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?”
Paul Miller's Trip:Birding Chilean Lakes & Chiloe Island
Paul Miller's Trip Date:
6th Feb - 22nd Feb 2019
Overall, how was your trip?
The highlight was seeing the puma mother and cub playing for an extended period of time. The landscapes were beautiful just like the pictures. The wildlife was fantastic. We were extremely lucky in seeing several endangered, endemic species, the southern river otter, the pudu deer, the huemel deer. Nancy checked off about 80% of the birds on the Chiloe Island/Lake District checklist, thanks to our great guide Rafa di Biase The employees of the resorts and the natives in Chiloe Island especially, were very friendly and helpful.
In one sentence, what did you think of Patagonia? Did it live up to your expectations?
We thoroughly enjoyed both Chiloe Island with it's great birding and wildlife and Torres del Paine Park's both wildlife and scenery.
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
We were very pleased with the service from Swoop from start to finish. Chloe's determination to get us booked where we wanted to be on short notice, and the regular reminders and information on what we needed to be thinking about were very reassuring. We were extremely happy that we spent 5 days on Chiloe Island to get to the private reserve in the South along with time to see the wooden churches. The stay at the Echo Domes was first class. Their staff is top of the line with friendliness and helpfulness. We became friends with a couple of the young women that we did excursions with. Our guide Palin and driver Javier, in TDP were also a joy to be with. They too were very helpful and thoughtful about us. The puma tracker Jose was the best. We did not need to use any of the Swoop support during the trip. All the transfers and accommodations were arranged flawlessly. We were totally satisfied with all the planning and logistics. The final itinerary was detailed enough that we were sure of what was planned for the next day and beyond. The flights were well planned as well, with the right amount of time between layovers to make comfortable connections.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
10 out of 10
How was your experience on Chiloe?
The highlight was probably the stay at the lodge at Tepuhueico Park. What a unique hotel and good food. Truly wild country. We also enjoyed the penguin and river excursion. The wildlife was good there. The birding was great primarily since we had the premier bird guide in that region, Rafa di Biase. We enjoyed all the accommodation. The Mero Gaucho hotel in Puerto Varas was probably the nicest. We also enjoyed walking around the city. The Palafito Waiwen was unique and well located. We considered Rafa de Biase one of the nicest guides we have had. We enjoyed being with him. His overall knowledge was fantastic. I know a couple of birders I am going to recommend to Bird Chile.
How was your experience in Torres del Paine?
We were able to watch a mother puma and half grown cub play and interact for about an hour both morning and evening. The scenery was fantastic. The view of the towers from our dome was spectacular. We were lucky enough to see a male and female huemal deer. We saw 4 different puma, a skunk, red and gray fox, of course lots of guanachos, condors and many shore birds. The hikes we chose were just right for us in length and interest. The staff at the Echo Dome were fantastic. The Grey Lake boat tour was an adventure. Winds of over 60 mph but we survived and the boat was safe. Really the trails we took were not overly crowded. We were expecting it to be worse. We heard the longer trails on the W were pretty crowded. All the guides we had were great. They are well trained at Echo Camp and love their jobs. Palin was also very good for the Puma tracking. The accommodation at Echo Camp was fine the food was great. Top of the line. The River camp on the puma tracking portion of the tour was a little too rustic for us. The long walk to the bathroom is getting difficult for us. The weather was not the best so that made it a little more bothersome. The view from that camp is great. All the transports were fine. We had to take a boat over the Paine River when we left Echo Camp since the river was flooded but that was not a problem. Just added to the adventure.
How were your wildlife encounters?
The puma with cub time as mentioned before was easily the highlight. Got some great photos and lots of time to enjoy watching them. We were patient and so was our support group. The puma tracking was more than we expected. One day was rainy and cold and we didn't see much. Also, the last day we canceled because of the expected bad weather but we should have gone anyway. It didn't matter we were so happy with the one good day that we had. The guides were great The accommodation was a bit Spartan for us due to the long walk to the bathroom from the tents and the showers were pretty spotty on how they worked. I assume Jose Vargas Wayaja, the puma guide extraordinaire is training the young guides that work with him to be his contact with English speaking clients. His lack of English would be a problem if we had not had Palin there to help us.
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We were completely satisfied with everything from planning to the actual trip to Chile. The only reason we probably wouldn't consider going back is that we have multiple other places we hope to visit and limited time and budget. Thank you so much for the experience.