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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 September 2019
    Sylvia Smith

    A Good Holiday

    This was a trip worth taking. It was well organised, with excellent walking notes and the accommodation was of a high standard. Exodus has an excellent relationship with the hotel in Bomerano and this enhanced the experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was well organised and excellent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide was helpful, but this was a self guided trip, so the involvement was different.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I enjoyed the visit to Ravello, but feel that the walking route advised did not meet the high standards of the other walks.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Sylvia Smith

    A Good Holiday

    This was a trip worth taking. It was well organised, with excellent walking notes and the accommodation was of a high standard. Exodus has an excellent relationship with the hotel in Bomerano and this enhanced the experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was well organised and excellent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide was helpful, but this was a self guided trip, so the involvement was different.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I enjoyed the visit to Ravello, but feel that the walking route advised did not meet the high standards of the other walks.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Deborah Parker

    Northern Spain Cycling is fun

    We had a brilliant time. The rating is moderate which I feel is correct. There are a lot of hills and if you don’t like hills this is not the trip for you (we live in Sheffield which is hilly) and I didn’t make it up all the hills. All the hotels were great especially in Santillana da mer . Self guide instructions were detailed and easy to follow. The bikes were good and well looked after we had no problems with them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hotel in Santillana da mer it was great and a real surprise. Good food everywhere

    What did you think of your group leader?

    No group leader self guided

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy the hills
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Paul Stevenson

    coast to coast Mallorca

    Lovely location. Poor support. Line by line instructions open to interpretation and many junctions/turnoffs which caused us to get lost and have to complete many more Km than we wished. Luggage was not transported one day and we had to wait until 7.45pm before it arrived. Hotels seemed to vary in standard - we visited others that were on offer but not to us. I guess fully booked. Paul Stevenson

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Completing the distance each day

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A As the name said - it's self guided!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't take this tour until the step by step directions are refined and made unambiguous.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Elaine Yip

    Great trip - each day was different

    The trip was very well put together going from the mountains to the sea. Each day was different in terms of terrain, scenery and for our trip, the weather too - we had all sorts but luckily, not real rain, only drizzle, but that added to the atmosphere. The trip notes could be improved as in places they were vague e.g. stop for lunch at the quaint cafe (what's the name of it?); you must visit the Our Mother's Church (where is it? which town?). Also on one of the days, on reading the trip notes, it recommended a transfer to a certain location but with no reason or details of how to arrange it. What actually would be great for all self-guided trips is for an online blog of some kind where other travellers can put in their experiences, their recommendations and tips. On this trip, one of the bridges we have to cross is closed and looks like it's closed for a long time, so it would be good to warn future travellers of this...we were helped by a kind Portuguese cycler who also needed to cross the bridge, and we followed him to find another route.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finding a detour from the trip to an amazing, deserted castle in the forest...Castelo Faria near Barcelos. The smell of the Atlantic Ocean - it was amazing the first time we hit the Atlantic and then cycling along the coast on boardwalks and being able to stop off at the beaches.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    It was self-guided. But Francisco who briefed us on the bikes and trip was great. Half way through the trip my friend wanted to change her saddle from the hard one to a padded one and he was very accommodating.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check out Castelo Faria near Barcelos, if you don't mind a detour that goes uphill.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was the first time using an electric bike. Literally changed my life...as a leisure bike rider rather than serious one, it means I can choose more challenging cycling holidays with more hills and longer days. As it is, I'm pretty sure I would not have been able to do this holiday without an electric bike, despite the holiday being categorised as "Leisurely".
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Jean Hackett

    The not-so-blue Danube

    Temperatures were consistently above 30 deg. C, although we chose early June because it should have been more congenial for cycling. This was quite a challenge as a result. The first point to note is that nowhere on the route did the Danube look blue! It was green at Passau, but thereafter was a sludgy grey, despite the clear blue skies above us. There was a great profusion of wild flowers along the route; the cycle paths were generally segregated from other traffic, which made for pleasant riding conditions, with occasional shared use with pedestrians; even when we were near roads, they were relatively traffic-free. We enjoyed seeing many other cyclists of all ages while we were on the route, and in the towns where we stayed. Austria is an obviously cycle-friendly country, and we could only dream that we might have the same sort of facilities in the UK.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing two river barges going through the locks (one each way) at the hydro-electric power station station near Melk.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take the instructions and distances quoted with a pinch of salt! The Austrian partners don't seem to have cycled the route recently, and there were many changes from the route notes and maps, as well as some unhelpful or incorrect information. Some of this came at the end of a day, and made finding accommodation a challenge at times.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Nandita Nelson

    The Road to Rome

    A wonderful point to point stroll through olive and hazelnut groves, old roman roads along an old pilgrimage route that ends in Vatican city

