Tag Archives: Patagonia_Camp

Double the adventure for Nor & Cindy: 5 weeks in Patagonia and Antarctica

Double the adventure for Nor & Cindy: 5 weeks in Patagonia and Antarctica

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Eco Yurt Camps in Torres del Paine

Eco Yurt Camps in Torres del Paine

There are two main eco yurt camps in Torres del Paine: Patagonia Camp and EcoCamp. On the face of it, the two are quite similar, in that they both provide yurt/ dome accommodation from where you can explore the national park on day excursions of your choice. To make sure you to get what you want out of your trip, however, there are a few subtle differences that are useful to know before making a decision.

Atmosphere

The Patagonia Camp is smaller (20 yurts compared to 33 at EcoCamp), and a little more relaxed compared with the larger, faster paced EcoCamp, which has a higher turnover of guests. Patagonia Camp tends to attract a more mature crowd overall, whereas EcoCamp has a wider variety of ages. EcoCamp is particularly committed to considering the environment; they have been awarded the Sello S Level 3 – one of the highest levels of sustainability certifications in Chile and they support the Torres Del Paine Legacy Fund. Both camps are family friendly, with larger domes available to house up to 4 people.

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Patagonia Camp

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EcoCamp

Location

Patagonia Camp is located a little outside of the national park, whereas EcoCamp is more centrally located, but actually the travel time from each to the Grey Glacier (for example) is the same. At EcoCamp you have a view of the Towers, and are in very close proximity to the base of the towers trek starting point. Patagonia Camp, although a little further out, gives you a lake view from your own private terrace, with the whole Paine massif as a backdrop.

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Map of Torres del Paine

Accommodation

Patagonia Camp, offers three types of yurt: Standard (sleeps 2), Superior (sleeps 2 with a separate lounge space and a jacuzzi) or Family (sleeps 3,4 or 5). They all have heating – which you’ll definitely want in the colder months – a private bathroom, and their own private terrace. Patagonia Camp do not offer a willing to share policy, so there would be a single supplement to pay.

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Patagonia Camp standard yurt

The most basic EcoCamp domes do not have heating or a private bathroom. In order to benefit from these facilities you would need a Superior dome or a Suite dome, which are larger, but of course more expensive. EcoCamp can be cheaper for solo travellers who are allowed to share.

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EcoCamp superior yurt

Both sites have recently refurbished existing domes and added new and more flexible accommodation options. Below is a quick reference table we have created to allow you to compare the different types of domes/ yurts available at each camp.

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Excursions

When it comes to excursions, at Patagonia Camp the group sizes are generally smaller and the selection of excursions is much more extensive and varied. Patagonia Camp offers more off the beaten track adventures as well as the standard routes, and include activities other than trekking, such as horse-riding, kayaking and fishing. Patagonia Camp’s excursions are very flexible, with the option to take any one of 20 excursions on any day of the week

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Kayaking excursion with Patagonia Camp

EcoCamp offer the option to take a multi day hike, such as the W Trek or Full Circuit. Their day excursions however, are a little less flexible, with a selection of 9 excursions running on fixed days of the week. Like Patagonia Camp, in addition to treks, they offer horse riding, kayaking and fishing, as well as puma tracking, wild horse tracking and a great multi activity winter trip. They also have a yoga dome for those travellers looking to relax after a hard days trekking.

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Horse-riding excursion with EcoCamp

Food & Drink

Generally, we have found the food and drink to be of a higher standard at the Patagonia Camp, where you also have your own private table for dinner (at EcoCamp you are seated at a table with your trekking group and guide). Patagonia Camp has its own vineyard and so the wines also tend to be very good. Both camps offer unlimited wine with dinner.

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Dessert at Patagonia Camp

Pricing

Pricing really depends on the time of year at which you are travelling, so do get in touch with us to find out the exact rates that would apply to you.

Patagonia Camp offer a much simpler pricing system than EcoCamp, they have a low and high season rate, which varies according to the number of nights you spend there, and whether you are sharing, or travelling alone. As they do not offer a willing to share policy, Patagonia Camp is less desirable for solo travellers, because the single supplement really hikes up the price!

