Tag Archives: Mount Fitz Roy

James’ Argentine adventure

James’ Argentine adventure

James and his girlfriend travelled to Argentine Patagonia in July of 2015. Their trip was not without its dramas, as a general transport strike threatened to scupper the couple’s plans to discover the area. Thankfully, our partners and guides in Argentina were on hand to smooth out any problems and ensure they still had a fantastic adventure. Here James shares their adventure with us and gives us feedback on their experience.

How were Swoop Patagonia?

We are very impressed with your diligent follow-up. We are also very happy with how you helped us when we were stuck, and even made suggestions for our other destinations. We will definitely recommend Swoop to our friends. We really thank you for your recommendation and coordination. We can’t wait for our next visit to Patagonia in the near future!

IMG_7101How did you enjoy our partner’s itinerary? How were their guides? Is there anything you would have changed about this part of your trip?

We were quite touched that our guide tried to assess our fitness level and arrange tours accordingly. It was our first time trekking on ice and although we are a young and fit couple we were worried that it would be beyond our ability. As a precaution our guide lent us two trekking poles which were very very handy.

Not many companies are open in Winter, and even the cities themselves are quite quiet with only a few supermarkets open and not much else. But trekking in Winter months is entirely possible.

IMG_7031In El Chalten, windy weather meant that we weren’t able to reach Laguna Torre and headed back after completing 1/3 of the trek. We did have time for a few hours to go around Mount Fitz Roy which was very rewarding.

What was the highlight of your trip?

El Calafate was one of the main highlights of our trip… we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! It had always been our dream to see the Perito Moreno glacier. And we happily set off to our tour stopping here and there to take photos of the beautiful landscape and scenery while our guide taught us all about geology to botany and history to zoology. He was also armed with a DSLR Canon and took photos for us throughout the tour, including some close ups of flying condors and eagles with his zoom lens, which he then transferred to our SD cards.

IMG_7246Our guide has been leading trips for more than a decade and is very experienced. It felt like a first-person Discovery Channel documentary with a childhood friend.

Really thank you very much. We really could not ask for more and feel totally spoilt with the fabled Argentinian hospitality.

Trekking in Torres del Paine & Los Glaciares

Chris & Steve recently returned from a trip to Patagonia where they spent 5 days Trekking in Los Glaciares National Park, followed by 7 days on the Full Circuit Trek in Torres del Paine based from an eco camp. Here they tell us about their trip and their experiences in booking with Swoop and our partners…

How was your experience of booking with Swoop?

I was very happy with the service we got from Swoop Patagonia – you helped us create an itinerary that enabled us to do all that we wanted to do in the short space of time we had for the trip. I think ultimately that saved us a lot of time and effort in organizing the trip and we were grateful for that. It did prove exhausting, but we knew that and coped well and I am glad we didn’t have to miss out on anything, in fact I’d say we were super fit by the end of the trip!

How was your time with our partners in Los Glaciares?

The 3-day trek in Los Glaciares was excellent. I liked the guide, he was very knowledgeable about the local fauna and flora and had a good sense of humour, and so he was good company.

Luckily for us the people who joined us for our trek were very fit and keen and also wanted to do a more challenging walk. It was a great, scenic climb and set us up well for the rest of the trip. I loved the campsite where we spent our first night, and the food was great.

The second day’s walk was probably the highlight of this trek, with some amazing scenery culminating in the lagoons underneath Fitz Roy. I liked the fact that our guide was happy to take his time to allow us to enjoy the scenery and we arrived into camp after 8pm that night, and so we felt like we had made maximum use of the day.

On the third day we felt that we could have spent more time enjoying the views on the way down, but having said all that, the scenery was again amazing.

How was your time with our partners in Torres del Paine?

The Full Circuit Trek was scenically spectacular (obviously, that being why its famous). We again got lucky with the weather – we barely had any rain over the whole trip except for the John Gardner pass. I didn’t mind that so much as it kept it cool for the climb.

A lot was made out to us about the strength of the winds, but as someone pretty experienced at walking in the Lakes and Dales in winter and have nearly been blown of mountains in the UK in those conditions, didn’t find it too worrying.

