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?”
John's Trip Date:
3rd Nov - 24th Nov 2017
Overall, how was your trip?
Excellent varied package of life experiences, in a stunning unspoilt part of the world with great scenery and wildlife, friendly hospitable people and well organised logistics. Enjoyed the UNESCO sights of Valparaiso and Chiloe churches.
In one sentence, what did you think of Patagonia? Did it live up to your expectations?
For me it was the striking unspoilt varied scenery of the Andes mountains with granite rock towers and conical volcanoes, mixed with ice sheets and glaciers, lakes and fiords, and the contrast with TdF with the Magellan straights, glaciated wild scenery and a quality of light that was clean, and sharp with a soft pastel quality.
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
Very happy with swoop itinerary which was discussed and thought through and adapted at length to our requests, with people who knew the area in detail. Appreciate the helpfulness when one member of the trip couldn’t go because of family reasons. Everything on the ground went to plan.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
10 out of 10
How was your experience on Chiloe?
The highlight for me was staying at Chil-Hue at La Casita del Mar, really liked the accommodation, setting and family who went out of their way to ensure we had a good stay with them. Beautiful landscape and UNESCO churches, for wildlife I very pleased that we spotted a Pudu, and the ferry trip and Penguin islands were very positive. We had anticipated that the guide would have had more knowledge of the wildlife and habitats and some field skills and found that we could not recommend him for this type of trip. Also he was open about the fact that he did not like the family we were staying with which I thought was unprofessional and concerned us. It was because of this that this part of the trip did not live up to our expectations we had anticipated from our understanding of the "bird watching in Chiloe Island itinerary" from Austral adventures. In fact he didn't seem to know many of the species of bird or understand Forrest birding, although we didn't go in the extensive Forrest, I could give list but marching off in front quickly in bright colours and leaving the group alone in poor terrain are examples .The feedback we would give from our personal experiences is that we would have preferred rather than this guide a self-drive option or an adaptable driver, who didn't start late or require a cooked meal at lunch, with good English.
How was your experience in the Lake District?
Liked all the different habitats that we experienced particularly the lake and volcanic scenery mixed with forest and estuary. The accommodation was good and close to town, excellent restaurants. The first guide Carlos who was very enthusiastic took us to Alerce Andino but unfortunately the weather was not very good and we had an unproductive afternoon, the next day we had Marcela who was excellent knowledgeable and well equipped and could recommend. All the transport worked fine.
How was your experience in Santiago and the surrounding area?
The highlight for me was the Andes, not been to the Andes for about 20 years and it was good to see them again with a sighting of Guanaco. The Hotel was good with a central location and spacious the only negative was that we could not have breakfast at the hotel on the first two days due to early starts .Our guide Fernando and the driver his farther were both excellent, Fernando was very knowledgeable, he knew all the birds in the area, knew the right habitat and was well equipped and also gave us breakfast to make up for the hotel. Liked Santiago but had limited time there, would have liked to have seen downtown and the parks but wanted to see the Andes more. Enjoyed Valparaiso, the old town deserves UNESCO status and would recommend to others. In Valparaiso one of the beds was perched on a Mezzanine next to the bathroom door so could be wakened in the night, also bathroom height restrictive. Both guides and drivers for Santiago and Valparaiso were excellent with a great itinerary. Both Albatross guides were pleasant and experts in their field. Told pelagic was beyond expectations both the quality and number of birds. The young man chumming was tireless, keeping to his task despite the rolling of the boat. The boat wouldn't suit elderly or infirm clients and we couldn't keep our balance easily and the numerous seats did get in the way. No problem for us as used to this scenario.
How was your time in Tierra del Fuego?
Enjoyed the King Penguins and crossing the straits, lots of shearwaters and petrols, fantastic glaciated wild scenery with beautiful Magellan straights, and a light quality that was clean, and sharp with a soft pastel effect. Good accommodation which had character, the first room we had at Lacolet was small for two. At Yendegala the only issue we had was that one of us is a Celiac and they provided food to him in a bag marked gluten free that containing gluten food which he had confirmed to him was gluten free and this made him ill. Great guide for TdF who went out of his way to do a great job even though he was very tired from a 15 day trip he had come back from. He took good action when we had to change the ferry route over the straights due to weather and got us back at a reasonable time. Our trip on the 20th November was cancelled and the feedback I would give to Protours is that we were only told when we have arrived at Solo Expeditions office and it would have been great to know this earlier (understood they cancelled the night before and on the 20th the weather was good) as we could have made use of the morning in Punta Arenas.
How was your experience in Torres del Paine?
Really liked the well organised excursions by the hotel which included boat trips wildlife and hiking, magnificent varied scenery, encounted lots of wildlife including puma, skunks, Rhea, Foxes and Guanaco. Which we obtained excellent photos of. I could recommend all the guides especially Miguel, who had little English and Roberto the Puma tracker who allowed Alan to go out with him really early. Accommodation, transport, facilities and food were good. Difficulties at reception when we got there as could not communicate very well, they didn't seem to understand us, also we had difficulty in finding room keys which was very frustrating. All transport worked very well and drivers were very professional and helpful. All of the staff encountered otherwise were very helpful and friendly.
How were your wildlife encounters?
I didn't spot a puma on the first day so I opted for another tour the next day when I was luckily enough to see one. My brother persevered and he saw the same one as myself for an extensive time and took over 2000 pictures here including skunks, foxes etc. Guides and drivers were very helpful, and could recommend.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
Can't think of any at the moment.
Anything else? Tell us anything you’d like to share that we forgot to ask! It’s ok to leave this empty too :-)
Thought this trip would be good for photographers, Alan took over 7000 pictures from animals, albatross, petrols, rare plovers and various endemic including 180 species of birds and 12 species of animals and reptiles. Happy to answer any questions on feedback.
21 people found this review helpful