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  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    The walking was not too difficult. The hotels were not the best but were adequate. The group was really great

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking from the hotel Encumeada into the mountains.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very knowlegable about local history and geography

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    One of the hotels did not bath plugs so might want to take your own

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a lovely holiday.

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    This trip was more than I was hoping for as I was a complete novice at walking holidays.   Fantastic way to see such interesting places, people, wildlife and geology.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    As a complete novice at walking holidays, I amazed myself by the fifth day when I climbed Pico Ruivo (1,862 mts high).   I stood on a mountain surrounded by clouds and "up with the Gods".  Fantastic moment for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    My Guide was called Andre.   It was just me and him for the whole 7 days.   What a mind of knowledge that young man has.   I learnt Maderian history, geology, fauna, wildlife, customs, politics, and bad jokes!!  I really hope Exodus continues to use his services.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go for it!  Even if you're a solo traveller and walking novice like me, you have to start somewhere and why not try walking the levadas in Maderia.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only down side of the trip was the quality of the holiday accommodation for day 1 and 2.   The hotel Ecumeada is a little outdated and needs a bit of tlc.    Make sure you do take a mac as the weather can change at a moments notice, but even on a cloudy day the views from the mountains or levadas are pretty spectacular.     Funchal is a very interesting town, but be sure to follow Maderian's who take you off the main streets into tiny little classic alleys, with hidden treasures of artwork, fantastic architecture, food and hospitality.    I have only praise for the whole experience and Andre my guide is an absolute genius!   

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    A very enjoyable week's holiday and a good way to see Madeira. I enjoyed the variety of the scenery and the walking as well as sampling various Madeiran wines with dinner over the course of the week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruno is a very experienced group leader and did a good job of looking after us. There was a wide range of walking experience in our group but he managed this very well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My walking poles wouldn't fit in my suitcase but they would have been useful for the descents which are quite steep in places.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Of the 7 nights, you spend 2 nights in the same hotel except for one night, the Wednesday, which is good. I was pleasantly surprised by the accommodation. The only minor disappointment was the buffet on the Wednesday evening. However, the company of my fellow walkers was a great distraction!

  • 6

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    The walks were verging on the most difficult.  Some group members needed a lot of help which meant that other members were left to walk most of the walk without the leader. A bit more information about the terrain would help people decide if it is suitable.  It would be nice if you could highlight the number of changes of accommodation as don't like too many moves. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Friday spent in Funchal

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruno was funny, experienced, knowledgable and helpful.  He had a lot of responsibility looking after people who hadn't ever walked in the moutains before.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please read the details of the walks carefully and decide if it is suitable for you.  Remember to take into consideration the temperatures.  Don't forget to take a fruit knife as you nearly always take a pack lunch.  If you don't like changing accommodation every other day read the details carefully.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    Definitely recommended for anyone thinking of a walking holiday in Madeira. The trip covers all the things to do and experience to come away with a good insight into Madeira.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the activities and walks were enjoyable and covered something necessary for the Madeira experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was a local who was passionate about Madeira and had an in depth and insiders knowledge of where to go and what to do and see on the island, which he was happy to share with us. This was invaluable for all the walks and activities we did which he also planned and organized very effectively.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The two guesthouses in Encumeada and Santana are in wonderful (though isolated) locations and full of character. This tour would succeed with a group of between 6 and 10, (we had 8), any more and it could be unwieldly. The levada and coastal path walks offer a lot of spectacular views and photo opportunities. The paths can be quite narrow so take care. Make sure you try some poncha (rum, honey and juice cocktail) and don`t miss a walk around the old town of Funchal and a visit to the central market. Watch out for nun pirates in the interior :-) (we did not come across any, this could be a myth)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 6

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    Madeira is a beautiful island, with a profusion of wonderful plant life and we had the benefit of a Madeiran leader who was passionate about his home country. The walks were probably on the A/B grade, rather than B, being a little short and not as strenuous as expected following a grade B holiday the previous year (unless I was just fitter!)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking along the levada, albeit on a rainy day, was a definite highlight. The feat of engineering, creating the irrigation channels and paths on the side of near-vertical mountain slopes, was impressive. Add to that the abundant and lush greenery and it was a visual feast.   The farmers' market in Funchal was another stunning visual feast - the sight of the produce and also the fine architecture. We were offered tasters of six different kinds of passion fruit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruno was an enthusiastic and careful leader, so we all felt well cared for and included in the group. He obviously loves his work.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a variety of weather - as the trek notes say, mountains really do make their own weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Three slight quibbles.  On the first day, our leader misread the bus timetable, so we arrivedhalf an hour late for the start of the walk. We had to rush back early to catch the 2pm bus as there was no other one until 5pm. It would have been better if a minbus or other private transport had been used, thus allowing greater flexiblilty and a more relaxing time on the beach and walk. First, the trek notes have not been adequately updated to show the adaptations necessary following the storms in 2010. It is not now possible safely to walk from Encumeada on the fifth day, so an extra minibus trip is required. The walk is still lovely, but may not be what walkers were expecting. The leader explained this to us, and we understood and are not aggrieved, but it should not have been left up to him to do this. The hotel at Encumeada has possibly the best views, rooms and breakfast, but the supper (buffet) was extremely poor and there is no alternative place to eat.    

