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Turtle, Ecuador

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

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592 Reviews

  • Reviewed March 2019
    DAVID BELL

    Excellent week in Dobbiaco

    A great week's cross country skiing in Dobbiaco. Sunshine and blue skies were great but the snow was getting thin by the end of the week. Hotel was very good. Excellent breakfast buffet and plenty of choice for the evening meal. Wellness suite was great to stretch the muscles after a good day skiing. Efficient bus service to get to different ski areas each day and only a few minutes walk from the hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The skiing was very good every day but my best memory will be having a coffee by the lake above Dobbiaco which is very beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 leaders as this was a Level 1 and 2 holiday. Alex led our group and I found the pace and the teaching perfect. He knows the area very well and was able to choose good skiing every day despite the worsening snow conditions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of thin layers as the start of the day may be cold but once the sun gets up so does the temperature. A close fitting light rucksack is very useful to carry water, suncream and the layers you remove.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was our third ski week in Dobbiaco and the scenery is so beautiful I hope we will be back again.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Jackie Freshfield

    Lights, Camera, Action!

    Caveat: I have given this trip a 3-star rating but that's because it is very much weather dependent (Northern Lights and Landscape Photography) and we had appalling, freak weather conditions, and I came home disappointed that we didn't have more opportunities for lights/photography. However, we had one superb day of sunshine and an amazing Northern Lights show with excellent photographic opportunities, and if I was reviewing this trip just on that one day, it would be 5 stars as the light show was INCREDIBLE! The Lofoten Islands are remote and beautiful but it's a long way to go for a short duration (6 days in total with 2 full days of travel bookending 4 days in the Lofoten Islands). We had mixed fortunes on the weather front – we traded a beautiful first day of stunning blue skies and an AMAZING Northern Lights show for 3 days of utterly filthy weather, which was a shame, particularly as there is really nothing you can do when you have 48 hours of rain/hail/gales/sleet etc. Stig did his best to find alternative things for us to photograph in 'interesting' conditions but it was a rather tough gig for him. However, the light show we DID see was just incredible and I feel priviledged and lucky to have witnessed it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Northern LIghts show on our first full day in the Lofoten Islands was simply incredible, better than I thought possible. We were wowed by swathes of irridescent green and purple lights shimmering across an inky sky full of twinkling stars and a blood red moon. Even better, we captured it in camera thanks to excellent tuition and tips from Stig and Steven. Unforgettable!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stig Brondbo is an excellent leader; very helpful, patient, enthusiastic and fun. His passion for the natural world and for photography shines through and his patience with us rather more amateur photographers was very welcome. It must have been very stressful to have 8 people on the trip desperate to see the Northern LIghts and to be faced with a terrible weather forecast; but Stig did his best to find 'filler' stuff for us to do. However, I think we wasted the only 'good' day we had with faffing about with food shopping when we could have been enjoying the amazing landscapes instead, and perhaps Stig could have directed the timings on that day that a little better. However, the lights came out that night and we were just about ready for them, and he and his colleague Steven were hugely helpful to us on the photographic front. I have photos to treasure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Weather-dependent trips are fraught with the danger of disappointment, so keep a positive attitude even when it is chucking it down, and if possible bring stuff to do in down time, and hope for good cabin mates (I give them 5*!). If photographing the Northern Lights bring the widest possible lens (I hired a Sigma ART 14mm which was superb) and a heavy-ish tripod. If staying self-catering then bring a few staples (eg pasta, pesto, salt, pepper, porridge) as it's not cheap in Norway! We stayed at Sakrisoy Rorbuer which was the perfect location, as well as warm, comfy and well-equipped, plus gorgeous views from the balcony (one of our party sat on the balcony photographing the Northern Lights for 2 hours!) . Bring hand-warmers for inside your second pair of gloves; they last for ages and I found them essential items. Pray for good weather!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Lofoten Islands are remote. Two plane journeys and a 3-hour ferry away. It's a long way to go for a short trip which is so weather dependent, and the return journey – after 3 foul-weather days – was not great, taking 17 hours as flights were delayed and we missed a connection, and should have been on the earlier flight from Bodo as we hung around there for 5 hours in total. If you are considering a Northern Lights trip then read the journey times carefully!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Sue Duncombe

