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?”
Nichola's Trip:Classic El Calafate and El Chalten
Nichola's Trip Date:
17th Dec - 5th Jan 2020
What was your most memorable moment?
The high standards of Argentinian national parks including the very high mountain guide training regime that provided us with enjoyable and interesting experiences.
Which of the following best describes your adventure?
On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend or colleague?
10 out of 10
Tell us about Hotel Las Torres
At first we had concerns about the hotel that had loads of customers and seemed like a centre parks that we hadn't foreseen. However, we fully adjusted our attitude for the better! The guides and staff were amazing, skilled, caring and entertaining at times. The accommodation was in keeping with the surrounds. Massive added bonus of the horse back riding with excellent instructors and very kind horses. Many Jorges that over delivered in skill and commitment. And a superb kitchen garden run by Dan .
Tell us about Torres del Paine
Yes it did. We stayed close to the hotel and did the full day Cerro Paine hike, myself half on horseback and Alan the full day treck. Great scenery and amazing views of the towers, albeit a tough hike and ride. Also, we did the Patagon walk in the 'puma restaurant' but didn't see any, although fellow guests saw puma on two other occasions.
Tell us about El Calafate & El Chalten
El Chalten was our favourite for wildlife and the three days of hikes with professional mountain guides. Garden of Eden if there ever was one - we passed close to wonderfully tame birds and gorgeous plants. We'd say - be prepared and keep going as the terrain is tough and chat to other hikers it's great fun.
Tell us about Peninsula Valdes
Amazing guide Leandro - interested and interesting. The weather was challenging with unusual north winds, but Leo adjusted the plan so that we saw penguins, sea lions and gorgeous commerson's dolphins (panda dolphins), one with a baby calf. Be prepared for large spaces the peninsula is far bigger than we'd expected, but the same is true for all of Argentina.
Tell us about Welsh Patagonia
Again Leandro was thoughtful and helped us with our fact finding about a family relative who spent some time in the area in 1911. The Welsh were very kind and proud of their history, their spoken Welsh put Alan to shame and we were invited back when he'd learnt to speak it! Now we truly understand that they are more Welsh than anywhere. - it's a way of thinking and being. We were completely in awe and thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in Welsh/ immigrant culture. We'd loved to have spent more time there going further west to Esquel - next time.
Tell us about Tierra del Fuego
Ushaia was our first stop after Buenos Aires and a lovely way to start. Our choice of hotel was luxury, but overshadowed a bit by the number of cruise ship guests which could feel overwhelming. Loved all our trips including to the national park where we say our first red headed Magellanic woodpeckers in action - delightful. We've lovely videos of penguins and loved lunch at the Haberton Estancia. A couple of seriously wonderful eateries in Ushaia where guests happy to wait an hour for a table to eat king crabs.
Tell us about Buenos Aires
The city tour Swoop arranged gave us a great introduction on Day 1. We were fortunate independently to get tickets for Swan Lake at the Colon Theatre that was amazing architecture as well. We loved staying in Palermo, thanks Swoop for that idea.
Tell us about the trekking
We'd recommend all our guides.
Tell us about the road trip
Our trips were efficient. Planning needs careful attention as we felt some of the journeys between Chile and Argentina could have been avoided had we appreciated the distances freeing up more time for elsewhere, perhaps flexing our locations slightly.
Just some constructive feedback for Swoop. One thing we overlooked was that if we'd visited the Valdes Peninsula first we'd have likely seen the great right whales, but they'd completely gone by the time we got there. Something to consider for other visitors. We appreciate logistics are tricky but we had muddled paperwork and a mixture of Swoop contacts none of which were the one specified pre-arrival. Moreover, not sure that the contacts were able to adapt their communication styles to a wide variety of visitors to the point that it was irritating. And, on arrival at BA we only got half the detailed plan from the pick up guide, perhaps Swoop used two different agents? Things worked out but the paperwork was a mess and that was a shame as things actually ran ok.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
Take time to research and think through the journey. Take less baggage than you think you need. Listen to advice about hiking and wearing layers, think the outfits through. No need for anything fancy, except for Palermo-wear, where for a couple of days I was massively underdressed. Don't miss El Chalten, the highlight ,and look for wonderful coffee shops like en Paisa and ice creameries for post-hike treats. If you're not a hiker do the hikes anyway...Loma del Pliegu Tombado is considered by guides to be the best - they were right, although our hike was cut short by terrific winds and hail. This is Patagonia, part of the experience...
Has your experience changed your perspective in any way?
I had no idea Argentina had such amazing geography and the hiking experiences have triggered a desire in me to simply go off on more hikes. To be more adventurous so to say. We will return to explore other parts of South America as we've been inspired by the existence of such landscapes, nature and lovely friendly people welcoming us so far away from home. The details of nature are very therapeutic and this experience is unique for me.
Do you have any recommendations or feedback for the Swoop team?
As above on the paperwork and some of the lengths of transitions although the efficiency within this was great.
6 people found this review helpful