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Standard yurt at Patagonia Camp

EcoCamp prices are somewhat more complicated, as they have 4 different season prices, 4 different types of domes. They then have a different price depending on how many nights you stay, and whether you are a solo traveller willing to share, or want a double/twin, triple, or quadruple room! The good thing for solo travellers is that there is a (same sex) ‘willing to share policy’ which removes the single supplement cost. They also offer some really excellent low and shoulder season rates.

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Suite Dome interior at EcoCamp

What our customers think

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‘EcoCamp was great, so unique and beautiful views- we LOVED it, it was awesome’ – Karen, November 2014

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‘Patagonia Camp exceeded all our expectations. We had the nearest yurt to the lake with distant views of the Horns’ – Ian and Sue, December 2014

Get in touch with Swoop for more information and advice on booking an unforgettable experience in Torres del Paine at one of these two fantastic luxury camps.

Ian & Sue’s Patagonia Adventure

Ian & Sue’s Patagonia Adventure

Ian and Sue returned in December from a 24 day trip to Chile and Argentina that was designed and arranged by Swoop Patagonia. Here they tell us about their experiences on the trip and in booking with Swoop.

‘We had the best holiday of our lives and would recommend it (and Swoop) to anyone!’ 

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Ian and Sue Feedback

The package you put together for us exceeded our expectations in every way.  The quality of the accommodation and guides was very high, and the choice of locations and activities was spot on for us.  We would recommend Swoop to anyone (and have done so).  The varied and unspoiled landscapes, the geology, and the incredibly rich variety of wildlife made Patagonia our perfect destination. If we are able to return to South America, I hope it will be under your auspices!

Ian and Sue’s Itinerary

Ian and Sue began their trip with a city tour of Santiago, followed by a night in the Hotel Boutique Oporto.

[Read Swoop’s list of recommended hotels in Santiago]

The city tour was faultless- a conversation with the courier led to an instant change to our afternoon itinerary, substituting a poet’s house with the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, and providing a driver to give us more time.  

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Pre-Columbian Art Museum, Santiago

Our guide had been a guide in the museum, so was amazingly knowledgeable. We ate at Como Agua Para Chocolate, and loved it.

[Read swoop’s top picks for restaurants throughout Patagonia]

The next morning they flew on to Puerto Montt, and the nearby island of Chiloe for a 3 night stay at Chil Hue, for 3 days of excursions to take in the local scenery, wildlife, fishing villages and penguin colony.

Our guide met us on arrival and drove us to Ancud, stopping several times on the way to show us birds etc.

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Chilean Wigeon

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Ringed Kingfisher

 

 

 

 

 

 

He was a fantastic guide with a wide knowledge of natural history, and the history of the island.  We had a great day out – including a short trip out to the penguin colony where we saw Magellanic and Humboldt Penguins.

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Magellanic Penguins – Chiloé

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, our itinerary was to have been a visit to several of Chiloe’s wooden churches.  We had already visited a couple, and knowing our interest in natural history, our guide (Jamie) proposed a visit to a private national park owned by a friend of his (Parque Tepuhueico). 

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Chiloé

 After visiting Castro en route, we had a fantastic trek in the temperate rainforest.  Jaime had helped set up the trails, and had translated the interpretation boards into English, so was the perfect guide. 

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On our last night, we went out for a traditional meal in Ancud. Needless to say, we loved Chiloe!

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Chiloé

Ian and Sue’s next stop was Punta Arenas, where they spent a day exploring the city, and the King Penguin Colonies of Tierra del Fuego.

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On arrival at Punta Arenas, we were met by our guide, who dealt faultlessly with our questions.  Hotel Ilia was one of the nicest and friendliest places we stayed. The room was large, light and airy.  The decor was attractively modern and arty, and the breakfasts were great. 

Punta Arenas exceeded our expectations. It was a friendly and characterful Chilean city: a bit ramshackle in places, but full of charm (and feral dogs…).  O’Higgins provided a wealth of restaurants to choose between.  We ended up going to Brocolino both nights, and enjoyed it very much.

Our day trip to see the King Penguins on Tierra del Fuego was a great success. It was a full day, but very variable and enjoyable.  We were in a small group in a mini-bus, which stayed with us all day. 

