Turtle, Ecuador

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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 July 2019
    Colin Spence

    Wonderful trip to the Picos

    Our Third trip with Exodus and certainly our best. Magnificent scenery and some great walking. Combined with a hotel with a beautiful setting and Michelin star quality food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final walk with a spectacular summit

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nachos was excellent with great knowledge of the local environment. He took great care to ensure we were all safe and ensured everyone in the group was made welcome. Also a great sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try and incorporate some Hill walking in your preperation!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don’t hesitate book this trip and you will not be disappointed
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Malcolm Duesbury

    Walking the Picos de Europa - a very special part of Spain

    We all think that Spain is an arid country with every town heaving with tourists, music blaring from every club, drunks roaming the street !! Well think again. The Picos de Europa is the northern mountain range in Spain, with lush flora; fantastic gorge and mountain views; small villages and hamlet, and a so very different part of Spain. We spent the last week of June on this trip and enjoyed every minute. The hotel may only be 1 star, but is comfortable, has fantastic buffet breakfasts (cereal, fruits, drinks, meats, cheese, bread, etc), ample packed lunches (with choices of baguette filling, chocolate and muesli bars), and sublime 4 course evening meals (with 3 choices of main course). The tour leader Nacho (Ignachio) was extremely proficient and friendly, ready with useful information and, very much, part of the group. The variety of landscape, local flora, long gorges, wonderful mountain peaks lead to some great experiences and unbelievably beautiful views. One of our best Exodus trips so far, and so close to the UK

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Scrambling up to the peaks on day 7 to the summits of Mancondiu, meeting Chamois enroute, and taking in the unbelievable views in all directions

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nachio (Ignachio) was a great tour leader, kept everyone well informed, gave timely advice on the need for water, appropriate clothing, electrolyte and mineral replacement (isotonic additives), suntan lotion, and the need for 'pacing' the walks to avoid exhaustion. He juggled the programme to suit both the prevailing and forecast weather, and ensured everyone stayed safe. He was very much 'part of the group'.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The weather can be unpredictable, and whilst we did not need to layer up, nor did we need wet weather gear, the humble umbrella can be a useful bit of kit to be used in rain or searing sunshine. The tour leader on both this trip, and previously in Austria, have recommended one as almost essential. Trekking poles, and stout walking boots are very suited to the terrain. There are very few ' mountain huttes' for toilet facilities ( so a 'toilet' kit - hand sanitiser etc. is useful) and few places to buy drinks en route in this part of Spain. There are quite a few opportunities to fill water bottles from springs, and whilst we were assured that the spring water is safe, some people might feel safer using water purifier systems. You do need to make sure that you have sufficient bottle capacity (about 2 litres) so that it will last betwenn refills. We did canoeing on the free day; it was 40 euros per person, includes transport to and from the hotel, a packed lunch, canoe or kayak, double ended kayak paddles (no single blade paddles available, nor left handed paddles) and gives you between 3 and 4 hours of paddling with many opportunities to 'beach' for a break. The river has a few very tame grade 1 'rapids', and you are paddling with the current. The river can be very busy at the launching ramp, usually the school trips, but soon thins out a you progress down stream.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    David and Jennifer Douglas

    An Amazing Week Walking in the Picos de Europa

    We spent an amazing week in the Picos de Europa from 25th May to 1st June 2019 and both enjoyed it immensely. Even though our fitness levels were different, we were both able to benefit from the varied levels of the walks, some of which had optional climbs at a more challenging level. The scenery was stunning and was further enhanced by our leader Ignacio/Nacho's local knowledge and ability to judge the walk to suit the weather. This ensured we gained the most benefit from the scenery as some walks would have otherwise been spoiled by the mist due to their altitude. We enjoyed the many sightings of vultures, eagles, Asturian Mountain Cattle, goats, sheep, horses and chamois. The family run hotel Torrecerredo was very much understated as the food and service were exceptional with a very homely atmosphere. It is a credit to Jim and Pilar for such a well run hotel. We were presented every evening with a four course evening meal of Michelin Star quality. Picnic lunches were individually prepared to order and wrapped for us ready to take on our walk. The staff at the hotel were extremely friendly and accommodating. The beds were very comfortable and the hotel also offers a laundry service which most of the group availed of. We were very fortunate to be part of a fantastic group of 16 people who got on extremely well together and encouraged and supported each other throughout the week. The hotel bar was great to relax in after a day's walking with a bottle of local cider, beer or gin and tonic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me (David) it would have to be the climb to the top of Mancondiu peak at 2000m as you had to scramble to get to the top where the view was magnificent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Ignacio/Nacho was exceptional in every way and was humerous, informative, patient and helpful. He was genuinely a very nice person who looked after everybody irrespective of their ability. He was able to evaluate everybody's individual strengths and weaknesses and advise accordingly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A few weeks practice hill walking with walking poles beforehand would make the whole experience more enjoyable. Don't hesitate to book this holiday as we both found it amazing and thoroughly relaxing.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Mark Brookes

