Pam and her friend returned in early February from a trip to Antarctica, followed by a W Trek and Kayaking Trip in Torres del Paine. Here she tells us about her trip…
How was your W Trek in Torres del Paine and the guides who looked after you?
The scenery on our W Trek was amazing, and for Patagonia, apparently the weather was ok. We did of course get to experience the winds!
We were a little unlucky in that the other 4 people in the walking group were 20- something year olds. Fit and fast. My friend and i were much too slow for them ( compounded by the fact my friend is an avid photographer). I told Victor, the guide, to go on with the others. The weather meant it was not really feasible for people to hang around waiting. So we did most of the walk without a guide, tho Victor did wait for us on occasions when he thought the route was a bit tricky. There wasn’t really anything else he could have done.
How was your Tyndall Glacier Kayaking trip in Torres del Paine, and how were the guides who supported you?
Our paddling trip was excellent. I had to admire the courage of Herman setting up a paddle business in such an area- with winds, currents, cold water, rain etc to deal with.
We had 2 guides, Brooke and Rob and they were excellent. We managed to get right to the Tyndall Glacier and had a lot of fun. I would recommend this trip, though preferably with some prior paddle experience.
How did Swoop Patagonia do in helping you plan and arrange your trip?
We really appreciated Luke’s overall advice re getting around Patagonia. The bus from Ushuaia to Puerto Natales was great, as was the trip from Puerto Natales to El Calafate. We flew from there back to Buenos Aires.
How were the operators we put you in contact with for your W Trek and Kayaking Trip?
The W Trek operator did a great job in organising accommodation for us in Puerto Natales, booking our buses and renting us gear for the paddle trip.
All the paperwork from both operators went smoothly and they both replied to email promptly. So in that respect I would recommend both companies.
Did you manage to visit anywhere else on your trip?
Yes, El Calafate, the wonderful Perito Moreno Glacier, but we ran out of time for El Chalten, next time…
Have you any thoughts, suggestions, or words of advice for any other experienced travellers such as yourselves travelling in the peak season?
I don’t mean to to sound harsh, and you may need to temper it with the fact that living in Australia we are less tolerant of crowds. And also the fact I operated guided walks, offering luxury by comparison.
I found the trek too crowded for my liking ( and I realise we we there in peak season). The track was very degraded; it ‘s a classic case of the resource you are coming to see being destroyed by your very presence.
I would not recommend a guided hike for the W trek as you really don’t need a guide and you stay at the same refuges anyway. It’s an expensive way to do it, when you have shared rooms and poor food.
I just think I would look for something more remote if I were to do a guided walk again. Patagonia is certainly an impressive place. Thanks to you guys for setting me on the right path and helping me choose a great holiday