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King Penguins – Tierra del Fuego

Porvenir was an attractive (v small!) city with a surprisingly good museum.  The penguin site (not yet referred to as a “colony” as they hadn’t bred successfully yet) was great – with interesting plants as well as birds.  

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Lighthouse, Porvenir

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Chimango Caracara

 

 

 

 

 

 

The guide was excellent, stopping the bus to show us foxes, guanacos and rheas, and pointing out the dolphins on the short ferry crossing on the way back to the mainland.  On return, the bus dropped us off at O’Higgins for a meal as it was getting late.

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Guanaco

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Patagonian Grey Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following day, Ian and Sue headed to an eco camp on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park for 3 days of excursions.

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Patagonian Skunk

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Lago Pehoe – Torres del Paine

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were picked us up in the afternoon, and driven to our accommodation, stopping several times en route to look at features, wildlife etc. The eco friendly camp we stayed at exceeded all our expectations.  We had the nearest yurt to the lake with distant views of the “Horns”.  

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Patagonia Camp

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Patagonia Camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

On arrival, the staff explained the options available for the next day.  The evening meal was great, with as much of the house wine as we wanted to drink (and the offer of a bottle to take back to the yurt) together with unwise quantities of pisco sour before and after the meal.

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Lady’s Slipper

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Patagonian Red Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

For our first day of excursions we elected to go on the Fauna Trail Hike.  This was ideal for us, providing a good introduction to the scenery, flora and fauna of the area, together with an unexpected view of the rock paintings (see their wine label – and visit Majestic in the UK).  

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Guanaco

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Rock Paintings – Torres del Paine

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were also introduced to the lavish picnics provided by the camp.

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Magellanic Orchid

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Yellow Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, some of the trips could not run due to high winds. The guides asked us if we would like to go on a trek they hadn’t included in their list for some years, and the three guides, and just the two of us, had a great day out.  

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They shared their maté with us, explaining the simple ceremony involved, and we felt very included.  We had a fantastic view of an Austral pygmy owl.  

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Austral Pygmy Owl

The last  section of the walk was very challenging for me – a narrow path on loose scree – and they seemed to have forgotten my vertigo.  They admitted that if this section of the walk had been longer, they would have graded the walk as “Difficult” rather than “Moderate”!

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On our final day at the camp, four of us had elected to go on the Grey Lake Boat Trip, but on arrival at the jetty, we found that the boat had been cancelled due to high winds. Instead, we did the Grey Beach Hike in the morning (very close views of a pair of Magellanic Woodpeckers), together with a short hike to the Lake Toro viewpoint in the afternoon. 

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Magellanic Woodpecker

This provided a great day out, and showed off the guides’ ability to think on their feet.  We rounded the day off with a self guided walk to the local waterfall.

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Our stay at the eco friendly camp was the high spot of our holiday. The accommodation and surroundings were great, and the guides were all of the highest quality: we felt really looked after.

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Following their stay in Torres del Paine, Ian and Sue headed across the border to the town of El Calafate, where they visited the Perito Moreno Glacier, and took some day hikes from the nearby town of El Chalten.

P07820_Patagonia_2014_Sue_01 1320 The hotel in El Calafate was friendly, comfortable and stylish.  We were directed to the Laguna Nimezwhich was a must (we ended up going there again the next evening).  Not feeling able to face the queues at La Tablita, we ate at La Zaina, which was very good.

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The day excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier was a great success.  The guide was, as usual, everything we could ask for.  Although the viewpoints provided great views of the glacier, we found the boat trip well worth it, providing closer views of the ice walls, together with the sculpted icebergs floating in the lake. 

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Perito Moreno Glacier

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Perito Moreno Glacier

 

 

 

 

 

The boat lingered at each viewpoint long enough for everybody to get the photos they wanted.

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Perito Moreno Glacier

On our excursion to the Petrified Forest, our guide was very knowledgeable, both geologically and botanically.  

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Petrified Forest

In addition to the geology, this trip provided our best views of the flora of the steppe

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Following the excursion, we were taken to El Chalten.  Hotel Lunajuim was very friendly- the room was great, full of quirky modern art produced by the owner’s wife: we enjoyed our stay very much.  We ate at the Estepa, which we liked very much, and returned to on our last night.

