book pen and Travel towel!Great walking quite an effort at times but we completed it all. We had two guides for Torres plus Pepe our own tour guide which gave flexibility if some of the group needed to do less. Return by catamaran and bus back to El Calafate. There was time here to get washing done – very cheap at hotel – there was a day off – we walked around bird reserve and El Calafate. Travelled by bus to El Chalten. Unfortunately it was raining on first day so trip to Mount Fitzroy was changed to a less challenging walk. Again group had two guides plus Pepe. Hotel in El Chalten had seen better days – water leaked into lounge.Weather improved the next day so successful walking up to another look out and glacier. Flight back to Buenos Aires meant we had another afternoon and evening there. Staying again in Own Recoleta which we appreciated more the second time around. We arranged to do the Iguazu Falls at end. A great hotel with a lovely pool and would fully recommend doing the boat trip at the falls – good to have the refreshing shower! Temperature went up to 30degrees.

Most Inspirational Moment

Seeing the Torres del Paine and Mount Fitzroy [ although the latter was only visible on way home]. I managed to do all the walking keeping up with the group!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Pepe was an excellent group leader who went out of his way to ensure we all knew what was going to happen and that we were prepared for the walk. He had a very cheerful positive out look and communicated clearly.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Pack your ruck sack lightly. I [ female!]had leggings and a top for evenings - leggings could be used for bed as well. Travel towel not needed as they gave us a perfectly adequate one. Flip flops needed for refugio showers. We had ponchos that came into their own in the rain covering yourself and the ruck sack. Packet of sweets/ choc raisins keep everyone going. I would definitely use the laundry service at El Calafate hotel. I had a large bag for travel from uk in which I put my Exodus bag and had my ruck sack as hand luggage. I carried a small collapsible ruck sack inside my osprey ruck sack which was useful in bus and Buenos Aires. The weather in Patagonia was very variable so be ready for all possibilities during the day- rain wind sun snow.

Suggestions

I think that Exodus could improve their hotel choice in Buenos Aires - however the Own Recoleta was happy to store our luggage for no charge over the 10 days we were away- but they definitely should think again about El Chalten, it was very basic hotel. All our guides spoke excellent English except the guide for Perrito Moreno Glacier who was completely incomprehensible and inaudible. Our meals entailed a lot of meat get ready for a beef overload! [ eating out is cheap in comparison to uk]

Another tick on the bucketlist! Outstanding hiking holiday in a very beautiful part of the world.

An expensive holiday, and a long way to travel, so it needed to be good. It was! This trip manages to efficiently fit in the trekking highlights of Patagonia with some sightseeing. Add on time to explore Buenos Aires and the optional trip to Iguassu Falls and you have a really well balanced, satisfying holiday.

We found the hiking to be easier than expected, but we did have great weather. We were surprised how busy the trails are – this is not a holiday for those seeking solitude.

Accommodation was relatively basic, but functional and adequate throughout. The Refugios in Chile are of a high standard – much better than European mountain refuges. Food throughout was excellent if you eat meat, possibly less so if you don’t.

Most Inspirational Moment

For us the hiking in El Chalten ranks amongst the "best of the best" in the world. The day walk to the Fitzroy viewpoint was absolutely sensational, with the trek to Cerro Torre base camp only marginally less so. Completing the W trek was also very satisfying. Finally, the extension to Iguassu Falls was an amazing way to end the holiday - very well managed and a great experience. Don't miss the boat ride!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Tomas is a "people person" with a big warm heart. He managed a large and varied group with great skill, and as a result everything worked well. The Chilean trek leader on the W trek set an erratic pace (very lengthy stops), spent a lot of time on his mobile phone and didn't allow people to walk at their own pace. We'd rate him as a leader as very average. In contrast the female leader in El Chalten, Aime, was exceptional - as good as any leader we've ever had. Only one negative for Tomas which I will repeat here since he didn't react positively to my complaint - it is highly dangerous for a guide to make lengthy commentaries whilst wandering around a bus travelling at 70 mph. He did this repeatedly and for long periods. He needs to know that it has cost him a nomination for "leader of the year" from us.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Pray for good weather! We were very lucky, as weather will likely make or break the trip given the cost and distances that need to be travelled to get to, and around, Patagonia. You need to be prepared for anything, at any time, as the local climate is notoriously changeable. This will also affect how the grading of the walking feels. Our weather was very mild, so the grade of hiking did not feel like a 5, but we could see how that could change. We'd recommend extending the trip to ensure you have time to recover from the lengthy flight and to see Buenos Aires - which is a lovely city - and also to visit Iguassu Falls on the optional Exodus extension. This was outstanding.

