Author Archives: Charlotte Brown

Trekking in Patagonia: Top 5 Trails

With so much to see in Patagonia and so much diverse and conflicting information on the internet, it’s often difficult to make head and tail of all the trekking opportunities available in Patagonia. As part of our ‘Top 5’ series, we’ve come up with our top 5 favourite trails, after spending time out in the mountains, trekking in Patagonia. Think glaciers, lakes and stunning peaks and hiking in one of the world’s practically untouched lands…

1) The Big ‘W’ of Torres del Paine – Our first and favourite trail is a fantastic way to see this National Park in all it’s glory, and the W trek takes only 4-5 days to complete depending on your appetite for hiking. It takes in this Chilean park’s most famous spots; The Torres (that give the park its name), Valle Frances and Glacier Grey. With comfortable ‘refugios’ (mountain lodge/hostels) dotted along the route and plenty of spots for camping, this is a great way to get out into the mountains and trek from the east to the west of the park. One of our favourite things about Torres del Paine is the plethora of native flora & fauna you’ll come face to face with, from walking amongst guanacos to eating ripe El Calafate berries. Plus, the water is so clean that you can fill up everyday from the park’s rivers and lakes. If you want to feast your eyes on sprawling glaciers and granite peaks, the Torres del Paine W has to be on your list…

2) Laguna de Los Tres – A second and important trail to hike is to Laguna de Los Tres in Los Glaciares National Park, Argentinian Patagonia. The hike to this lookout is one of the main trails in the park and it’s not hard to see why. The trail leads you to look out over Mount Fitz Roy, the infamous granite spire that remains one of the most technically challenging climbs in the world. Although a reasonably easy hike (apart from the 1 hour uphill climb at the end), the spectacular view of the blue lake, the snow and Mount Fitz Roy behind it, make Laguna de los tres a must do.

3) Southern Patagonian Ice Cap – Looking for that spectacular and once-in-a-lifetime trek? head out to Chalten and get out onto the ice on a Southern Patagonian Ice Cap trek for 9 days, with the opportunity to summit a mountain. The Southern Patagonian Ice cap is the second biggest in the world after Greenland and trekking on it for 8-9 days is both physically and mentally demanding. You’ll be surrounded by white snow and ice and camp each night but it’s an incredibly exciting and rewarding way of seeing glaciers and mountains up close (and something you can brag about for years!)

4) The Full Circuit – 4th place goes to a challenging but less strenuous trek; the Full Circuit of Torres del Paine, camping for 8 nights in the national park. You’ll cover the same route as the W Circuit and also visit the northern part of the park, seen by on 5% of visitors to Paine. Along the way you’ll stop at Dickson and Perros Glaciers, possibly see the endangered Huemul deer and hike through Paso John Garner, a challenging pass that brings you out to look down on the sprawling Glacier Grey.

5) Mount Tronador – For another beautiful trek, head north to the alpine town of sunny San Carlos de Bariloche and the location of Argentina’s first National Park created in 1937. ‘Nahuel Huapi’ National Park is a wonderful place for mountain biking and hiking, and in particular the hike to Mount Tronador is breathtaking. As you follow the trail upto the peak, you’ll come to a wonderful amphiteatre of mountains before carrying up to climb Tronador itself.

We’ve got lots more inspirational blog posts about holidays in Patagonia coming your way, so watch this space.

Volunteering in Patagonia; Alain’s experience with Conservacion Patagonia

Volunteering in Patagonia; Alain’s experience with Conservacion Patagonia

Alain volunteered with Conservacion Patagonia from 8th October 2011 til 6th November 2011, which is the beginning of spring in Patagonia. We asked him about his experience of volunteering and what he did to help make a difference.

If volunteering is something you’d like to do, find out more about Volunteering in Patagonia.

   Volunteers doing invasive plant species removal work in Valle de los Guanacos

What made you want to volunteer in Patagonia?