    Great snowshoeing in stunning scenery

    Great variety of walks to mountain summits with fantastic views of the beautiful Dolomite scenery. Walking included a couple of ascents of 650m. We walked through wooded hillsides to mountain tops. On most days we stopped in mountain huts for a drink whilst we admired the scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The view from Lutterkopf - 360 degree panorama of the Dolomites and Austrian Alps. Reaching the top of Monte Piano with views of Tre Cime

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sarah was professional and friendly and dealt with the range of individual abilities in the group effectively. She was knowledgeable about the area’s geography and history. We had utmost confidence in her. On top of this we appreciated the biscuits she provided en-route!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have a decent level of fitness to get the most out of the 5 days snowshoeing as a couple of days have ascents of 650m

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone who enjoys walking and mountain scenery. It would take a lot to beat snowshoeing here!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Cathriona Lawlor

    Hunting the Light

    We travelled to the Lofotens for a photography holiday to capture the northern lights and the beauty of the islands. I really enjoyed this trip; the Lofotens are beautifully scenic. We weren't hugely lucky with the weather, but the company was great and this more than made up for the storm and the wind.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This was definitely seeing the Northern Lights on the first night of the trip, it was amazing; we were treated to a fabulous show. Also, a chance trip out to the balcony resulted in a fly-by of local eagles, which was a surprise treat. I was also really lucky with my cabin-mates; we were very well matched, which meant that no matter what the weather or delays, we could still share a laugh, joke and good conversation.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Stig and Steven went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we got the most out of this trip. Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate and we were caught in one of the strongest storms to hit the area in years. This made the leaders' job even harder as they tried to maximise our opportunities to get out and about during breaks in the weather. It was my birthday on the trip and I received a beautiful, hand-made cake from Stig, which was promptly devoured! This was a lovely surprise and I definitely think it should be encouraged for all birthday travellers...

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    LOTS of layers. Hand/foot/pocket warmers and one cabin mate had USB-rechargable hand warmers, of which I was very jealous. A sturdy tripod in case you're treated to the same winds we were... As the trip was self-catering, some thought beforehand could be spent thinking of the food situation/cooking etc. Nothing is cheap in Norway.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were delayed on the Bodo - Oslo part of the trip and as a result, I missed my additionally-booked return flight to Dublin. Due to the fact that Exodus does not book flights from Ireland, this meant that the cost and problem of re-booking this flight was solely up to me. Whilst I appreciate that the delay was not Exodus's fault, the exacting timings for this trip meant that I felt that I had to go with Exodus flights and book add-on flights myself. Delays happen very often during travel and this situation was very frustrating for me at the end of what was already a very long day of travel. This will unfortunately have to be factored into any future trip with Exodus, as I did not feel supported or particularly valued as a customer coming from Ireland. They just weren't interested in those not travelling from the UK.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Fiona Walters

    Fantastic holiday

    This was a great holiday for our mixed group of complete snowshoeing beginners and those who had tried it before. The scenery was stunning, helped by perfect weather! Sunny all day with brilliant blue, cloudless skies. The family run guest house was perfect for relaxing after a hard day walking. The pool and spa area were great, food delicious and a couple of warm bar areas for socialising.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best thing for me was being able to enjoy stunning mountain views without having to ski. I think I have found my perfect winter holiday! It was so peaceful, despite being half term school holidays. I also enjoyed the days we used crampons to walk rather then snowshoes, and the 4km sled run was great fun!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was a great leader, very knowledgable of the area, attentive to the group and lots of fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is hard work, so ensure you are reasonably fit. If your leader says you must drink 2-3l of water, then do it!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Rachel Dixon

