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?”
David's Trip Date:
19th Feb - 25th Mar 2023
What was your most memorable moment?
The activities we did with Swoop providers were part of an extended trip in Chile. Every day we have spent in Chile (and a bit in Argentina) either with a Swoop activity or traveling on our own has been fun and enjoyable. We have met many great people - locals as well as other travelers. Having said that there is no ONE thing that stands out, since the entire trip has been memorable.
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?
8 out of 10
On a scale of 0 to 10, how would you rate your trip: 9-Day Torres del Paine Circuit?
9 out of 10
On a scale of 0 to 10, how would you rate your trip: Best of the Chilean Lake District?
8 out of 10
On a scale of 0 to 10, how would you rate your trip: Trek Cerro Castillo National Reserve?
8 out of 10
Tell us about EcoCamp
EcoCamp is quite the arrangement. Very luxurious. Our only regret is that we signed up too late to sleep in the domes. Food and service was excellent.
Tell us about Torres del Paine
We did not have expectations. Having said that, TdP is spectacular! We had a terrific hike on the O Circuit. Our guides and porters were great. The other people with us in our group were all super. All of us - hikers, porters, and guides - bonded nicely. I would tell other travellers to understand in advance the hiking challenge, and that the park is crowded, but not overly so.
Tell us about Chilean Lakes
Birds Chile is an interesting company. The activities are fun and give one a good taste of the area. I would suggest that Swoop promote the ethics of Birds Chile more, as they are very focused on the environment and sustainability. This is a huge positive that should be promoted more, as it may appeal to more travelers. It's not just about the activities, like hiking, horseback riding, etc., but how the guides of these activities care deeply about the region and they share that passion using the activities to connect visitors to the area.
Tell us about Aysen
Aysen region is amazing, and this could be promoted in a big way also. I really believe that Swoop should connect guest immediately to the local organizer, Mary Brys, who also has her story to share about the area, the community, etc. Not only that, the initial logistics of the trek in Cerro Castillo were a mystery to us. In other words, what the Casona hostal was all about, what the timing of events would be, meals, etc. I knew we would be taken care of, but I just had no idea how things would unfold, once we were dropped off at the hostal, La Casona. The hiking is pretty challenging at times, and given the backpacking component, it would be wise to connect guests to Mary, so that she can describe details better. Also in our case, Ella was having some knee issues, and it would have been good to be able to communicate directly with Mary.
Tell us about the Trekking
Trekking guides in both TdP and Cerro Castillo were terrific. Knowledgeable about local flora, fauna, geology and geography. They were caring and always putting the interests of the hikers first, assuring our safety and our enjoyment. I can't say enough good things about all of the guides. They all had a passion for the parks where they worked, taking great pride.
Things I appreciated about SWOOP were: advice and suggestions by Sarah Schneider; great organization in terms of airport pickups and dropoffs, quality of all the activities we did, which means not only the activities (hiking, horseback riding, etc.), but also the very high quality of the local providers of the activities. I really think the missing piece was that we were not connected with the local provider organizations in Cerro Castillo and Lakes District. TdP is so much more popular and organized, that we had a better sense of things from the get go. One more comment: as mentioned, Sarah Schneider was super helpful in various aspects of our travels. Cecilia Paz Mesa Furniss was also super nice and a pleasure to talk and email with. I understand that Sarah is the upfront sales person, and that once the activities are purchased, she hands things off to the local contact, Cecilia in our case. As nice as Cecilia is, I don't think this sales structure works well. A better option would have been to connect us with the local companies. I may be incorrect, but when a couple of issues came up - like Ella's knee - we contacted Cecilia, and she contacted the local tour companies. All this did was delay communication, through no fault of Cecilia. It's just an unnecessary step, in my opinion. It would have been faster to talk with the local guides and have the ability to discuss the situation, since they are the ones who understand what will be taking place. Anyway, I hope this is useful feedback that could be helpful for the future. Overall we were happy with Swoop and the offerings, as we could have only organized all of this on our own if we had a lot more time to plan, which we did not! Thank you for everything.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
Read, research, and talk people with experience traveling in Patagonia
Has your experience changed your perspective in any way?
Yes! What a great big continent South America is! So much to offer in terms of the people, the environment, the history. We travel a fair amount, and we love exploring new places, using whatever foreign language skills we have, and getting the opportunity to talk to as many locals as possible to gain an understanding of their personal stories, as well as their opinions about their region and their country. So interesting.
Do you have any recommendations for Swoop, or feedback about the team?
I already put feedback above...
How prepared and excited for Patagonia did you feel?
I would say we were pretty well prepared, but not 100% for the trekking. We made do nonetheless, so there was no problem. As for excitement, we get excited for all of our trips!
Would you consider another trip to Patagonia with Swoop?
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