I heard of Conservacion Patagonica and their effort to create a National Park in the Chilean Patagonia through the documentary 180 Degrees South. I admire the conservation work done throughout the world to create and maintain wilderness areas and visit them regularly in my spare time. Unfortunately in most places we tend to be just users, but Conservacion Patagonica lets you take part in the creation stage of a national park and exposes you first hand to all the hard work and complex social and logistical challenges that must be overcome in such an ambitious project. It being set in beautiful Patagonia is a nice plus. I had also heard you could drink the water from the local streams without needing any purification and I had to see it to believe it. Any place left on earth where that is still true was a place I had to experience, and it was certainly true.

How did you conduct your research?

CP does a superb job of preparing future volunteers for what they are to expect, what to bring, how to get there, etc. Besides that, web travel forums were a crucial source of opinions and suggestions from fellow travelers and volunteers.

Was the cost an issue for you?

I was backpacking for a few months throughout South America so cost was definitely an issue. CP charges volunteers US $20 per day, which goes towards your food, utilities, in-park transportation, etc. I wanted to make sure it felt like a volunteer opportunity and not just a paid work-cation, but after being in Chile for a while and seeing the logistics they take care of for the volunteers this definitely seemed reasonable.

What made you choose CP and would you recommend them now?

See above for the answer to the first part of the question. I would definitely recommend CP without hesitation, as it provides a deeply memorable combination of hard work with tangible progress, stunning natural scenery, and unforgettable interactions with the locals that are collaborating along the foreigners as one big family. However I would make it clear to potential volunteers that the work is physically strenuous, many times tedious and frustrating, and in the highly volatile Patagonian climate. It’s important to want to be there and to understand why you are there.

A typical back country campsite

What were the other volunteers like, many foreigners?

During my stay of one month I saw three different groups of volunteers rotate through, most of which were foreigners and evenly composed of Americans, Europeans and Australians. The volunteer corp is capped at ten at any one time plus the volunteer leader, whom is a season long intern at the park. The small group definitely makes it feel like a small family and you typically end up spending an entire month with those that arrive on the same weekend as you do. That said, during your work you get to interact closely with many other locals that are employed by the park to perform more permanent jobs, such as park rangers.

What could have improved your experience?

Staying longer! Valle Chacabuco is a place where time slows down and life becomes beautifully simple. I definitely wish I could have stayed longer. They wanted me to but I was due back home, alas! I can’t recommend any stronger to learn at least basic conversational Spanish before you head in, as this will significantly enrich your experience and level of immersion. The locals are eager to talk to you and share their experiences and knowledge if only you can listen.

                                Tracking Huemuls with one of the park rangers

Do you feel like you made a difference?

Definitely. Even though the task at hand is monumental, at the end of every work day you get to see your progress. I spent the first three weeks at the park camped out in the mountains one week at a time. We would rise with the sun and get to work pulling out endless kilometers of old cattle fences for eight hours with a lunch break and a nap somewhere in between. At the end of the week when our group had to hike back down the mountain to our rendezvous point we would find ourselves having to navigate the landscape instead of following a now imperceptible fence line. Every kilometer that we cleared out was a kilometer through which the native Huemuls and Guanacos could freely
move through. Besides the difference towards the park effort, the experience lends itself to endless hours of meditation and thought. There just isn’t much else to do but to perform manual work, hike, read and think!

Would you ever go back to Patagonia and volunteer again?

Is that a trick question? No really, I still dream from time to time that I am going back to the park and talk to the gaucho friends and fellow volunteers that I met there. I like to say that Patagonia and its people stole my heart and I must go back to reclaim. From the moment you get to Puerto Montt you start to feel the warmth of the people there. While traveling through the region I was picked up numerous times by locals while hitchhiking my way up and down the
Carretera Austral. People are genuinely interested in you as a foreigner and not just to take your money, and are eager to ensure you have a memorable experience while in their land, of which they are very proud. While moving around the area you can’t help but constantly think ‘I would like to camp there, kayak down that river, hike up that slope, explore that ice field, etc.’ Patagonia really is that beautiful and inspiring.

