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
    Gill & Don Yuile

    Our first Exodus trip

    This trip met all our expectations and requirements and was a really good holiday for us. The daily organisation and all the experiences were excellent, we cannot praise Liz enough for her competence at making the week so good. The walks were amazing, just at the right level for us and we felt spot on with the leisurely/moderate rating. The hotel was beautifully situated, traditionally furnished, clean and homely, the staff were very nice, helpful and pleasant. Just a few quibbles that have prevented us awarding the top rating: the hotel breakfast was good, although a bit more variety would have been nice, but the evening meals taken in the hotel were fairly basic. The meals taken outside in local restaurants were fantastic. Our pre trip information supplied from Exodus gave us the wrong departure terminal at Heathrow, which we realised just two days before departure, however, this was dealt with efficiently and we appreciated how well it was handled. All in all an excellent week, we enjoyed it immensely and are looking at our next adventure!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the best thing about this trip was the ratio of walking, city visits and wine tasting. A perfect amount of each meant that it was all most enjoyable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was a fantastic guide in all ways: leader experience, local knowledge, language skills, driving, organisation, and making sure every member of the group was comfortable and any special requirements taken care of. She was nice with it!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We recomend taking walking boots rather than trainers for the walk days as many of the tracks have loose stones and rocks. Flat shoes recomended for the rest of the time, especially in towns and cities.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Carmel Elwell

    A fantastic walking holiday in remote and beautiful mountains

    We had five strenuous but not exhausting days walking through really beautiful gorges, meadows and mountains and came back to a welcoming and comfortable simple hotel each evening. Our guide was exemplary in her local knowledge of flora and fauna so there was much to learn as well as to enjoy. Highly recommended if you want to be out all day amidst a fascinating landscape.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sitting and gazing across the valleys and gorges from 6,000 feet up.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A fantastic leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring binoculars.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Chris Naughton

    Perfect holiday

    Hopefully you are lucky enough to stay at chalet chocolat with Ben and Zohi, nothing was too difficult and the food was exceptional. Our guide Sean was helpful and catered to everyone’s need and ability, allowing me to run ahead and made sure I knew where I was going. Everything was perfect and can’t rate this trip high enough.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views and the hikes are amazing

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sean was fantastic and very knowledgeable. Was always up for a chat
  • 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
    Martin Hodgkinson

    South Africa: Walking, Landscapes and Wildlife

    This trip is a great way to See South Africa across a variety of landscapes, mainly through National Parks and game reserves. There is a range of environments from the Drakensberg mountains to the Indian Ocean beaches at St Lucia with spectacular walks. There are long drives, over 3000km in total, in a reasonably comfortable 14 passenger minibus. Travelling in May, the weather was dry, sunny and warm, except at night and the highest walks. The accommodation varied between basic and very comfortable, but always clean.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most of the scenery was striking but the Drakenberg mountains was probably the most spectacular, especially at sunrise. The walk from the historic battlefield at Isandlwana to Rorke's Drift was very atmospheric and fording Buffalo River was an certainly an experience in waist deep water (take a dry bag for valuables just in case). Although I have experienced better safari drives elsewhere in Africa, the night safari in the Kruger was memorable after seeing a pride of 8 lions on the move.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sku and Morrison looked after us well with good knowledge of the areas and wildlife. They set a good pace on the walks for the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are practised and fit for hill walking with a backpack as some walks are steep and most of the terrain is rocky, not prepared, paths. Good knees and ankles are essential! Walking poles can be helpful on some walks. The chain ladders on the final walk are not demanding unless you suffer from vertigo. There were laundry facilities at St Lucia. In May there were no or few insects although covering in the evening is still advisable, also for the cooler temperatures. Periodic stops at good supermarkets allowed replenishment of snacks or anything else. Food and drink at restaurants is very good and excellent value.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our group was a good range of ages from 29 to retirees which made the mix more enjoyable. South Africa is a spectacular country and, for any who has not yet been to Africa, this trip is great way to start. Be prepared for the inevitable tips. ATMs are available in towns and most places are happy to take card payments.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Mary Charalambos

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!!

    From start to finish I could not fault Nordic walking the Prosecco hills of Italy with Exodus. My first Exodus holiday. Our walk leader Serena Cassol was amazing. Her calm approach to the structure of our day was clear and informative. Everything ran smoothly as the day progressed and each day was a new mini adventure with Serena. The Hotel Soligo was spotlessly clean with helpful staff. The private minibus a welcome treat. I felt utterly spoilt. I can’t wait to travel with Exodus again. Thank you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The amazing Prosecco vineyards. A delight to experience such beauty across the rolling hills. Visiting Venice on our day off from walking. Soligo is so close to Venice, just 50 mins by train, you would be foolish not to visit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Serena Cassol was amazingly personable. A calm, organised, knowledgeable leader. We could not have wished for a nicer group leader. Serena structured our day in such a way that each step was an adventure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The Prosecco hills are a delight to walk during the month of May. The weather, however, can be unpredictable so make sure you are prepared for the odd shower!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A wonderful holiday which I would love to repeat. Thank you Exodus and the Nordic Walking UK Group.
  • 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 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.
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