United States Of America
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?”
CJ's Trip Date:
19th Nov - 30th Nov 2018
Overall, how was your trip?
Our trip was GREAT! Some of the biggest highlights were the Towers in Torres del Paine, Mirador Britannico in the French Valley, Perito Moreno glacier, and the hike to Laguno de los Tres in Los Glaciares near El Chalten. Oh, and how could I forget the Zodiac boat ride and "glamping" at the Serrano campsite... that was awesome! I have already begun to tell my family and friends, basically the moment I touched down! I was surprised at how full the schedule was... I expected day hikes and then time to rest, but they were full, good days, and that was wonderful! We had some fantastic guides, and the landscapes were grander than I thought. More glaciers than I could have imagined! We didn't see a puma, but saw so much other wildlife, and at every turn, which was really great.
In one sentence, what did you think of Patagonia? Did it live up to your expectations?
Patagonia was actually beyond my expectations. It was a magical, breathtaking place that continually surprised and rejuvenated me!
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
Very pleased with booked with Swoop. It made the trip run SO SMOOTHLY, and really allowed my father and I to be "on vacation" and leave the details to Swoop. It's a big area, with lots of connections and timing to make, and going with Swoop allowed us to DO SO MUCH, but without really feeling the hassle. That was totally worth it! This trip has a GREAT itinerary that really is full of the best highlights of the region, in my opinion. The only other thing I could think to add would be possibly a fun "sport activity" like horseback riding or kayaking near the glacier in Torres del Paine, but other than that it was awesome! Our guides did a really nice job of taking us to wineries and places to experience more of the culture of the area without having to "schedule it" into the official itinerary. The only time we contacted Swoop was when our flight got slightly delayed from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, but the local partners were clearly prepared for it. Swoop answered A LOT of questions that I posed before the trip, and that made it so much easier to really go with confidence that we had the right things packed and information on where we were going. I felt like the final itinerary gave enough information to know what we were doing, but wasn't overly detailed to make it confusing or be too much. We were overall very happy to go with Swoop's trip and it really maximized our experience in Patagonia!
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
10 out of 10
How was your hike in Torres del Paine?
After hiking in Argentina, we wondered how good Chile could be... but Torres del Paine was EVEN BETTER, if that is somehow possible. We had EXCELLENT WEATHER which certainly helped us enjoy things. The hiking was perhaps slightly more difficult than advertised, especially the 2nd day going from Torres Central to Frances Domes... so maybe a more realistic perspective on that would have been nice. The boat ride into Bernardo O'Higgins plus the Zodiac was a real special treat that made this unique. It was a restful day that really got us prepared for going into Torres del Paine. The Towers and everything were somehow LARGER and more grand than what you see in pictures, which was truly breathtaking. The majority of the wildlife that we encountered was birds. We didn't see any pumas or deer, but that is difficult to see on the busy "W." We managed to glimpse some of the red-headed woodpeckers which was awesome! And many condors, guanacos, caracarras, and others along the way. It really was a great time for wildflowers as well, and the guides made it more special by being able to know what we were looking at and why they were important. The hikes were definitely rewarding. On our day into the French valley our guide let us decide whether we wanted to go all the way to Mirador Britannico at the end. I canNOT imagine NOT going there. I believe in the itinerary it usually stops at the Frances view, but it should definitely go to Mirador Britannico every time if people can manage. So worth it! Swoop's partner, Chile Nativo, was fabulous! Top notch! And our guide, Chuma, was a 10/10. He was phenomenal! Very passionate about the region, but also gave us all appropriate space to enjoy on our own. Accommodations were great. Really glad that we were inside at Refugios and the Frances Domes. It made it much nicer overall! One little glitch was that we didn't get to see/witness the "traditional BBQ" at the Estancia on our final night. This appeared to be an error on the hotel's end (Mirador del Payne) and NOT Chile Nativo's fault. Chuma was mentioning that they were under new management at the hotel, and they weren't prepared for us even though Chile Nativo had confirmed. This was a slight bummer in ending our trip because I was looking forward to experiencing a little bit of the estancias that we had been driving past, but the dinner they made was excellent, so it was a good consolation. Once again, I want to reiterate that it appeared to be the fault of the hotel and not Chile Nativo.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
Expect it to be more modern even though it's a remote area. There's lots of modern amenities like electricity and WiFi available almost at all hotels/refugios. Make sure to have a GREAT pair of hiking boots for the trip. It will save you. If you can, try and save time on the front/back end of your trip for Buenos Aires/Santiago as fun cities to visit. Pack less than what you think you need. You will re-wear things. Everyone is hiking, and so it's just natural. Be open to all sorts of weather, because all sorts are coming. Be patient on the bus ride from El Calafate to Puerto Natales. It's long. Just expect that.
Anything else? Tell us anything you’d like to share that we forgot to ask! It’s ok to leave this empty too :-)
There wasn't a section for specific feedback on our section in Los Glaciares, so I'd just like to say that it was great to START the trip there and end in Torres del Paine. I felt like Chile was slightly grander, so it was good to do that 2nd. Our guides in Argentina, Sofia and Rocio, were excellent! Sofia especially led us from day to day and was very caring, answered our questions, made restaurant reservations and recommendations for the group (!!!), and overall just made everything run like clockwork. She brought alfajors from a local bakery along on our hike, along with homemade teas and yerba mate, and so that was really grand. I think everyone really needs to know HOW STRENUOUS the Fitz Roy hike is. That was a long day, a great day, but long and difficult. You need to be in good shape to do that hike. I didn't feel like Swoop was super accurate in reporting how long the bus ride was from El Calafate to Puerto Natales. It was easily 6 hours before accounting for crossing the two borders, and that took us close to 4 hours itself, so if we had been given an itinerary with 9-10 hours estimated, and it ended up being shorter, that would have been better. The border process was very slow. Expecting/knowing that ahead of time would have made things much better. Loved our ice hike on Perito Moreno and I really feel that should just be the included activity there, with the boat trip being optional. You would do a boat trip to Grey Glacier, and after hiking for 3 days already the boat trip with little hikes (as reported by our traveling companions) wasn't as great as the ice hike. Recommend that more! I really believe this itinerary was phenomenal. Thank you for an excellent trip! My dad and I have memories, truly, for a lifetime!