Customer review of Hosteria Las Marianas, Bariloche

Customer review of Hosteria Las Marianas, Bariloche

Anthony visited Bariloche in early 2012 and whilst there stayed at Hosteria Las Marianas, run by several generations of ‘Marianas’.
I spent 6 very happy nights at the Hosteria Las Marianas. It is clean and the rooms are nice. I felt utterly secure there to the extent that I left many of my possessions there for the 2 days that I went kayaking. They serve only breakfast but it is a good one.
Both the owners and the staff are really delightful; nothing is too much trouble for any of them.
Las Marinias is 10 minutes walk from downtown and so very convenient.
It is very good value and, without hesitation, I recommend it very strongly as a great place to stay. Thank you for booking me in.
Las Marianas is certainly a favourite of ours too, Luke stayed there last October and agreed that it’s a great place to base yourself whilst in Bariloche. If you’d like to stay there, get in touch with Swoop or book online.
‘A Few Memories of Our Own’, Tim Moss Walks Patagonia

‘A Few Memories of Our Own’, Tim Moss Walks Patagonia

We were very excited indeed when, in early December, Laura and Tim Moss contacted us about their plans to walk all the way across Patagonia from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Not an everday request at all, but for Tim and Laura this expedition is the latest in a long line of extraordinary adventures.
I was lucky enough to meet them in Bristol and look through the maps with them, however many places on their itinerary were new even to us. It was a pleasure to help out such bold explorers, and I’m delighted that Tim has taken a moment to share his story here.
The word “Patagonia” will mean many different things depending on who you ask but I suspect in any game of free association, it wouldn’t take long before the words “beautiful” and “mountains” sprung up.
So why then had we decided to spend our precious time in the region marching along a dirt track away from those beautiful mountains?
Well, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
 Or, for a less trite explanation, it’s because I enjoy approaching things from a different angle to get a novel perspective. Let me give you some examples:
After living in London for many years, my now-wife, Laura, suggested that we explore some new areas of the capital by following the route of all the London Underground Tube lines. We did it by running (above ground!) and not only did we get to visit new parts of the city and connect those coloured dots from the map, but we formed many new memories for places already familiar.
A few years prior, I went on a climbing expedition to Bolivia – a country with four major mountain ranges. Rather than going for the biggest and best mountains, we deliberately picked the smallest and least popular of the four areas because we knew no Britons had been there before. As a result, we were the first team to wave a Union Jack on their summits (metaphorically speaking, you’ll be pleased to hear).
Then, last January, my wife and I set out to walk across Patagonia. We didn’t know anything about the area. We selected our start point – Rio Bravo – not because it was a well known tourist destination with things to see and do (on the contrary, no one seemed to have heard of it) but simply because it was the only way we could reach the Pacific coast without crossing the ice cap.
It’s a pretty boring place – nothing more than a single building and a dusty trail – but it was disproportionately exciting for us as the start line for our adventure.
Similarly, we spent many days slogging alongside roads that could just as easily have been driven at 20 times the speed. Sometimes this was debilitatingly demoralising, undermining any purpose for being there. But it also provided a challenge and a sense of achievement at the end of each day as we rose to it.
We weren’t completely blinkered though. We did see some of the better known areas. We diverted our route to spend the first week walking parallel to the mountains on the recommendation of others and spent a few days in the stunning Torres del Paine National Park too – some truly beautiful areas. But it was nice to add to these well-known beauty spots, a few memories of our own, wild camping and walking on paths less trodden.
Customer Feedback: Patagonia Trip

