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 June 2019
    paul bester

    breath-taking, in both senses

    having done a few mountains before, I was just hoping to get a view of Everest, but was amazed at just how unexpectedly-beautiful the route was. the initial lush green valleys were replaced with breath-taking views of majestic mountains. every turn produced another stunning vista. i found it really difficult to relay just how big those mountains are to anyone who hasn't been there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    the sheer size of the Himalayas gives a humbling sense of ones place on earth. I simply could not go through life without seeing the "big one" up close- (relatively speaking).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bikash was a true gem. he is an experienced and confident leader, beyond his years. besides his general information, I learned so much about Nepalese culture from the one to one chats, while ambling at the back of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    it's a challenging trip, but certainly not limited to the super-fit.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Diane Ingrey

    It was Amazing

    Peru My Peru holiday with Exodus was just amazingly fantastic. I have seen beautiful mountains before in the Alps but had not previously experienced the amazing sunsets you get on the Inca Trail or the stunning night sky. You could see the stars and milky way with absolute clarity. Nor have I descended down through Amazon cloud forest with its amazing flora and fauna. To do all that whilst walking such historic trails was mind-blowing. You feel really close to mother earth and nature. The descent through the Sun Gate to view Machu Picchu cannot be overstated as a beautiful moving experience. It is the best view of the site but what is undersold is that on this trip we arrived at the Sun Gate as Machu Picchu was closing and we had the site to ourselves. You descend through the site. I climbed the wooden steps to view the Gatekeepers Hut and it was occupied by just 3 Llamas! The next day on the formal visit there were swathes of visitors. The porters on the trek were amazing, I have a new definition of fitness now after watching porters run past me with a 25kg backpack almost a big as themselves. After their trek they erect your tent put your stuff in it and have a bowl of hot water waiting for you and prepare your meal. Meals were all freshly made, healthy and very tasty. They really do carry fresh vegetables up the trail. The joy of a shower and a flushing toilet after the trek is still with me! Cusco is an amazing place to explore and just to sit and watch. Its pace can be manic, it felt like being in a Rio carnival at times. Traffic is crazy and controlled by women police officers who are fearsome and fearless. They need to be, horns toot endlessly and everybody just shoves as far as they can. Its noisy and very vibrant. The Cathedral is beautiful and the huge picture of the Last Supper where they enjoy guinea pig is interesting. I did eat guinea pig and Llama, the Llama is good, cross between steak and lamb but not keen on guinea pig. We visited Inca sites in Cusco and if you are a history buff you would be overjoyed as their is so many sites. This holiday has completely changed my view of holidays, no more standard European Alps walking holidays. I crave history and culture experiences. I am still in a state of wonder a week after getting back. Only downside of the holiday is the free roaming dogs, some of which have homes but are not allowed in, but some are just hungry and scavenging out of rubbish heaps. Not so much in Cusco centre but just outside. 3rd world regarding animals.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leaders were outstanding, so helpful and so patient. They helped a member of the group who was very ill prepared for the trek to complete it (despite no appreciation from the member).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't take the altitude sickness medicine, it made those who took it ill. They were better when they stopped taking it. Make sure you are fit enough, not a lot of oxygen for muscles up there so you need strong legs. Its not an easy trek, I am a regular high fell walker and my legs were very, very tired. You need to be fit to enjoy it not "reasonably fit" as stated. If you are not fit and suffer at altitude it will be hard as one of our group found...but she still made it!! Porters and walk leaders are angels.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you for the best most wonderful holiday of my life.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Katrina Borowski

    Fantastic adventure - don’t think about it, just do it!

