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 March 2019
    ANDREW GRUN

    Wjnter snowshoeing holiday in the Queyras mountains of France

    We stayed in a quaint rural village, Saint Veran very high up in the Queyras mountains of France at an altitude of 2040 m. The village was surrounded by sharp edged peaks covered in deep snow. The views were wonderful. Our snow shoes took us up to the shoulders of the high peaks sometimes at about 2500 m altitude and gave us wonderful views of the open mountain scenery when we emerged from the forest. Our guide, Yves Novel, was very helpful and kind and got the very best out of people by matching the pace of the group to the capacity of its members, taking account of the high altitude and the steepness of the slopes. He was always looking out for any problems which people might have and coming to help when he was needed. He told us all about the wildlife of the forest in great detail as we walked along and was very knowledgable and interesting to listen to. The hotel, Le Grand Tetras provided wonderful food in great quantities and good accommodation.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views across the high mountain scenery covered in deep snow above the forest below.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Yves Novel, was very helpful and kind and got the very best out of people by matching the pace of the group to the capacity of its members, taking account of the high altitude and the steepness of the slopes. He was always looking out for people having problems and coming to help when he was needed. He told us all about the wildlife of the forest in great detail as we walked along and was very knowledgable and interesting to listen to. He spoke very good English to do this.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The steep slopes and high altitude require a slow patient pace of ascent, which is rewarded by magnificent views and the feeling of having spent each day in the high mountains in the Winter snow, an unforgettable experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A wonderful experience.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Pauline Smith

    Excellent holiday

    This was my first snowshoeing holiday and it was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The guide Yves was excellent and tailored the daily walks to the weather conditions and where the best snow and walks would be. He was very helpful with guidance on how to use the snow shoes, particularly on steeper descents, and we all completed all the walks. He offered extensions to some of the walks which were voluntary and all of our group chose to walk that bit further and the wonderful views were well worth it. We were lucky in having mostly sunny weather but this meant that the snow conditions were at times more difficult but Yves found the best walks for the snow conditions. I thought the walks were well suited to my abilities, and those of the group, but you do need to be reasonably fit so if you can complete a day of hill walking, with an ascent of up to 500m, over 7 hours in the UK then you can manage this holiday and enjoy the exercise. The guide ensured that we walked slowly up steep sections by setting the slow pace and that was very helpful. The scenery was beautiful and varied and I was surprised at how high into the mountains we climbed and the views were wonderful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think being in the heart of the mountains on the second to last day, where we walked beneath a huge exposed rock to arrive at a settlement set in the high snowy valley, only accessible by snowshoes was inspirational. Also walking through pristine snow and at times sinking into the snow was fun.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was excellent and a great leader. He was very encouraging and helpful throughout the week with tips on snowshoeing, and he chose some wonderful walks suitable for the changing snow conditions. He was patient, kind and thoughtful and an interesting man to talk to. He made the holiday very enjoyable for all the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit enough. This was not a problem for anyone on the group I was with but you do need to be able to ascend up to 500m, on the last day of the holiday, and be confident that you can do that.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Saint Veran is a lovely historical village in a beautiful sunny position and it was interesting walking around the village. The area is attractive and Yves told us about the history of the area and this added to the trip. On our day off we walked to the mountain refuge which is an interesting walk with the reward of reaching the mountain refuge for lunch. It was very windy on our return so it felt like an achievement to complete the walk.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Penelope Lockwood

    it was relavant

    a fabulous trip. It met my expectations. The group just by some luck were primarily great. The guide Kevin Legout was outstanding. His guiding together with his assessment and care for our group was amazing. The chosen area was stunning. Our luck was in, with a snow fall one day before our arrival, plus the sun was shining most days.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sight of all the snow. I pushed myself to manage this trip, though enjoyed the daily challenge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Exceptional in every aspect. He had plenty of underpinning knowledge. Kevin was very caring. On the first day he gave a clear assessment of our individual fitness in preparation for the week ahead.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure that you have moderate fitness in preparation for walking up mountains

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed April 2018

    Snowshoeing the Southern Alps @ Saint Veran.