Customer Feedback: Patagonia Trip

There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that a client has had a fantastic trip. Thanks for your email, Michael!
Dear Laura,
We are just back from our adventure. Thanks for your pre-trip advice and sorting out the Torres leg for us. Thanks too to Charlotte and Luke at Swoop Travel for advice and contacts.
We had a great time with decisions, weather and logistics all working out well. We had all sorts of weather but crucially had excellent views of both Torres del Paine and Fitzroy. We also had wonderful hospitality and friendliness in both Chile & Argentina. We did two thirds of the “W”; the rest opened while we were in the park but there was no camping west of the French Valley, transport back was doubtful and we were advised to wear mouth scarfs because of ash poisoning. No thanks!
In Fitzroy we climbed Cerro Madsen (1806m due east of Mt Fitzroy) on probably only one of a dozen days when the weather would have allowed it (we are trekkers not climbers). We got a permit and gave it a go on 3rd Feb gaining the north summit. This was one of our highlights amongst a wonderful experience. The crowds were not a problem; it was busy on maybe three half-days but we did Torres late evening and got amazing pictures of Fitzroy as well. Everything worked well ~ we hired a car from El Calafate to do Moreno and, thanks Charlotte, Lautaro hostel and our hosts there were just lovely. Ushuaia was amazing too; we were so pleased we had included it.
Thanks again and I can certainly recommend you to anyone thinking about Patagonia.
Michael, Ben, Ju & Tony.
Here are a couple of photos that Tony was kind enough to share with us. We hope you like them.
                                              Climbing Cerro Masden
                          Sea lions & comorants in the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia
Customer Review: James’ and Hannah’s Chilean & Argentinian adventure!

Customer Review: James’ and Hannah’s Chilean & Argentinian adventure!

Hannah and James visited Patagonia as part of a month long trip to the region starting off in northern Chilean Patagonia, before making their way down to Torres del Paine and exploring Chalten. They share some wonderful photos of their time in Patagonia, and we ask them about the highlights of their trip:

1. Where did you go in Patagonia and what did you do? 

We went to Pucon for one night and then drove to the Huilo Huilo reserve via the Termas Geometricas. We stayed in the Magic Mountain for two nights and then drove to Puerto Varas and spent the night there before going sea kayaking for three nights with a guide from Secret Patagonia. We spent two of these three nights camping in Parque Pumalin. We then flew to Puntas Arenas and transferred to Puerto Natales for one night before embarking on a 5 day trekking expedition in Torres del Paine. We then spent a night in Puerto Natales at the Indigo hotel before catching the bus to Calafate in Argentina. We hired a car and then drove to Chalten and spent the night at Estancia La Quinta. We walked up to Mt Fitzroy before driving back to Calafate and spending two nights there. While there we did a day excursion to the Perito Moreno glacier where we walked on the glacier. We book-ended our South American trip with nights in Santiago at the start and Buenos Aries at the end.

2. What was the highlight of your trip?

Everything was a highlight! Some of them would be:

Termas Geometricas in Pucon. We drove there on our way from Pucon to Huilo Huilo, and spent a relaxing few hours moving between slate terma baths situated in a beautiful ravine. There were very few people there and it had to be by far the best termas we went to on our trip.

Magic Mountain hotel in Huilo Huilo national park. Whilst staying at the stunningly amazing Magic Mountain hotel we did the XXL canopy walk trip, which is included the highest zip line in South America and a zip line over a waterfall. Needless to say, this was a breathtaking experience I will never forget, if not partly because I was terrified of heights!

Trekking in Torres del Paine, and waking up to see the Towers looming above the refugio in the sunshine, a view which we could see from our beds. The overwhelming beauty that we woke up to every day whilst on our 5 day trek of the ‘W’ route is simply something that cannot be replicated. Whilst we did not find the trek overly challenging, it is the only way to see all of the beauty of the park and we highly recommend it! In the bus on the way back to Puerto Natales every person in the bus held on to every last glimpse of the Towers, trying to ingrain it into their memory, before promptly falling asleep.

Recovering from the trek in the rooftop hot tubs in the Indigo Hotel in Puerto Natales. After 5 days of overwhelming beauty, we recovered on the rooftop hot tubs followed by a pisco sour at the bar. A perfect way to end those 5 days.

