Richard & Susan
Customer Rating On return from their adventure we ask customers: “On a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the highest, how likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend or colleague?”
Overall, how was your trip?
Overall our trip was wonderful, with only a few snags. The highlights of Argentinian Patagonia were the Perito Moreno Glacier and the Estancia Christina in El Calafate, and the Fitzroy hike in El Calafate. The Perito Moreno Glacier is breathtaking, and easily accessible from the raised walkway in the park. We also did the boat tour, which offers history and closer view of the glacier. Beware though, once you see it, other glaciers in Patagonia will seem less impressive. Estancia Christina was fantastic, but only because we opted for the fossil hike. Others on the excursion had lots of waiting around and did not seems as impressed. Not so great- The scheduling from El Calafate to EL Chalten- we would have preferred a later transfer. With the sun setting so late, you can easily hike until 7 PM...therefore there was no reason to leave so early for Chalten. Chalten was beautiful. Liked the wild dogs and friendly locals. The Fitzroy hike was spectacular....we were on the trail early so it wasn't too crowded but I imagine during peak season it was be a little unpleasant as it is narrow and you need to step aside to let people pass. Our best meal in Chalten was at La Tapera, wish it had been recommended. Avoid La Senyera, worst meal of our entire trip. Australis Cruise- This was a mistake. After having days filled with hiking and enjoying the riches of nature, being confined to a boat was very frustrating. The boat itself was nice, the rooms clean and comfortable but the excursions were short and underwhelming and most of the time on the boat was spent waiting....waiting for a short presentation, waiting for lunch, waiting to get off the boat, waiting to get on the boat etc....The penguins were the highlight of the cruise but, we found out you can take a day trip from Puntas Arenas to visit them. That would have been nice to have known. Highlight of the entire trip was Torres del Paine. The Explora hotel is beautiful and the hiking on the W was the best we experienced. The spa, the guides, the surroundings were all unbelievable. If I could redo the trip I would nix the cruise and spend an extra 3 nights at Explora.
In one sentence, what did you think of Patagonia? Did it live up to your expectations?
Patagonia offers a visual feast of rugged natural beauty and wildlife- it met our expectations.
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
Yes we are pleased we hired a specialist as the logistics of planning all the transfers and hiring guides would have been too difficult. That being said, there were a few instances where there was just too much time allotted to travel between two points. Our itinerary was quite aggressive and often we had to get up at 4 AM to be somewhere and in the end found out we could have been there a couple of hours later.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
7 out of 10
How was your experience in Buenos Aires?
We did not enjoy BA. In retrospect, we probably should have hired a guide and perhaps would have found the city more interesting. Having traveled extensively in Spain, Cuba and Mexico, we found it dirty and even dangerous. We were not forewarned about the crime and met quite a few fellow travellers who had had their watches ripped off their wrists and necklaces pulled from their necks. The drivers are aggressive and even reckless and the people lacked common courtesy, for example expect doors to slam in your face rather than be held open...never experienced anything like it in any city. The Palermo area, where we stayed was interesting, but nothing great. We see no reason to return.
How was your experience in El Calafate and El Chalten?
Beautiful areas to explore. As previously mentioned the Perito Moreno and Fitzroy were amazing. The guide who accompanied us for 2 long hikes "Betty" was lovely and very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna.
How was your experience in Torres del Paine?
The view from Explora was one of the highlights of our entire trip. The W hike was great and the horseback riding very enjoyable. Everything in Chile seemed more enjoyable. The people were more relaxed and we met lots of really nice guests and guides that we will stay in contact with. The wildlife was crazy, we saw condors, eagles, guanacos, giant hares, wild horses and more bird varieties than we could imagine. One highlight we experienced was at the plateau of the french camp where there was a very large avalanche...very cool to see nature in action.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
If you are very active, avoid the Australis cruise! There are other ways to see the Magellenic Penguins. We preferred Chilean Patagonia to Argentinian. Don't bother with any dressy clothes, even the nicest hotels are very casual...there were guests wearing slippers in the dining room. Bring binoculars! If you are a bird enthusiast you will be in heaven. Torres del Paine is spectacular...be sure to give yourself enough time there.
Anything else? Tell us anything you’d like to share that we forgot to ask! It’s ok to leave this empty too :-)
It would be nice if there was a more comprehensive list detailing what type of clothing to bring to BA, as well as Patagonia. I usually pack really efficiently but was not prepared for how much "dressing down" I would be doing in BA, and on the cruise. Had I been better informed, I would have left all my jewelry at home and not packed heels...I did not even think to put them on once!