    This was a professionally run trip made better by the expertise, skill and jocular attitude of our guide Yves Novel whom we found to be most helpful throughout the week. The location is lovely and only made better by the amount of snow that continued to fall during the holiday. Yves choice of routes made snowshoeing for us “first timers” both interesting and fun albeit at times the heavy snow took a great deal of effort so it must be highlighted that this trip which comes in at Grade 2 (leisurely moderate) could be upgraded especially in heavier snow, if you are not interested in some hard physical work then this trip could catch you out. Overall my wife and I found the whole experience to be great fun made better by a well oiled and professional service from Yves, the staff at the family run hotel and not to forget the girls who aided Yves on some of the treks. The village of Saint Véran is a lovely addition to the holiday with fantastic views, reasonable restaurants and good food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best part of the trip is hard to define as there were so many good things to look back on, perhaps the 2 most memorable would be our trip to see the wildlife at Ristolas, the views were stunning, making the numerous sightings of Chamois and other animals all the better and our last day climbing to Curlet Cross viewpoint from where we could see Saint Véran village in all its glory, following this we treked along Curlet Ridge through some great snow with even more impressive views of the surrounding area. Our return journey down through the forest was even better craic as it allowed us to walk our own routes through at times very deep snow.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was professional in every sense, his knowledge of the areas history was exceptional which allowed the many questions put to him to be answered without any problems. His skills as a guide and instructor came through at every level of the trip and we would have no hesitation in joining him in an other trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would say to any who wish to do this trip make sure that you are fit and able for it, the days can be hard going due to steep terrain and at times heavy snow, it would not be suitable for people who only wish to go on short easy days. Remember its a team effort and if you are not fit then it unduly affects the team as a whole.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't forget the Sun Bloc and spare gloves.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Geoff Culver

    Snowshoeing in the Southern Alps

    An excellent holiday in a really beautiful and quiet parts of the Alps. Based at a comfortable and friendly hotel with good food in a character village and led by an expert mountain guide who really knows his stuff. Treat the ‘gently snow shoe walks’ rating with some caution, as although the days are fairly short a 500m ascent through deep snow in not a walk in the park. You will get the most out of this if you are fairly fit and also confident at tackling some steep descents; although (most of) the steep bits can be avoided if desired.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final days walk ion the sunshine through fresh deep snow to the cross on the viewpoint opposite the hotel, followed by a steep but fun descent through the forest.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yves was excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a spare pair of gloves
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Eveline Harlow

    Snowshoeing in the Southern Alps

    A superb snowshoeing holiday. The Queyras is very beautiful, & quiet in mid January. Our routes were varied & well chosen for the snow conditions. Every day was a good day! St Veran is an old & fascinating village & a good base. The hotel was very friendly & comfortable & the food excellent. A place that can satisfy a hungry, gluten free vegetarian gets full marks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the mountain panoramas were inspirational but discovering how to descend fairly steep slopes while remaining upright was the best part.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was great. He tailored the days to our abilities but also challenged us within our individual comfort zones & patiently improved our snowshoe techniques. He seemed to know something about everything - animal tracks, local wildlife & geology, history and legends ranging from miraculous lights in the mountains to dragon's blood.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it - a good trip both for beginners & hopeful improvers.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Andrew Grun

    SNOWSHOEING IN THE SOUTHERN ALPS

    It was a wonderful holiday amongst the magnificent snow covered mountains of the Queyras region of the southern Alps. We explored the forest covered in deep snow and its wildlife and reached summits above the forest, from which we had wonderful views over the landscape, and of mountains buried in deep snow. We stayed in the very attractive historic French village of Saint Veran, which is perched on a steep mountain side at high altitude. The old houses have wooden balconies for drying crops quickly in Summer, which are often rather amusing in construction. The village faces a great wall of rocky peaks, covered in snow. A walk up the valley leads to the high alpine pastures, which are buried in deep snow in Winter, with steep mountain passes on the Italian border beyond.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views of the big snow covered, jagged, rocky mountains in the Ecrins national park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Yves was always very helpful to everyone participating. He carefully kept a watch for any problems which people might have and gave them his full attention. He set the right pace so that everyone could achieve their maximum potential, without getting over tired or left behind. Consequently we soon reached summits from which we had magnificent views to distant mountains, as far as the Ecrins national park. He was full of information as we walked through the snow covered forest, telling us about the tracks in the snow, the wildlife and the geology of the region. He took us to see the chamoix grazing with their young on the high mountains.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Snow shoeing allows you to quickly reach high points and get wonderful views across the landscape, covered in deep snow.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food at the Grand Tetras hotel was excellent and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The holiday was a great experience and I would like to return in the future.
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