    Picos de Europas

    What a fantastic trip, loved it. Probably the best group I've ever walked with, stunning location and not what you would normally associate with Spain. The Hotel Torrecerrado was brilliant, lovely family atmosphere, Jim and the gang were excellent and couldn't do enough for us. The food was sensational, high end restaurant quality, innovative and delicious. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend this trip to others.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tackling my fear of heights, did a couple of scrambles, walked through a stunning canyon with a properly vertical drop, a good few metres down, but the group and guide were great, really looked after me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nacho was great, really entertaining, spoke a lot about the history of the area and very considerate to the not so able members of the group, possibly to the detriment of the fitter people within the group as it was hard to walk at our own pace, but this is a minor detail.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walk is graded as a moderate 3, but in my opinion it was slightly more difficult in certain places, possibly a 3-4, which some of the group struggled with. Oh and take some ear plugs, most of the cows have bells which can get a bit tiresome when your trying to sleep at night, but please do not be put off by this.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Rachel Speight

    Pico's May 2019

    An amazing trip assisted by the complete gelling of the group...everyone put in 100% from day 1 to make it a great success

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing the peaks with the encouragement of the group and the tour leader...….amazing views and sense of achievement

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb!! Well informed and aware of the local environment - ensured that everyone was safe at all times and answered all questions and queries Nothing was too much trouble

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take ear plugs for the cow bells if you are a light sleeper!!!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Matthew Butcher

    Food was excellent

    Food was well above the standard I expect. Well presented and varied menu. Lovely views and good company. Shame we had rain on the gorge walk

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking over the snow drifts

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Managed the various speeds of the walker well

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take walking sticks. First time i used them but made life much easier
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Dave Johnson

    Fantastic experience!

    The Picos de Europa is a great National Park to experience wonderful mountain ranges at a moderate hiking grade. We were very fortunate to have an excellent tour guide in Nacho who really looked after us and filled the days with great facts on the local area and wildlife. The walking group was a wonderful mix of ages and backgrounds and we bonded from Day 1. The hotel accommodation was good but I have to highlight the excellent customer service from Jim/Pillar and their team. The food each night was simply fantastic...4 courses which would grace any London establishment. Also, a great bar to socialise in after the walks! Thanks everyone!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Taking in the wonderful mountain range of the Picos.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nacho was a great group leader...full of wonderful local facts, history and knowledge of the surrounding wildlife.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Terry Brown

    Cow bells and Cuisine......

    This would be a 5* PLUS trip for me, but it has to be mentioned that it does lose a star because the cow bells on the very beautiful but very close cows in the adjacent field kept us all awake half or most of the night which is not helpful when you are mountaineering the following day! It seems Jim the hotel owner can do nothing as its not his field. Having said that the hotel was great, all staff were happy, helpful and always willing to please. The food was really amazing again 5* plus which you don't expect on a walking trip. It was truly one of the highlights. So now what to choose? the wonderful group of people that came together in an inspiring way, all having fun, helping each other, laughing a lot and enjoying every minute of our trip. We were a true team. So what's left? oh yes our wonderful, kind, caring fun leader Ignacio or Nacho to us. He is great and truly looked after us all and was enthusiastic and knowledgeable too. Finally of course the walking! Well, what a place. Glorious scenery, magical walks, varied and interesting. Some were a bit tough for me especially when hot but that was my age and ability rather than the level. I've been on many Exodus trips this one is right up there as a great one.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day was inspirational - can't pick one. Walks were so varied it's hard to pick. Maybe, just maybe the wonderful G&T's that awaited us at the hotel at the end of each days walking.............

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic, fun, friendly, caring and not only that he was very handsome!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take ear plugs - they are essential. I'm sure notes suggests poles - not every one used them but I needed them. A fan - it gets hot up there!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Really great trip and as always I cannot decide which was better - the group or the walking!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    karen lane

    Such a beautiful place

    Excellent walking in the mountains. I loved the fact that it wasn’t crowded and on one day we didn’t see anybody else on the walk. The hotel has mountain views and the food plentiful and tasty. The owners Jim and Pilar are lovely.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking along the stunning Cares Gorge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    ‘Nacho ‘ was excellent. Knowledgeable, sociable, organised. Couldn’t have asked for a better guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cows have bells on them . Ear plugs may be useful at night!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would love to go back if Exodus did an alternative itinerary with some different walks.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Simon King

    Great week in the picos

    An absolutely outstanding trip! The hotel was very comfortable and the food we had was outstanding. The picos themselves are beautiful and every walk was spectacular. Our guide Alfonso was excellent and the whole trip was extremely well organised. Thoroughly recommended. I hope to return to this beautiful part of Spain soon.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the walks were excellent but the gorge walk was a particular highlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Alphonso did a great job.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get a decent waterproof if going in April. My one was anything but waterproof. Good shoes or boots are a must. It can get very warm quickly from quite chilly mornings so wear layers. I would go out of season at the start or end of the year again. Our tour had the picos to ourselves but when we were leaving on the Easter weekend it got very busy. Make sure you try the local blue cheese, it is spectacular.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Many thanks for such a great break.
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