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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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42 Reviews

  • Reviewed March 2020

    Patagonian Highlights

    This trip covered Torres del Paine National Park, including a hike to the base of the Towers of Paine. Los Glaciares National Park, Fitzroy Massif hike and Cerro Torre. We then travelled down the Ushuaia - the world's most southern city and took an optional boat trip out to penguin island before travelling back to Buenos Aires.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Fitzroy & Torres Del Paine hike are difficult but the views when you get to the top are amazing!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was an excellent guide - one of the best I've had. He was very knowledgable about the history of Argentina in all the areas that we visited. He was always upbeat & calm - especially during the COVID-19 outbreak he ensured that we were well informed for our travel back home. The whole trip was very well organised with no disappointments!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The hikes are long and difficult, Be prepared for all weather; take good gear and be prepared to use it! There are some long travel days which can't be avoided if you want to experience the best of Patagonia so bring a book or download some movies / music / podcasts in advance for the coach journeys.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Patagonian highlights

    This is a fab holiday to see the best of Patagonia in as condensed a time as possible. It's tiring with some long travel days but the highlights make it worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Three top days. 1 - The Mount Fitzroy Massif. It's s gentle walk apart from the ascent up the morraine (about 400m in 1 km which is tough). We had great weather and the views at the top make it worthwhile. The guides are supportive and encouraging. Expect to see condors and be refreshed by topping up your water bottle from glacial streams. 2 - The Perito Merino glacier. We were mesmerised by watching the glacier and saw a couple of carvings which sounded like gunshots. This is a relaxing day as you can go as far or little on the balconies to observe the glacier. Again we had fab weather which helps but isn't essential on this day. 3 - The Torres del Paine. We would say this is challenging in terms of the length of the walk and the climb at the end but oh boy is it worth it! If you are in doubt about your fitness level I wouldn't worry so long as you have staying power. Again the guides are patient and will go at your pace. We were really lucky with the weather again and the scenery at the top is amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Luciano was very enthusiastic and helped to make each day as rewarding as possible. He will make arrangements for those who don't want to walk and gives you alternative options. He was always there to help with any problems and advise on good restaurants. He's a meat man and loves his steak and will help you out with ordering if needed. He speaks a little quickly so you might have to ask him to repeat himself sometimes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We went out a couple of days earlier than the rest of the group and had 2 days in Buenos Aires. We're glad we did this so that we could adjust to the time difference, get over the travelling and see something of BA before we flew down to El Calafate. Be prepared for WIND+++. Patagonia is like no other place I've ever been for experiencing wind. Although we had good weather you should expect rain, hail, snow and sunshine all in one day so make sure you have appropriate gear. There's not a lot of down time on the holiday but if you're prepared for that it's not a problem. We didn't get the option of walking on the glacier but had a lovely boat trip instead to see 2 waterfalls fed by glaciers. If you do this trip you don't need to do the optional afternoon boat trip on the day that you visit the Perito Moreno glacier. We found that most places in Argentina and Chile take credit cards and US dollars although you should be aware of the exchange rate to ensure you're getting a good deal. We changed our US dollars to Argentinian pesos at the airport on arrival for a reasonable exchange rate. You don't need many Chilean pesos and again you can get these when you cross the border into Chile. Chile tends to be more expensive than Argentina. It's usually better value to buy 1 bottle of wine between 2 of you in Argentina than 2 large glasses! If you're eating a steak ask for a tenderloin (our fillet). It can be divided between 2 of you if one steak is too big. The only reason we've given the holiday 4 starts instead of five is because we thought the food would be of a higher standard and one of the hostels had very dirty linen. However, this was changed immediately when we complained. If it was just based on scenery we would have given five stars. Although we saw lots of guanacos, horses, sheep and cows, it's not a holiday where you're going to spot a lot of wildlife.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do it! It's probably best to do some hill walking before you go so that the 2 big walking days aren't a struggle. We had a really nice bunch of people on the trip which obviously increased the enjoyment but you can keep yourselves to yourselves if you wish.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Stupendous!

