Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed January 2017
    Paul Shah

    Patagonia is a unique place

    The Patagonian landscape is unique - varying from arid semi-desert, turquoise blue glacier lakes and white granite mountains. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone with an interest in trekking.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The ice trek on the Viedma Glacier was a particular highlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Exodus excel in finding good local partners, and in particular Pepe was a standout leader for the group - excellent communication skills, cheerful and affable, and really looked after us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is no portering in Torres Del Paine, so think carefully about packing (it is easy to overpack) - base layers, socks, fleece, waterproofs (I used the waterproof as a windbreak over the fleece and didn't take a down jacket) and water bottle are essentials and a travel towel is very useful too. Leave space at the top of your rucksack to delayer when it gets sunny. Personally, I found a 25 litres pack enough but some trip members took 35 litre packs. You can leave the rest of your luggage for the other treks in the hotel in El Calafate.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Please be aware the glacier trek runs depending on weather conditions (no rain, not too much wind).
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Emma Thomson

    Classic Patagonia

    This trip was fantastic! Even though we didn't see many of the most famous views due to the cloud (there's always an element of luck where mountain weather is involved) it was still an awe inspiring place. The mountain scenery was dramatic and atmospheric in the mist and the lakes in Torres del Paine were the most beautiful shades of blue and turquoise that changed in the light. No two days of walking were the same, the landscape was varied and we never tired of seeing another glacier or the condors soaring above us again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It would be impossible to pick just one! The mountains appearing and disappearing through the mist in the French Valley was eerie and beautiful. Seeing the lenticular clouds forming above Los Cuernos also sticks in the mind. But I think my favourite moment was at the estancia when we hiked up to a ridge where the condors nested and saw them soar beneath where we were standing. I could've watched them all day! And the even without the condors the view of Lago San Martin from the ridge was stunning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pepe was fantastic... His knowledge about the region was impressive and his enthusiasm and passion for trekking were inspiring. He obviously spent a lot of time making sure everything was organised for us and the trip ran smoothly, though he did this so discretely it would've been easy not to notice. Pepe made sure that everyone got what they wanted out of their trip, whether that was to take it slow, soak in the scenery and take lots of pictures, or to set a more challenging pace. And because we were always with local guides no one was unaccompanied. But most importantly Pepe was brilliant fun, we had a great laugh!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The packing instructions seemed a bit complex but you should take a holdall or pack with all your gear, then when you go to Torres del Paine to do the point to point trek you can leave this behind securely and only bring what you need for the W-trek in a smaller back pack (~30L-40L capacity). Prepare for all weathers and heed the advice to wear layers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was initially worried about joining the group on my own but after the first evening any worry I had was forgotten. We all got on well and everyone was really inclusive. Finally, although all the local guides who joined us for certain parts of the trip were fantastic, Sarah and Camilla who were our guides in Torres Del Paine were particularly fantastic! Much like Pepe they were enthusiastic both about the place they worked and about Treking. And they were brilliant fun.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Ashita Patel

    Classic Patagonia Treks

    The breath taking landscapes/views, whether you were sitting in the bus or hiking. Don’t forget to look up!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Las Torres from a distance as we were driving into Chile and then actually getting to the base . It was same feeling when I saw and climbed to the base of Mount Fitzroy.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was everything that you want in a guide and more. He was knowledgeable, organised, very friendly, accommodating, possibility the most patient and considerate guide I have met! Our other guides, Paula and Sebastian, were equally excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes are confusing, as my fellow hikers have suggested, - Activity Level of 5 is very valid and nothing to do the accommodation nor the fact that you need to carry you stuff for a few days as suggested by the guy I spoke to in Sales. - you definitely need a bigger pack, max 40L, rather than a day pack - you will have to carry kit in your pack for all weathers so layer up. We had good weather but it did include sunshine, rain, snow and lots of wind - Essentials to pack, definitely bring a pair of flipflops/jandles/tongs/crocks, pain killers, dry bags - ATMs are rare so load-up with dollars

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't be put of my the long hikes, the views are so worth the effort. At the end of the hike there is usually a cold beer or nice glass of wine to look forward.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Jayne Potter

