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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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  • 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.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Annette Thampi

    This trip 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
    J C

    Fantastic walking and first class accommodation

    This was my fourth Exodus holiday, all were excellent but this was probably the best overall in terms of consistently excellent accommodation, food and walking routes. Our Agriturismo was beautiful, delicious food and wine all locally produced, plus a lovely large pool. Rooms were very comfortable. This is a mountainous area with unpredictable weather, so come prepared for some heavy downpours/thunderstorms mixed with hot sunshine, even in July. Our guide Tony was very professional and knowledgeable, and provided a good mix of encouragement and flexibility to enable everyone in the group to get the most out of their trip. Thoroughly enjoyed the free day in Lucca, hired bikes and rode around the ancient city walls. Don't believe the trip notes which suggest Cinque Terra is do-able on the free day, it is too far away.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking for 2 hours up a mountain in torrential rain , thunder and lightning, drenched to the skin despite all my rain gear, then coming out at the summit to blue skies, hot sunshine and jaw-dropping views across the peaks in every direction. Magical!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was excellent - highly experienced, a great leader and a wonderful mixture of Yorkshire grit and Italian charm.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare for varied weather - this part of Tuscany can get very wet even in July.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some issues pre-trip with incorrect information about travel arrangements but this was sorted out by Exodus to my satisfaction.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Jon Musker

    Fabulous week of hiking

    Fabulous week of hiking in the stunning mountains surrounding lake Achensee

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking down from our final summit, back to the start of our day's hike and also looking down on two previous summits. Truly magical moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul was an excellent group leader. His relaxed manner and casual good humour belied the care and attention he gave to ensure that each day's hiking was happy, motivated and well ordered.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was concerned about going on a group trip for the first time; but it was everything I . could have hoped for. The camaraderie was amazing, the walks were very well selected so that they were always manageable and captured the beauty and joy of the mountains. The hotel, travel and all the infrastructure of the trip were really well managed and Exodus looked after me very well. And the group leaders were great company and great at their job. Hard to see how it could have been improved.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Susan Steed

    Baltic states tour

    Lovely people, good tour guide. A really good mix of places to go.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Really enjoyed Kovoian spit, it was a break from the hustle and bustle of the trip and truly beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was good a d got the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it. I have some long term medical problems and I could do it by pacing myself. Everyone is of a like mind and for my first trip abroad on my own it wasn't scary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel in Vilnius is a bit far out, some of the single rooms were a tad snug for some. As we had local guides we did hear quite a lot of the same info many times. Also three hours is too long for a walking tour without a stop! It wasn't just me either that felt that way.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Tim Leverton

    Jordan discovery

    The trip would have been good but the guide Ibrahim Isbatani made it outstanding.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Petra

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We have done about 12 trips with Exodus and Ibrahim was in a different league to anyone else. Even though he had done the trip about 200 times he had an infectious enthusiasm and love for his country. This when coupled with his exceptional knowledge and good humour has encouraged us to nominate him as Guide of the year with you.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The temperature guide in the trip notes is inaccurate. Be aware how busy the sites would be in high season. We went in low season and even then certain places were a bit uncomfortable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Worth reading a little about the country before you go.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Ian Graham

    Stunning Trip

    This trip was excellent, a great way to see Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley without doing the 2 week TMB. The comfort of having a shower and a bed to sleep in at the end of each day makes it all the more appealing. The walks are excellent and varied with fantastic views each day. A couple of the walks start with cheeky climbs in the morning but the rewards are worthwhile. Zohi and Ben our Hosts at Chalet Chocolat were excellent and the food was outstanding and one of the highlights of the week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting a new group of people, and of cause the great view of Mont Blanc

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lotte Stuer was an excellent group leader, her knowledge of the area and walks was outstanding. Her interaction with a the walking group (Age 25 to 60+) was brilliant, had many interesting discussions during and after each days walk.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure your equipment, especially your boots are of good quality and well broken in, having blisters will put a dampener on your trip.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Richard Pegram

    Cycling Spain's old pilgrimage route

    I couldn't fault this trip - very well run. Everything was good - the cycling, scenery, accommodation, food and drink, etc.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I like Spain and doing the pilgrimage route grabbed my imagination.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good group leader - very experienced
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Craig McGarrity

    Andes to Amazon

    Gret indroduction to ecuador (Land)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Amazon Jungle

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cloud Forest only really for bird watchers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Trip to Cotopaxi would be more widely appreciated than Bellavista (I think)
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