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

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  • Reviewed August 2019
    Jill Haydock

    Go and experience Uzbekistan

    An amazing trip if you’re interested in Early to modern civilisation, beautiful architecture and a country rediscovering its heritage and crafts. The people are very welcoming, dress code is relaxed and beer or wine is always an option at mealtimes. It’s a country worth seeing now.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The unexpected ‘wild swim’ in the lake and visiting the beautiful Shah-I-Zinda on the day families were celebrating Eid are both magical memories.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely fantastic! Dilshod’s knowledge of ancient and modern history, the architecture, crafts and culture in each city was phenomenal; and his willingness to share his own stories of recent history put this trip right up with the best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have a problem with pillows try and take your own travel pillow!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have the yurt stay a little more remote from parked cars, coaches and motorbikes! I was woken by a motorbike starting up!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    LESLEY CARD

    Great walks with stunning views

    Thoroughly enjoyed this trip. You will need to be reasonably fit as each day has some long steady ups and downs but the views from the high spots are well worth the effort. The walks were paced to suit the ability of the group and the food served each day, by Liz and Clare, was excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the high spots with time to sit and enjoying the views

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Lotte was exceptional. Keeping us all together and pacing the walks to suit the ability of the group. She was well informed and knew a lot about the geography of local area. Her descriptions of the next days walks were accurate and informative. A very good leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure you are fit enough to walk continually up hill for a couple of hours and be prepared for any weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Its just a great holiday but you must be able to enjoy being part of a group
  • Reviewed August 2019
    M Iyer

    Another trip I will never forget!

    I have had this trip on my bucket list for a while now and it lived up to all of my expectations! David was a fabulous leader and took care of everything!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having a baby gorilla ignore the 7m rule and nearly touch me. Watching David meet our every demand with a professionalism and a sense of humour.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Loves loved loved David! A man who clearly loves Uganda and knows his stuff!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A seat pad for the bumpy rides and dont drink tap water!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Tjis eas a really important trip for me and it did not dissapoint!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Monica Princic

    A fantastic trip with incredible varied sceneries

    The trip is incredible. The scenery varies every day and you'll ride on all possible terrains: sand, rock, gravel, tarmac and every day offers a lot of fun. The landscape of the Moon Valley in Chile is surreal and the Tatio geyser excursion is a stunning experience. Chile and Argentina are lovely countries; the areas visited still haven't been reached by mass tourism and you barely see any other tourists while travelling.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Riding through the hill of seven colours in Purmamarca.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide we had on our trip has been working with Exodus for many many years and is very knowledgable of the area as well been born in Argentina. He went above and beyond to make sure everyone had the best time and gave us tips to ride on different terrain, as sand for instance and I felt I've learnt a lot by the end of the week.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just book and go!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Kristen Gilbert

    Perfect blend of cycling and sightseeing

    My husband and I went on this tour in July 2019. We were impressed from the beginning by the excellent organization and by the professionality of our guide Nut. We also had a terrific group, a good mix of more ambitious cyclists and those who desired a more leisurely pace (although I should mention that the tour is somewhat demanding and isn't for total beginners). Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time regardless of their cycling ability. Having experienced guides made things so much easier than if we had tried to organize the trip on our own - which we never would have attempted as a cycling tour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many memorable moments, including the temple visits, the Killing Fields, navigating around scooters and food carts, cycling through the Mekong villages with kids shouting hello, trying new foods ...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nut is simply the best. What else is there to say?

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book this trip if you want to combine an active holiday and plenty of sightseeing. Highly recommended.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Neil Thomas

