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?”
Ashwin's Trip:W Trek: Heart of Torres
Ashwin's Trip Date:
8th Jan - 13th Jan 2020
What was your most memorable moment?
The view from Mirador Base Torres.
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?
9 out of 10
How likely is it that you would recommend Hotel Las Torres to a friend?
7 out of 10
Tell us about Hotel Las Torres
High-end, environment-friendly hotel with excellent staff. Great location, very good selection of excursions and knowledgeable guides. Good quality food and beverages and decent selection of vegetarian items on the menu. I think they offer the best rooms for the all-inclusive package guests and charge an arm and a leg. But the limitation of just 1 free daily shuttle between the hotel to El Calafate and that too at 7 am doesn't make sense. When the 7 am shuttle from the hotel reaches El Calafate at 12:30 pm (to catch the 1:50 pm flight to Buenos Aires), isn't it logical to offer a shuttle from El Calafate to hotel at 1:30 pm for passengers reaching from Ushuaia at 1:05 pm? We had to pay US$390 for that transfer! Also, if you choose two excursions that require crossing Lake Pehoe by ferry, you are required to pay for the ferry ride for the second excursion. This is not expected of a hotel that charges $730/person/night.
Tell us about Torres del Paine
Wonderful park with superb hiking trails, abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery. One of the very best for hiking and deservedly ranked the best park in the world for hiking. Distinctly different ecosystems (esp plant life) in different regions of the park. Saw a large number of guanacos, southern caracara, Andean condors, 9-banded armadillos, red and grey foxes, southern lapwings, Chilean swallows, parakeets and many other birds.
Tell us about the trekking
Trekking in Torres del Paine is wonderful. The trails are well-marked and cater to all types of trekkers, from low to high in difficulty. It is important to be appropriately equipped and wear the right type of layered clothing. It can be a very memorable experience with proper pacing. We experienced bitter cold, strong winds, rain, snow flurries and bright sunshine and warm weather in a space of a few hours on the 21 km (round-trip) trail to Mirador Base Torres. The trek up to French Valley was wonderful too. I have never experienced stronger wind gusts than the 90-120 kmph gusts going from Grey Lake parking to the marina where the catamaran is docked.
I wonder why the roads inside the Torres del Paine National Park aren't paved (tar/ concrete). The vehicles raise so much dust that it is bound to mar the clarity of air and increase air pollution.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
Plan 5-7 days since the travel times are long. E.g. Punta Arenas/ El Calafate to Torres del Paine takes 5-6 hours by van/ bus and they are the main gateways to the park. Though we didn't do this, leave 1-2 days for the Argentinian Patagonia (Perito Moreno and nearby glaciers, El Chalten) and 3-4 for Chilean Patagonia (Torres del Paine National Park). The all-inclusive packages at hotels are very expensive but very comfortable and convenient while camping out for days and eating at the refugios or eating camping food is not for everybody. A via media may be staying at Puerto Natales and doing daily excursions in the park or staying at Las Torres and doing your own excursions.
Do you have any recommendations for Swoop, or feedback about the team?
Pl raise the issues about offering at least two free shuttles between El Calafate and the hotel: 7 am and 1:30 pm. Also about not placing any restrictions on choice of excursions for those on all-inclusive packages (i.e. not asking guests to pay for lake Pehoe navigation if they choose 2 excursions involving lake crossing).