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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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Reviews

5*

Amazing trip that exceeded my expectations. Breathtaking views, great company

Most Inspirational Moment

The moon rising over Machapuchare was an incredible sight

Thoughts on Group Leader

Phurba Sherpa TNX221029 Great guy and lead the group brilliantly to base camp. The whole team were superb from start to finish

Advice for Potential Travellers

Plenty of steps so can be tough going on the knees

Close-up views of Himalayas on a leisurely trek

Excellent trip, well organised and executed, very good guides and porters. We felt very well looked after. Lead guide and 3 assistant guides, 6 porters for 11 clients. Great close-up views of Himalayas. Accommodation very basic but actually better than expected. Twin rooms on 7 nights, quad rooms on 3 nights. Very basic ‘bathrooms’. There were always showers available even if the water wasn’t always hot. Washing facilities not always in same building as bedrooms. Hut food much better and more varied than expected (porridge / muesli with hot milk / eggs any style with toast or local bread, tea / coffee). Food very cheap (400-600 NRs), imported bottled / canned drinks comparatively expensive (beer 600-900, soft drinks 300). Expected tips are more than trip notes suggest. Very gentle pace with long lunch stops (1-1.5 hrs) and 1 or 2 drink stops each day. Plenty of toilet opportunities (huts). Lots of long ascents and descents on stone steps but no problem even as someone who totally bust an ACL 8 months earlier! With a high ratio of guides to clients and lots of rest stops, everyone doesn’t have to walk at the same pace.

Most Inspirational Moment

Being surrounded by Himalayas at Annapurna Base Camp

Thoughts on Group Leader

Excellent. Attentive to our every need and very interesting. Phubar Sherpa gave after-dinner talks about Nepalese culture, history and education. He managed the team of guides and porters very well. Great job.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Bring flip flops to wear in as well as to and from showers. Budget more for tips than trip notes suggest. Tablets are cheapest, lightest and easiest way to purify water. Bring metal water bottle if you want to buy boiling water at huts. Definitely need warm sleeping bag as not all buts provide duvets and it can be very cold at night. Warm hat and gloves for cold early starts as well as sun hat for hot days. Thermals to sleep in double as warm extra layer in evening. Bring toilet paper: it never seems to be provided

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek 29 Oct 22

This is a brilliant trip. Everything was well organized. The assistant guides, Hari & Pan, set a steady comfortable pace for the trek – no-one got AMS. The path is very well maintained – there are a lot of steps. We passed through lots of hamlets so plenty of opportunity for drink / loo stops. The teahouses whilst basic were more comfortable than I expected – the beds were comfortable, we had twin rooms for 7 nights & 4 bed shared rooms for 3 nights, showers were available. The food in the teahouses is very good – breakfast was muesli or porridge or omelette/toast – lunch & dinner menu similar throughout including egg/veg fried noodles or rice, veg curry, omelette, chips, pizza, momos, fried potatoes. The teahouses definitely exceeded our expectations. The trek wasn’t difficult, but fitness and some experience of trekking required. We had a great group, I’m sure everyone enjoyed the trip. Our Guides Phurba, Sungum, Hari & Pan were very efficient and our porters were hard working and cheerful.

