Tag Archives: Cruceros_Australis

Travelling from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas

Travelling from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas

Customers often ask us about different ways to travel between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas, so we’ve outlined a few different ways of making the journey below. Please do get in touch with us if you’d like further information…

1. Cruise

This Wildlife, Glaciers & Cape Horn Cruise is a wonderful way to explore the fjords, wildlife and glaciers of Tierra del Fuego, and to visit Cape Horn on your journey between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas.

cruceros glacier

If you’re keen on wildlife it’s a particularly great trip as you’ll witness some of Patagonia’s best (from Magellanic Penguins, to Cormorants, Elephant Seals and even Beavers), whilst also seeing some of it’s most beautiful Glaciers (Marinelli & Pia), and landing on the famous Cape Horn.

cruceros penguins

It lasts 4 days and gives you the one of the most full and varied experiences of all the cruises on offer in the region.

cruceros cape horn

2. Bus + Flight

Flights to Ushuaia leave only from Argentinian airports, so you first need to travel to El Calafate by bus, and then get a flight down to Ushuaia.

To get to El Calafate you can take a 3 hour bus trip north to Puerto Natales, and then a 5 hour bus across the border to El Calafate.

3. Bus

The journey from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas takes 11-12 hours by bus, including a ferry trip across the Magellan Straits at its narrowest point. It’s the simplest and cheapest option and actually much more enjoyable than it sounds!

The first part of the journey takes you through the Patagonian steppe and along the Magellan Straits, and then once you head towards the mountains around Ushuaia you suddenly enter a very different landscape.

4. Ferry

There is a 30 hour ferry between Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams, which was designed for the local people of Puerto Williams. It is not a great tourist experience in our opinion, as you may not get to see that much, and you don’t stop off anywhere en route. You also have to get a taxi from Puerto Williams to Puerto Navarino on arrival, followed by a crossing over to Ushuaia.

5. Via Chilean Tierra del Fuego

This 4 day Cape Horn Adventure can start in Punta Arenas (flight to Puerto Williams), and end in Ushuaia (boat trip across the Beagle Channel), and there is also a shorter version if you have less time and/ or a smaller budget. You’ll be staying in a this lovely Lodge , which is a great base from which to explore Chilean Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn.

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Alternatively, you can fly from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams, from where you’d need to organise a taxi to Puerto Navarino and a boat trip from there to Ushuaia. The flights from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams depart at set times once a day from Monday to Saturday, but are very weather dependent so please be aware that they can often be cancelled.

6. Flight (local airline)

There are rumours that there may be a flight from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia, but this is not currently a reliable option.

Some other useful links…

 

 

Christine’s Cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia

Christine returned in March from a trip to Patagonia, during which she took a Cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia that was planned and arranged by Swoop. Here she tells us about her experiences on the trip and in booking with us and our cruise partners…

‘We had a fabulous time!’

How was your cruise overall?

The cruise was amazing, from the check in to boarding the ship. It was such a good experience that it is difficult to put into words!

What did you think of the excursions you embarked on?

The itinerary and excursions were very varied and interesting, and health and safety were well enforced every time we left the ship. We learned a huge amount about the environment and history of the area.

How were the staff and guides on board the cruise? 

They were wonderful- very knowledgeable & enthusiastic!

What did you think of the vessel you travelled on?

it was fabulous: roomy and warm with a brilliant shower and amazing food!

Is there anything you would have changed about this part of your trip?

Not at all, we were so sad to leave, it was a very special experience and definitely the highlight of the trip overall.

‘Thank you all at Swoop Patagonia (Sally in particular) for your help, information and experience’

Rachel’s 35 day Adventure in Patagonia

Rachel’s 35 day Adventure in Patagonia

Rachel returned in December from a 35 day trip to Chile and Argentina, planned and arranged through Swoop Patagonia. Here she tells us about her experiences on the trip and in booking with Swoop Patagonia.

