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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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133 Reviews

  • Reviewed July 2016
    Martin Bowes

    It's a MUST DO!

    The Picos de Europa lived up to all expectations and then exceeded them on every day. You simply run out of superlatives on a daily basis.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really found it very hard to find a single moment which would fulfil this description. There were just too many great moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro is a great guide. Attentive and knowledgeable of this area which he clearly loves dearly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Fitness is an absolute must. These are steep hills do not enter them lightly. There are big climbs and big descents and if the heat is up they can be punishing. Bring a good camera! Bring field glasses.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you love walking, you'll love the Picos.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Sarah Allan

    Totally wonderful

    This is a really special trip. Everyday you see a different part of the scenery, which is incredible. From pastures full of flowers (at this time of year anyway), to high mountains with snow, to spectacular gorges, it's hard to overstate how beautiful this area is. The guide, Alvaro, is outstanding - knowledgeable about seemingly every subject to do with the area (flowers, birds, history etc), fun, caring, well-organised and sociable. The hotel is also lovely and the food is very good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking into the high mountains for the first time, ending up in a high valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks on all sides. I didn't know the Picos had scenery like that.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro is the ideal leader, for all the reasons already stated. He is also really careful about everyone's well-being and safety, which is really important. His advice every morning about whether to take waterproofs, fleeces etc, how much water to carry was really helpful too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book this trip!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be hard to overstate how much I'd recommend going on this trip.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Caroline Simmonds

    Beautiful Northern Spain

    This was one of the best Exodus trips I have been on (and I have done more than a few!) Everything came together perfectly, scenery, weather, group, guide, hotel, food - all fabulous.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a kettle of vultures (just looked up the collective noun!) circling around a hilltop while we stopped for our lunch. Or reaching a lovely little village hotel at the end of a walk just after a cloudburst where we dried off in the sunshine and sampled the local cider. Or sitting gazing out of the hotel restaurant window at the stunning mountain views.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro really is one of the best. Knew everyone's name by the first morning and took care to get them right ("Caroline or Carolyn?"). Really knowledgeable about his country and its history and clearly as enthusiastic about the area and the walking as we were. Unfailingly cheerful and helpful and a wonderful grasp of English and its idioms.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all extremes of weather especially heat. Do the optional walk along the coast to Llanes on the free day if offered, and take a swimming cossie for a dip in the sea on the way.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No surprise that this is one of Exodus' longest running and most popular trips. Fully deserved.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Clare Simpson

    Picos de Europa

    Walking the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Unfortunately due to injury I couldn't follow the planned walks but had an alternative trip and was able to still appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the area

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro was amazing. He took time to find alternative things to do. He has an excellent attitude as well as being very funny!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not really just be prepared to have fun and get wet!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Las Arenas de Cabrales is small but has everything! The locals are very friendly
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Wendy Jack

    Picos Dr Europa

    Varied walking in beautiful mountains

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Views of snow clad peaks from summits of walks

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing! He had such a varied group he had his work cut out. His knowledge of everything relevant was excellent. He treated us all with respect and good humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to have a wonderful holiday

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The owners were great too. Delicious food, informative and help when needed
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Iain Forbes

    An enjoyable week - recommended

    It's almost superfluous to repeat what everyone else says - that the hotel is relaxed, informal and friendly and the food is excellent. The walking programme is fine-tuned by the leader on a daily basis to take account of the weather and the abilities of the party.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No single moment: as is so often the case in the mountains, it's the views that make the slog worthwhile!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro is an amazing leader, with lots of local knowledge of the terrain and the flora and fauna. During our week he kept a close eye on the (variable) weather and amended the walking programme accordingly so we didn't get too much rain (there was sunshine as well!)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Look carefully at the grade description. I feel that it is slightly more strenuous than implied by "moderate" - as a comparison I would put this trip firmly into Ramblers' Grade C.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The coastal walk into Llanes on the "day off" is very pleasant and relaxing, (We were fortunate to have a sunny day for this.)
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Helen Belcher

    Fantastic trip

    This has to be the best Exodus holiday I have been on.The Picos de Europa are a very beautiful mountain range and the walks we did were varied and interesting with spectacular scenery .A highlight of the trip was walking the stunning Cares gorge. Our leader Alvaro was brilliant .He carefully explained the walks we were doing and while we were walking he looked after everyone in the party often running backwards and forwards from the front to the back of the group . The hotel was great .The hosts Jim and Pilar were very friendly and obliging .My room was comfortable and had a nice modern bathroom .Wifi was free in all areas and was fast and reliable .Best of all was the hotel food .Great menu choices, beautiful presentation and consistently delicious .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking Cares gorge and climbing the Picos .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro was excellent .Always cheerful and helpful .He looked after everyone in the party .Hands down the best Exodus leader I have had .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book this trip ! it really is the whole package and it exceeded my expectations in every way .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Did I mention...book this trip !
  • Reviewed November 2015
    DAVID BELL

    Walking in Picos de Europa

    A wonderful week of walking in amazing scenery. The hotel is very comfortable and the food 5 stars.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the walks were excellent but the Cares Gorge stood out as the scenery was magnificent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro was an outstanding leader. Very knowledgeable about the routes, the history, the flora..... He looked after the group very well and his level of fitness was superb. Nothing was too much trouble for him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take binoculars to appreciate the scenery and bird life.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    After a good day's walking it was wonderful to come back to a superb evening meal and to relax looking at the mountains from the terrace and listen to the sound of the cow bells.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Paul Mcgovern

    paul mcgovern

    Our trip to the Picos was nothing short of sensational. I had no idea such breathtaking scenery was available in Northern Spain. Every walk was different and inspirational.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The climb to Pandescura peak was amazing and to be at eye level with the Griffon vultures was humbling. The walk in the Cares Gorge was a real adrenlin buzz.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro was an outstanding group leader . Knowledge, empathy and fitness were all brilliant. Noyhing was too much trouble and all were treated equally. 10 out of 10.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    go

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip far surpassed all my expectations.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Roderick Edwards

    Walking in the Picos de Europa

    An excellent weeks walking in the Picos. The scenery is stunning, and the walks are long/hard enough to make you feel that you have done something, but by no means heroic. The hotel (HotelTorrecerrado) is a small family run hotel - you will get a warm friendly welcome from Jim and Pilar, and the food - particularly the dinners - is definitely 5 star ! If you are luccky, Jim will regale you with Amazing Tales in the bar after dinner !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sight of Griffin Vultures flying so close to us on the summit of Pandescura. Walking up to the village of Bulnes on the free day. The Cares Gorge in the pouring rain ! Amazingly atmospheric

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alvaro - amazing leader. Very mountain wise, excellent local knowledge, fantastic sense of humour. His relaxed still of managing the group was much appreciated - everyone appreciated him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are going walking to lose weight, this is probably not the trip for you ! Jim and Pilar's cooking more than makes up for the calories you might have lost through walking !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just hope you enjoy it as much as we did