    Fitzroy and Paine

    A stunning trek in the Torres del Paine of Chile and the Fitzroy region of Argentina. As the trip notes suggest you will not be disappointed with the landscape and views within the two regions visited. We were really lucky with the weather and managed to see all the breath taking aspects possible.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the various viewpoints and standing in front of the most awe inspiring backdrops one could never really imagine you could be so lucky to see.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was outstanding in all areas. He was constantly helping us to understand the history and geology aspects of Argentina. Xavier was supported by local guides like Paula in Chile who was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the Torres del Paine National Park. Her passion for Chile and the environment was infectious and helped you to enjoy the trek even more.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be careful with the itinerary. You definitely need a winter back pack, not a day sack. I suggest 30-35L You will have to carry full waterproofs, an extra layer, a large pack lunch, 1 litre of water and a change of clothes with the tiniest amount of extras you can get away with: e.g. travel towel for a shower. The first day is at least 12 hours long unless the itinerary is changed. The distance is 30 km, not 24 km as given in the trip notes. The second day is more like 8 hours, not 7 hours and we were not a slow group. The refuges are basic and you will need something on your feet to walk around in on arrival. Some dormitories were mixed. Take a large holdall as luggage that you find easy to carry and you can get into for finding gear. You will do a lot of packing and unpacking at each section of the trip. Make sure you have a waterproof stuff sack for the porters. The porters will only carry 3 kg of gear, which is not much. They also only porter for one day unless you pay them extra. You have one easier day and an optional day. You will probably want fresh shirts and a pair of casual trousers for this section.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't be put off by the length of distance being covered. The overall experience outweighs the demanding itinerary. The trip is fantastic but be prepared.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Helen Gentles

    Classic Patagonia Treks

    A fantastic trip which I would have given 5 stars until we had major delays with our return flight. The scenery is stunning and the walking excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Numerous moments but seeing Mount Fitz Roy for the first time was very special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was a first class leader who looked after us all very well. He was very knowledgeable and had developed good relations with people wherever we stayed so the trip ran very smoothly. The local guides were also excellent. Paula in Chile deserves a special mention as she was outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You never need to carry all your luggage on a hike. I had a 36L day pack which was just ok, perhaps 40L would have been ideal. Take a travel towel for a couple of the refugios.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The first day's hike took us 12 hours so was a tough start. As Andrea has said, we felt that an extra day in Torres del Paine would have been beneficial. I won't be flying with Air Europa again. Our return flight was cancelled, we were taken to a hotel but then pretty much left in the dark - finally flew out 60 hours later.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Andrea Kolatchew

    Classic Patagonian Treks

    This is a physically demanding but very rewarding holiday which takes you to a beautiful part of the world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The remote Estancia El Condor, located on Lago San Martin, was a sensational final location.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier Espil was excellent, very committed to his country and patient in trying to provide for all the needs of the group. As well as completing the physically arduous treks with us, he had to organize a series of guides in specific places and he seemed to have good relationships with many people (drivers,guides, hoteliers,etc.) who contributed to the success of the trip. He went out of his way to make all the details work. I really liked the way he took care of individual tips from a kitty - this is often not handled well, in my experience, but he worked it out in a fair manner on our behalf.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a lot of packing and repacking to do, a sensible day pack is necessary (30 litres seemed to be about right). Keep your head torch with you, as it is necessary in the refugios and on the camping night. Bring enough US Dollars to be generous with tips and to be able to have coffee and extra meals. The ATM's are often not working. Tourism (money) is essential to enable these remote areas to sustain viable programs.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The group I was in thought that an extra day doing the Torres Del Paine (W Trek) section would have been desirable, as we were all a bit stunned after the first 13 hour, 30Km day. Most of the inconvenient injuries , (knees and feet) started from that day. An extra day would still make the trek within the 2 week holiday window.
  • Reviewed January 2016
    Nicola Baillie

    Fabulous trip to Fizroy and Paine

    This was my third Exodus trip and definitely the best yet. Beautiful scenery - really stunning, excellent group leader (Pepe) and brilliant group - we had lots of laughs together. The weather was perfect, allowing for lots of WOW moments as the views unfolded. This trip was a really nice mix of what felt like 'proper walking', according to my own personal definition (!) and more relaxed days and roughing it a bit in Refugios/ camping and staying in hotels. The steak and red wine is also a highlight!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views in the French Valley, Torres del Paine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pepe was an excellent group leader - really part of the group and we had lots of laughs with him. He was kind and patient, looked after us really well, made sure everything ran smoothly. Even carried people's bags for them if they were struggling!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I think the trip notes for this trip are a bit misleading/ confusing - they were a standing joke on our trip! They have been revised but I think are still a bit confusing. Luggage At no point to you have to carry everything. The 2 main walks are 3 days in Torres del Paine in Chile (staying over night in refugios) and 2 days in Fitzroy, Argentina (1 night camping). The trip leaves straight from Calafate airport to Torres Del Paine - pack your bags so that you can leave most stuff in Calafate and just bring enough for the 3 days walk/ overnights in Refugios. On day one in Torres del Paine the majority of your kit is tranferred to the next Refugio by porters, so you only have to carry what you need for the day. There were only 2 porters for the whole group - each group member fills a dry bag with the kit they don't need for the day and the porters put all the dry bags in their rucksack - so bring a large drybag for this. On the second day, some of our group hired the porters again between us (there were only 2 available) and used the same system - this was cheaper than hiring a whole porter yourself in advance as described in the trip notes. When sharing porters, they carried about 5kg per person. I guess this option is dependent on availability of the porters. It was nice to just walk with day sacks and I would recommend hiring porters on the second day too if you can - although the trip notes say you can leave kit unattended at a campsite there is still a significant proportion of the walk that you need to carry everything. You are then re-united with your full bags in Calafate - stay overnight in a nice hotel and then have a relaxing day visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier and driving on to El Chalten. The next day you depart on the camping trip and so need an overnight bag, again leaving most of your luggage in El Chalten. I managed to squeeze what I needed into my 20 litre rucksack for this. Other than these 2 walks - the rest is day sacks only. I brought a large 65 litre rucksack and 20 litre day sack as I had anticipated carrying everything for sustained periods. I reality you never need to carry everything and if I was doing this trip again, I'd bring a holdall, my 30 litre rucksack and a dry bag (for the porters in Torres del Paine). The holdall could store most of your luggage in the hotels while you are walking in Torres del Paine and Fitzroy and you just bring the 30 litre rucksack with what you need for the 2-3days you are away. I packed very light for this trip and actually could comfortably have brought e.g. a little makeup and other luxuries which you can leave behind when away on walks. Money Regarding money - bring US dollars - you can change them in BA and the guide will advice on where and how much to change into Argentinian pesos at a time. You can get by without Chilean pesos - the only places to spend money in Chile are at the coffee shop at the border - which takes US dollars and Argentine pesos and in the Refugios if you want to buy drink - but again they accepted dollars and cards.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our whole group met in Buenos Aires as that is where the trip began. I see the trip notes now say meet in Calafate, unless you arrive on the group flights. I thought it was nice to meet in BA and see a bit of the city with the group and would recommend trying to join the people from group flights there as possible. We also went for delicious steak and wine that night and it would be a shame to miss that. This is a really fabulous trip - I would strongly recommend it!
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Peter Grenyer