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Wow – what a great holiday for me. I always wanted to experience the size and wilderness of this far off land but for a long time did not know quite where it was. My trip covered only the lower half of Patagonia, and I still travelled 4,000 Km from the bare Steppe over the mountains to the tropical forests around the fjords of Chile, ending at Cape Horn, somewhere I never thought I’d get the chance to see.

Rachel’s trip began with a stay at Las Marianas Hotel in Bariloche, ‘a lovely, friendly hotel with a great café with a nearby cafe that had a tree going up through the middle of it- they made delicious soups!’.

She then travelled north for a 4 night stay at Estancia Huechahue where she spent 3 days horse riding, walking, and taking part in estancia life…

This working Estancia is about the size of Purbeck- it was absolutely wonderful, the highlight of my trip for sure. Magnificent European trees towered above this elegant country ranch, which looks out onto a beautiful landscape of lupins and lavender alongside a steam, and the irrigated mown lawns led into big apple tree orchards. The pink/grey hills rising up to granite tops with condors, vultures and from the green fields down by the river the weird cries of the Ibis were breath taking. Except for unexpectedly strong cold gales trying to blow us off our horses, we had a wonderful spoilt time riding here. We had some very exciting days here, ended with drinks in front of a fire and fantastic home cooked meals; this was very different from the next 18 day road trip that followed! 

The next part of Rachel’s adventure was a road trip from Bariloche to Chalten, and then from Chalten to Ushuaia

On this part of the trip I travelled with a group of 12 people, mainly from Australia and New Zealand in a strengthened bus (to take the rough roads and steep hills over the high steppe of barren soil with the odd tussock and a few bushes). We had a wonderful guide and driver for this part of the trip. Mel, our guide was just wonderful, the best guide. She made the trip so interesting by adding her own anecdotes and stories. I also loved our driver, Franco, who took great care of me, was very sweet and supportive, and kept the bus very clean. There were Guanacos, Condors, miles of fences made of wood and plain wire, no habitation or any sign of tracks going anywhere. Just persistent biting cold wind that tried to blow one over. 

This part of the trip took Rachel first to Coyhaique, where she visited another Estancia and then along the famous Ruta 40 to El Chalten, where she enjoyed some lovely (although wet and cold at times!) walks in Los Glaciares National Park, and spent time relaxing and looking in the local arts and craft shops ‘I wish I had done more shopping here!’. In El Calafate, she stayed in an ‘absolutely gorgeous’ hotel, with ‘a lovely lake view room’, and took a tour/ walk/ boat trip to the Perito Moreno Glacier.

‘The Perito Moreno Glacier was absolutely spectacular and incredible- definitely a highlight of my trip’

Next, Rahcel’s road trip took her to Torres del Paine National Park,  where she hiked to Grey Glacier, the French Valley, and The famous Towers of Paine.

‘The Grey Glacier was just lovely, and the French Valley was absolutely fantastic’

From Torres del Paine, Rachel’s trip headed across the Magellan Strait to Tierra del Fuego, finishing in the southern most city in the world, Ushuaia, where she visited a King Penguin Colony, a type of Penguin usually only found on sub Antarctic Islands.

‘The penguin viewing was extraordinary, and allowed us to see the beautiful creatures at their very best. It was exceptionally good.’

helfer pengs

Tierra del Fuego was where Rachel ended the road trip buy taking a catamaran through the waters of the Beagle Channel, spotting a variety of wildlife including sea lions, and a variety of bird life. The next day she took a day trip to Martillo Island to see colonies of Gentoo and Magellan Penguins, which was ‘absolutely fascinating’, followed by a day of bird watching in Tierra del Fuego National Park.

The final leg of Rachel’s trip was our Fuegian Glaciers and Cape Horn Cruise , which took her out into the Beagle Channel, to the Pia and Garibaldi Glaciers where she went on a ‘wonderful walk’, and then through Glacier Alley.

‘Everyone on the boat was very friendly- the company was superb and the boat was not too crowded, with an experienced and well-travelled crew. 