Most Inspirational Moment

Being surrounded by majestic mountain peaks at Annapurna Base Camp. Sunrise at Poon Hill.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Phurba Sherpa is a great leader. He organized everything efficiently. Our rooms and bags were always ready for us. We thought he had arranged the most suitable accommodation available for us. His team worked well together and appeared happy to work with him. The pace set was comfortable, no-one felt pressured. Phurba brought up the rear. He checked everyone was comfortable. I enjoyed his evening lectures on local culture etc. He explained his plan for the next day clearly – useful to know time to next break etc. He helped the group to gel. I would be pleased to have Phurba as leader on our next Nepal trek.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Do some practice walks before the trek. There are a lot of steps – I think poles help (altho’ most of our group didn’t use them). Minimise weight of your trek bag and ruck sack. Check your boots before you pack. We had a steripen, filter bottles, boiled water and chlorine tablets – tablets were the simplest / cheapest / lightest. Thermals and a head torch required if you want to go to the loo in the night. Take layers & a lightweight paddy jacket, thin gloves & hat for sunrises. It was hot during the day but cold as soon as sun went down. If you have time, arriving a day early is good. If you’re on the group flight there is not much time before trek – we left Kathmandu before breakfast. Exchange rate was similar in airport, hotels and Thamel money changers. It is more convenient to get your cash at the airport – keep the receipt. Bring £20 notes to exchange. Exchange enough for the 11 day trek & tips at least. We spent about NRs 25,000 pp on food / drink / showers on the trek days alone – food is cheap but you will need more than this if you want more beer, bottled drinks, desserts, choc snacks, wifi or charging. We spent about NRs 12,000 pp on tips. Food & drink more expensive in Pokhara / Kathmandu. All the teahouses had showers and loos with seats (often in the shower so the seat got wet) – take loo roll. At most of the stops you can buy loo roll / tissues / chocolate. The rest day in Pokhara was welcome – we took a boat across Phewa lake (NRs 1260 pp) and walked up to the Peace Temple (1 hour) - lovely views. It’s more convenient to have cash for this and shopping and the group meals in Kathmandu & Pokhara also. We spent about NRs 68,000 pp in total, but this included outings, shopping and extra dinners as we had an extra day in Kathmandu before & after trip. (Exchange rate c £1 = NRs 145). If you have spare time in Kathmandu I would recommend Durbar Square (NRs 1000 pp, interesting architecture & museum), Garden of Dreams (Nrs 200 pp, peaceful), Swayambhunath Temple (Nrs 200 pp, lovely views over Kathmandu), Boudhanath Stupa (Nrs 400 pp, lovely & interesting) or Thamel (shopping & restaurants). I would not recommend Pashupatinath Temple (NRs 1000 pp, dirty, crowded, hassle by peddlars). You can exchange surplus NRs at the airport before you go thro’ security – max NRs 13,000 pp with your original receipt.

Annapurna Sanctuary 2022

Beautiful views and a good standard of lodge accommodation with great food. After four years away from Nepal it was great to be back – an excellent group and fine weather really helped with the enjoyment of this trek, but if you’re thinking of doing it be prepared for almost endless stone steps and quite a few other people on the trails.

Most Inspirational Moment

For me it was the rare alone-times, having a night actually at ABC (some other trek companies don't do this) gave me time to find a secluded spot amongst the big peaks and just admire the dramatic landscapes and summits.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Phurba was great, like all the Exodus group leaders I've trekked with in Nepal. Ever present and helpful, and we all really enjoyed his evening 'lectures' on various aspects of Nepal.

Advice for Potential Travellers

As stated above, this trek involves a lot of stone steps between the villages, so be prepared for that. The route is quite populated too, it's never too far to the next village and the ease of access by the ever-growing network of roads makes this a busy route for trekkers, both foreign and Nepali. As a result it's quite unlike other trekking regions in Nepal I've been to - I never really felt relaxed or 'away from it all' like I have in places like Manaslu or Everest.

Suggestions

I attempted this trek back in 2012 but avalanche risk meant we had to turn back before getting to ABC, thankfully I was able to complete the trek this time, but a lot has changed in 10 years, and it isn't the quiet trekking experience I personally hoped for. Villages like Ghorepani are swamped with big lodges now and Pool Hill is noisy and crowded, not the serene sunrise experience the mountains deserve. There are now lots of young groups trekking up the trail and it seems popular to carry loud music, sometimes heavy rock and rap blasting out as they go. Goodness knows how you're supposed to see any wildlife. You can't stop progress and the roads are great for local village life to get better services, but as far as trekking goes the roads bring noise and dust. And on that subject I strongly urge Exodus to reconsider the last day trekking from Jhinudanda. After crossing a wonderful suspension bridge the trek follows a busy, dusty road - endless Jeeps and busses trundling past choking you with dust and fumes, it really was an awful way to end the trek. I would suggest making the trek a day or two longer and crossing the valley to Landruk on the quiet trails on that side of the valley and returning to the road via Australian Camp. Or simply Jeep us out along the dusty road rather than making us endure it on foot. Would I return to trek this route again? No, for me it's too noisy, too well connected and busy now. I'll be looking for somewhere a little more away from the roads next time so I can enjoy the mountains peacefully and soak up the wonderful atmosphere I know these mountains can deliver.

