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?”
Kristen MacClenahan's Trip Date:
7th Jan - 17th Jan 2019
Overall, how was your trip?
I am a penguin liver so for me the highlights were our visits to the penguin colonies at San Lorenzo and Punta Tombo. I also really enjoyed my ice hike on Perito Moreno Glacier and the Laguna de Los Tres hike. The views from Laguna de Los Tres was the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen. For me, the most magical moment was sitting on the beach at San Lorenzo penguin colony with no one else around for at least an hour. The peace and quiet really helped us feel at one with nature. We sat and watched the penguins. A baby chick came up and rested his head in my husband’s lap. Sea lions were swimming along the shore and the penguins all ran up and surrounded us as they fled the shore. It was fantastic!!!!
In one sentence, what did you think of Patagonia? Did it live up to your expectations?
Patagonia was fabulous and fulfilled my expectations.
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
I have glad a booked with a specialist. Everything ran smoothly until the last day- see below. Our local tour guide (Roger Rhys) and his angency bear Puerto Madryn were OUTSTANDING. the airline cancelled our flight on the last day back to Buenos Aires. Both Carol locally and Ange at swoop were extremely helpful in getting everything rearranged. My only complaint is that when I called the emergency number listed on my itinerary regarding the flight cancellation it was not a 24 hour. It was a business hour only number. A swoop member responded immediately the next morning and sent me a new number.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
10 out of 10
How was your experience in El Calafate and El Chalten?
In El Chalten, we had a great time. We stayed at Destino del Sur which was fabulous. The staff there were very helpful and accommodating. The location was great and close to the hiking trails. The logistics for transfers and lunches were taken care of and ran smoothly. We did the hike to Laguna de los Tres- which was my favorite. It was absolutely beautiful. A very demanding hike but worth it. Our guide Leo was very good. We also did the hike to Cagliero Glacier which was also stunning. It was very hard and required climbing up rock faces. I would recommend making sure people are up for the physical challenge and not afraid of heights. Our guide (Mila if think) was great. We also hiked to the Waterfall at Salta which I would recommend for a nice easy hike for folks that are wanting to recover from the hard, all day hikes. In Calafate, we stayed at Koi Aiken which was not the first hotel of choice. However, I thought this hotel was very comfortable, nice, and in a great location. I would stay here again. I liked that it was away from the downtown location so it was quiet and peaceful. The food was good. If folks are going to Perito Moreno its a great location because it is the last stop for pick up and the first drop off on the transport. Its location on the lake is great. We had a nice morning waking around Lago Argentino and photographing the birds and flamingos. We did the big ice hike on the Perito Moreno glacier. I was a little apprehensive because of all the warnings of difficulty about the hike. I actually found this to be the easiest of the three all day hikes we did. Still demanding but easily doable. I would recommend if folks are up to it to do this instead of the short ice hike. On the long hike, you can see in the middle of the glacier with nothing but ice surrounding you. It is much less crowded. On the short hikes, 600 people a day come through and you lose the serenity of the location. Give a tip for folks to bring something waterproof to sit on for lunch on the glacier.
How was your time in Peninsula Valdes?
We stayed at hotel Peninsula Valdes and Faro Punta Delgado. Both locations were comfortable. My only comment about Faro Punta Delgado is that English is very limited here so make sure your travelers have some basic Spanish. The hotel Peninsula Valdes was great. The staff was very helpful and accommodating. We ended up staying a total of 4 nights here. On one stay, the A/C was broken and they upgraded us to a FABULOUS room on the 8th floor. Our flight was canceled and we had to stay an extra day here on the end of the trip. They gave us a discount and let us have late check out. I would definitely stay here again. If someone is looking for something to eat other than grilled meat and potatoes I would highly recommend Chona. Just a block from the hotel, it had a very varied menu and even had some gluten free options!!! Our guides and wildlife encounters were fabulous. See that section. Roger was also helpful in telling us what months are best for which wildlife in case we ever wanted to return. We had our flight cancelled and needed to stay an extra night in Puerto Madryn. Carol from the local agency and Ange from Swoop were awesome at handling the rearrangements. This made a very stressful situation less stressful and for this I am very grateful. I have never used an agency before for travel and usually make all the arrangements myself. I am definitely glad I had Swoop to help me with all these logistics. If I travel to Patagonia, Antartica, or the Arctic again in the future I will definitely be calling Swoop to help.
How were your wildlife encounters?
Our wildlife encounters were FANTASTIC. I went to Peninsula Valdes specifically for penguins. Our guide Roger Rhys was FABULOUS. We spent a total of three days with him. He was knowledgable and we stopped every time we saw a new animal. He then told us all about the species. We saw guanaco, armadillos, rheas, hawks, sea lions, elephant seals, other birds, and of course PENGUINS!! If someone is interested in penguins I would recommend visiting both colonies- San Lorenzo and Punta Tombo. They are very different experiences. At San Lorenzo, it is less crowded and you have the opportunity to sit on the beach and just watch the penguins. We enjoyed sitting for at least an hour in total isolation with the penguins. We watched as they fed, sunbathed, and ran away from sea lions. The best part was when a baby chick walked up to my husband and rested in head in his lap. Another time, the penguins fled the shore when a seal lion can near. They ran up the beach and surrounded us. We became one of the flock. It was awesome. Punta Tombo was also great in its magnitude. I also liked being able to observe the penguins from above. You could watch them playing in the water and coming in and out of the sea. It was a different experience and also great. I would recommend having folks bring a box lunch on these all day excursions. The food options are very limited. It would be nicer to have a box lunch and then just stop somewhere to have a picnic without having to fight the crowds or lose time waiting in line.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
Do your research to know all of what Patagonia has to offer so you can tailor your trip to get the most out of your experience. Make sure you are in good physical shape if you plan to do lots of hiking. Be flexible and be ready for any and all weather conditions.