    Llamas and Alpacas: Machu Picchu Dreaming

    It took me a while to love Peru. It didn't help that our flight from Gatwick was delayed nearly 24 hours, resulting in us missing the first part of the adventure, and then enduring two very long travel days. However, once we arrived in Cusco and dealt with the initial impact of the altitude, the magic started to work. Ignore the sprawling, traffic-filled suburbs: the historic centre of Cusco is a magnificent place to spend a couple of days. We enjoyed visiting the market, the Bohemian quarter of San Blas, people watching in the Plaza de Armas and even waiting to cheer a bride into her wedding. Our days in Cusco bracketed our visit to Machu Picchu, which is every bit as magnificent as the guidebooks lead you to believe. Our allocated afternoon time slot allowed us to walk to the Sun Gate before visiting the main site - a rewarding experience affording magnificent views. The downside of MP - the shuttle buses to and from Aguas Callientes. You will have to face lengthy queues in each direction. On our second morning in Aguas Callientes we resisted the urge to visit MP again and instead were taken on a walk along the railway line to Los Jardines de Mandor, a beautiful botanic garden in the cloud forest leading to a waterfall. I would urge all Exodus clients to make this three-hour excursion - it was a highlight for us. After Cusco, there was another sprinkling of magic on Amantani Island, an oasis of beauty on Lake Titicaca. Our visit coincided with an island fiesta, so we enjoyed the riot of flags, dancing and colour displayed by the locals. Our journey across Titicaca also involved a visit to one of the floating island communities. That too was wonderful in a weird way. Next was the trip through the altiplano to the charming town of Chivay, stopping to watch an erupting volcano and a couple of whirlwinds en route. I can also now tell my llamas from my alpacas, as well as vicunas - there are plenty of all three species to be seen en route. Chivay offered a trip to the thermal springs and a rare hour of leisurely self-indulgence. The next day it was an early start to see the Andean condors rising on the thermals in Colca Canyon - another memorable experience. Then it was Arequipa, our visit coinciding with another festival of music and dance, and finally Miraflores, and a belated meeting with Paddington Bear, before our flight home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu, Cusco, Amantani Island, Colca Canyon, the train trip from Ollentaytambo to Machu Picchu. There were more, but you get the drift.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We have been on numerous Exodus trips, all with good leaders, but Giuliano Gallesi was on a higher level than all of them - not just because of the altitude. He dealt efficiently with our day-late arrival and then led the tour with authority and compassion throughout. He was quick to recognise the signs when group members were struggling with the altitude and twice called the doctor as a result. He has a very good command of English, a likeable personality, was happy to answer all our questions and, above all, was available to the group 24/7. A true professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the long distances involved in the itinerary. For most of the route, the bus had a toilet on board, but that is of little consolation if, like me, you are not happy travelling near the back of a coach. We bought Peruvian Soles in advance of the trip and these were easier to use than US dollars. Dollars are accepted, but you are subject to the vagaries of local exchange rates. Food was generally of a very high standard. Our tour leader took us to or recommended consistently good restaurants. Make sure you have a supply of toilet paper handy. Many public banos did not have any available.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Essential Peru is a rewarding but tiring trip. And you cannot ignore the altitude. On first arrival in Cusco we wanted to go straight to bed to sleep. The advice to take a short walk for some fresh air and then to have something to eat helped us to acclimatise.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Annette Thampi

    Far exceeded my expectations

    This trip far exceeded my expectations. Offering two levels of hike a day was perfect for gaining confidence and challenging myself under the expert supervision of the group leaders . Be prepared for some incredible views of the pristine glacial lake, and the breathtaking sights from the highest peaks in the Austrian Tyrol. This trip offers challenging hikes with lots of opportunities to safely go out of your comfort zone balanced with discovering the best cake and beer huts on the mountain . The hotel and food were fabulous and the staff were always friendly and obliging. Austrians take politeness to another level . The area is well connected with transport so there are plenty of options for the free day . This trip offered challenges , camaraderie , excitement and serene moments at the summits . If you are lucky enough to have Paul McDermott and/or Louise Russell as your leaders expect to come home healthier, stronger , happier and a little heavier ( all muscle of course ) ! This trip will not disappoint .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of each level 5 walk to take in spectacular 360 degree views of the Tyrol. Making friends with people from all walks of life and sharing this incredible journey together.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Having fantastic leaders who clearly love their job and care about ensuring your enjoyment of every aspect of the trip was probably the best part of this holiday . We were given full briefings every night of what to expect and were never disappointed . Paul McDermott is clearly very experienced and knowledgeable in his field and despite having never hiked before I was managing the challenging level hikes in his group from day 1. Both our leaders joined us for meals and were constantly on hand to offer advice and help plan activities even on the free day . Louise Russell always had a smile on her face and ensured everyone got what they wanted from the trip . These two leaders make a great team and I would highly recommend going on one of their trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is useful to read the trip notes and 'what to bring' as they are accurate and informative especially if you are a novice hiker.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was one of the best holidays I have had and the organisation from start to finish by Exodus and particularly by the group leaders could not have been any better .
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Annette Thampi

    Far exceeded my expectations

    This trip far exceeded my expectations. Offering two levels of hike a day was perfect for gaining confidence and challenging myself under the expert supervision of the group leaders . Be prepared for some incredible views of the pristine glacial lake, and the breathtaking sights from the highest peaks in the Austrian Tyrol. This trip offers challenging hikes with lots of opportunities to safely go out of your comfort zone balanced with discovering the best cake and beer huts on the mountain . The hotel and food were fabulous and the staff were always friendly and obliging. Austrians take politeness to another level . The area is well connected with transport so there are plenty of options for the free day . This trip offered challenges , camaraderie , excitement and serene moments at the summits . If you are lucky enough to have Paul McDermott and/or Louise Russell as your leaders expect to come home healthier, stronger , happier and a little heavier ( all muscle of course ) ! This trip will not disappoint .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of each level 5 walk to take in spectacular 360 degree views of the Tyrol. Making friends with people from all walks of life and sharing this incredible journey together.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Having fantastic leaders who clearly love their job and care about ensuring your enjoyment of every aspect of the trip was probably the best part of this holiday . We were given full briefings every night of what to expect and were never disappointed . Paul McDermott is clearly very experienced and knowledgeable in his field and despite having never hiked before I was managing the challenging level hikes in his group from day 1. Both our leaders joined us for meals and were constantly on hand to offer advice and help plan activities even on the free day . Louise Russell always had a smile on her face and ensured everyone got what they wanted from the trip . These two leaders make a great team and I would highly recommend going on one of their trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is useful to read the trip notes and 'what to bring' as they are accurate and informative especially if you are a novice hiker.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was one of the best holidays I have had and the organisation from start to finish by Exodus and particularly by the group leaders could not have been any better .
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Helen Downs

