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

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36 Reviews

  • 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.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Arianna Jakositz

    Patagonian Adventure

    From the vast, isolated Patagonian Steppe to the gorgeous Andes mountains, delicious steaks and empanadas, challenging but rewarding hikes, weather prone to dramatic changes within 15 minutes, glaciers, penguins, pumas, and guanacos galore.... this trip has it all. Upon returning home, we pulled out our roadmap of the region (thanks again for giving us yours, Xavier!!!) and talked about what else we’ll see when we come back one day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was completing the first hike. Not only did we have perfect skies and weather for our views of Mt. Fitz Roy and glaciers off in the distance during this hike, but as a new hiker I definitely had a sense of accomplishment that I could actually do this in the first place. My husband would say the hike in Torres del Paine was most rewarding, as he thought the trail and views were better (I didn’t partake unfortunately, but was instead treated to a more private tour of the park with two other members of the group who also weren’t up for the arduous trek that day). We also booked an extra excursion during our free day in El Calafate to hike on Perito Moreno Glacier that we both agree ranked as another favorite part of the trip. We missed our way more fun Exodus group, but still had a blast drinking from glacial streams, hopping over crevasses, and silently eating lunch on the middle of the glacier while listening for distant avalanches. Pictures don’t do Patagonia justice — it’s unbelievably beautiful, and every viewpoint was in its own way an inspiration.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was amazing! I had been hoping to have him as a guide as previous reviews really raved about him and we were not disappointed one bit. From being very open with us, to having all the best advice of what to eat, to saving us at the last minute in the little ways (like giving us a copy of the roadmap that we missed out on, or arranging for some trekking poles for us on a moment’s notice) to the bigger stuff (taking one in our group to the doctor to make sure everything was all right after a bad fall, or frantically making sure we were all checked in on our flight to Buenos Aires after an airline strike the day before) he really worked hard to make sure everyone had an enjoyable experience. This is only our second Exodus trip but we can tell Xavier is a high-caliber guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A few things: 1) The full-day hikes really are tough. Poles are a must if you don’t want to feel completely wiped out. Also, just as an FYI, they are both around 14 miles with 3000 to 4000ft of elevation gain (starting from a fairly low elevation though) with a lot of that gain being in some rather steep, shorter sections. I wish I had trained ahead of time so that I could have participated in all the hikes, including the free day one the *entire* group went on in El Chalten except for us. 2) Breakfast in most places is going to be toast with a few small pieces of ham & cheese that you might be really sick of by the end of the trip. Pack extra snacks if this is a concern! 3) Cash only in most places, no joke. Especially with the fluctuations in the Argentinian economy these days, your cards are mostly unwelcome. There’s a bank in the EZE airport right by the customs doors (before or after — we went after) that has a very fair exchange rate and, if I remember correctly, takes GBP as well as USD. In Chile, cards are accepted everywhere except the middle-of-nowhere toilet stops you’ll desperately need, so you only need a small amount of Chilean pesos. 4) If your heart is set on a glacier walk in El Calafate or a penguin walk in Ushuaia, these things sell out early. Let your guide know days in advance you’d like to book these (with the hopes of getting a spot), or book them yourself ahead of time. Note that the penguin walk may make you miss out on the morning walk in Tierra del Fuego though, so choose wisely! 5) A lot of times in restaurants, Xavier was nice enough to give us a taste of what he’d ordered. You’d think after a couple times we’d realize he was routinely ordering the best dish and copy him but alas we did not. So my advice to you is — if he’s your guide — ask what he’s having before you order. The man knows what to pick!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really — just have fun if you choose to go on this trip! Accept that the bus rides can be a bit long and uneventful, and that you’ll need plenty of cash on this trip, and then roll with any inconveniences that might arise. You’re in the middle of nowhere a lot of the time and it’s amazing how well orchestrated the trip actually is considering that.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Nadine Born

    Fabulous trip

    A fabulous trip to Patagonia. A great group, super guide and fabulous scenery every day. My sister recommended that I take this trip as it was one of her favourites and I agree with her. It will stay in my memories for a long time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many candidates but the day walk to the Torres del Paine just about wins the prize. The views were spectacular and we were exceptionally lucky with the weather so could see the towers very clearly.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were very lucky to have such an experienced guide as Xavier. He ensured that everything about the trip went smoothly and always focussed on our needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit beforehand as the treks are hard but we’ll worth the effort,
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Mark Billington