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek - 23 April 22

Wonderful trip, enjoyable from start to finish. We enjoyed the company of our group and the professional attention of our guide, Phurba Sherpa, and his team.
The trek was graded well and although it was challenging at times it was also very enjoyable. Would recommend this trip to anyone reasonably fit. The pace of the walking is based on the group and no-one feels pressured to keep up.
Exodus has a very good reputation in Nepal for treating their staff well and contributing to the community favourably.

Most Inspirational Moment

Reaching Annapurna Base Camp was definitely a high moment

Thoughts on Group Leader

Phurba Sherpa was the perfect leader. He took great care of every aspect of our trip and made us feel very safe and secure in his company. He also shared his knowledge on all things Nepal during our evening briefings and his sense of humour came across, which made things all the more enjoyable.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Just to prepare well in terms of fitness and kit.

Khopra Ridge / Annapurna

Originally booked on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek, as the first trek of the new season this got changed due to danger of avalanches on the original route, so we were rescheduled to walk the Khopra Ridge. This proved an excellent alternative. Considering the time of year the weather was kind to us, all except the early morning trek up Poon Hill, not much to see in a snow storm, but that only added to the adventure. The walking was tough, the terrain unrelenting, the snow drifts in parts deep, but the views stunning.
Reading the trip notes was invaluable to adjust our “western expectations” to local conditions. The accommodation although basic was just what was needed and very welcome at the end of a long days walk. It was a constant amazement considering where we were trekking, as to how well feed we were, the food was wholesome, well cooked and in large proportions. A real battle to burn it off the next day.
As a small group, 5 clients and 5 staff we managed to crack on, to get the walks done easily within the expected times, this may not be so with a larger group. Being a smaller group we also had more room in the tea houses. The fact we all got on well and had a good group leader and support staff made this a very enjoyable trip.
Really glad to have done this, and walked in the Himalayas at last. Would recommend.

Most Inspirational Moment

Sat in tea house on Khopra Ridge, eating our evening meal, fire burning away, looking out above the cloud base as the sun set illuminating Annapurna South & Barah Shikhar, snow all around.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Ramhari Phuyal, consummate professional, with an obvious love of his country and job. Ably supported by the rest of the team, nothing was too much trouble to sort, always cheerful. Early morning wake-ups with tea and a laugh. Our luggage was always there waiting for us on arrival at our new destination, whatever the trail conditions. I think we were lucky to have done this trip with them.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Read the trip notes. Make sure you are fit. I found the money guidance was very conservative and had some left at end of stay, get it changed before you hit the airport if needs be. At the time of year (Feb - Mar) its cold on the tops, some places provide a duvet, we had a competition as to who could have the most layers of clothing on and still get into their 4 season sleeping bags. For 3 nights on the tops we couldn't have a shower, but Wifi was available if weak, except in one location where non was available. Pokhara is lovely, Kathmandu I found not so, noisy, polluted, do as the locals do when crossing the roads, but take care.

Suggestions

Can recommend Exodus, their itineraries are good, well organised and like the options to fly from local airports when available.

Fantastic Trip!

This was our first trek and we we struck gold – the scenery and people of Nepal are beautiful. They have left a lasting impression and a return trip is a must. The porters and guides looked after us – lugging our gear and organising food and accommodation, pointing out wildlife and keeping us safe – always smiling, they created a real family feel to the group. I miss the early morning wake up call of a cheerful Namaste with a cup of tea and a stunning sunrise.