The remainder of the cruise took Rachel to Wulaia Bay, and Cape Horn, but unfortunately the ship was unable to land here due to bad weather, nonetheless, Rachel said that it was ‘worth every penny’.

Her trip ended with a stay at the ‘unbelievable and lovely’ Arakur Hotel in Ushuaia, before flying back home to the UK.  Below Rachel lists some of the highlights of her trip…

Highlights 

One of the main highs for me was feeling fitter than I have for years so I could enjoy the hard walking up the mountains through the spectacular old southern beech woods besides tumbling streams falling into large lakes, looking at glaciers, craggy mountain tops, moss, flowing lichens, small alpine flowers and hillsides red with fire bush.

Then there was the highlight of sitting in sunshine listening to the blue 5 mile wide glacier calving, and watching huge blocks tumbling in the lake.

Spending time very close to 70 king penguins and ending with sailing the Beagle channel and seeing Cape Horn were wonderful also.

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Kirsi’s Fuegian Glaciers & Cape Horn Cruise

Kirsi returned in January from an Adventure Cruise in Tierra del Fuego, visiting pristine glaciers and the famous Cape Horn. Here she tells us about her experiences on the trip and in booking with Swoop and our partners… 

‘Our trip to Argentina and in Patagonia was amazing. Thank you!’

 How was your experience of Swoop Patagonia?

In my opinion, Swoop Patagonia operated in very proactive way and offered all the help needed in order to plan a successful trip to Patagonia. I would definitely recommend you to anybody planning a trip to Patagonia. I highly appreciated your help in connecting me personally with the right cruise agent.

How was your cruise?

The ‘Fuegian Glaciers and Cape Horn‘ cruise from Ushuaia & back was amazing and very well organised. The trip consisted of two daily trips to shore with zodiac boats one of which was to Cape Horn. We were also extremely lucky with the weather, so we could actually visit Cape Horn national park.

How were the staff and guides on the cruise?

The guides were very professional and relaxed and were also very knowledgeable. The only thing that was a little bit disappointing was the fact that the ship did not actually cruise around Cape Horn. I think that came as a surprise to most of the passengers on the ship. People who go to Cape Horn want to also cruise around it. Otherwise….a pleasant experience.

What was the highlight of your trip?

Argentina is such amazing country so it is hard to determine a single highlight for our trip. We visited Buenos Aires, Pampa, Iguazu Falls, Mendoza, Peninsula Valdes, El Calafate (Perito Moreno Glacier), Ushuaia and we spent our New Year in Colonial de Sacramento in Uruguay. I think all of the places that we visited were Argentinian highlights except for Uruguay of course.

Do you have any tips for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?

I think that Argentina is very easy to travel. You can book everything online (buses, air fares, tours), so everything is pretty easy. The only thing I am sure of is that I definitely want to go back some day. For beef lovers the only tip I can give is that remember to ask your steak as a punto. If you order medium, you get well done steak!

[Check out our blog post on Where to eat in Patagonia!]

Regina & Chris’ Honeymoon Cruise from Ushuaia-Punta Arenas

Regina & Chris’ Honeymoon Cruise from Ushuaia-Punta Arenas

Regina and Chris returned in November from a 3-night Adventure Cruise from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas as part of their Honeymoon in Patagonia. Here they tell us about their experiences on the trip and in booking with Swoop and our partners…

‘Our trip was incredible and the cruise was definitely a highlight of our honeymoon! We are thankful for all your help for making it happen!’

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How were Swoop Patagonia

Swoop were very attentive, friendly, knowledgeable, and responsive.

What did we do well? 

We were a little late planning our trip and wanted as much flexibility as possible. It was very helpful that you guys took the time to respond to many of our questions (via chat, email & Skype) despite the time difference to help us think through options and still book the cruise in a timely manner.

What could we have done differently? 

Nothing that I can think of.

Would you recommend us to friends, family or colleagues for a trip to Patagonia?

