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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?”
Lea Argenti's Trip Date:
21st Nov - 3rd Dec 2016
Overall, how was your trip?
Overall, my trip was incredible and that was due to the (1) scenery (2) personal challenges that I conquered (3) the guides and fellow travel mates. The landscapes were gorgeous and we really lucked out with weather only having a little bit of rain in Argentina and only 1 day of rain in Chile. Both Juli and Claudio were incredible guides that really supported and encouraged us all. Yes, unfortunately the biggest surprise was that I had to pack my 28L backpack for 5 days and 4 nights. This was NEVER clear to me in any written communications. And this was OPPOSITE what was told to me during a phone call with Swoop while booking my trip.
In one sentence, what did you think of Patagonia? Did it live up to your expectations?
Patagonia far exceeded my expectations!
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
Prior to the actual trip, I was very pleased with the communications from Swoop. I even had phone calls with their representative, Tom Ludwig. The website was user friendly and payment was easy. Unfortunately I think that the Swoop team is HIGHLY misinformed about what the trip truly entails. I would strongly recommend that they attend this trip to better inform future travelers. The specific thing that has upset me the most is that we were carrying our belongings for 5 days and 4 nights. I specifically asked if we would need to do this and I was told "no" by Tom. It wasn't until a few days into my trip in Argentina that my fellow travelmates informed me that we would indeed be "backpacking" for a section of the trip. I was in slight panic mode because: (1) I have never done this and had not wanted to do this (2) My backpack was at least 10L smaller than everyone else's so I was very limited in what I could even bring along for those 5 days and 4 nights. Terrible, terrible feeling.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
5 out of 10
How was your experience in El Calafate and El Chalten?
El Chalten and El Calafate were both lovely towns. I think I preferred El Chalten a bit more as all the hikes were accessible from the town and it was smaller. The glacier trip was special and I would highly recommend keeping that in the itinerary. The hikes were did were all incredible and it was very lucky for us to have 2 guides during this time. Juli was our main guide, but we were also given a girl who joined us during the day. In this case, we could split up by speed (good for me as I was slower than the others). And then no one felt alone. Juli (full name Juliana Eguia) was absolutely the best. She went above and beyond to care for us, give us detailed information, reassure us along the way, and really became our great friend after the week together. Accommodations in both places were fine. Transport was all fine. We didn't really have exposure to the partner agency in Argentina or Chile - we only knew our guides on site.
How would you rate your experience at this hotel?
If this in reference to Estancia Lazo, I have mixed feelings on this. While the room and staff were all fine, I wished we had stayed closer to the airport to avoid having to wake up so early the next morning. Estancia Lazo itself is set on a gorgeous family property and the owner and her chef, driver, etc. were all very friendly (despite the lack of being able to communicate in English. luckily a few of us were OK at speaking some Spanish). I really think Swoop should consider a SUPER nice accommodation on this last night as us travelers are coming off a 5 day/4 night backpacking experience. Where...to be honest...the accommodations are VERY rough and sometimes we couldn't even get a hot shower. So for a final night, it should have been as nice and convenient as possible.
How was your hike in Torres del Paine?
The hikes themselves were awesome. We didn't see much wildlife, but there were plenty of flowers and plants to be seen. The hikes were VERY hard. I am an OK hiker, whose longest hike prior to this trip was 4-5 hours and not super steep grades. I understand that you probably don't want to scare people away from the experience, but I think you should be a little more honest about the hikes. I did extensive research to find the elevation maps for the hikes I was doing so I could feel slightly more prepared. These are very helpful for hikers. Again, Claudio (our guide in Chile) was great. Without him, I am not sure I would have endured the full W trek. He was able to help me carry a few extra items that simply did not fit into my 28L backpack (because Swoop told me we were NOT carrying our belongings in a backpack). The accommodations along the way were better than camping but still hostel-like and not fabulous. The domes were kind of cool, but cleanliness is not a priority out there. We all made due because after hiking for 8+ hours, any form of shelter for rest is very welcomed. As mentioned earlier, we had no contact with Swoop's partner agency in Chile - we only communicated with Claudio our guide.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
I think if you are traveling with experienced hikers, this is all very doable on your own. However, if you don't want to worry about the bookings of accommodations and meals, etc. then having an agency like Swoop is very helpful. It was clear that Juli and Claudio were experienced professionals that knew how to take care of all the little details like our packed lunches, transport, and crossing the border between Argentina and Chile. I would highly advise the Swoop team to experience the W trek for themselves to be better informed about the reality of what you need to endure. I am so grateful for Claudio helping me carry some items and for both guides pushing/encouraging me up all the steep climbs. The personal achievements I made will be with me forever.
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Please contact me if you would like further explanations about some of my comments.
6 people found this review helpful