    The Classic Inca Trail had been on my bucket list for some time, so it was brilliant to finally tackle it, combined with an excursion into the Amazon rainforest and a trip to Lake Titicaca. It was an action-packed, superbly organised 2 weeks and all 3 experiences were very different but equally enjoyable. Our group of 9 (ages ranged from 51 to 70) all completed the Trail, although it’s fair to say that fitness levels varied quite a bit. However, as our group leader said, it’s all about positivity and believing you can!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Very difficult to single out one, but probably getting to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass, followed very closely by arriving as a group at the Sun Gate. Also, in the rainforest, we were incredibly fortunate to see a young male jaguar for 15-20 minutes as we travelled by boat early one morning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Adolfo (AD) was brilliant: very personable and extremely knowledgeable and experienced. He was also exceptionally well-organised without us feeling pressured in any way. He instilled us with confidence in our capabilities and it was reassuring to learn that he was going to be with us for the whole 2 weeks. This meant that transfers, hotel check-ins, internal flights etc were seamless as AD did all the legwork and made it extremely easy for us. In addition, in his capacity as our guide on the Trail, he supervised us in a way that enabled us to walk at our own pace in small groups within our group. He also had a great knowledge of and a passion for wild flowers, particularly orchids, so our Trail experience was punctuated with much-welcomed breaks to take photos. In addition, when in Lima, Cusco and Puno, he knew exactly which restaurants to take us to for the very best and authentic experiences and never seemed to struggle to get us in, even at the last minute. AD even managed to get hold of a bottle of wine on our last night of the Trail - goodness knows from where, as we were camping at just under 4000 metres!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read all the reviews of the Trail and you will get a pretty good idea of what it’s like. Yes, it is tough, especially the second day, but it was what we expected - certainly not worse. Do spend time working on your fitness levels, especially walking uphill, as this will help you enjoy the experience more. We were fortunate to be part of a fantastic group of people who worked well together and supported each other: don’t underestimate how important it is to want to complete the Trail as a Team, as this certainly spurs you on. Travel light! Most of us just took one change of clothes on the Trail and changed into them at night to sleep in, not the least to be better prepared for the early start next day. Don’t forget spare batteries for cameras and use wet wipes for washing. The rainforest was very hot so make sure you have light clothing but you do need to cover arms and legs to protect yourself from insect bites. We were all loaned duffle bags (different from the Exodus kit bag that you’re sent for the Trail), and this was for packing stuff for the rainforest. You are not limited by weight and there’s plenty of space for the gear you need for this part of the trip. On arrival in Cusco, we all used the laundry service organised by AD as our stuff was damp and smelly! This was very speedy and very cheap! We took some Peruvian Sol but also UD dollars. We had no problem finding ATMs or changing money. Do be prepared to spend more than you planned for, as we probably all spent twice the amount on tips compared to the Exodus guidelines in the Trip Notes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was made by the Exodus staff as well as the excellent group of like-minded people with whom I had the good fortune to share this fantastic adventure. I cannot stress enough how exceptional AD was as our group leader and, for sure, he motivated us all to achieve our ambition of successfully completing the Inca Trail. He also ensured that we enjoyed the most amazing experience of his beautiful country. Much credit also to the lovely Christian, AD’s deputy on the Trail, who selflessly and tirelessly encouraged and supported our group throughout. In addition, Christian, together with Uri, one of our porters, very kindly gave up their time to lead 3 of us up an extra peak at the end of our walk on Day 3. Talking of porters, they were truly amazing - how do they do it?! No only did they carry all the luggage and camping gear for the whole group, including food, catering equipment, tables, chairs, portable toilet etc, but they still managed to overtake us and were able to welcome us in at lunchtime/the end of the day! A special mention also goes to the very talented chefs, Roberto and his assistant, Vassilli?, who prepared the most fantastic and beautifully-presented food in very difficult conditions. In the rainforest, our guides, Frank and Joss were inspirational and so knowledgeable and passionate about wildlife and conservation. On Lake Titicaca, some of us were fortunate to experience the wonderful hospitality of Mama Flora who welcomed us into her home - what a lovely lady!
  • Reviewed June 2019