Suggestions

Big thanks to our group leader, Tomas, and to the rest of our group for being so sociable throughout.

Awesome trek with a great leader

Having seen the Trango Towers on a K2 bae camp trek many years ago I always had an ambition to see the Torres del Paine and the didn’t disappoint. Firzroy is also stunning.We were lucky with the weather which helped and all local guides were excellent.As said in other reviews Tomas our leader is a legend through his enthusiasm, knowledge and caring attitude. Would recommend.

Most Inspirational Moment

Leaving th Paine NP on the catamaran with cloudless skies across an azure blue lake with stunning mountain scenery all around- it doesn't get much better than that.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Where do I start.....Tomas was just brilliant.As someone who came land only to the group so joined later he made it easy to integrate.He was knowledgeable, kind, diplomatic and above all very very funny. He looked after everyone individually and his work rate was phenomenal. As others have said, a legend.

Advice for Potential Travellers

I'd reiterate a few of the previous comments: -there's a lot of bus travel (but necessary to see Fitzroy and Paine) -it's expensive to use ATMs in Argentina so take plenty of USD. -probably not as challenging as I was expecting (although all these ratings are subjective) -take a 30-40 litre pack as well as main bag for W trek in Paine NP. -don't forget earplugs (to aid sleep whilst in dorms on trek) and sink plug (most hosterias etc don't provide them) -enjoy.....

Great Fun

Really fun trip with a very sociable bunch of fellow trekkers.Quite a lot of travel(as it says on the tin).Not a trip for anyone not used to fairly strenuous walking.Bunk beds in refugios so if allocated a top bunk you have to be quite agile.Be aware that weather notoriously fickle in Patagonia and seeing the mountains not guaranteed.

Most Inspirational Moment

Trek up French Valley to Mirador Britanico.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Everything complimentary that has been said in the past about Pepe is true.His professionalism,efficiency and unfailing cheerful good humour contributed hugely to the enjoyment of the trip.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Try to avoid taking cash out of ATM's (very expensive) Chilean pesos not needed.Cards accepted in all refugios and nearly everywhere else.Dollars accepted most places(not taxis) and easy to change for Argentinian pesos. Charging and wifi available all refugios(not free)and hotels. Take a sleeping bag liner for Refugio Los Cuernos. Add extra day at beginning to explore Buenos Aires Wear insect repellant

Classic Patagonia Trek

Excellent trek with lovely views of Torres del Paine in Chile and Cerro Torre in Argentina.

Most Inspirational Moment

Watching the Torres del Paine emerge through the mist.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Pepe was an excellent leader. He arranged some lovely group meals in the evening and some little walks on our day off-a visit to a bird sanctuary in El Calafate and a walk to look for condors in El Chaltén.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Worth having a separate bag for summer clothes to leave in Buenos Aires You are given a very good travel towel and metallic water bottle in Torres del Paine to use on the trip. A sleeping bag liner was useful for the Los Cuernos refuge as they only have a sleeping bag and no sheets. Make sure your rucksack has a waterproof cover We had snow in El Chaltén so make sure you take layers When not on the trek it was quite nice to have different clothes for the evening Most places take Visa credit cards (MasterCard less so) though the internet is poor in El Chaltén so it doesn’t always work. You don’t need Chilean money at all. Even the San Telmo market stalls in Buenos Aires take dollars. Most of us were glad not to have booked an optional trip in El Calafate, we needed a rest!

Suggestions

The Iguazu falls extension was well worth doing if you have time.

A fantastic trip

We have had an amazing time, our guide Pepe was extremely professional, helpful and made the group feel we were in safe hands. The scenery was beautiful and the treks were hard but well worth the effort.

Most Inspirational Moment

Seeing the Torres del Paine once we reached uptake top of the trek, a lovely lake and fab mountains.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Pepe was an outstanding leader, he was extremely professional about his job, was patient and good fun. I felt confident we were in good hands. Pepe was also good fun and a team player.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Try to take only the minimum amount required on the 4 days trek as I found I took too much and my rucksack was very heavy!!