Definitely.

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How were our partners who ran the Cruise?

Wonderful and memorable. We are so glad that we booked the cruise although it was a bit pricy. We loved how it was outdoor and environmentally focused, and the ship was not too big. We were spoiled with delicious meals, beverages, and excursions.

How did you enjoy their itinerary and excursions? 

They were great! Although we did not get to disembark at Cape Horn, the staff explained that 100 miles per hour wind is something that doesn’t happen often. It was amazing to have experienced it on the boat. We loved that the places we visited during days 2&3, which were more private (only accessed by our ship), and ending the cruise with an early morning walk around the penguin colony was incredible. We could understand why some of folks, who could afford it, did the round trip ride.

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How were their staff and guides? 

They were professional, friendly, knowledgeable, and just fantastic!

What did you think of the vessel? 

The ship was modern and quite stable, rooms were surprisingly spacious and comfortable, and the zodiac boats for the excursions were great.

Is there anything you would have changed about this part of your trip?

Absolutely not. It was just perfect.

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Did you manage to visit anywhere else in Chile or Argentina?

We visited Glaciar Perito Moreno, which was an incredible day trip, Mendoza and Buenos Aires.

What was the highlight of your trip overall? 

The cruise was definitely a highlight of our overall trip, and it was a perfect indulgence for our honeymoon.

Do you have any tips for other people planning a trip? 

Flying into Ushuaia is amazing as the plane goes over the snowy peaks so closely before landing into a town at the end of the continent. Day hikes to the Tierra del Fuego national park is great – we combined Pampa Alta trail and Costa trail to get the view from the top and along the water. It ends up being about 8 miles and well worth the effort. Being indulged on our cruise after few days of roughing it in Ushuaia enhanced our appreciation for everything on the cruise even more.

Larry & Susan’s Trek in Torres del Paine & Los Glaciares, & Cruise from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas

Larry and Susan returned in March from a trip to Patagonia with friends Jane and Jim. Their trip included an Independent trek in Torres del Paine and El Chalten, followed by a cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia. Here they tell us about their experiences on the trip and in planning and arranging it with Swoop and our partners in Chile and Argentina…

What was your experience of planning and arranging your trip with Swoop?

Speaking for Susan and myself, I think that the most important point in terms of the structure of the trip was that it worked very well.  I believe that there are certainly logistical and language issues with a trip such as this, and I feel that the arrangements made by Swoop and the other operators were well worth the money.  Having self-arranged trips elsewhere in the world, at least 5 times previously, going via Swoop was a different structure, and I would encourage others to do likewise, especially with potential language issues.

What were the highlights of your trip?

In El Chalten, we were pleasantly surprised that a small village of its size has the amenities that it does.  Nothing like walking into the Mirador for Fitzroy, and walking out to enjoy a pint at the microbrewery, followed by a great restaurant meal, and a good sleep at Kaulem. For me, El Chalten was the highlight, given the total surprise at what we had expected for facilities, and the relative ease at getting into the objectives.

The cruise was wonderful; great meals, wonderful tablemates, very knowledgeable interpreters.  The choice of a berth in the lower deck was the right one, given the rough seas, going towards Cape Horn.

Swoop is commended for recommending Parc Nationale los Glaciares; this was a highlight also.

How did you find the Trekking in Torres del Paine & Chalten?

I would not describe the “W Trek” as a life-changing experience.  Having hiked, scrambled, and climbed in the Canadian Rockies for 35 years I guess I have been spoiled.

The trails in both countries are well maintained and clean; the daily itinerary was very do-able, for people of our age and relative fitness.

We found the Refugio staff to be less than helpful, not at all service based, and the meals monotonous and of dubious quality, especially some of the vegetarian options.  I certainly think these young people could learn a lesson about guest expectations and service from the folks at Palermo, and on the Cruise.  I picked up bed bugs at one of the Refugios as well.  Could they not charge a little more, and offer a little more?