    The Inca Trail in Comfort 30 May departure & Lake Titicaca Extension

    This was a brilliant trip. The Inca Trail in Comfort was well organised & a good mix of trekking and sightseeing. Our guide, Mike, was great & the camping porter team were inspiring. The camp chef provided excellent meals. The hotels were comfortable & the camping was as good as camping gets. The group gelled well together. The Lake Titicaca Extension is also well worth doing and good value. We were very happy with all aspects of the trip & would recommend it to anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the whole trek: highlights included the first view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate, the spectacled bear we saw from the trail, reaching the top of dead Woman's Pass, the view from our camp site on the last morning, rowing a reed boat on Lake Titicaca ...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mike was a brilliant leader. He is extremely knowledgeable and was keen to share with us. He is friendly to all and certainly helped the group to gel. He is considerate of the needs of the group and provided help when appropriate to those who needed it. He organised the trek well and kept the group together. He organised a variety of restaurants for lunch & dinner, all good, and even booked us a restaurant in Puno (Titicaca extension) which was an excellent recommendation. He is considerate of health and safety, the environment and the local community. Mike was great and we were very lucky to have him as our group leader. Davis and the camp team were also very good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a brilliant trip - book it as long as you have a reasonable level of fitness and enjoy walking, (and don't have bad knees - there are a lot of steps). Bring good walking boots, well worn in. Use poles (you can hire locally, or buy in UK for similar price - must be telescopic / adjustable with rubber ends.) If leave is not a concern, consider arriving a day early in Cuzco to acclimatise. Bring a good head torch. We didn't go to the hot springs so no need to carry swimming costume / large towel / flip flops on trek. Hotel Casa Andina (Aguas Calientes) provided shampoo so no need to carry on trek. We could have left some stuff in Hotel Pakaripampu (Ollantaytamo) before the trek, to collect after Machu Picchu on way back to Cuzco. Minimise the weight in your ruck sack. If leave is not a concern - the Lake Titicaca extension is excellent value. Don't be put off by the drive - it's in a comfortable coach & includes 4 stops & lunch. Don't under estimate the amount you need for tipping. Although the exchange rate is better in Cuzco it's convenient to arrive with a little local money. The exchange rate was approximately the same changing pounds into dollars in UK then changing the dollars into sols in Cuzco as it was to change pounds directly into sols in Cuzco. However all the exchange outlets would exchange dollars (including very near hotel San Agustin Plaza) but they didn't all exchange pounds. Western Union in Main Square exchanges pounds. We spent approx 1450 sols per person for 11 nights (incl 1 night in Cuzco pre tour & Titicaca extension). If you do the Titicaca extension, include the reed boat ride, and book the Balcons de Puna restaurant for dinner & floorshow.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was great. Thanks to Mike for excellent organisation & guiding. Thanks also for organising extra night in Aguas Calientes due to train strike.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Tom Anderson

    Thanks

    It was a difficult trip for me, but the support of the Exodus staff made it an excellent experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the final hike up to Llactapacta, and the realization that we had made it up and down several steep climbs and descents, and we’re now on the doorstep to Manchu Picchu, was my most inspirational moment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Julio Llancay was an excellent group leader. He was always helpful and understanding, and his interactions with us, the hikers, and the rest of the support staff, the horsemen, cooks, and assistant leader, set a tone of cooperation and friendship.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I believe that it is accurately rated as a challenging/tough trip, but after experiencing the crowds around Manchu Picchu, it was worth the effort to experience Choquequirao and the less crowded Inca sites.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Richard Spink

    The Inca Trail

    This was my second trip with Exodus and the organisation could not have been better. I was pcked up from Cusco Airport, transferred to my hotel and introduced to the other memebers of the group. We had a day to acclimatise in Cusco and then started the Inca Trail. It was absolutely briliant. The walking was quite steady but some very steep sections. The scenery was spectacular and the night sky was equally as spectacular. We could clearly see the Southern Cross. The food at each camp was superb (How the chef managed to cook such good meals, including 1 vegetarian, on a 2 ring portable stove, beats me!.) The tour guide, Edwind, was very knowledgeable and each Inca settlement we passed, he gave us a "history lesson". The timing of the walk to go through the Sun Gate, was exemplary, as we did so late afternoon and viewed Machu Picchu when there were hardly any tourists in the site. The views of Machu Picchu were breathtaking and it is no wonder it is one of the 7 natural wonders of the World. I would highly recmmend this walk but remember there are some steep sections, particularly the second day, so be prepared!! In short, an excellent trip well organised by Exodus and a great toour leader. Excellent value for money.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking through the Sun Gate and looking down on Machu Picchu for the first time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Edwind, our group leader could not have been better. Very supportive of everybody, very knowledgeable about all of the Inca site we passed, very friendly, helpful and professional. His assistant, Anthony, was also superb and equally as knowledgeable. A great team to be in charge of our group. They also spoke excellent English!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Practice walking up some hills before you go!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Inca Trail is a really enjoyable, pleasant walk, with stunning views around every corner. If you plan to do it, just take it steady, as nobody rushes you, and enjoy the fantastic views.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Martin Atkin

