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?”
Marianne Smith's Trip Date:
28th Feb - 19th Mar 2018
Overall, how was your trip?
There were many highlights, some via Swoop's efforts and others through our individually arranged trips. Landscapes are amazing, thank goodness my husband was driving on the lengthy trips. Wildlife at Iguazu was fantastic, from the coati's; monkeys, beautiful butterflies, tree snake (not my favourite). We met some really lovely people; were really impressed by the police & security in Buenos Aires and the cleanliness of the city. What to tell the grandchildren - it's hard to know where to stop, but I think the waterfalls on the Argentinian side at Iguazu were really spectacular. The main surprises were the bike racks on the BA trains - so efficient and space saving; the clear and simple directions when taking transport in Buenos Aires, particularly the lit up sign boards inside the train carriages ; the transport & tourist police - again not seen in London & very reassuring; the cleanliness of Buenos Aires.
In one sentence, what did you think of Patagonia? Did it live up to your expectations?
It was great... every day a new experience.
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
I am pleased that Swoop helped to outline our itinerary and that I was able to add sections to it. The Iguazu section was particularly good and our guide on the Argentinian side (Beatrice) was very well informed and nice. The Marpatag cruise was expensive but excellent and we really enjoyed it. I had got to the point of booking this without Swoop, but decided to include it in with their itinerary. Initially Swoop's service was slow and we were passed from one person to another (perhaps partly because one of the girls was in Argentina and my initial contact thought it best to wait for her return & up-to-date advice). Not all of the staff are fully informed or know about the areas that I was interested in visiting. The service improved as we got nearer to leaving. As soon as we arrived in BA I received a text from the local rep Natalia & we exchanged messages. We did not need her services, but it was reassuring to know that she was there. We did not need Swoop's services during our holiday at all and all the taxi pick-ups and trips worked perfectly.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
8 out of 10
How was your experience in Buenos Aires?
We explored Buenos Aires by ourselves. The hotel (Casasur Palermo) was adequate. The bar/breakfast room is a real waste of space and they should use it more as it has no atmosphere at all, perhaps even open the bar to the public in the evening. We got fed up with listening to Cold Play over breakfast every day & the fresh fruit was soggy and unappetising. We loved the atmosphere in Buenos Aires and were impressed by the (apparent) lack of crime; the cleanliness of the streets and the tourist police and inspectors checking on taxis/Uber. We watched tango at Plaza Derrego one afternoon which was very pleasant and preferable, I think, to a tango show. Found a great vegetarian restaurant near the hotel called Artemisia. Disappointed by La Boca which is very touristy.
How was your time at the Iguazu Falls?
The falls were/are spectacular particularly on the Argentinian side. Our guide, Beatrice was very good and Marco the previous day. The way the area has been managed is excellent, particularly the walkways on the Argentinian side, allowing excellent viewing opportunities without being too crowded. As an Australian lady pointed out to me & contrary to Oz, these walkways guide the tourists around and stop them venturing into the jungle and destroying the habitat & frightening the animals, unlike Oz where the "greenies" as she said, don't allow a few trees to be removed to create tourist trails and as a result 4x4s race around destroying the countryside. We saw lots of coatis; brown monkeys; a cayman; a tree snake; beautiful and unusual birds including a toucan and many beautiful butterflies. Our accommodation at Loi Suites was nice and jungly and the room was fine. The swimming pools needed a good clean and the food was awful, but I don't go on holiday for the food so it was not a major problem for us. All the collections were fine.
How was your experience in El Calafate and El Chalten?
El Calafate is really a tourist stopping off point. We saw the glaciers from the Marpatag cruise & I'm very glad that we spent the money to do that and didn't go on excursions from El Calafate. We rented a car & visited the dinosaur museum which was very interesting (and the incredible skeletons at El Chocon (Ernesto Bachman museum) and Carmen Funes Museum near Neuquen. We arranged our own trip to La Leona estancia to see the petrified forest and more dinosaur bones which was also a great trip.
How was your Patagonian cruise?
Just 13 people on the trip, which was great. Our guide, Stella was very knowledgeable and always friendly & smiley. We experienced the right amount of trips and hikes, all really interesting and learnt a lot. Very little wildlife - birds mostly, including condors. The staff on board were all excellent and the food was imaginative and tasty and the wine very good. Our only complaint was that the boat was extremely hot & the cabins very hot. I mentioned this to Stella and she passed it on to the captain & he said he'd turn it off for a while, but it didn't make any difference. Collection and delivery back to the hotel - spot on.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
I think next time I would start with looking at internal flights and try to plan the route as efficiently as possible so that there is less time wasted on travel. It is a good idea to get off the beaten track, but we were fortunate in having an Argentinian friend who took us to polo (he is a polo player); to a Mapuchea rodeo and fishing on one of the lakes. Even so we did venture off on our own to visit the dinosaur museums and enjoyed seeing the vast landscape and wondering about all the shrines to Gauchito Gil. Packing less clothes & walking boots are essential.
Anything else? Tell us anything you’d like to share that we forgot to ask! It’s ok to leave this empty too :-)
Re the photos, my husband took many photos, plus videos. He is currently making a little programme, as he often does with our holidays. It's a nice memory and brings a lot of things back, otherwise forgotten. He may post it on YouTube when it's finished & if so I'll let you know.