    Walking in the Austrian Tyrol

    Wonderful week spent walking in the Tyrol. The hotel is perfectly placed by the lake and run with care and consideration by Crystal. The food was hearty and plentiful with buffet breakfast , self made packed lunch and a 4 course evening meal . 2 levels of walks were offered each day , some of which started or finished at the hotel and always allowed for plenty of stops for rest and refreshments . A complementary travel pass was included which allowed independent exploration of the area on the free day by bus, steam train, ferry, cable car or ski lift .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking back down each day at how far I had ascended and realising that each of us , in our own way could “ climb a mountain “ ! The feeling of achievement at the summit and the knowledge that I would sleep soundly .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul McDermott and Louise Russell were fantastic - reassuring , encouraging , helpful , patient and knowledgable .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for wet weather just in case and remember walking poles ! It’s helpful to be a regular walker already and if you enjoy the Lake District or Snowdonia you will be perfectly capable of completing each walk .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In summary - breathtaking scenery in great company with apple strudel - what’s not to like !!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Peter Gomes

    Tour du Mount Blanc Hotel - terrific two week Alpine trek through three countries

    This trip proved to be a brilliant way to hike five valleys, three countries, and enjoy stunning Alpine scenery en route. Accommodation is generally good, and the food hearty & plentiful but it is all about terrific walking territory in the shadow of the Mt. Blanc massif. Lots of "Wow" moments. Do not underestimate the hiking fitness required with each walking day being 10-12 miles (16-19 km) with ascents of 1,000 m - 1,600 m (3,000' - 5,000') and corresponding descents. However the pace set by our guide Kim was sensible throughout so we had time to chat as we walked, take photos and enjoy the wonderful views. Trekking time was generally 6-8 hours each day albeit actual walking time was consistently around two-thirds of this. The other third being photo stops, coffee/ice cream stops (lots), two lunch stops (eating little and often was good advice), etc. Rest days were well placed in the timetable and meant that we all completed the 110 mile (180 km) circuit in good shape.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In terms of hiking, probably ascending the 2,500 m cols which took us across the frontiers into each of Switzerland, Italy & France, plus the steep (600 m) ascent of the Col du Trichot on walking day 9, and the sumptuous views of Mt Blanc as we ascended 1,600m to Brevet on the final morning - celebrated with champagne at the top. Aside from the hiking were two "Must Do"s. One was on the first rest day - taking the Skyway Monte Bianco cable car from Cormayeaur up to Punta Herbronner and then the frankly fantastic 5km panorama trip over to the Aiguille du Midi. Absolutely superb views over the glacier and of Mt Blanc itself. Kim suggested we get there for 06:30 when it opened which proved great advice as we had the viewing platform to ourselves & avoided the later crowds and queues. The other was the tramway from St Gervais up to Nid D'Aigle. Impressive engineering, great views and a chance to hike to the Bionnassay glacier. Do both. Take layers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kim was an experienced IML (International Mountain Leader) and clearly knew the area like the back of her hand - she didn't consult a map once across the whole trip. Her briefings each evening were comprehensive - almost too much so. She was up early each morning to set out food so we could select content of our lunches before we went into breakfast, and her timetabling meant we had plenty of time at every point despite the scale of the hiking each day. She set a steady sensible pace on the ascents and was a demon on the descents - we had fun trying to keep up with her, despite her being older than all the trip participants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes liken the walking to ascending Ben Nevis or Scarfell Pike. This is not an exaggeration as we coincidentally did both three weeks before the trip. You need to be hiking fit to cope with repeated 10+ mile / 1,000+m hikes. Take layers - the weather can change quickly. Carrying gloves, woolly hat, down jacket, rain top, & over-trousers seemed OTT until the sudden thunderstorm on the Col du Bonhomme. Good boots, walking poles plenty of sun screen are also recommended. Finally, those with water bladders proved more adept with keeping hydrated than those us with water bottles. I picked one up in Decathlon (£10) on our return to Chamonix.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would certainly recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys hiking. The route well chosen, food plentiful, accommodation sound and guide knowledgeable. The scenery is simply glorious.
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