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?”
Jo's Trip Date:
9th Dec - 7th Jan 2018
Overall, how was your trip?
There were many highlights but the wildlife would have to be amongst our favourite experiences. To see twelve orca up close in the wild was a real treat. Kayaking up close to a sea lion colony and walking amongst the burrows of thousands of magellanic penguins were absolute highlights. Watching condors circling overhead as we were being blasted by the wind on rocky cliffs was memorable. Stumbling across a family of upland geese feeding and seeing a family of huemul were real treats. I could go on and on about rheas, guanaco, mara, king penguins, torrent ducks etc.
In one sentence, what did you think of Patagonia? Did it live up to your expectations?
Patagonia was incredible and surpassed our expectations.
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
We were delighted with the service from Swoop. The itinerary was just the right balance of activity, travel, rest etc for us. The service was excellent. We have and will continue to recommend Swoop to anyone who wants to listen! The Itinerary was comprehensive and all but the very last item ran like clockwork. We did not need to contact Swoop's 24/7 support. What would I change? Minor things. At times I was confused about who I was dealing with as our contact person kept changing due to the different roles you have. I would prefer to have one contact as a "go to" person. At times I posted a question on the online Itinerary but received no response; emailing seemed to be a more effective means of communication.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
10 out of 10
How was your experience in Buenos Aires?
Great hotel with such lovely decor and a beautiful breakfast room. We loved the hotel and found it convenient to restaurants and public transport. The staff were really helpful and friendly. We had been to BA before so we did not need to do the usual things. We had a great experience at the opera. Such a beautiful building and so different to see an opera here than in the modern sydney Opera House.
How was your Kayaking adventure?
We loved this trip. Pablo was so knowledgeable about the geology and the wildlife; I have never had a guide of his calibre in this regard. The sea lions were fabulous and the landscapes spectacular. I was blown away by the fossils. The kayaking was excellent as were the walks. We saw so much wildlife and learned so much. The gear was good and the food was delicious. Maybe tell future clients that the raincoat is provided. Walking around Puerto Pyramides was relaxing and enjoyable. The accommodation was excellent with really friendly staff. One slight issue, the kayak was perhaps a little too short for Mark's legs which meant we had problems with the pedals and steering. Pablo took great photos of us which we really appreciated.
How was your experience in El Calafate and El Chalten?
We absolutely loved the three day trek with Rocio. What a fabulous company Walk Patagonia is. We were delighted that we did the trek rather than day walks like many others we met. The Refugio on the frist night was excellent - remote, quiet, spectacular views. Rocio our guide was wonderful. The scenery was superb. We were so lucky with the weather, enjoying walking as it snowed on the first day and then in beautiful sunshine and blue skies. The campsite was excellent. Being able to walk with light packs and arrive to comfortable tents, sleeping bags and delicious food really made the trip perfect for us. We would not have changed a thing. We really enjoyed the white water rafting on Christmas Day although the safety standards of the company were less than we would expect. It was fun and the geology of the surrounding landscape was amazing. Perito Moreno glacier was good but quite commercial: we expected this. Loved the glacier walk followed by the scotch on the rocks. Such fun and so beautiful. Once again we were blessed with sunshine and blue skies. All transfers and accommodation worked beautifully.
How was your time in Peninsula Valdes?
Just loved the Magellanic penguins. What a special experience. Seeing the elephant seals and sea lions on the beaches was also interesting. On our many walks we saw so much as Pablo had an incredible ability to follow tracks and spot wildlife. We loved getting close to the guanacos and hearing their funny warning sound and experiencing their social structures. We enjoyed staying at the Research Station when the weather turned bad.
How was your experience in Santiago and the surrounding area?
The hotel was excellent, modern, clean, quiet, comfortable and centrally located. We have visited Santiago before. It is not my favourite place but it was a good place to rest before heading home. The trip to the wineries in Santa Cruz was just perfect as a final activity for our trip; so much better than staying in the city. The beautiful scenery, the wonderful food and the amazing accommodation made these few days a real treat. There seemed to be a mix up with our transfer to the airport. When we realised no one was coming the hotel organised someone.
How was your hike in Torres del Paine?
This is a truly spectacular area but of course that meant there were many trekkers. It's a trade off I guess. Still, we loved this trek. Rod our guide was attentive and knowledgeable. It was good to be in a group although we definitely walked more slowly than the others who were much younger. It would have been better to be with older people perhaps? The first day was challenging but we enjoyed it enormously. Mark had a sore knee which slowed him down but the guide Rod was always helpful and made sure we were looked after. Staying in a tent was preferable to the dorms; snoring was an issue. The little chalets on the second night were just beautiful and so unexpected. New Years Eve dinner was a real treat but a lodge full of drunk people posed a few challenges. The kayaking on Grey lake was excellent and very professional. The mountains were beautiful and we actually enjoyed the incredibly strong winds that Patagonia is famous for as we walked beside the lakes; such a memorable experience. We saw some wildlife but not nearly as much as in Peninsula Valdes and Los Glaciaros. A family of huemul and a family of upland geese with 12 goslings were highlights. The food was plentiful, healthy and tasty. Once again, being able to carry just our personal belongings made a huge difference to our enjoyment. What would we change? The pre-departure briefing was insufficient. It lacked detail. eg Collection and storage of luggage had not been thought through. Clients need to be told to bring a towel. Thankfully we realised that we needed to buy new bus tickets to Puerto Arenas as the trek does not return to Puerto Natales in time to catch the 7pm bus.
How were your wildlife encounters?
The trip to see the King Penguins was good but of all the things we did this would possibly be the one I would have skipped. It required a lot of travelling and the penguins are viewed from a distance. The weather was miserable which probably did not help. The local partner was excellent and really went out of their way to offer great service. Transfers were prompt and efficient and the guide was knowledgeable and friendly. The accommodation was clean and comfortable but staff were not so friendly and the place felt very impersonal.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
If you are planning to go to Patagonia we recommend having a chat to the Swoop Team as we did. After a 30 minute call, where we talked about the things we liked to do, the Swoop Team came up with a wonderful itinerary. We are experienced travellers; this is the first time we have not done all of the booking ourselves so we were a little apprehensive. It worked out better than we could have imagined and certainly better than we could have planned and researched with our busy working lives. Swoop were in regular contact, checking various details via email. We had a terrific time and feel spoiled to have had them look after us so well.