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.