Julin returned in September from a Winter Trek in Torres del Paine. Here he tells us about his experiences on his trip, and in booking with Swoop Patagonia…
‘We had a fabulous trip!’
What did Swoop do well?
Swoop were responsive and gave informative answers during initial contact and set-up. They were very helpful in figuring out flights and other logistics. The travel partner they recommended in Torres del Paine was first-rate
What could we have done differently?
One of my early queries went unanswered, but otherwise everything was good.
How were our partners in Torres del Paine?
Top notch: highly organised and very professional. Everyone we dealt with was absolutely first rate. Also we had to change our dates by one day because of a strike in Argentina that cancelled our flight to El Calafate. They rearranged everything for us and figured out bus schedules etc (non-trivial because there was not a direct bus from Calafate to Natales on the day that we needed one under the new schedule)
How did you enjoy the itinerary?
The 5 day Winter W Trek itinerary was perfect. We wanted good long hikes and beautiful Patagonian scenery, and that is exactly what we got.
How were the guides on the trek?
Fantastic. While in retrospect could have easily done the W trek unguided I found a lot of value in having Mauricio as a guide. 1) He was very knowledgeable about the area. 2) He knew how to time our hikes so that we were sure to get to our destinations (and got us all the way to the British Lookout in French Valley–substantially further than the plan in the itinerary). 3) Choosing hikes based on the weather to maximize views, etc. 4) Excellent knowledge of flora and fauna. 5) Great sense of humor. 6) Not having to cook was quite a luxury.
Is there anything you would have changed about this part of your trip?
What was the highlight of your trip?
Brittish lookout, French Valley. But honestly hard to pick. I thought all three valleys were stunning.
Do you have any tips for other people planning a trip?
Do it! Train before with some long distance hikes. Work up to 20-25km. We were glad that we did.
[Take a look at our Before You Go page for some pre-trip planning tips]
Did you manage to visit anywhere else in Chile or Argentina?
2. Perito Moreno Glacier. We did the “mini-trek” which allow walking on the glacier for a couple of hours. Touristy but worth it. Best to do this after the “W” otherwise Glacier Gray might seem small (although I think Glacier Gray is more scenic).