On the ground , we found your partners in Torres del Paine very helpful and a good resource, although we also took in the 3:00 p.m. talk at Erratic Rock.  She could do with a little more prominent sign.

How were your other accommodations during  the trip?

In Buenos Aires, we found the Palermo Hotel and its concierge service quite exceptional.  We are not normally effusive in our praise, but Luke really picked a winner here. The facility in El Calafate was unexceptional,  no strong memories, one way or the other.

In Chile, the people at both Erratic Rock were helpful, and it was appreciated that they held our spare kit while we were elsewhere (as did Palermo, in Buenos Aires).

The B&B in Punta Arenas could have been better.  We were in side by side rooms, nearby the upstairs dining area.  Noise from the front desk carried, the staff seemed to be oblivious to their all night “yakking” and then the German group got up (or maybe never went to bed) at 4:00 a.m. or so, to have breakfast.  So, a real lack of commitment to other guests, and I’d encourage you to find something smaller, and quieter.

Overall…

In conclusion, a well planned and well organized trip, for which considerable recognition should also go to my wife, Susan, as well.  I really think her secret job is also tour operating, and should you have any vacancies, please keep her in mind!

This is a trip we have been working on since we read Bruce Chatwins’ book, “In Patagonia”, in approximately 1980.  We still have the book, and brought it along to reread.  Then, we were poor University students and all we could afford was “armchair travelling”.  So, 34 years later and the circle closes.  We have fulfilled one of our dreams as a couple, between armchair and wheelchair, I guess you’d say.

Thank you, once again, for the effort. Cheers! Larry.

Ian’s Motorcycle & Adventure Cruise in Patagonia

Ian’s Motorcycle & Adventure Cruise in Patagonia

Ian returned in March from a Motorcycling trip throughout Chile and Argentina, during which he also took a cruise from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas. Here he tells us about his experiences on his trip, and in booking through Swoop and our partners…Iain Motorcycle Diary

What did Swoop do well?

Swoop were very helpful and efficient. They responded quickly, got in touch rapidly with people who knew the answers to my questions, and most importantly enabled me to take my motorbike with me on the trip.

What could we have done differently?

Nothing.iain cruise 2

How did you enjoy your Cruise Itinerary and Excursions?

The cruise was really good, there was always something to do and there was no chance to get bored. If anything there was to much to do and little chance to just admire the scenery we were travelling through (but that was more my fault for wanting to go to all the talks/presentations etc)!

Iain Cruise 1

How were the staff and guides on your cruise?

Excellent. The ship’s crew were incredibly helpful in getting my bike on the boat and securing her. The expedition crew were all incredibly helpful, very knowledgeable and good fun.

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What did you think of the Cruise vessel?

It was modern, well designed, and very comfortable.

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Is there anything you would have changed about this part of your trip?

I would have potentially done a longer trip. We had very bad weather and so didn’t make it onto Cape Horn Island, or round the Horn. I’m not even sure I’d change this though, as it meant that I saw Cape Horn, a legendary landmark amongst sailors across the world.

I’m going to be able to annoy people for the rest of my life when they say ‘that’s a little bit choppy’, responding with “well, it’s not gale force winds at Cape Horn…”

70 knot winds at Cape Horn

70 knot winds at Cape Horn

What was the highlight of your trip overall?

Taking my motorbike to Cape Horn, and potentially having the most southerly motorbike in the world for a while!

iain peng

Do you have any tips for other people planning a trip?

-Do it, you won’t regret it.

-Don’t expect it to be a cruise, throw yourself into the expeditions, talks etc.

-Take warm and waterproof clothes (as recommended).

-Listen to the crew.

iain cruise 4

Did you manage to visit anywhere else in Chile or Argentina?