    More than lives up to the title "Highlights" - 10 days concentrated on the best of Patagonia (with a half day in Buenos Aires before and after). Stunning views, great treks, towering glaciers, turquoise icebergs, and penguins too. What's not to like?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many! Both the two treks - hard work (about 13/14 miles but very do-able if taken at a steady "patagoinian plod"), steep / rough trails in places but very rewarding especially finally getting to the top for the fantastic picture postcard views. The literally endless skies driving across the plains The towering ice wall of the Perito Moreno glacier - listening to the cracks and and trying to spot the ice calving off. The pengiuns - walking so comically on land but shooting like torpedoes through the crystal clear water And the warm medialunas at almost every hotel at breakfast (yum)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was brilliant - more than lived up to great ratings from previous trips

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Argentina - despite what the trip notes say, don't change lots of money at the airport on arrival - the exchange rate is very poor (58 to the US$ in Jan compared with up to 75 to the US$ if paying in hard currency). All the additional trips could be paid for in US dollars cash. There are change places in BA which offer better rates than the airport You'll need cash for meals but larger / touristy restaurants often took US$. Go on the optional trips - the full day iceberg trip from El Calafete and the half day penguin trip from Ushuaia were well worth while. And cost less than the trip notes if you don't eat meat... vegetarians (especially strict ones) will have relatively thin pickings, but no worse than other meaty countries. You won't go hungry but bring a stash of oatcakes / nuts / similar (surprisingly not too plentiful even in larger supermarkets) if needed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were INCREDIBLY lucky with the weather - it was often windy but we only had one day of rain (when we arrived in Usuhaia). January may be their summer but it's the southern equivalent of northern England / southern Canada, with similarish temperatures. Make sure to take plenty of layers to cope with any eventuality.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Kerry Clough

    Patagonia Delight

    Full-on trip taking in Buenos Aires and both the Chilean and Argentinian regions of Patagonia. We had an outstanding tour leader, Pepe, whose enthusiasm, organisation skills, high energy and can-do attitude made for a tiring but memorable trip. Walking in the Chilean Torres del Paine was particularly memorable as was visiting the penguins near Ushuaia in their natural habitat on the Isla Martillo (well worth the additional cost to do this excursion). The weather was very kind to us throughout and we were granted glorious views of both the Chilean and Argentinian peaks on our full-day walks. Even in the early summer at the start of December Ushuaia was cool and windy - you’ve been warned! Don’t hesitate to go now as Patagonia is becoming increasingly popular and despite its vastness a lot of land is privately owned and not easily accessible to walkers. The walks you can do such as Fitzroy and Torres del Paine can therefore appear surprisingly busy considering how remote they are.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting the penguins in their natural habitat during the optional excursion to Isla Martillo near Ushuaia. Only 20 people are allowed on their island at any one time, together with a local guide/warden, so you feel really privileged to be there.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding. Pepe was first class in the way he led the group and went out of his way to try and ensure everyone had the holiday they wanted. Pepe never waiverd in doing his best to ensure everyone had a great time and knew what was happening everyday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, the final 1 hour of the long walks to see the Torres del Paine and Fitzroy peaks is in my opinion a level 4, rather than the moderate level 3 rating. Both are short but sharp inclines over uneven terrain so you need to be agile in picking your way along the rocky paths. Both are well worth it if, like us, you get lucky and are afforded blue sky’s and no rain!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go now!
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Christopher Stockton

    Patagonia

    Enjoyable trip. Guide was excellent. Hotels were variable. Food was variable

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Day boat trip in the Glacier national Park

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. He worked hard and everything ran like clockwork

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't pay in dollars. Make sure you change to local currency.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Helen Hartley

    A great experience

    A lot of travel but the rewards are well worth it. The scenery highlights are outstanding and provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The towns and cities visited en route are characterful and offer a great opportunity to see a different approach to life. Our guide’s knowledge and enthusiasm kept us stimulated throughout.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the peak of Mount Fitzroy close up in bright sunshine after a long, at times challenging, ascent on foot was the stand-out highlight. This was closely followed by relaxing on a beach by the Perito Moreno glacier and a beer in probably the most southerly bar in the world.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier is warm and gregarious with a good sense of humour. His knowledge of the history, geography and nature of his country is extensive. He is passionate about his homeland and its culture and is keen to share traditions with the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that this trip entails a lot of bus travel; many early morning starts; some basic accommodation and very little “free” time. As always on this type of tour, be aware that tipping for guides and drivers is not included and will come to around $100 per head.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Several of the hotels used on this trip were well below the standard that I expected for the price paid. Some barely had running water; many did not have showers which functioned efficiently and one was positively dangerous. The most comfortable hotel that we stayed in was 2 miles outside the town meaning that we had to catch taxis which was inconvenient. The accommodation overall was a disappointment and would make me consider using other tour groups in future. All other aspects of the holiday were exactly as described.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Hari Pillay

    Patagonia is unpredictable

    The weather is unpredictable and Argentina is huge, so there's a lot of traveling and different temperatures to deal with, but it's unmistakably unlike anything we're used to in Europe. Winds like you wouldn't believe! From glaciers to jungle (if you do the Iguazu extension as I did) and a big city in-between ... It has it all.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Going on the optional boat trip to see glaciers, and Iguazu. They leave you speechless, awestruck and a little overwhelmed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tomas del Toro I think is an exceptional being. His energy and enthusiasm will make you smile and motivate you to keep going and ignore the wind and rain of Patagonia, when it happens. His attention to detail, general knowledge and expertise, humanity and humility will exceed your expectations of what you think the trip will offer.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Brian Guest

    Grab your camera ....... big skies, mountains, lakes, glaciers and wildlife!