The Majestic isolation of Parque Pumalin. Another amazing experience that cannot be summed up easily in to words. Highlights of those days must have been seeing the dolphins, having the sealions swim a few metres under our kayak, the beauty of being in the fjords and the satisfaction of reaching your destination after a hard days’ kayaking!

3. What, if anything, would you change if you could do it again?

Given the same amount of time I wouldn’t change anything but I wish we could have had more time to explore at bit more and savour things without having to move on so fast. We would have loved the opportunity to visit Valdes, Argentina to see the whales.

4. How were the logistics – did everything run smoothly?

The logistics were challenging as we left ourselves no room for error. On one 20+ hour day we got up before 6 at the end of a fjord in Parque Pumalin and finished the day at 2am in Puerto Natales before catching the early morning bus to Torres del Paine the next morning! Everything ran smoothly except the flight from Puerto Montt to Puntas Arenas was delayed so we missed the last bus to Puerto Natales. Luckily a call to Gonzalo from Chile Nativo was enough to save the day as he was able to arrange a private transfer.

5. What did you think of the operators Swoop recommended?

Absolutely fantastic. We could not have asked for more from Secret Patagonia or Chile Nativo. Andres from Secret Patagonia was an incredible guide and kept us happy and entertained throughout our long days of kayaking. His fieldcraft was top notch and we ate well even in the middle of nowhere! As mentioned Gonzalo from Chile Nativo saved the day with a transfer from Puntas Arenas and there was a member of his team waiting at the hotel at 1 in the morning to give us all the vouchers and details we needed for the self-guided trek. We had all the information we needed and it wired perfectly.

6. Would you recommend Swoop?

Yes definitely. Swoop/Charlotte were incredibly helpful with suggestions and tips for the trip as well as helping us find the right operators for the specific sections where we couldn’t organise it ourselves. It was a massive comfort to know that these operators were recommended by Swoop because they required payment in full in advance so we were putting a lot of trust in them and this would have been harder to do without the Swoop recommendation.

Restaurant in Puerto Natales: Afrigonia

Restaurant in Puerto Natales: Afrigonia

If you find yourself in Puerto Natales before starting your hike in Torres del Paine National Park but don’t have much time to find somewhere for fine dining, head towards a great restaurant in the centre of town called Afrigonia. We speak to Rolando, who visited the restaurant in 2011 as he explains and shows why this African/Patagonian fusion really does work. It’s not hard to see why this is Puerto Natales’ best rated restaurant.

‘I had heard about Afrigonia before I arrived to Puerto Natales. As it turns out, this restaurant is owned by a charming Zambian and his a Chilean wife, both chefs and hence the reason for Afrigonia’s name.

You soon notice the African table décor, soft lighting and a enormous green bank safe transformed into a wine cellar.  Afrigonia is not your average restaurant, the food is  creative, flavoursome and topped by impeccable service. The atmosphere is relaxed with a mix of locals and foreigners. The menu is not extensive but it is focused on local produce and the prices are more than reasonable, you can get a starter from approximately £5 and a main course of up to £14.
Out of the foods I have tried there my favourite dishes have to be: King crab ‘trilogy’, the spicy seafood soup, (a Patagonian Bouillabaisse), salmon ceviche with lemon, mango and coconut milk and roasted lamb rack with mint sauce. For dessert it has to be ‘Kilimanjaro’, a warm chocolate cake topped with a white chocolate and berry sauce. I was also impressed with the wine list, which offers an excellent selection of good Chilean and Argentinian wines.’
                                                   Owners Kamal Nawaz & Nathalie Reffer
Kim’s Review of Patagonia: Torres del Paine & Chalten

Kim’s Review of Patagonia: Torres del Paine & Chalten

Kim visited Torres del Paine national park in December. She has kindly shared her experience in the park which gives you a real idea of what trekking is like. Kim went self-guided, and spent 4 days visiting the park before heading over the border to El Chalten.