Most Inspirational Moment

Two stand out (& emotional) moments-Looking down on a pair of Golden Eagles gliding on the thermals only 15 feet away & Reaching Annapurna Basecamp - achieving the goal and surrounded by jaw dropping scenery

Thoughts on Group Leader

Balkrishna Tamang (Milan) was a great leader. I have no experience of others but the bar is now set very high! He was tireless in ensuring everything went to plan and everyone was happy.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Keep your bags as light as you can- not an easy task but watching the porters lug 2 kit bags and their own gear is a humbling experience

Annapurna sanctuary

This was an amazing trip with Poon hill sunrise and Annapurna base camp sunrise , both of which we were spoilt on clear skies and lovely weather, The guides and porters were all amazing, trying to communicate with their broken english, our main guide Milan was fantastic , with his knowledge of mountains and other areas in nepal.
I would highly recommend this trip, just be sure that you love steps and that you love mountains and breathtaking views!!

Most Inspirational Moment

Getting to Poon hill toview sunrise and Annapurna bbase camp sunrise! Mindblowingly beautiful, to the point of tears!

Thoughts on Group Leader

MILAN was amazing his knowledge of the area was fabulous and then organising meals out in Pokoraha and Kathmandu also arranging our missed flights, done all with a smile!

Advice for Potential Travellers

Just make sure your fit enough to deal with all the steps, and always look back from where ever your going or been as the views from all angles are just so beautiful

Himalayan Highs

1st time in the Himalayas and what an introduction. Expectations were high but easily exceeded, both by the scenery and the people (guides, porters and fellow travelers).

The trek was challenging but hugely enjoyable, helped greatly by the brilliant weather that allowed us the best views of the stunning mountains and valleys.

Our guide, “Milan” and his team of assistants and porters were phenomenal, making everything run smoothly for us pampered western travelers. It was humbling to see how they and the local people cope with what seem harsh conditions compared to those many of us take for granted at home.

Overall, an excellent trip that I would not hesitate in recommending to others.

Most Inspirational Moment

Reaching Annapurna Base Camp and taking in the breathtaking panoramas.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Balkrishna Tamang ("Milan") was the best of all the guides we have experienced over a number of Exodus trips - and that is saying something as all the others have been excellent. For a 26 year old coping with a group of 15 over the trip he showed maturity and leadership skills that were most impressive. From dealing with illness amongst the group to ensuring that all were comfortable with the pace to negotiating the sometimes difficult transit through airports Milan always seemed to get things done. All the while he came across as a friendly, caring individual who is a credit to both Nepal and to Exodus. Big Respect!

Advice for Potential Travellers

Get fit and be prepared for thousands of stone steps - both up and down! Also, pack carefully and efficiently as the 10kg limit for luggage for the trek is a bit challenging - but wholly understandable to ensure the porters are not overloaded.

Trip of a lifetime

From the moment we met our guide, he talked about us becoming a family for the next fortnight as he wanted us all to stick together. This we did and it really made our trip special. He, our porters and two assistant guides looked after us every step of the way.

The high mountains were tantalisingly shy for the first few days, but then gradually showed themselves to us. Simply stunning.

Most Inspirational Moment

Being helped across a 287m long bridge by two guides. Not something I was looking forward to.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Simply outstanding. Our safety and happiness was his top concern. He even used his greater experience to assist a trekker in another group who needed to descend quickly.

Advice for Potential Travellers

The couch journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara is an experience and longer than we were expecting due to the state of the roads. Be prepared for very little flat walking, no meat, very limited alcohol and very basic bathroom facilities for a fortnight. If you can cope with this, you will love every minute of this trip. Your knees need to be in good working order! Learn to love Dal Baht - the best bit is you can eat as much as you like. Also the local Gerund bread with cheese is delicious. Pack a metal water bottle. It can double as a hot water bottle when you get to ABC which is pretty cold. Due to the up and down nature of this trip and taking 7 days to reach ABC, none of us had any issues with altitude. The optional early trip up to Poon Hill is in my opinion only 50%/50% worth it. It’s a big additional climb and can be very busy. Leave your phone at home!

Suggestions

We took no technology with us except a camera. 100% the right thing to do and allowed us to really be there, in the moment, soaking up the culture and stunning scenery. It was like bursting a bubble when we heard news of the outside world.