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All those wild flowers in bloom, the fragrant jasmine, the sunshine, Italian food and wine. Hilltop villages and the beautiful crater lake Bolsena--the largest volcanic lake in Europe. And of course the delights of the eternal city.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not applicable, this was self-guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, plenty of sunscreen--long sleeves and hat, sunburn is painful. Also, be aware that EVERYTHING shuts down between 12 and 4 pm, so it is best to SMS your accommodation an hour before your expected arrival. It also seemed to take an age for messages to get through via a UK network. In the villages, very little English is spoken. Make sure you can manage a few words of Italian--very rewarding. We did not really need services like pharmacy or banks, because we had gone prepared, but away from the big towns this could be problematic. If you enter into the spirit of the pilgrimage, it is far more enjoyable. We met loads of "pellegrini" who had journeyed for weeks, often solo, walking every day, a truly inspirational experience! We also bumped into them in Rome, and it was wonderful to exchange stories and to feel we had all managed our personal journeys there.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like long distance point-to-point walking, good weather and good food, there should be nothing holding you back.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Lynda Hine

    Self guided La Palma

    Over all we really enjoyed this trip. La Palma is a bio-reserve so that once you are away from the banana and tobacco plantations around the main towns, most of the island still contains the natural vegetation. Going in May as we did, we walked all day and saw no one on the coast path other than the occasional local working in their fields. We saw more people on the Caldera and and Cumbre Vieja, but still very few. The geology, scenery and vegetation is amazing and well worth taking time over. Santa Cruz de la Palma is very pretty and worth exploring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Two main ones stand out. The views from the rim of the Caldera de Taburiente and seeing a 'giant' lizard at the bottom of one of the barrancos (valley) which is actually believed, by some, to be extinct! (By giant, it is actually about 13 inches long, we are not talking Jurassic Park here).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As we were self guided this is not relevant. That said Alberto, who was our contact on the island, was very helpful and answered any questions we had quickly and efficiently via texts.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Allow yourself more time than the information gives you. The time stated is fine if all you want to do is walk, but if you want to stop and look at the plants, rocks, scenery, banana plantations etc. then you will need longer. This is particularly so on the Cumbre Vieja day, yes one could power walk it in the 4 - 5 hours given, but stopping to look at the incredible views, examine the volcanoes, including diverting off the main route to 'summit' many of them and so on does take time, but is well worth it. We allowed 6 hours but still ended up having to rush the last few km. Be aware that, as it is unspoilt, you are only staying half board in a hotel for three nights. Other nights are in apartments where you will have to go out for the evening meal (Exodus do arrange this very satisfactorily) and you will need to walk a bit for this. Also, one morning you have to walk for your breakfast. (This is not really a problem, it is part of the adventure, though the bar was shut the day we were supposed to visit it).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be really helpful to receive other information about the island in advance. It was not until we were flying home that we realised we had almost walked passed some interesting cultural and geological 'museums'. Had we known, we would have made time to visit them. (Again, if you are just going to walk from a - b as fast as you can, then this would not be an issue for you, though you will miss so much). We will return to La Palma now we have been introduced to it as there are so many bits we could not see in the time, e.g. the whole of the west side.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    David Bruce

    Francigena Way

    The walk was a tremendous experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing the 'green heart of Italy'; the medieval quarters of the hill towns were fascinating. Support from Exodus (pre-departure) and their local agents Mandala (in-country) was excellent. Walking notes were comprehensive and the Way is exceptionally well signposted. All of the hotels/B&B's selected by Exodus had individual characters and this added to the enjoyment and experience. Enthused by walking the lower portion of the Francigena way, we are now considering walking a northern portion from Lausanne to Aosta and hope that Exodus introduce it to their range of itineraries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The range of flowers and their scents as we walked through quiet countryside.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A as it was self-guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A poncho was invaluable for keeping dry during intermittent heavy showers. We did not need the insect repellent that we packed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thankyou to everyone at Exodus and Mandala.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Matthew Grimes

    Awesome and varied walks

    A really fantastic 6 day walking holiday. It is fairly relentless as there are no real breaks, but the scenery is stunning. From the black rocks and sand of the coast line to the lush banana plantations, dense mountain forests to the moon like surface of the volcanoes it had something for everyone. It is definitely a grade four climb and you need to be comfortable with heights and mountain footpaths with no safety barrier. The island (especially in the north) remains relatively untouched and this island is so different to the others in the Canaries. May was a great month to walk and we hardly saw anybody on the routes we had. A strong recommendation!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think some of the views into and out of the ravines on days 2 and 3. The volcano walk is also awesome. What is great is that the North of the island is very unspoilt.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take your time - don’t rush the walks. We generally took an hour extra each day than the guide book suggested to really suck up the views. We also managed to get much cheaper flights going via Madrid and Tenerife, than a direct flight. It takes longer of course, but we saved over £400.