I allowed four days for the whole trip.  On day one I was picked up from outside my hostal and taken to the Park.  Once there, I transferred on to one of the waiting mini buses to transfer to Refugio Torres.  From there, I slogged up through the rain to Refugio Chileno.  It took me the better part of 3 hours to get there, with much of the hike being a steady climb (and a slow one in my case). The track is obvious, open to the elements (ie not amongst trees) and there’s no chance of getting lost.  I checked into the Refugio and later in the afternoon (after it had stopped snowing up top!) I walked up to Las Torres.  The first hour of that walk is a very pleasant forest walk. On reaching the turnoff to the Torres campsite, the track proceeded for about 45 minutes up the last boulder clambering climb to the mirador, where, miraculously, the weather cleared for a spectacular view of the towers. 

Day 2 I returned  early down the hill (one hour down!) to Refugio las Torres to catch the bus to connect to the lunchtime ferry across the lake to Lodge Paine Grande.  I had a relaxing afternoon doing a short walk to a nearby mirador and not much else.  We had a snorer in the dorm room tonight – fortunately I had my ear plugs!

Day 3 was my big day, a day trip up to Valle de Frances, one of the jewels of the Park. The full day, leaving and returning to Paine Grande and walking all the way up to the Valle de France mirador, was a 9 ½ hour epic and it’s safe to say that I was fairly knackered by the end of it and never been so happy to round a bend and see a hostal come in to view. It was well worth the effort though.  The weather was stunning  – sunny but not hot and for the most part not much wind.  Leaving at 8am, a flat and easy two hour walk takes you from Paine Grande to the mouth of the valley and the Italiano campsite.  From there, the first section of track heading up the valley was more difficult and much slower going, being mostly over boulderly river stones. It’s necessary to keep an eye out for paint markings on the stones or ribbons on the occasional tree to ensure you are staying on track. 

The track then briefly traverses along the top of a thin and attractively treed ridge, with views to French Glacier, before emerging onto a windswept hilltop.  The track soon ascends back in to forest, for the remaining climb to the head of the valley.  The forest track is undulating rather than a continuous steep climb, relatively obvious and straight forward, though again you do need to keep an eye out for track markers in some places.  There isn’t a lot of undergrowth in these forests so it’s generally easy to spot the track markers up ahead. You emerge briefly at the beautifully situated Britanico campsite (pausing to replenish water supplies from the adjacent river) before walking on another 10-15 minutes to the Mirador itself, which involves a short steep climb at the end.  The total climb from the mouth of the valley took me 3 hours. The view at the top of the Mirador on a clear day is absolutely stunning, essentially comprising a beautiful forested valley amidst a spectacular mountain amphitheatre. I highly recommend it and this recommendation is coming from someone who lives in the South Island of New Zealand (and so has quite high standards for scenery). From there of course there was nowhere to go but down. It took me two and a half hours going down, including a very cautious walk down the last boulderly part, where I figured the risk of injury on tired legs was highest. It was a relief to safely reach the mouth of the valley. Then two hours flat walking back to Lodge Paine Grande, a welcome meal and a big sleep.

Day 4 I left the Lodge at 8am, storing my pack in the Lodge’s secure left luggage facility, to do a quick trip to the first Glaciar Grey mirador (just over half way to the glaciar itself).  The return trip was 4 hours, including a brief rest at the Mirador to admire the glacier. The track to the first Mirador is obvious, gently undulating and fairly easy. On return to the Lodge, I caught the lunchtime ferry back across the Lago, connecting with my bus to Puerto Natales, arriving back in town in the late afternoon.