The ecocamp was pretty cool. The food was really good and on the first day there was a Puma casually walking round the campsite, which was different. We could have happily spent a few days chilling out there.

I think on this trip we slightly regretted not doing it on our own. I think what would have worked best for us would have been a self guided trek but still with the porters – I don’t know if anywhere has that option. We did appreciate not having to carry our tents and having our food cooked for us though.

We again enjoyed the company of the others on our trek, who were really nice people and we had many nice evenings chatting with them and working our way through many bottles of Carmenere.

We also greatly appreciated the guides offering us the chance to walk up to the towers in the dark using our head torches and sit under the stars for a few hours before the sun came up on the towers. This was a highlight of the trip for me and I realize the guide didn’t have to do that. That experience, along with the hike into the French Valley under the horns, were probably my highlights on the Paine trek, though I also really enjoyed the quietness of the northern part of the circuit.

Overall, it was a really great trip and lived up to our expectations.

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

I’d say if you have a little more time than us, then do the Full Circuit trek independently. If Id have had a few more days I’d have taken a little longer over it to do shorter distances each day, and that would have made it easier to carry all our stuff.

We also had a great Steak Stew in a place called Isobel in El Calafate and can recommend the Pop hotel in Buenos Aires as a convenient, good value and English speaking place (for those whose Spanish was as inept as ours). Oh, that brings me to another tip – learn some Spanish!

Ali’s Trek and Ice Hike in Los Glaciares National Park

Ali’s Trek and Ice Hike in Los Glaciares National Park

Ali returned at the end of January from a trek in Los Glaciares National Park, where he hiked in and around El Chalten, exploring the many mountains, glaciers, lakes and valleys around the dramatic Mount Fitz Roy. Here he tells us about his trip and his experience of booking with Swoop and our partners, and shares some fantastic photos and videos!

Ali Habbtar Viedma Glacier from Paso Huemul

What was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight of my ‘Complete Chalten’ trip was seeing the Continental Ice Field and trekking between Paso del Viento and Paso Huemul with very few people and amazing scenery.

Video: Viedma Glacier & the Continental Ice Field

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

 Not this time, but hopefully next time.

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

Swoop did an excellent job, the flexibility in trying to meet my schedule was great and the operator recommendations were fantastic.

Were you well looked after by the operator in El Chalten & their guides on the trip?

Zoe and the crew did an outstanding job in terms of adjusting the trek to get maximum benefit, it helped that I was a one-man group :)

The equipment and food provided was great, the hotels recommended and booked were excellent, and the guide, Gaston did an outstanding job- very professional, knowledgeable, and fun to trek with.

Ali Habbtar Snow-covered peace

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

Hopefully next time I’ll be able to plan further in advance without many changes.

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

Be ready physically and mentally, and enjoy nature at its best.

Exploring Tierra del Fuego, and Ice Hiking & Trekking in Los Glaciares

Exploring Tierra del Fuego, and Ice Hiking & Trekking in Los Glaciares

Simon travelled to Patagonia in January 2013 where he visited the ‘End of the World’ in Tierra del Fuego, and explored in and around El Chalten, where he stayed in an eco friendly camp at mount Fitz Roy, and trekked and ice hiked on the Viedma and Perito Moreno Glaciers. Here he tells us some more about his experiences…

simon castleman

What did you think of Swoop Patagonia?

Brilliant… everything was superb.

What did you think of the operator that looked after you on your Trek In & Around Ushuaia ?

I would have no hesitation in recommending the services of this operator in general, and my guide Luis in particular.

I completed a wonderful 3 day trek (Oveja Valley to Laguna del Caminante, Superior Valley to Mount Falso Tonelli and Laguna del Caminante to Ushuaia via Andorra Valley).

Luis was extremely knowledgeable of the track, which, as you can’t see large parts of it is extremely useful, as well as the geology and flora and fauna of the area.

A certified guide Luis set an appropriate pace and speaks good English. We decided to explore a different route on the way back to Laguna del Caminante and I agreed to this as I have complete confidence of Luis’s knowledge of the area and his ability as a guide. As a result of this taking this route back I can say that I have seen views of Superior Valley that very few others apart from guanaco and puma have seen and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been with a guide who inspires that level of confidence.