  • 10

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    One of the best and most surprising things about Madeira was the amazing variety of the walks - each day was different.  Windswept coasts, laurel and eucalyptus forests, waterfalls, open moorland, and of course the flower-lined levadas.  All lovely!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to pick out just one, because it was the contrast of all the different days that made the trip so much fun.  And a really great group of people definitely helped!  The dinner on the last evening at a fish restaurant, eating outside and watching the sun set over the sea, was pretty good too...!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joe was an excellent leader, always calm and cheerful and very well organised, as well as knowledgeable about the flora and fauna.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take clothing for all eventualities - we had a mix of wind, rain and sun on most days.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    This was our second Exodus trip and like the first it was oganised and managed really well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The coastal views in Madeira were spectacular and the levadas are a feat of engineering!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joe Olim was excellent.  A good blend of knowledge and humour, he went out of his way to ensure our enjoyment of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to have the trip itinerary changed (as ours was) to accomodate path closures, high winds and very wet weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An enjoyable first visit to the island with easy walking. If you like sea food there are endless possibilities!

  • 4

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

     The walking was quite tame and due to weather conditions we were unable to walk out along the headland with the guide . on another one of the walks the path had been damaged and the fire damage on the centre of the island which happened last year along with the weather prevented us going up the mountain .The company of others in the group was excellent as was our guide who was knowledgeable about the island and its Flors and Fauna

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    walking under a waterfall on the last day .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    good local knowledge

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not challenging  walking ,

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    Good weather, fab, rugged scenery and walking. Hotels reasonable, guide (Joe) highly knowledgable on flora and fauna; over-reliance on public transport which can be crowded or involve a lengthy trek at the end to reach a bus-stop.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the levadas - water causeways with maintenance tracks cut into sheer rock faces with 50m+ drops to one side - leaves you leaning a bit one way for the rest of the day!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Knew a lot about the country, walking routes, the wildlife and conservation and was happy to share it with us. Good organiser, and always tried to tie up loose ends. Tended to be very busy - often on the phone and didn't eat with us as often as we are used to.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Consider EasyJet and others for flights as TAP aren't the cheapest by some margin. We were very lucky to have good weather all week - go prepared for anything.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for some variation to the trip notes; you are unlikely to do what it says. Although Exodus claim to keep these up to date, a fire in the high mountains has put one walk out of bounds since last August and flood damage has changed another walk route for the past 2 years but the trip notes haven't changed. We discussed this with the guide, and his feeling was that as weather considerations mean they have regularly to change the routes, they aren't too worried about the Trip notes being accurate. Perhpas it's just a local thing!

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    Had a wonderful time walking the Levadas under the guidance of an informative and caring guide.  I would rerecommend this trip to anybody considering visiting the island.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking along the Levadas to enjoy the fantastic views and being hardly able to believe the views from the edge of the mountain side Levadas that had been cut into them, a real wow from the thought of how they must have been constructed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Joe, was one of the most considerate, informative and heplful guides I've met.  He managed to organise wonderful days out despite the weather and terrain walking prohibitions put in place by the Madeira authorities after the floods and fires that had ravaged parts of the island.  To have someone who can remain cool, calm and collected through whatever climate, terrain and people can throw at him is indeed a pleasure.  I can only hope to meet up with him again sometime.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    None realy, except that as a person who has suffered and can suffer from mild vertigo I found the walks within my capabilities and indeed noticed that others were doing likewise, so whilst the warning is valid vertigo sufferers should not be instantly put off going, but perhaps check out the walks more carefully.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a really good chance to have great walking followed by an extended stay to relax and enjoy the island.  I'm only sad that I didn't think of doing that before I went and then became envious of those who waved us goodbye as they stayed on.

  • 4

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    Having read the trip notes I was expecting an exhilarating walking holiday with views along the coast and from mountain ridges. Due to poor weather, path closures and forest fires what I got was endless levada walking, backtracking along paths and walking with no objective or destination. Only one day followed the published itinerary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Had some great sea food. Beautiful island and friendly people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Knowledgeable about the island and local weather conditions. Good leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would not call this holiday moderate walking. More easy/ sight seeing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Please update your trip notes.