My other epic hiking day was a day trip I did to Laguna de los tres from El Chalten. Again I was really lucky with the weather and had stunning views of FitzRoy, photos attached just because I love to share them!  The last section from Camp Poincenot to the lake and back was hard work and I didn’t particularly enjoy that part  to be honest, but the rest of the walk was very pleasant and with great views.  If anyone was concerned about fitness on the last climb, I’d suggest just going as far as the camp and returning to El Chalten from there. The views of Fitz Roy (including the wee Laguna Capri stop) are still great and you don’t have to completely knacker yourself in the process (the one hour walk from Capri to Poincenot is essentially flat and really quite pretty).  To the camp and back for me would have been about four and a half hours to five hours I think (from the middle of town), including a stop at the first lookout and then at Capri.

Kayaking in Torres del Paine National Park

Kayaking in Torres del Paine National Park

Tim and Carla spent their honeymoon in Argentina and Chile mixing Buenos Aires luxury with trekking the W Circuit of Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. They’ve been kind enough to share some of their experiences on the Swoop blog. This second post is about a their journey by kayak along the serene Rio Serrano and out of Torres del Paine.

Following the 4 days of trekking through the Torres Del Paine National Park, completing the W circuit, the thought of hopping in a kayak and paddling for 5 hours seemed slightly daunting! We left the stunning scenery of the Torres peaks in the background as we headed off in the beautiful sunshine to the start of the Serrano River. German (our very own hunter, gatherer and protector) supplied the dry suits and all the required equipment. The standard of equipment was first class and fitted perfectly although not the most fashionable! The initial trip meandered down the river for 1 hour before stopping for a homemade, light and much needed lunch. The wind was calm and the sun out, so we decided to make tracks as the forecast for the following day was less appealing!
Being the first trip of the season, the weather was a concern but we were very lucky! For the remaining 4 hours we paddled down the river in the most stunning scenery in the lea of the Torres Del Paine National Park and into the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park. As dusk darkened the skies, we arrived at the overnight stop at the base of the Serrano glacier. Not the usual overnight camping spot. While Herman erected the tents, cooked dinner, lit a fire and generally allowed us to relax and absorb the scenery! Spectacular! The food was fantastic and again much needed and amazing what one man can do with a billy can and some pasta, especially given he had to carry it all day in my kayak! His kayak resembled Aladdin’s cave when unpacking with more items being pulled from all parts, including a chilled bottle of wine! 
After a good nights sleep (too tired to hear the constant cracking, gurgling and generally unerring noises from the enormous glacier behind our tent!) we again had a good breakfast and prepared to lift the canoes over to the lake. Unfortunately, with the strong winds and cold conditions the lake was full of icebergs and impassable with kayaks. We had to settle with a walk to within 30 metres of the face and a jaw dropping sight of the glacier up close and personal!! 
The trip was completed with a boat trip home (too far to kayak after all the food) and a stop over at an estancion for a lamb asado with a Pisco sour en route! A perfect way to finish a fantastic short but inspiring trip. A highlight of our honeymoon. 
Hotel in Bariloche: Las Marianas

Hotel in Bariloche: Las Marianas

Tim and Carla spent their honeymoon in Argentina and Chile mixing Buenos Aires luxury with skiing and exploring in Bariloche. They’ve been kind enough to share some of their experiences on the Swoop blog. This second post is about a lovely little friendly hotel that they stayed at in the alpine town of Bariloche, in the Patagonian Lake District.
‘There were very few regrets we had on our travels, however, the decision to stay only one night at this delightful hotel was one. Due to problems with the ash cloud our transfer to Bariloche was delayed and we arrived in the middle of the night. Not to worry, Mariana had arranged for a small welcome party to let us and get us settled. The rooms are cosy and clean, the breakfast is homemade, simple but delicious. Mariana and the staff are fantastic. Prior to our arrival, during our stay and even after, Mariana was only too happy to help you make the most of the trip and make suggestions to help us including ski hire, directions, taxis and where to get the best meal on the mountain!
A delightful hotel in a wonderful location.’
Fancy staying at Las Marianas? Get in touch here or read more about Tim and Carla’s adventures in Patagonia.