    Inca Trail In Comfort - 30th May Departure

    This was a challenging but most rewarding of adventures on the Inca Trail. A group of individuals of varying ages, abilities and backgrounds became a team over the 4 day trek. Our guide and leader, Mike, was inspirational giving of his knowledge, experience and friendship throughout.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    While Machu Picchu was the end of the trek it was camp on the third night together with the sunrise on the fourth day that will be my standout memory. Waking to a glorious sunrise on that last day with the clouds filling the valleys below was an awesome sight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mike was a fantastic guide and leader. Whether it was recommendations on places to visit in Cuzco, his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Peru and Inca or his care for those having difficulty at the higher altitude his energy and enthusiasm exceeded all expectations.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure your fitness levels are as good as possible. This will ensure you maximise your enjoyment.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I will certainly be looking for further opportunities to travel with Exodus.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Amanda Wilson

    Absolutely Fantastic

    I had high expectations of this trip and it did not disappoint, not one little bit. Cusco is a beautiful city, very relaxed, clean, and welcoming - perfect for acclimatisation before and relaxing after the hike. As for the hike itself it was tough at times but well worth the effort. I am so glad we decided to do the High Inca Trail, giving a few extra days to experience the stunning scenery. We were lucky to have perfect weather, clear blue skies and sunshine during the day, a little rain overnight, but mostly clear skies to admire the stars and milky way. The numerous Inca ruins we passed were mind-boggling - just how did they build these places in such precarious locations?! And Machu Picchu surpassed all expectations - it is truly breathtaking, an absolute must on anyone's bucket list.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The obvious one was seeing Machu Picchu for the first time. After this scaling the highest point, Incachirisca Pass, and surviving Dead Woman's Pass! But by far and away the most inspiration came from the porters, rushing past you on the trail to get to the next camp site before you, having been left behind to dismantle the site you had just left, laden down with kit - put your own puffing and panting with a day pack into perspective!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was brilliant. He set a good pace, made sure we didn't overdo it, and kept a constant check on our wellbeing. He was very knowledgeable, ensured everyone was included, and was unbiased and diplomatic when needed - which is often the case in group travel. Nothing was too much trouble for him, he was always there for us. Assistant leader was also great.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It may seem daunting, and it is tough, but it is totally achievable if you are prepared to give it your all. You can expect to feel the effects of altitude, suffer headaches, so be prepared.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whether travelling as a group within the group, or as an individual, especially on the trail be inclusive of everyone, considerate of everyone, support each other when the going gets tough, celebrate your achievements as one.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Catharine and David Finn

    Fantastic walking trip

    Fantastic holiday walking the Great Wall .... great group leader and lovely group of people. We both found The Wall absolutely amazing and China is such an interesting country to visit. Would love to go back to visit another part.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole of the wall was more amazing than we imagined but particularly the 28 Towers walk.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alan was outstanding.....really knowledgeable, enthusiastic and organised. Nothing ever seemed to be a problem or too much trouble as he just sorted things out.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take toilet roll and hand gel as not always available. Download VPN before you go if you want to access internet as some sites are blocked.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Peter Kenny

    The Great wall, a great holiday

    An excellent overall experience, really enjoyed the walking, especially the less touristy parts of the wall. The hotel rooms in Beijing and Xi'an were looking a little tired but, they were clean with comfortable beds and good showers. The homesteads were fine with very welcoming hosts. The food overall was very good, although breakfast was a little limited if you like your traditional "English" style to start the day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing on a hilltop and seeing the great wall stretching out for miles over mountain peaks that look so steep that you'd think they would be impossible to climb let alone build a wall over.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader in Beijing was Alan, he really was excellent. Nothing was too much trouble for him, on numerous occasions he went out of his way to help us, I really can't praise him enough. Our guide in Xi'an was Chris, he was OK, nothing more than that.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Having done a number of treks with Exodus don't underestimate the physical challenge that this trip offers. Don't be fooled by the distances in the trip notes, it is very up and down with hundreds and hundreds of steps. When we were there the weather was very hot and that also played a part.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Really enjoyed walking the Great wall and China is a fascinating country to visit.
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