Vicky returned in February from a Trek in Torres del Paine National Park, based from an eco friendly camp. Here she tells us about her experiences on her trip and in booking with Swoop and our partners…
‘All of us thoroughly enjoyed the trip! Torres del Paine was breath taking – I really hope we have the opportunity to go back again in the future’
How was your experience of booking with Swoop Patagonia?
Everyone at Swoop was very responsive and prompt – we really appreciated this as we didn’t know much about the logistics of traveling in Patagonia and had never been. Everyone was very patient with all of our many, many questions. This was very, very much appreciated. We would definitely recommend Swoop Patagonia to anyone traveling to Patagonia!!
How was your experience with swoop’s partners who ran the W Trek?
We felt that the services from Swoop and Swoop’s partners were fantastic. The pick up times and locations were clear, and everyone did everything they could to make it easier on us (ie. picking us up at our hostel for transfers, etc.).
How was your W Trek in Torres del Paine?
We really enjoyed the W Trek itinerary! Our guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the park, wildlife and geography – we were all very impressed. The guides were very patient with us and managed the group well. We were worried about pace of the group if it was going to be a large group. The guides ended up dividing our group of 14 into 2 groups: our group with 6 people (mostly our age) and then the other group with 8 people, who were mostly older guests. But they would still bring both groups together at the end of the day so we can chat and socialise which was nice.
Is there anything you would change about your trip?
The major thing that we would have liked to change is the responsiveness of Swoop’s partners in finalising the booking. It took them a long time to respond to emails, and we did not receive information on our pick up until after we had arrived in Calafate despite sending multiple emails. We had originally asked them about the Isla Magdalena tours, but they never responded until Harriet from Swoop emailed them for us. By then it was about 3 weeks out and we had already booked our own tours through another operator. Towards the end, I kind of gave up trying to contact them and just directed most of our questions to Harriet at Swoop – so I really appreciate her and Swoop’s patience with us.
Another minor thing that I would have liked to change is a little bit more flexibility on the day that we visited Grey Glacier. The 2nd half of that day – we drove back from Pudeto to the camp and stopped at 2 lookouts along the way that gave a great view of Los Cuernos. There were a few other amazing lookout points along the way that we didn’t get to stop at due to the guides wanting to keep the group on schedule for dinner – it would have been great to have some more time for pictures and sight-seeing, as this was the only day that we could view the massif from this angle.
What were the highlights of your trip?
We wanted to go to Patagonia for the trekking, and I would say that was the main highlight. It’s hard to pick a favourite hike – we saw amazing scenery everywhere. I don’t think we missed too much by minimizing time spent in the cities due to our limited travel days.
Did you manage to visit anywhere else on your trip?
Prior to arriving in Torres del Paine, we spent 3 days hiking on the Argentina side. We hiked Laguna de Los Tres one day and Laguna Torre on the 2nd day. The third day prior to our transfer day to the camp, we visited Perito Moreno Glacier and did the mini-trekking activity there.
After we left Torres del Paine, we transferred to Punta Arenas. We were hoping to do the Isla Magdalena Penguin Tour but the tour was cancelled for that day due to windy conditions. We did do the Seno Otway Penguin tour instead.
From there we spent 1 extra day in Santiago and did a little bit of sight-seeing in the city before coming home.
Do you have any tips for other people planning a trip?
Ask a lot of questions and, if there’s time, do background reading on the region. This was something I had wanted to do prior to leaving but ran out of time.