Yes! My trip started in Buenos Aires, I drove down to Ushuaia, took the Cruise to Punta Arenas, then went to Porvenir, Puerto Natales (and Torres del Paine), Calafate (and Perito Moreno glaciar), Chalten, Carretera Austal, Chiloe, Pucon and am now in Santiago. It’s all been amazing but I think Chile might just be edging it as a favourite at the moment!

iain torres del paine

Why not take a look at Iain’s blog from his trip!

iain cruise 6

Puma Tracking and Adventure Cruise Patagonia

Puma Tracking and Adventure Cruise Patagonia

Kush and his friends returned in March from a trip to Patagonia during which they embarked on a Puma Tracking trip in Torres del Paine, followed by a 4 night Cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia. Here Kush tells us about their experiences on the trip…

‘It’s an incredible feeling seeing a Puma on foot less than 5 meters away from you. All of us were elated and kept replaying every moment again and again. It is a fantastic experience.’

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How was your Cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia?

The cruise was fantastic. We really enjoyed the food the hospitality and the excursions.

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How was the Puma Tracking trip? It was again fantastic. I can’t recommend our guide Carlos enough. He went out of the way to accommodate us and to make sure we were comfortable at all times. He even woke us up as early as 0430 and brought us back home as late as 2200 just because we were so determined to see Pumas. He carried packed lunch with us on our hikes and put up an extraordinary spread in the middle of nowhere. He was great and so was our driver.

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What was the highlight of your trip overall? We managed to see Pumas and that was the highlight of the trip. We saw a sub-adult drinking, walking stretching and eating a day old Guanaco carcass, and the next day in the early morning we saw an adult (most likely its mother) walking quickly across the steppe. It’s an incredible feeling seeing a Puma on foot less than 5 meters away from you: all of us were elated and kept replaying every moment again and again. It is a fantastic experience.

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Is there anything you would have changed about your trip? At our accommodation at Hosteria Pehoe we had problems with hot water, and the food at our first accommodation at the Ranch was very poor, but other than that it was good.

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Overall… Overall we had a great time and I will definitely be returning with a few adjustments to the accommodation.

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Barbara & Douglas’ 5 Week Patagonian Adventure

Barbara & Douglas’ 5 Week Patagonian Adventure

Barbara and Douglas returned in February from a 5 week trip that included a 4 night Patagonian Cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia. Here they tell us about their trip, and their experience of booking with Swoop and our partners…

‘Swoop Patagonia was the main reason why we had such a successful trip… Luke was absolutely brilliant in helping with our itinerary’

What was the highlight of your trip?

Our trip was 5 weeks altogether with 4 nights of it on the cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia. Overall the cruise was one of our many highlights, with the landing on Cape Horn very special and the experience at Pia Glacier quite something.

Did you manage to visit anywhere else in Chile or Argentina on your trip?

Yes, we visited Santiago and Valparaiso before flying south to Balmaceda where we picked up a rental 4×4. We spent a week driving south on the Carretera Austral and were able to drop the vehicle at Villa O’Higgins. This was difficult to arrange and expensive but we managed to book through a local agent and Europcar.

Another highlight was our 2 day crossing into Argentina, from Villa O’Higgins, by boat and on foot and our first sighting of Mt. Fitzroy! 5days in El Chalten was a recommendation from Luke which was excellent, great day hikes and fantastic food and drink.

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We had a brief visit to El Calafate and visited Perito Merino glacier, then on to Puerto Natales to go to Torres del Paine. We completed  the W Trek ourselves using pre booked refugios which proved to be very good and Luke had given us advice about this.

The weather was kind and the scenery was awesome. We went to Punta Arenas and the the cruise after this. Spent 2 nights in Ushuaia and 2 nights in Buenos Aires before flying home.

How well did Swoop Patagonia do helping you plan your holiday, and finding the best trip or operator for you?

Swoop Patagonia was the main reason why we had such a successful trip. Luke was absolutely brilliant in helping with our itinerary and we organised the whole trip ourselves using  Luke’s knowledge and advice. He directed us to their excellent partners for both our flights and our cruise booking.

Were you well looked after by the cruise operator?