    Fabulous

    Having tried snow shoeing for a day last year, I was keen to give it another go but was slightly concerned that a full week of the same thing would be a bit monotonous. I needn’t have worried-Sara our guide made the week varied and fun. We walked through woodland, along ridges, from peak to peak, along old military roads and even finished one walk on a sledge with the snow shoes strapped to our backs.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being at the top of the mountains with spectacular views made the walk up worth every step.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Exceptional. She was fun, knowledgable, caring and experienced. Sara went above and beyond to ensure everyone had a good time and was very patient with a group of adults with poor listening skills!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A bit of training before you go will make the walking more enjoyable. We had unusually warm weather so layers to peel off and put back on again when the sun went down we’re essential.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    At the end of every walk we had the option of doing some stretches, led by Sara, and I would recommend you do them- they helped hugely with stiff muscles! Everything at the hotel was of a high standard, from the swimming pool to the breakfast, and the staff were helpful, friendly and welcoming. I am so glad I went on this trip (my first Exodus holiday) but I am sure it won’t be my last.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Deirdre O'Connor

    Great week in beautiful area

    This was a great active week, in beautiful surroundings. The hotel is very comfortable and the food is great. Sara is a fantastic leader who looked after us really well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 360 degree views on the top of Durrakopf. The beauty and desolation of the top of Monte Piano. The strudel in the hut during the Narnia walk.The sled ride down the mountain.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara is a fantastic leader- such a professional guide who takes pride in her profession. Her attention to detail is second to none, and made sure each person in the group was looked after.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take layers- the weather was warm when we were there, and we were constantly taking on and off clothes. Very warm ski type clothes would have been too warm. Use the pool, try all the food and stretch!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great holiday- would love to go back in summer or winter!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Liz Colyer

    Snowshoeing in Finland

    Fantastic holiday with stunning Narnia scenery. So beautiful! Great week of fairly easy snoeshowing with lovely people and a great guide. Food was good, although fruit a little sparse. Accommodation was good , except due the exceptionally cold weather (-30’s), an extra warm jumper required for the evening. Would love to go back!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning scenery, and the Northern lights performed brilliantly.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Else was great! Very informative and kept the group together well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack a warm jumper
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jackie Kilding

    A fantastic holiday

    This was a fabulous holiday taken in February half term week. I cannot praise the guide highly enough. Great variety of terrain and scenery. Comfortable hotel with good food. Free travel pass a real boon on free day. I shared a room and that worked well. Nice pool. Useful free day to explore and rest feet and legs

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was all fab

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant. Sara was knowledgeable, helpful, paid attention to safety and detail, fun and kind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    take clothes for every eventuality weather wise. We were lucky with the weather being warm but it can be very cold

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You do need a fair degree of fitness
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Elizabeth B

    A wonderful week

    The snow-showing was hard work but really worth the effort to get off the beaten track in deep snow and to see the magnificent scenery. The itinerary varied depending upon the weather conditions and included forest walks past WW1 chapels, battle grounds and monuments and more exposed walks to higher areas, usually incorporating a welcome drink in a mountain hut and the opportunity to sample local goodies. Lots of opportunities to see the local villages and towns, the free train and bus pass for visitors to the valley was very welcome. Several people in the group had walked in the area with Exodus during the summer and enjoyed it so much they were returning for the winter experience , which seems a great recommendation.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk on the last day to Mudlerhof, Lutterkopf, Durakopf and Taistneralm in glorious sunshine, enjoying lunch at the summit with a 360 view of snow covered peaks and no other people, other than our group, in sight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Sara Bull was fantastic, her extensive experience in the region, her attention to detail and her ability to read the group and offer challenge or encouragement where needed ensured we all had a wonderful time. She not only looked after our safety and well-being but offered help and advice about travel on the free day, she provided arnica for sore feet and sweets and treats to incentivise us whilst snow-shoeing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for varied weather, takes lots of layers. The double strength arnica offered by Sara and the local pharmacy is is instant cure for aches and pains. The village offers most things you could want and there is an outdoor shop for any extras you may need, gloves, replacement sunglasses etc. Make use of the free bus and rail ticket for tourists, its a great way to see the valley and public transport is very efficient.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel is friendly. family run, relaxed, comfortable and welcoming. The spa provided nice facilities to relax at the end of the day and was very quiet. The restaurant menu was varied and the portions very generous.