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Our excellent guide took us (together with a picnic) to Laguna Capri.  This was an ideal trek for us, culminating in a satisfying view of the glacier.  We ate at La Tapera – very good again, with a great choice of wines displayed in the wine racks with price tags tied round the necks.

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The following day our guide Zoe took us to Lago del Desierto.  She was a great guide, and managed to show us torrent ducks, which had been on my list of “hope to sees” (and give us an excellent picnic). 

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Torrent Ducks

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Ashy Headed Goose

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening, we ate at La Vineria, which must be one of the best wine bars in the world!  Their smoked platter was worth a mention as well as the wine.

On our last day in El Chalten we took a self guided trek towards Laguna Torre – we only made it to the three viewpoints en route, but the views were spectacular, and the route easy to follow.

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The next stop was Tierra del Fuego, for a few days exploring the birds and wildlife of the National Park.

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Southern Lapwing

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Black faced Ibis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel Tierra del Fuego was a good place to stay – quite central and fairly near the waterfront.  We ate at Le Estancia – the food was quite good, but the service was patchy – much of their efforts seemed to be directed towards rich Americans presumably on their way to Antarctica.

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Black Necked Swans

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Upland Goose

 

 

 

 

 

 

The guided excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park was enjoyable.  Our guide was knowledgeable, and urged us to suggest any changes to the itinerary we wanted, although we did find him a little impatient.  We ate at Moustacchio for the next two nights.  We found it very friendly, with a wide menu of well-cooked food (as Sue is allergic to crab, we tended to avoid predominantly fishy restaurants). 

The following day, our guide had booked us onto a Beagle Channel cruise, which culminated in a visit to an estancia, followed by a two hour minibus transfer home.  We decided to stay on the boat to return to Ushuaia rather than take the bus.

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This was one of our favourite days.  The weather was cold and wet but, on arrival at the penguin island, the sun came out, and the boat beached on the sand, giving us the best views we had ever had of penguins going about their normal lives. 

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In addition to the Magellanic penguins, there were a few Gentoo, and three King Penguins.

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For their final few days, Ian and Sue visited Buenos Aires, where they spend time exploring the city; it’s museums and art galleries.

[Read Swoop’s blog post about things to do in Buenos Aires]

On our departure day, our guide had already taken our details, and checked us in on line for our flight: this was a great idea- I wish other operators had done the same. After checking in at our hotel, we visited MALBA (a fantastic gallery). 

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The Hotel Esplendor was friendly and helpful. That evening we went to a nearby Parilla recommended by the hotel – it was OK, but I think I will stick to your recommendations in future! 

Our group tour of Buenos Aires in the morning was excellent.  The guide was very informative, and when one of the passengers expressed an interest in visiting Evita’s grave, she just added it to the itinerary.  At the end of the tour, she dropped the passengers off wherever they wanted.  

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A warning to other travellers: we were squirted with something outside the National Gallery, but when people offered to “assist”, we shouted at them until they went away (successfully avoiding robbery – although my mobile was later pinched on the underground: but that’s another story). 

A visit to El Ateneo, a bookshop in a converted theatre, should be on everyone’s to do list: there is even a cafe on the stage.  As an alternative to steak, we ate an Italian restaurant highly rated by the hotel (Il Gran Caruso): this was excellent.

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On our final day, we had a tour of the Opera House (very good), and spent the rest of the day at the San Telmo Market.  We really enjoyed ourselves, but are still kicking ourselves that we bought so little – everything was amazingly cheap and stylish.  

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Our Iberia flight home arrived back early, and we managed to catch an earlier coach home.

A satisfying end to the best holiday we have ever had. Thank you, Sally!

6 days of Excursions in Torres del Paine

6 days of Excursions in Torres del Paine

Brent and Megan returned in February from a 5 night stay at an eco friendly camp on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park, where they had a choice of excursions into the park each day. Here they tell us about their experiences on the trip and in booking with Swoop and our partners…

‘Megan and I had an exceptional time in Patagonia.’

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How was your experience of booking with Swoop?

We appreciated the advice and insight that Luke was able to give for the hikes and for the possible tours. I would and have already recommended Swoop to other people.

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How the excursions and guides in Torres del Paine?

