Amanda and her brother Patrick returned home to New York in early January from a 10 day Multi Activity Trip spent hiking and kayaking in Torres del Paine National Park. Here Amanda tells us about her trip and her experience booking through Swoop and our partners, and shares some fantastic photographs…
‘Patrick and I can’t thank you all enough for helping organise a trip of a lifetime! Our friends and family back home can’t get over our photos and are quite jealous 😉 We’ll make sure to refer them to you if they decide to travel down to Patagonia in the future.’
What was the highlight of your trip?
I think the day our guide Nico took us on a 3 hour day hike in the morning to an “off the beaten path” view of Grey Glacier and then that afternoon/evening we went ice hiking on that same glacier. I also loved Laguna Azul and how hiking around that part of the park was so quiet and peaceful.
Did you manage to visit anywhere else in Chile or Argentina on your trip?
We flew right into Punta Arenas and spent a night in Puerto Natales on either end of our trip but we only had time for our expedition in Torres del Paine.
How well did Swoop Patagonia do helping you plan your holiday, and finding the best trip or operator for you?
A+! It was so overwhelming at the start of our trip planning to know where in Patagonia we should go, then what guide company we should work with, etc.
After our conversation in August, you listened closely to what we wanted from our trip (a physically challenging trip without crowds with a mix of backpacking and kayaking) and the operator you put us in contact with did exactly that. So thank you for steering us towards Torres del Paine (a fantastic part of Patagonia in which to backpack and kayak), and toward this particular operator.
How was the operator, and how were their guides on the trip?
Another A+! They made us feel very welcome in Puerto Natales when we arrived and set us up in a wonderful hostel in town. We felt very well taken care of and they did a great job coming up with a Plan B itinerary at the last moment when there was an unexpected weather forecast (tons of snow!).
Our guide, Nico, was fabulous and we couldn’t have asked for a more knowledgeable, flexible and personable guide!
When my brother got sick on the first two days of the trip, Nico, helped create a “Plan C” on the fly that accommodated my brother and still kept in line with what type of trip we wanted. We couldn’t have been happier.
Was there anything that you wish had happened differently or not at all?
I think the only aspect of the trip that I would have changed would to have been more involved in the food planning. I am used to planning backpacking trips for myself in the States and love food planning and while I so appreciated the operator taking care of this part, I ended up missing a few of my “backpacking staples” and would have enjoyed being a part of that pre-trip planning.
It was a nice luxury to have Nico prepare all of our meals though – I am not used to that having never taken a guided trip before!
Do you have any tips for other people who are planning a trip?
If you’re looking for fantastic backpacking conditions – go to Torres del Paine. No bugs, perfect temperature, no bears or other worrisome animals, and you don’t even have to treat your water!
Having backpacked a lot, I was amazed at the perfect conditions for hiking and camping in the park. I just loved it. Leaving from Puerto Natales is also wonderful – it’s a really fun, welcoming town in which to stay on either side of your trip with backpackers from all over the world!