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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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93 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Alison Barclay

    As good as it gets

    November is a superb time of year to do this trek. Late autumn sunshine, cool air, clear views. For us, no rain at all. There were 14 on the trip. Some days we had one guide -Jose - who had won the Exodus trip leader of the year in 2018. Some days we had Jaime who was equally good. Both were first class mountain guides with a huge amount of experience in those hills. They were also very informative re local customs. And very entertaining. The walks were quite challenging. It was not the length as much as some difficult underfoot conditions which added difficulty. Superb views from all summits both to the coast and to distant mountain ridges. The food was very good as were the lunches. The hotel was rural and we took it over for the week. The village of Benimantell which was 15 minutes walk away was in a delightful setting. We had a bit of difficulty with Wi-Fi for the first few days but that was resolved by the end of the week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After crawling through a tunnel beneath the cliffs of Bernia we emerged to superb views to the coast, to Benidorm in the distance and to further mountain ridges. (I think this particular walk was on the program to celebrate the 20th anniversary of running this trip) Also on the last day , after summiting Aitana At over 5000’ we walked along a ridge for an hour giving superb views on both sides

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both leaders were as good as they come. Fully trained in mountaineering techniques. Helping at scrambling sections. Thorough knowledge of the routes on the mountains. Entertaining.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    November and December are possibly the best 2 months to go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The other members of our group were very pleasant to be with and all added to the enjoyment of the week.
  • Reviewed November 2019

    Great autumn walking in a beautiful area

    A very enjoyable holiday in a surprisingly quiet area of Spain, despite being quite close to Benidorm. The walking was varied, in beautiful limestone country, with great views from the summits and interesting paths. The weather improved over the week for us - one day's walk was rained off so we visited a local town instead - but we had sunshine on the later walks. Our guide, Jose, was very knowledgeable and has a passion for the area, its people and way of life. He guided us well and was supportive of group members. Our hotel was well-positioned with views to the coast, and the owners were very hospitable. The food (vegetarian for us) featured local dishes and was excellent and plentiful. Our guide made our triple-decker lunchtime sandwiches and they were the best we've ever had on a walking holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Views from the summits, particularly Serella and Puig Campana. Also, those amazing sandwiches!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Jose, was excellent throughout.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take walking poles for the quite lengthy descents

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were pleased to be able to book a grade 4 (moderate/ challenging) holiday in Europe and would welcome more at Challenging grade.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Sophie Jennings

    Fantastic trip - a fabulous week of lovely views and delicious food

    This was my first Exodus trip, but it exceeded all expectations. The trip was brilliantly run by local guide, Jose, whose humour combined with local knowledge meant he was much more than just a mountain guide. The daily walks we did were well pitched to our level of fitness (fairly high as a group), but there was no pressure exerted. The walks were brilliant and allowed us to get to know the area quite well over the week. The views were stunning throughout the week and it has made me want to return to the region! The food and accommodation were also great - accommodation was clean and functional, but the food was outstanding. Every evening we had a local dish and it was plentiful and delicious. The hosts were really friendly and accommodating.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip has really inspired me to come back to the region on a climbing trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Fantastic - can't speak highly enough of him.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Marilyn Powell

    Fantastic Trip

    In the favourite word of our leader 'FANTASIC'. Superb trip. Stunning scenery in an area off the beaten track despite only being an hour from Benidorm. Challenging walking at times but well worth the effort. We were lucky to have glorious weather and apart from one cloudy hour at the summit of one walk tee shirts were the order of the week. Pension El Trestellador was delightful. Basic, clean rooms. Comfortable beds and plenty of hot water. Whilst the owners and staff at the pension had limited English they were always friendly and helpful and extremely trusting. You just mark down on a piece of paper any drinks you order - no formal bills at the end of the week. Breakfasts were lovely, pack lunches excellent and evening meals generally good. Traditional, homely and plentiful Spanish food. Area for Exodus clients to make tea and coffee was great and well used by all. Enjoyed the company off the group which definitely added greatly to the whole experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many spectacular moments to name a singleone. Sharing the experience of walking with a great group of people. The dedication and knowledge of guide Jamie.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jamie was absolutely wonderful. So enthusiastic and full of local knowledge. His passion for the area in which he has grown up is evident. He was constantly pointing out things along the way which we would have missed and telling us the names of all the plants. He gave us almonds off the trees and wild asparagus to eat. He encouraged us all when we occasionally flagged and hugged us all when we reached the summits. As mentioned by so many other people the sandwiches he made for our packed lunches were superb and it was always exciting to open the pack at lunch time to see what delights he had created. Definetly Michelin star sandwiches. Jamie also often supplied snacks whilst out on the walks and when we got back to the hotel and were enjoying a beer on the terrace - chocolate, nuts, olives and other local delicacies.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is as the brochure says - challenging. Not a holiday for anyone who is not an experienced walker. Distance is not everything. The terrain was often very rocky and scrambling often required. Steep inclines and decents. I think most of us had the occasional fall albeit without serious injury. If you think you are up for the challenge definitely book this trip - you are unlikely to be disappointed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Absolutely great holiday from start to finish. I sincerely hope it remains in the brochure for others to enjoy. Really good value as pack lunches provided and free wine with dinner.and constant supply of free tea and coffee.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Lucy Chaldecott