Our guides were excellent; very knowledgeable enthusiastic about their work. Unfortunately, two days before we left for Chile my wife fell and hurt her ankle so we had to stick to the low intensity excursions but still did one 22 km hike and made it within the allotted time. We were not able to try any of the longer or more intense hikes but still enjoyed the ones that we were able to participate in.

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How was the weather in Torres del Paine?

The weather was good- we had two days of clouds and two days of sun.

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What did you think of the eco friendly camp?

The camp facilities were excellent. It was very nice to have a good bed to go back to after being out all day. The food was excellent, and the staff were exceptional. We would definitely recommend other people to stay there.

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Did you visit anywhere else on your trip?

We spent one day in Valparaiso, and then we drove from Santiago to Mendoza in Argentina and toured wineries and ate at some amazing restaurants. Hindsight being 20/20 If I knew how utterly screwed up the border crossings would be, I would have flown.  It was a beautiful drive but the border control experience (and the additional permit fee and insurance) ruined the experience.

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What were the highlights of your trip?

The last day we did one of the view point hikes and had great weather.  Out of the blue we had a Huemul deer wander right up to us.  On the other side of the hill that same morning we observed 22 condors flying above the neighbouring foothill.  It was pretty amazing.

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4 days of Excursions from an eco camp in Torres del Paine

Jeffrey returned in January from a 5 night stay at an eco camp in Torres del Paine. Here he tells us about his experiences on the trip and in booking with Swoop and our partners…

How were Swoop Patagonia?

You guys were great. When I had an issue with paying the balance for my reservation with your partners, you jumped in quickly and solved the problem.

How were Swoop’s partners at the eco camp you stayed at?

The staff at the camp were very attentive and our guide, Jorge, was the best.

What did you think of the camp and accommodation?

The yurt accommodation itself was great.

The camp as a whole was also great but with one exception: the plumbing was problematic. Showers ran hot and cold every few seconds and the toilet kept plugging up.

What did you think of the excursions available from the camp?

The excursions were well planned and we appreciated being able to choose which ones we wanted.

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

Best advice is to plan a long enough stay to make it more probable that they will have at least some good weather.

3 Days of Excursions from an eco camp in Torres del Paine

Bob returned in February from a 4-night stay at an eco camp on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park, from which he took various day trips to explore the scenery and wildlife in the area. Here he tells us about his experiences on the trip and in booking through Swoop and our partners…

‘I had a great time and really enjoyed it and have come back refreshed and recharged!

 

How did Swoop Patagonia do in helping you to plan and arrange your trip?

Luke was great: he was positive, reassuring and knowledgeable, and filled me with confidence about the trip.

What did you think of the eco camp and the accommodation and excursions provided there?

I loved the eco camp! It was beautiful, relaxing and unique, and I got to do 2 out of 3 walks I wanted to.

Is there anything you would have changed about your trip?

It would have been easier if my flights were a little closer together so there would have been less hanging about at the airport.

Overall, what was the highlight of your trip?

All of it was a highlight for me.

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

Just enjoy it!

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

I only visited Chile this time round as I had been to Argentina before.

John & Pene’s trip to Torres del Paine

John & Pene returned in February from a 5 week trip to Chile and Argentina, during which they spent 5 days exploring Torres del Paine National Park from an eco camp on the edge of the National Park. Here they tell us about their experiences on this trip, and in booking through Swoop and our partners…

What was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight of our entire trip was definitely Torres del Paine and our time in the eco camp.

Summer arrived with us and we spent three days hiking in perfect weather. Paine is truly stunning, not just the rocks, but also the enormity of the space and the big, big skies.

How was your stay at the eco camp?

We felt sure we made the right choice in this eco camp, which was a lovely place: the yurts were perfect and the guides’ enthusiasm and passion for the park was infectious.

The food was good, though not exceptional, and it was a pleasure to have good wines and beers readily available. It was also a pleasure to meet and enjoy the company of other guests in small groups, and we felt that four nights/three days was probably the right length of time.

How did Swoop do in helping you plan and arrange your trip?

Your advice was spot on and your administration was responsive and efficient.

Thanks also by the way for the ‘buffs’ which were awaiting our return and which will I am sure come in useful when I walk the West Highland Way later in the year.

