Reviews Torres del Paine Travel Tips

Sarah & Tim’s Independent Full Circuit and Tyndall Glacier Kayaking trip

After independently trekking the Full Circuit in Torres del Paine, Sarah and her partner took a Kayaking trip to the Tyndall River, Lake and Glacier in late December 2013. Here she tells us about her experiences…

After independently trekking the Full Circuit in Torres del Paine, Sarah and her partner took a Kayaking trip to the Tyndall River, Lake and Glacier in late December 2013. Here she tells us about her experiences…

We had an amazing trip to Patagonia, thanks, we’ll be back!


What was the highlight of your trip?

Highlight of the kayaking trip was probably paddling up the pristine clear waters of the Tyndall River with fish jumping around us, to camp in the wild by Tyndall Lake and then paddle right up to the Glacier the next morning. The scenery was really dramatic, granite rocks glistening in the rain and the black glacier-topped cliff at the head of the lake looming closer and closer.

Did you manage to visit anywhere else in Chile or Argentina on your trip?

We did the Full Circuit in Torres del Paine independently prior to the Kayaking trip.

How well did Swoop Patagonia do helping you plan your holiday, and finding the best trip or operator for you?

Great thanks, we were really happy with the kayaking operator you put us intouch with, and the kayaking trip was the icing on the cake of our trekking trip, which we wouldn’t otherwise have thought of or known about.


How was the operator, and how were their guides on the trip?

Excellent. Javiera was great, really communicative with all the arrangements for booking, payment and gear for the trip.

Their gear was really good quality. We had full dry suits (brilliant given the water and air temperature!) and dry bags were provided for our kit. Kayaks were good too, and we had nice light carbon-handled paddles.

They met us off the catamaran at Pudeto where we were finishing our trek and took all our excess baggage off our hands, bringing it back to us in the car when they picked us up off the ferry after our kayaking. They also ran us around town, back to our previous hostel where they waited while we returned some hire kit and picked up a bag we’d left there, then back out to Hotel Altiplanico (gorgeous place for a little luxury after 11 nights camping!) where we were staying that night.

Our guide, Brooke, was awesome. She gave us a full safety briefing, was flexible with what we wanted to do, and cooked us yummy meals! She also took some photos and sent them to us.

Was there anything that you wish had happened differently/or not happened at all?

Nothing to do with Swoop or Patagonia, but one of our bags went missing on the way out there, which meant a somewhat tense 48 hours until it turned up (containing half our tent, half our food for the trek, our camp cook set, and all of Tim’s clothes!!)

Do you have any tips for other people who are planning a trip?

Do it! I would highly recommend the Full Circuit over the W for anyone who wants a little more adventure and solitude than what you’ll find on the W. We had a full rest day, so could easily have done it in 8 days and it could be done in less than that if pushed for time.

The views over Grey Glacier as you top the John Garner Pass are truly incredible and the valleys on the back side are beautiful, with enormous meadows of daisies, beautiful lakes and rivers, lush lenga forest, and mountains and glaciers all around.

Evening meals in the refugios are good value – the food is really good and it saves you carrying food for the whole journey. We also got a couple of box lunches, in which the fresh fruit was much appreciated! Although for breakfasts and lunches you can provide for yourself pretty easily. 

The kayaking, although it wasn’t cheap, was totally worth it to explore some areas that you just wouldn’t have otherwise got into. We really enjoyed spending 12 days in Torres del Paine, to really thoroughly explore it, rather than dashing around trying to see a little bit of lots of places.

Patagonia is perfect for people who want a bit of dramatic wilderness that is actually pretty accessible. We’ll be back!SARAH ALLEN KAYAK 2

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Luke Errington

Founder and MD

Luke fell in love with Patagonia when he first trekked through the Andes some 15 years ago. In 2010 he founded Swoop Patagonia and since then has trekked, ridden and paddled thousands of miles throughout the region.

At home in Bristol he's a dad of three, and a keen trail runner and adventure racer.