    Fitzroy & Paine

    A great but demanding trip with spectacular scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It has to be El Condor. Its remoteness, peace and beauty are breath taking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Group Leader, Jose (Pepe) Valdivia, was excellent with a great sense of humor and patience. He contributed greatly to the success of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a demanding trek and should not be undertaken unless you are confident in walking 20 miles with long, steep and rough climbs. We were lucky in having dry weather but you must be prepared to do this in the rain and with high winds. Travel as light as you can. I was once told that the pleasure in trekking is inversely proportional to the weight you are carrying. Don’t bother with taking/obtaining Chilean Pesos. The only chance you have to use them is in a café and the refugios and they take US$ and tips can be paid in US$ so ensure you have plenty of low vale notes. Only take/buy at the airport as many Argentinean Pesos as you may need before the Group guided tour of BA. The Group Leader will be able to point you in the direction of the best exchange rates. Take the bulk of your money in US$, its easy to exchange and use. Budget for more expensive meals than the Trip Notes suggests (March 2015). The optional Glacier Trek can only be paid for in cash using US$. There are also quite a few drivers, porters, guides, staff etc. that require tips and are not specified in the March 2015 Trip Notes, So you will need more Argentinean Pesos than you may have at first thought. Clarify this with the Group Leader as early as possible. The porters cannot take rucksacks, so take a suitable bag to put your extra items in for the first trekking day and anything you may wish to leave in Calafate.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Pick pocketing is rife in BA, as I found out to my cost. They are very skilful so don’t keep anything of value in your pockets and make sure any rucksack or bag you are carrying is locked and you have a firm grip on it.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Timothy Schofield

    Patagonia Trekking 7/11/15 - 21/11/15

    It was an excellent holiday A good group, excellent leaders & we were fortunate with the weather The weather is very variable & is part of the Patagonian experience - high winds are the norm

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The lenticular clouds forming in the high winds The final 2 nights at the Estancia Condor, away from the crowds was great

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier was excellent, as were the local guides

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check out direct BA flights Heathrow to Buenos Aires, as better than the Group flight with Air Europa which stops in Madrid

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Packing was very complicated. Almost every day you had to consider how to minimise the weight. We went to an excellent steak restaurant in Buenos Aires on the day of arrival, but I felt it would have been better if we had caught the earlier flight back from Calafete & eaten at this restaurant on the LAST night As it was, we arrived late & most people did not go out, so the tour rather petered out
  • Reviewed December 2014
    Nadine Ebner

    Unforgettable Journey

    Just when you think you have seen it all, you will be proven otherwise. Once you are standing at the base of impressive Torres and milky blue lakes you will feel the energy of this special place. I have never seen a sky as light blue as in Patagonia. Trekking through Torres Del Paine & Fitz Roy is an amazing experience. If you have more time to spend in Argentina, use it as the country and people will show you it's beauty.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved Fitz Roy with it's rugged mountains and one morning the sunrise illuminated the range so the torres looked like on fire. You cannot describe it, you have to be there and live the moment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader brought a lot of fun to the group, always cheerful, and it might not have been such a great trip without him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have specific dietary requirements, they might not be met 100%. So be prepared and take a few extra snacks with you to eat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip is the most expensive trip I have ever taken but I have been able to see all the places I wanted in a super short time and enjoyed every day to the max. All I can say is money worth spent.
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