    Two weeks to sample Patagonia with long days hiking through beautiful scenery and the chance to view outstanding natural features and wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views at dawn of the Torres del Paine Massif.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tomas was more than excellent. He was very attentive to all the group and their needs. He gave us a great deal of information and led the tour very well. His only fault was I think he tried too hard to please everybody. Oh, and he does talk a lot!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes are not always updated and itineraries can change. Pack light. You're only allowed 15kg hold luggage on the internal flights - but you can carry 8kg as hand luggage. The airline does not always enforce its rules though. Research beforehand. More options are available for your free days than may be obvious. Expect crowds on the most popular hikes and attractions. The Perito Moreno Glacier expects half a million visitors a year but only 2,000 tourists get to La Leona Petrified Forest ! Take a good camera with a wide angle lens as the landscapes are stunning. Try to get up early for the dawn light and enjoy the sunsets. Wildlife can be elusive and more often spotted from the minibus. See the penguins! Breakfasts are meagre but expect your waistline to expand: we dined out every evening and meal portions are huge! ATM in Argentina restrict you to 4,000 ARS and cost a lot to use. But Santander Rio have branches in all the towns we visited. If you have an account, it gives you a much better rate. Spend a few days in Buenos Aires if you have the chance. It's pretty safe and easy to get around. There's some lovely Art Nouveau architecture, a lively café-culture, craft markets at the weekend, fine Opera and bookshops, tango dinner dances and lots of urban art. We recommend a 5-hour cycle trip: Hidden Graffiti And Urban Art Tour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were expected to contribute to a kitty at the start of the tour for tips. This and the gratuity for our tour leader added considerably to the overall cost of the holiday and the amount of cash we needed to carry. While I agree we should reward good service, I felt this was excessive on occasions. We would have liked to have had longer to enjoy the El Chalten area and the Torres dal Paine. Maybe at the expense of the long journey down to Tierra del Fuego.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Andrew McGregor

    Amazing Patagonia

    An amazing trip. We were blessed with excellent weather which made it all the more special. The hikes were incredible with stunning scenery. The food and wine weren’t bad either!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The three hikes: Torres del Paine Laguna de los Tres Lomo del Pliegue Seeing the Milky Way from the hotel in Torres del Paine. The glacier boat trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was great. Dependable and knowledgable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are some long driving days as per trip notes. Also the hikes are not gentle. Most are uphill most of the way and moderately difficult in areas. If you’re keen on ice climbing on the glacier book we’ll in advance. Currency: a mix of US dollars and pesos is best as not all places accept dollars. Get pesos out of cash machine but there is a charge. A few of us did a scenic flight in Ushuaia as the weather was so good. Reasonably priced and worthwhile. Book ahead. Suggest having a few days in Buenos Aires at the end to unwind and see the city in a relaxed pace. Even better - Xavier can organise kayaking trips in the Tigre delta which is a great way to get away from the hussle and bustle. When you arrive in Pueto Natales you’ll be wiped out and won’t want a fancy meal... ask about the pizza bar/restaurant along the road. Pizzas were amazing - and big. The beer is good too. Left overs served a great mid-morning snack the next day.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Melissa Willard

    Very happy with whole experience

    Our guide Xavier really brought to life for us the quirks and beauty of Buenos Aires and the Patagonia region. Everyone in the group was having a great time. The region is full of stunning scenery and interesting history and Exodus organised this in such a way as to allow us full enjoyment without any accompanying hassle. Food and accommodations were of a good standard although the plumbing in the Cyan Rocaleta was unreliable and Exodus may want to feed back to the hotel on that (shower unavailable on first stay because the switch between bath and shower not working, and water temperature could not be reduced on the second stay and we had to wait 1/2 hour for maintenance to come and fix it). However, this was a tiny, tiny glitch in a wonderful holiday that fully met and exceeded our expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    First steak in Buenos Aires....seeing birds and animals in the wild...fighting the wind on the fossil walk...seeing the Milky Way...hand print from 6,500 years ago on cave wall...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The best! Xavier is warm, direct, likeable, entertaining, thoughtful and a true professional. He obviously loves the region and his work. We couldn't have wished for a better tour guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep a journal otherwise the whole trip will be a blur and you will lose many memories. Binoculars would have been useful.