The cruise operator was excellent, not cheap but a very special part of our trip at the end of our 5 weeks. We were ready for some luxury and they hit the mark, nice cabin, great meals, excellent service and well organised excursions.

How did you find the services and excursions provided?

Services and excursions were all very well executed, swift disembarkation for all excursions with safety a high priority. Enjoyed the on board presentations by knowledgeable staff.

mcdavid cruise

Was there anything that you wish had happened differently/or not happened at all?

Not at all, all our pre planning paid off and we would do the exact same.

Do you have any tips for other people who are planning a trip?

-For anyone planning to do the crossing from Villa O’Higgins to El Chalten: be aware that the company Heilo Sur in Villa O’Higgins does not operate this any longer and the website information is out of date. The boat across Lago O’Higgins is now run by Robinson Crusoe, the man and horse who helps with luggage was not there(!) so be prepared to walk the 22kms if you go. Robinson Crusoe sold us tickets for a bus from Desertio Lake to El Chalten which never turned up.

-Bring American dollars if you plan to visit Argentina as this is the currency they wish.

-The crime levels in Buenos Aires seem to be escalating, we heard many reports of street crime and scams to distract tourists while pickpockets were at work.

-The walking tours for tips are an excellent way to see a city, we did these in Valaparaiso and Buenos Aires

Rob’s Patagonia Cruise

Rob recently returned from a Patagonia Cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia and back to Punta Arenas as part of a wider trip to South America. Here he tells us about his experiences on the cruise, and booking through Swoop…

How was your trip?

Overall I had a great time and the overall enjoyment was greater than I had anticipated before departing.

What was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight of the trip for me was always going to be the landing on Cape Horn, and this was one of the prime reasons for undertaking the trip in the first place. The glaciers, the penguins and the wind and the waves were all part of a fully supportive cast and all played their part in making the whole thing so good.

Did you visit anywhere else in Patagonia?

I didn’t visit anywhere else in Patagonia other than the Cruise, but continued on to visit other areas of South America.

How well did Swoop and our partners do in planning and arranging your trip?

The holiday was planned well and if there were glitches they were not major and were probably because I hadn’t read the itinerary properly.

Is there anything you wish had happened differently?

The cruise itself was excellent in most respects.

I do feel that more care could have been taken by the ship in ensuring that there were at least 3 English speakers out of the six people on each meal table. On the return leg we had five -a Chilean doctor and his wife who could speak Spanish English and some Italian and who was happy to translate in order to be inclusive, and the lovely smiley mother and grandmother of the waiter, who could speak no English. At the mealtimes when the doctor was not present or engaged in doctoring there was a lot of pointing and smiling but not much else! I don’t remember being asked which if any other languages I could speak or understand.

How were the other sections of your trip in South America, organised by our partners?

All of the trips and events around the cruise were good particularly the tour of Santiago. The guide was informative and knowledgeable and obviously loved her job and her city.

I was surprised by the day adventure up into the hills on the turn around day in Ushuaia as I don’t recall that being mentioned. It was enjoyable but came as a bit of a surprise to get a phone call saying that the guide and land rover were outside! I still can’t see it mentioned on the itinerary.

I suppose the one slight problem for me was the transfer from the cruise ship to a rendezvous in a café c 0.5 kms away. My bag was 18 kgs and had no wheels and I struggled somewhat even over that distance (I had earlier in the trip hurt my leg a little bit). I think that someone older than I would have struggled more particularly if it had been raining and /or very windy even over such a short distance. Many travellers were being met with taxis, perhaps to get to the airport, but I think a meet and greet at the ship would be a nice idea.

Apart from these few relatively minor things the trip was thoroughly enjoyable and was helped by the large amount of support out there -it wasn’t just getting you to the airport, it included check in, emigration, customs etc and really took the pressure off.

‘I would have no hesitation in recommending the whole experience to others. Despite the little grumbles it was really a wonderful holiday…Thanks a lot for making it so enjoyable!’