    Amazing sights in Patagonia

    What a fantastic itinerary Exodus have put together for this trip. From bustling Buenos Aries with its steaks to die for to stunning sunrises on Mt Fitzroy, we experienced it all. Another highlight was Perito Moreno The worlds quickest moving glacier ringed by the snow capped Andes, A quick hop across the border to Chile brings you face to face with the mind blowing Torres Del Paine National Park before ending at the worlds end Ushuaia and it’s penguins and brilliant wildlife. Without doubt the trip of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the granite horns in the Torres Del Paine National Park, for as long as i can remember I’ve looked in awe at the mountains in magazines but to see them face to face was a dream realised.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier, was good in lots of ways, friendly and as helpful as he could be, often going out of his way to ensure others enjoyed their holidays.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take hundreds of pictures and soak in that amazing scenery.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Margaret Lowe

    Patagonian Highlights

    This trip was all that we had hoped for- and more. We travelled a lot, yet each day brought us something new & exciting. Fantastic awe inspiring scenery, wonderful wildlife (condors & even a puma, to name but a few) & such lovely people, Such a beautiful country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The ascent to the bases of Mount Fitzroy and Torres del Paine in glorious weather, along with viewing the Mereno Glacier at such close proximity plus seeing a puma so close to where we were walking

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was such a great leader. He was so enthusiastic & knowledgable about his country & worked so hard to ensure we had a really good holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it! You won’t regret it. Well worth the effort & all the travelling
  • Reviewed November 2018
    David Lowe

    A brilliant holiday

    This has been a successful trip in every sense. We are well travelled with Exodus and this ranks high in our experiences.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is hard to choose one but high up on the list of memorable things: * walking in spectacular mountain scenery - Mount Fitzroy, Torre, Torres del Paine (great weather helped no doubt); * standing close to the Perito Merino glacier listening to the cracks and groans of the ice as lumps fell away; * seeing the local wild life - many birds, guanaco, fox, hare armadillo, penguins, seals and even a puma!; * experiencing the Patagonian wind en route to Torres del Paine. For location certainly one of the most memorable hotels we have stayed. * the coach drives which gave a clear picture of the vastness of the grasslands in this part of the world.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was a star! His local knowledge of all aspects of Argentina and Chile is extensive. He shared this willingly with the group at large or with individuals. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he went out of his way to make sure that things went well and that the group was having a good time. He was always ready with recommendations for an optional visit, for somewhere to eat, for what we would need for any part of our trip. He also wanted to know about us as individuals and told us about himself (not always the case with Exodus leaders in my experience)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are a couple of things: * layers of clothes are the order of he day. The weather is changeable (we had snow, rain and sunshine all in one day!) and it can be very cold. * "water for the coach drives as well as something to nibble [email protected] was helpful advice we were given. * for photographers don't forget a spare battery and extra cards - the scenery is spectacular. * for those who are not used to eating red meat, don't worry. We had plenty of options when it came to choosing what to eat. On the other hand don't miss out on the steaks - they are seriously large but delicious.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    M B

    AAA - Patagonian Highlights

    Saw a lot of Argentina and Chilean Patagonia . Trip Notes accurately reflected the activity days, the two long walks are challenging and taking trekking poles is a must ( if you normally use them ) . The end couple KMs of both walks are steep uphills so may be a bit harder for some. However you can turn back / drop out of the final section if you wish .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No one moment comes to mind.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier Espil is passionate and friendly . He gave detailed information at all times but left us to make our own decisions with that info. i.e. suggested places to eat , when to change money , restaurant pricing and food selection .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that ATMs are very temperamental with UK chip & Pin cards. sometimes they work , mostly they dont . This might be obvious at start of transaction or you might get taken all through security , down to cash amount selection and then a message appears saying transaction disallowed. Everyone in group ( British cards ) had issues in several locations. Only Bank of Patagonia in El Calafte and Ushuaia allowed cash withdrawals without any issue whatsoever . There is only 1 ATM in El Chalten , at tourist office and it spent most of its time out of service / rejecting cards ( British / French / Australian ) . Current - Nov 2017 - restaurant exchange rate was 17 or 18 Argentine dollars to USD. So you could pay for things in USD cash at that unofficial exchange rate and receive any change in Argentine money . Some restaurants do not take USD in denominations below 20 USD and apparently high denomination notes 50 USD / 100 USD are the preferred denomination when changing money at bank / exchange office.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Apparently Xavier is a fan of Colmans mustard , so if you have bit of luggage space spare I am sure a jar would be appreciated ! Be aware for internal Argentina flights hold luggage is 15KG and this is enforced . Its worth double checking on web site of Aerolineas Argentina , but dont get caught out having to pay excess luggage fees - they are not cheap .