  • 4

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    the trip notes allegedly revised in october 2010 bore little relationship to the actual itinerary which was extensively amended by our guide-he claimed that the original plans had been drawn up before the forest fires which devastated major forested inland areas -these fires made it necessary to substantially alter several of the walks-the order in which the walks were made was also changed.these changes were annoying but not as frustrating as the complete shambles of the transport arrangements throughout our stay-we had a full quota of sixteen walkers plus guide which on any other trip of this kind would,in my experience,have qualified the group for the provision of a dedicated vehicle or at least one for which we had a priority claim-we spent the week on and off public buses and in a range of cars vans and taxis which had for the most part been "cobbled together by the very frustrated guide who seemed to have little clout when it came to the question of transport-some of the drivers were dressed as waiters and bar staff and had obviously been "borrowed" from elsewhere-the guide implied that our travel budget had been downgraded because the accomodation arrangements had cost a greater percentage of the tour cost due to the size of the group and the need to switch to hotels of a higher grade!-the whole operation seemed to be run on a shoe string and left the group frustrated that we were being moved around like so much burdensome luggage-i expected more professionalism from a company of your size and resources-you need a more "hands on" approach and need to give your local staff and representatives more support

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 6

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    Good, enjoyable trip albeit a little repetitious and out of line with the trip notes on the later walks. On balance though - Recommended. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The stunning contrasts of all the first three days' walks and scenery was superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruno Castanha was excellent and went out of his way to be of assistance.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check accuracy / up-to-date-ness of trip notes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The option of a walking tour in Funchal at the end of the week would have been good.  Whilst not the biggest place in the world, given that you've just a day there I think this would be a nice option to make the most of it.  I know it's a walking holiday but I enjoy the charms of both city and country life so this would have made a welcome addition.   The walks on days 4 & 5 along the levadas were very similar to those done on the first few days but these were somewhat forced upon us by the landslides six months earlier.  Whilst pleasant enough they significantly lacked the wow factor of the first three days and were a little on the easy rather than moderate side.     The trip notes should really have been updated to reflect this given that this was hardly a surprise.   All in all though had a great holiday. 

  • 2

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    It was not a fun holiday compaired to others I have done with Exodus, ie Trins what fab.  I felt the walking was more of a route march to see how much time could be cut off day, so if you are really into taking photographs we aware.  I only booked this trip for the flower festival as advertised in their brochure and although I checked with Exodus before I left the country and they said nothing had been altered with this festival, on arrival in Madeira I was concerned to hear it was on the following week; dispite my feedback form stating problems with this I have not received any correspondance from them, althought I expect this might change when they read this, and yes ive already paid my deposites on three other trips this year, fingers crossed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was not really an inspirational holiday due to the fast pace, and the flower festival being advertised for the incorrect date; and yes im an experienced traveller and ive back packed round the world and climbed plenty of mountains.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruno was a nice bloke but I felt more of an effort has been made by other guides on other tours.  We should have gone for a group meal or at least a drink on the first evening to assist the group to bond.  Im used to a leader joining us for evening meals during the holiday, guess ive just been extremely lucky in the past.  On bus from the airport the guide told to head for the supermarket to get food for the following days lunch and then really left to our own devices.  It would have been better if our guide had let us settle in and then taken us for a tour of the town showing us the supermarket and organised somewhere for our first meal or drink.  I was a lone traveller and on this occasion was not able to join others for an evening meal so I staid in on my own (and yes I have back packed around the world for 12 months recently so can cope on my own). 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a tupperware container, knife and spoon as you will have to make your own lunches on walk days. The  vegetarian  soup at our first meal contained meat, most tomarto soup contains an egg, yummy if you are expecting it.  The quality of vegetables was poor so take your vit tables with you.  Most of the meat was good but on our last night for our guides "farewell meal" the stake was ordered rare to med and was cooked well done, when this was pointed out to the staff they refused to replace it and although I could not eat it was charged full price. Take walking poles with you as lots of the trail was missing and extremely slippery, with narrow mud cut steps. I did not do the sunrise at Achada do Teixeira as it did not sound like fun and was told I would be taken to the next hotel at 8am, i was not picked up till 10am which meant I had to sit by the road side for 2 hours in-case I missed the lift.  I was rewarded with a fantastic hotel and some down time to read and explore the grounds at Residencial Encumeada the food was the best of the trip and the hotel staff were great to speak to.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    1 - Ponta de Sao Lourenco - lovely introuction to walking but we had to cut the trip short by a couple of hours due to transport limitations.  Stunning views of coloured rocks etc 2 - Levada do Caniçal - stupid walk up the very steep tarmac road to the starting point, when I had already stated I was asthmatic, I could have caught the bus to this point, also strained a muscle trying to keep up with group.  Then nice walk althought some bits of trail had washed away. 3 - Levada do Caldeirão Verde - lovely day and walk but again some of the trail had been closed and washed away, we could do it as we had a guide with us, but be ware the drops and slips. 4 - advertised walk had been washed away so we started the 25 fountain walk, which was lovely but our guide thought too crowded so we ended up walking along levaders which were having repair work carried out so althought it was quiet it was not very photograhically interesting 5 - Funchal - fun day visited the market, sampled the fruit, took the cable car to the botanical gardens but they had been damaged, sledged down the mountain I think 25Euros for two, well worth it, walked into town and explored the local area including the castle. If its fun you are looking for I cannot recomend this holiday to my friends, but have and do recommended the Trins winter walking (a place for your inner child to play) and Turkey turquoise coast. I do not feel I was in contact with the local customs, people and heritage as with other trips, this could be due to the faster pace and the fact that we were quite isolated. Thank goodness I had visited the country before else I would not be left with a very good impression.      

