A handful of Swoop’s customers choose to venture to both Patagonia and the Antarctic on the same trip. Swoop only specialises in these two destinations and so is perfectly placed to offer the dream trip to someone looking for a double-adventure! We know both regions inside out and can tie two ends of an incredible journey together.
For the icebergs and majesty of Antarctica and the vast wilderness and iconic peaks of Patagonia, a trip combining the two offers myriad opportunity for adventure, exploration, excitement….
Adventurous customers Nor and Cindy asked us to help them plan such a trip. Their epic 5 week journey packed in so many highlights of both areas it’s been understandably hard for them to process and filter all of the fantastic experiences they had. Nevertheless, Nor kindly sifted through his photos and memories to share with us for the blog.
Looking back, how do you feel about the way your itinerary panned out?
In retrospect, it would have been good to have done Antarctica last, because it was so spectacular that it was sometimes hard to get excited about other things we saw after that!
How was the accommodation in Patagonia?
In Ushuaia, the Hotel Arakur was a great getaway. The pools were great there and they even let us hang out there after we had checked out.
The staff at Hosteria Senderos in El Chalten were great – very accommodating; I think they were probably the most helpful staff of any place we stayed.
What did you make of the hikes and guides in the Patagonian destinations you visited?
In Los Glaciares National Park we did the three major hikes in two and a half days and loved them. We found we liked El Chalten in some ways more than Torres del Paine, for the fact that the hikes were really good and we could just walk from our hotel to the trailhead.
In Torres del Paine, Patagonia Camp was one of the highlights of our whole trip, where we had the same guide for all the excursions and we really enjoyed his company.
We also visited the Alta Vista vineyard just outside of Mendoza, and they provided one of the best winery tours we have ever had; they also have a lovely garden and serve a picnic lunch.
How was your Patagonian cruise?
The Stella Australis was comfortable, much more of a cruise than an expedition. Cape Horn was the “Big One” for me on this cruise – I loved it.
Nor and Cindy actually started their trip with a thirteen day expedition to Antarctica. They sailed on the Akademik Ioffe.
How did you find the Ioffe and your time in Antarctica?
We absolutely loved the trip! It was really an adventure as this was the only trip that the Ioffe was making south of the [Polar] Circle this year.
Overall the ship was very comfortable; our cabin was quite spacious and comfortable – as nice or better than on some cruise ships.
We all agreed that the staff was great with all of them having a speciality (mammals, birds, geology, etc) in addition to their zodiac driving duties. There were also two full time photographers on board who specialised in wildlife photography.
Would you recommend the Akademik Ioffe to others?
We’d highly recommend the Akademik Ioffe for your future customers.
How was your time in Ushuaia after the cruise?
We stayed at the Arakur Hotel, and loved it. Their swimming pool, hot tubs, game rooms are excellent. In fact all the facilities are very good. They run a shuttle into town every hour so even though we were out of town we didn’t feel isolated and being on the hillside with a view of the Beagle Channel below was great.
What was the highlight of your trip?
Antarctica by far but besides the cruise there, the Patagonia Camp for the ambience and El Chalten for hiking.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of a similar adventure to both Antarctica and Patagonia?
We would say that when you move as fast as we did, it’s hard to reflect so try not to plan everything and allow a little extra time for relaxing and flexibility.
Nor and Cindy used the expertise of the teams at both Swoop Patagonia and Swoop Antarctica to book their adventure. Get in touch if you would like to know more about either of these two thrilling destinations.