Is there anything you would have liked to happen differently?

The main downside, which I know you recognise, is the distance you have to travel both in getting there and once you are there. I did the base of the towers, the horns and the condor cliff and each day I spent a minimum of 4 hours in transit. The situation is made worse this year because they are repairing the road, which means it is closed for large parts of the day and we had to return on a more circuitous route. Being driven through the park is no great hardship but it is disappointing when you have spent so much time, money and effort getting down there not to be able to spend more time in outdoor activities. For anyone spending more than 4 nights there they probably need to think of some alternative activities closer to hand around the Camp itself or on the outskirts of the park.

Another area of some confusion and frustration was in the timing of pick-ups. We were told we would be picked up at Puerto Natales at 5.30pm, then at 5.00pm and in the event they arrived at 4.00pm when we were out. We were not alone in having such difficulties, others complained of worse. Given that time in the Camp is so precious this is one area where they need to make improvements in their arrangements.

Customer review: Patagonia Camp

Jen visited Torres del Paine national park a few days ago and stayed at the Patagonia Camp. She kindly shared some of her feedback about the guides, the location and the facilities and service at the camp.

How was Torres del Paine?

The Torres del Paine were incredibly beautiful. Being spring, there were all kinds of small fauna running around, a great addition.

How was your guide?

My guide, Jorge, was really excellent. He clearly loves his job and was eager to share his information with us. Our drivers were also really good and careful.

Tell us about Patagonia Camp itself

The yurts and set up of the physical plant were quite beautiful. Our days were really full. Every evening I had an invitation to join others for dinner and our days were quite full. The groups that passed through were predominately American although there were a scattering of Europeans and Brazilians, which made it more interesting.

What could have been better about the camp?

Corrine at the front desk spoke very good English but the other woman did not. When I called twice, it took a while for her to understand what I was ringing about. I don’t know if they advertise English speakers or not. For example, my first request for more conditioner was supposedly passed on to Housekeeping, but did not arrive. I asked again the next day in person and it was taken care of.
One call to the front desk that took some time to explain to receptionist was regarding a leak in the yurt, causing the floor to be wet.  Given the damage on the floor, it was obvious that this had been a recurring problem. Although late, they sent someone out to look at it. The leak was underneath the desk, so a minor nusaince however I am surprised it was undetected previously.
The yurt was definately properly cleaned but we were provided shampoo, lotion and conditioner on arrival – rather than 2 bottles of each, I received 3 lotions and 1 conditioner. (They are the same color, so likely a mix up). When I left hand towel to be replaced, it was not. For turn down service one evening, the staff walked in when I was still in the yurt. Rather than return later, there was no turn down that evening.
On my last cleaning, they look the trash bag out of the garbage can, but did not remove it from the yurt. Rather absent mindedly left it on the desk instead.

Is there anything you think people planning a trip to the camp should know?

The starting point to each activity was at least 2 hours away, meaning a minimum of 4 hours driving each day and often times longer. In the case of Lago grey, it was 3 hours due to the road blockage.
The weather is unpredictable and has a big impact on your activities. The Patagonia Camp literature highlights a number of activities (eg kayaking) that just aren’t available. Jorge helped us make good decisions each day and provided opportunities to change itineraries when the weather got really bad.

Luxury Camp Torres del Paine Review

Luxury Camp Torres del Paine Review

 

Christa returned a few weeks ago from a trip to Torres del Paine where she spent two days exploring the area based from an environmentally sustainable eco camp in the National Park. Here she tells us about her adventures…

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What was the highlight of your trip to Patagonia?

All of it was wonderful. The Base of the Towers trek and the warmth of the staff would be highlights.

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

Try to plan around the standard pick up times/days. The fixed days can be limiting.

Tell us about your guide…

Jorge was amazing. Real, informative, kind, generous, prepared. I only wished I heard all of his explanations as I was often in the back of the van and couldn’t hear the voices up front so well.

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

Wonderfully accommodating, attentive and solution oriented. Albeit out of my price range, these guys really rallied to find me amazing lodging in a very limited last minute time frame with diligent enthusiasm.

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

Wish I didn’t have to leave at 5 am on my last day out. More flexible transfers in and out would be my only suggestion.

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