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    An excellent end of winter break. It was great to feel the warmth of the sun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The early morning sunrise and onward to Pico Ruivo was a great day out, but the coastal walk was the winner for the stunning scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruno was a good leader, always helpful and with many interesting stories about the history of Madeira, his home island, of which he is obviously very proud. Some of his jokes need updating though!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking was well paced and not too challenging. Madeira is a beautiful island, and very scenic, though a bit of an effort to get a balanced diet for vegetarians.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We had a good week in Madeira, with a nice group of fellow travellers. Enjoy Funchal on the free day if you can-it's a beautiful city with some great sights. One walk was substituted due to the storms early in 2010, and the replacement was a bit dull scenery-wise, but this did not detract from what was overall a lovely week. 

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    Madeira is a scenic island, the walks were just about the right length, hotel moves well coordinated and our guide for the week Honorio was very knowledgeable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sunrise through the clouds by pico ruivo. The enjoyable group evening meals with madiera wine and skewers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Honorio - cannot fault his knowledge of the island, wildlife , plants etc, very friendly with time for everyone. He ensured well deserved rehydration stop after the walks - large beers all round.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Tap water fine to drink.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All in all an excellant holiday with an interesting group. Did what it said on the tin.

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    Madeira is beautiful, stunning views, beautiful weather, sometimes a little misty and cool in the hills but always warm on the coast so perfect for walking, the wild flowers were abundant in April. The holiday was really well organised with a range of classic Madeiran walks showing the best of the island.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the high level walk we did on Thursday from Encumeada to Corticeiras, through the eucalyptus forest and then out into the mountains. The views were amazing, we seemed to walk at a high level all day without any really arduous climbing.      

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Bruno, was great, very knowledgeable and took really good care of us, reminding us to use our sun-screen and drink water etc! He arranged everything, transport, meals and checked that everything was Ok with our hotels. At the end of each walk Bruno brought us to a bar for a beer or to sample the local drink 'poncha', personally I was hoping for more tea and cake (it being Madeira) but everyone else seemed happy!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all weather, we did not have heavy rain but I was glad of my fleece, waterproofs and gloves on a cool misty walk in the mountains(the views were still beautiful), however REALLY needed sunhat and sunscreen for most of the coastal walks. Each day we prepared a pack lunch so I would advise.. bring a tupperware and knife, some sandwich bags and some pickle or peanut butter...I ate a lot of plain cheese sandwiches as I am a vegetarian (Often it was bread and cheese for breakfast too!)!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels on this trip far exceeded my expectations, the first one at Machico was very nice but the two we stayed at in the hills, one at Santana and one at Encumeida, which Bruno described as basic were, in my opinion extremely nice, all with ensuite bathrooms, pleasant bars and restaurants, 3 of the 4 had swimming pools. The hotel in Funchal, although nothing special from the outside was truely PLUSH with gorgeous sea view rooms, balconies and a spa offering massage and beauty treatments, I just ran out of time!!

  • 10

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    I had booked spur of the moment so didn't know what to expect, didn't know what madeira was like the accomadation was great, it was a great get a way from it all week. the mix of walks was good, not too exhausting. Even though the weather was too wet to do a walk the guide reorgansied a good day out & added an optional walk which was teh highlight of the week.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    ON top of pico rulvo the best views on the clearest day we had glad to be alive moment! 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    great knowleadgeable & well organised gave us options for free time & restaurants walked good pace good plans for wet days

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If the trip notes recommend equipment or clothes do what it says 2 people did not wear boots & slipped several times, 1 fell in the water i have noticed this on previous trips us with lightweight waterproof ankle support boot s were fine !!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am vegan & am always well catered for I am just off to recommend the holiday to someone else

  • 8

    WALKING IN MADEIRA

    Great nature. Great company. Great holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

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