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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?”
Jenny's Trip:Classic Santiago Highlights
Jenny's Trip Date:
8th Jan - 24th Jan 2020
What was your most memorable moment?
The entire experience at Torres del Paine EcoCamp. Everyone there believes in the power of nature and sustainability and human connection. It was truly a magical place.
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 EcoCamp
EcoCamp was spectacular. It is so well planned out and efficiently run. Our room/dome was perfect. The food was amazing, and I was grateful that they accommodated my gluten-free requests. The people - while I realize you can't control that! - were so delightful to be with. Their guides, in particular Roberto and Martina (married couple), were wonderful. The selection of hikes was always interesting and I enjoyed them all.
Tell us about Torres del Paine
Tell us about El Calafate & El Chalten
El Calafate was a bit of a culture shock after being in the 'wilderness' for five days. While we didn't love the town, it was obviously the place to stay to get to Perito Mereno glacier, which was spectacular. When we arrived at the hotel (Madre Tierre) there was no one there but the cleaning woman, and it was an awkward introduction to the hotel. Luckily my daughter spoke Spanish and was able to communicate a bit with her. We were contacted by phone by someone who explained everything, but it still was a bit uncomfortable. Also, we were to have 2 hours after returning from the glacier before our van left to head to El Chalten; instead, we had 30 minutes (partly because we departed the van early when we realized it was stopping at every single hotel, and we didn't know how long it would be before we got to ours!) to try to get money at the ATM and grab a dinner to go. It was frustrating, but luckily we had been to the coffee shop near the hotel and knew they could get us something quickly. Otherwise, we would have been quite hungry and frustrated! El Chalten was charming. Our hotel was fine. Our guide for the 3 day/2 night overnight was wonderful, and that experience was fantastic. I didn't know if I was capable of hiking that far, but I did, and it was a great feeling! The refugio and the guide's campsite were both wonderful.
Tell us about Santiago
Our guide was lovely, but she made us feel that Santiago wasn't a very safe city and that if I pulled my camera out to shoot pictures it might be stolen. I know that's always a possibility; I've traveled quite a bit. It was just an odd feeling. That may have tainted how I felt about Santiago as a whole; we certainly didn't fall in love with it, though we thoroughly enjoyed the hotel and the 'wine hour' that they hosted that evening, with a delightful cross-section of travelers who laughed and chatted for hours.
Tell us about Buenos Aires
Our tour was okay, but it was primarily car-based, and it was easy to lose interest since we had been traveling so much. I've been to BA before and had an amazing guide who made everything interesting and had a story for everything. This guide was fine, but whether it was our exhaustion or because we were in the car so much it just wasn't engaging. She and the driver were great about picking us up from our late flight and coordinating all our travel.
Tell us about the trekking
Emi was our guide for the overnight camping trek. He was great. Very understanding, knowledgeable, thoughtful, etc. I would totally recommend it to others, even if they aren't typically campers (like me!) or think they can hike that far (like me!).
Tell us about the ice hiking
Andres was our guide. He was great. The ice hiking was very cool, and I'm really glad we did it. I would totally recommend it, though I think the mini-hike is adequate; I don't imagine the longer hike would be much more rewarding.
I wish I had had some money with me on the overnight trekking; I would have tipped the refugio and the guide camp people.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
The packing lists are spot on. We felt very prepared. The only thing I wish I hadn't carted along was my tripod. I only used it once, and didn't even really need it then. There just isn't a need for it, or time to use it while you're hiking!
Has your experience changed your perspective in any way?
I discovered I can do more hiking than I ever thought I could.
Do you have any recommendations for Swoop, or feedback about the team?
Iain and Hilary were absolutely wonderful. The initial itinerary was almost perfect, and Iain was able to grab the last dome available at the EcoCamp, for which were were extremely grateful. The EcoCamp was a definite highlight. Hilary answered every question I had, and her responses were often personal instead of a "stock" answer, and that was appreciated.