    Sunshine in Spain

    I have just returned from this trip. What a beautiful escape from the wet and wild UK in March! We enjoyed superb, varied walks, often with 360' views on the summits and not another sole in sight! Although the walks were quite challenging, the pace was ideal and our guides provided the perfect number of rest stops. Generally we had very good weather although layers were needed on the peeks in the wind. In terms of food, we enjoyed tasty, plentiful meals together in the hotel for breakfast and dinner, and filling picnic lunches. Being centre-based in a comfortable hotel felt like a real holiday, and the timings were in-keeping with this; due to minimal transport times, we could start walking at 9/9.30 each day and return at 4/5pm to enjoy a relax before dinner. I would highly recommend this trip for those with good levels of fitness who wish to discover quiet, varied mountain walks with good food, super views and a really chilled-out leisurely feel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching so many beautiful summits with amazing 360' views. Another highlight was the hotel kindly baking me a cake for my birthday!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leaders (Jose and Jaimie) were excellent - very knowledgeable, friendly, and laid back yet extremely competent. I had complete faith in them but could also enjoy a laugh together. They provided a briefing for each walk on the night before and provided useful information for the "free day" and our departure day which we spent in Alicante. As mentioned in previous reviews, very good picnic sandwiches at lunch!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book this trip! I hand't previously heard of hiking in the area, but it far exceeded my expectations. Other advice.. -when we arrived we had time to explore local Guadalest which is a lovely town with a hilltop castle and a good tapas bar! -highly recommend visiting Aitea on the free day, especially in good weather -we had a late flight back on the Sunday so spent the day exploring Alicante (the hike up to the castle is worth it!) -no need to take extra cereal bars as plenty are provided!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I really loved this trip so hope you do too!
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Susan Carter

    Amazing holiday- go now!

    Outstanding walking, outstanding hotel, outstanding leaders....... Earlier reviews have said it all! Exceptionally good value, with almost all meals, drinks, snacks and transport provided. The leaders offered inexpensive and enjoyable additional outings to fill the few gaps - for tapas and a chance to explore Guadalest ( the second most visited attraction in Spain) on arrival day: to the coast on the free day; and to an evening barbecue.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Striding along the mountain ridges in the spring sunshine. The sunrises from the hotel were awesome too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jaime and Jose divided the week between them, which was a bonus. They are both exceptional leaders, with different personalities and areas of expertise. They took great care of us, and were generous with their time and knowledge. ( They are the only people who lead this tour and they stay at the hotel while doing so).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go now! This tour may not last in its present delightful form for ever. The hotel has been In the same family for four generations and the charming couple now running it will retire fairly soon.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It is very easy to get to this holiday, though most people should avoid the current Exodus group flights. These leave Gatwick very early in the morning on Sunday and return there very late at night. Inconvenient for anyone who does not live close to Gatwick, especially those who have to go to work on Monday mornings. There are plenty of cheap alternative flights to Alicante from almost every UK airport. Contrary to the current Exodus advice, it is straightforward to get to the hotel from the airport , even if you do not use the group transfer. (This anyway returns to Alicante on Sunday morning, so that there is time to explore the city and/ or get an earlier flight home). Staying in Alicante before the trip is another option, which I much enjoyed.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Catherine Mclaren

    Fabulous holiday

    This is a great holiday for walking, fabulous views and a lovely place to stay. The guides are well informed and very helpful, pack lunches perfect and good food in the evenings.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking & views

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were lucky enough to have both guides who were great,

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go to the BBQ on the free night, fabulous food and a great atmosphere
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Dave Collins

    Great winter break

    A great week in spectacular scenery with a first rate tour guide (Jose) and a very sociable and able group of fellow travellers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summits of Aitana and Puig Campana.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    When the Wright brothers flew for the first time they couldn't have envisaged the 747 and the jet age; when the Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich he couldn't have foreseen where Jose would take the art - outstanding!! Jose is passionate about the area and brings it all to life for you. He has a great sense of humour and is one of the best tour leaders we have had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As others have said, you need to be a confident hill walker and reasonably fit. Walking poles are a good idea and a decent pair of boots is essential.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just do it!
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Miranda Wheatley

    Fantastic winter breaker.......

    A very welcome winter break with fantastic, positively challenging walking in the gorgeous Aitana range. Great views from the summit, walking in the sunshine, combined with great food, company and an outstanding leader, I would recommend this trip to any keen, confident walkers who fancy an escape from the winter.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching various summits with breathtaking views across the Aitana range. The journey's to the summits were challenging but do-able and made fun whilst walking with a terrific group of like minded walkers and an outstanding leader.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jaime is an experienced, knowledgeable, confident, passionate, kind, caring, people focused individual with Michelin star qualities for making superb sandwiches and surprised us daily with extra treats to keep us going. He's got a very kind and gentle way, supporting those who need it and is always keen to pick up sayings in different languages; he's know fluent in Dutch too! :-)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sure and confident of your capabilities, abilities and fitness; it requires confidence in walking along steep ridges, across scree, a bit of scrambling and steep ascents and descents but all the hard work is absolutely worth it when you get to the top.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel is conveniently located for walking straight from and back to the hotel, which saves on spending time on transport. Although the nearest village is about 30 minute walk away, it's a very steep descent and ascent coming back so not a 'stroll', which is sometimes too much after a day's walking. However, the hotel provided us with everything we needed. The rooms are basic, quite small and sometimes the shower water was tepid. If we had needed to hang out wet clothing and walking gear, the room would have been uncomfortably small and pretty impossible in my view. No tea/coffee making facilities in the room but the designated area in the communal area downstairs is free and available 24/7 whilst holidaying there to make drinks.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Nick Street

    Great winter sun and mountains in view of the sea

    Great weather. It was sunny every day apart from one (in December). Aitana and Puig Campana summits were spectacular. Aitana had a fall of snow the night before so we had sun and snow covered landscape with views of the mountains and sea. Great group with a competent and amusing leader (Jose).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Aitana and Puig Campana summits had extended excellent views and were great walks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jose was competent, hard working, friendly and funny.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Great destination for winter sun in the mountains within easy traveling distance of the UK.