Michal returned in late January from a Self-Guided W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park. Here he tells us about his trip and his experiences in booking with Swoop and our partners…
‘Thank you very much for all your help and advice. Our trip to Patagonia exceeded our expectations. Everything ran smoothly without any hiccups at all.’
What was the highlight of your trip?
The highlight of the Self Guided W hike was definitely Valle del Frances. The weather was perfect and the sheer beauty of this place is simply stunning.
How was the travel and accommodation on your trip?
Travel arrangements were perfect. Hotel Sierra Nevada was very good and Amerindia by means of the smile glued to Monica’s face, simply unforgettable.
I blessed the decision to overnight in Chileno twice due to the unsettled weather, as this enabled us to spend a few hours under the towers, to see them and to take these unforgettable shots.
Is there anything you would have liked to happen differently?
We noticed that during the walk people were getting lunches in big paper bags. This seemed a little excessive as no one needed them and they littered every refugio. This is probably something to pass on to Sur Fantastico… A few trees in Amazonia chopped down unnecessarily!
[Regarding the paper bags, we 100% agree with you, and have complained about it also. The good news is that from next season (Sept 2014) people will no longer be given paper bags, and will be given only recyclable bottle of water!]
Unfortunately, we were neither able to hike to Valle del Silencio nor to Campamento Japones as we did not have the climbing permit and did not know that such permit was needed. We also wanted to visit Valle Bader but again lack of permit stopped us. I understand it is something off the beaten track but certainly worth visiting.
[Regarding the special permission to get into the Silencio, Bader and Pingo Valleys: After the terrible fire in the park a couple of year ago, the rangers closed these valleys to tourists travelling without certified guides because there are no rangers to cover these areas. see our Off the Beaten track trips in Torres del Paine ]
The other thing worth mentioning is the need for sleeping bag liners in Refugio Chileno as I was not aware of this either.
We spoke today with the commercial manager and they told us that they ask for a security deposit of USD$ 50, or your passport, in exchange for the liner. When you leave and return the liner they return your deposit/ passport. Unfortunately this measure was put in place because several guests took the liners with them!]
These were all just tiny niggles however, which did not bother us at all. It has to be said that we found the service of your partners in Torres del Paine perfect.
Did you visit anywhere else on your trip?
We also hiked for a week in Nahuel Huapi Park. This equally blew us away.
‘To summarise, Swoop Patagonia and your partners scored 5 out of 5… We received what we needed in a very unobtrusive and friendly way what we appreciate. We only regret we did not have enough time to stay a few days in El Chalten and to hike there. I simply did not realise Patagonia being that beautiful.’