What did you think of the operator that looked after you in El Chalten?

I would have no hesitations in recommending them, they were absolutely brilliant. I used their services for the last 60% of a trip to Patagonia. They arranged airport transfers, accommodation, general transportation and hiking guides and it all went like clockwork.

Before the trip started I asked lots of questions which were always answered quickly and fully. Nothing was ever too much trouble particularly as LAN Argentina (which I booked directly) changed ALL of my flights without telling me which caused all sorts of changes to my itinerary at the last minute, which the operator incorporated without surcharges or delays.

The accommodation was a mixture of good quality hotels and a log cabin at Eco Camp FitzRoy.

 What did you think of the Fitz Roy Eco Camp?

On arrival at the Eco Camp I was greeted by a lovely group of buildings made largely of wood surrounded by forest and a glacier melt water stream.

The staff at the Eco Camp were as helpful and friendly as the rest of the team, again nothing was too much trouble, and all are multi-lingual Spanish/English speaking

The communal area has an open fire and a bar (the prices in which are in line with the surrounding area). I had fine steak dinner with a very acceptable red wine and Mount Fitzroy as a backdrop – difficult to think of a more idyllic situation. 

There are spotlessly clean single sex toilet and shower facilities with plentiful hot water after about 5:00 when the wood burner has had a chance to do its job. 

If you want peace and quiet combined with good home cooking in comfort in the wild I can’t think of anywhere better – this is a near to getting close to nature in luxury as I can imagine

The individual, two single bed cabins have their own patios and electric light/sockets and heating

Meals at Fitz Roy Eco Camp

Fernanda who prepares the meals is an absolute gem and with her husband Marcos they create a real “home from home” atmosphere.

Meals typically consisted of:

 Breakfast – Juice, selection of cereals, toast with jams and spreads.  A selection of cakes and a variety of tea and coffee.

Packed lunch- a very tasty vegetable pie or sandwich or rice salad, chocolate biscuits, muesli bar, fruit and sweets.

Dinner – 4 courses including hors d’oeuvre. The food they served was freshly prepared, delicious (I know Argentina has a reputation for good beef but I had some of the tastiest steaks I have ever had there) and plentiful.

Guides at the Fitz Roy Eco Camp

The guides (Juan and Huego sorry if I’ve spelt the name wrongly) were superb, they both spoke excellent English, paced the walk perfectly and were clearly both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about both the local geology, flora and fauna.

Advice for other travellers about Fitz Roy Eco Camp

The Eco Camp at Fitz Roy is 17km from El Chalten, so you need to bring reading material or be prepared to empty your mind of worldly cares for a bit and just take in nature.

Happily there is no Internet or mobile phone connectivity but the on-site live in staff are on call 24 hours and have access to any emergency services. 

 

Multi Sport in El Chalten

Multi Sport in El Chalten


Kristen and her friend returned a few weeks ago from a 6 day Kayaking, Horse Riding and Trekking Adventure in and Los Glaciares National Park, visiting El Chalten, El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier and Mount FitzRoy. Here she tells us about her adventures…

KRISTEN MUELLER 2

How did you find the trip?

We really enjoyed the trip to Patagnoia – for me it was a highlight of our two weeks in Argentina.

How did our partners on the ground do?

They did a good job organising our trip and were very friendly.

What was the highlight of your trip to Patagonia?

The highlight was the variety of activities we were able to do – ice trekking, horseback riding, kayaking, trekking – we got a lot out of these experiences!

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

Pack a LOT of layers :)

How did Swoop Patagonia do?

The communication from Swoop was prompt and they set us up with a good operator.

KRISTEN MUELLER 1

How were your guides in Patagonia?

The guides organised by the operator on the ground were great.

Was there anything that you wish had happened differently?

The operator on the ground could have been more proactive in communicating with us. We had to ask them where we were supposed to go on arrival and they thought we would have in cash the $1800 payment we owed them which is a lot of cash to expect without giving any warning. However, these are small things – the experience overall was fantastic.

KRISTEN MUELLER 3