Lyndsay and her partner returned in February from a trekking holiday in Patagonia where she first did some day hikes from El Chalten. Next she embarked on a W Trek in Torres del Paine, finished off with a Kayaking trip out of the national park. The final segment of her adventure was a Trek Across Tierra del Fuego, finished off with a visit to a penguin colony. Here she tells us about each part of her trip, and her experiences in booking through Swoop and our partners…
‘We had an amazing time, it was so much more than we thought it would be, and such a beautiful place to be, it was a privilege to spend time in that part of the world.’
El Chalten: Personalised Trekking Itinerary
The service provided by your partners in El Chalten could not be faulted, they booked great hotels, which suited our needs and were clean, comfortable with welcoming staff.
The personalised itinerary was great as it gave us a good feeling for the area and allowed us to feel comfortable to hike independently. The day we spent with the guide was great as we went to an area outside the national park, somewhere we would have not gone by ourselves, and the guide was very knowledgeable and friendly.
I don’t think we would have changed the itinerary but if we had had more time available a days rest in El Calafate before heading of to Puerto Natales would have been nice.
W Trek & Kayaking in Torres del Paine
The operator who ran our Self Guided W Trek and Kayak trip in Torres del Paine provided an excellent service. The guide for the kayaking part of the trip was very good, and was from the US so language was not a problem, he was very knowledgeable took us to a great campsite. All of the equipment provided was in excellent condition.
The only suggestion we would make about this trip is perhaps to walk the W Trek in the reverse direction, as you would then have a great view of the mountains as you walked.
The only hiccup here (and indeed of the trip as a whole) was that our hotel at the end of the kayaking trip had not been booked (I’m not sure if this was down to the hotel or the operator). The hotel moved us to another hotel, which unfortunately was not great, it had no hot water, or heating, and breakfast was not available early in the morning, and we had to leave early to get the bus to Rio Grande. Although not a major issue, an apology from them would have been nice.
I would recommend taking a padlock with you so that you can store your luggage in the lockers at the refugios. You can leave luggage at Refugio Torre, Refugio Paine Grande and at Campo Italiano whist you walk up the valleys, this is useful as it eases the amount you needed to carry during the day.
We would have loved to spend an extra day in Puerto Natales after this part of the trip, but unfortunately we were on a tight schedule.
Tierra del Fuego Crossing
This was an amazing part of the trip, if somewhat hard work at times, an excellent trek. It may have been good to make the trekking each day more equal in time, but the nature of the terrain and the type of trip it is would make this very difficult to achieve. Nonetheless, it may be something that could be born in mind.
Our guide was knowledgeable, competent, friendly, amusing and inspired confidence when we where in the middle of nowhere and made us feel very comfortable with what we where doing. He looked after us very well and had even brought a Spanish /English dictionary along for times of miscommunication.
It was a great trip, however I do think an extra day after crossing the Beban Pass to camp in the valley would have been brilliant as the mountains where just so wonderful to look at.
Swoop provided a great service; you were so helpful and knowledgeable. Your partners were very professional and provided the service they said they would- there was no hassle!
The service provided by yourselves was second to none and we could have not asked for anything more, you were always ready and able to help with any query no matter how small. We will recommend you unreservedly.
I am sure you can gather our highlight was trekking across Tierra del Fuego. However we would say this is trekking and more! No paths, marked routes, climbing over tress, walking across rivers, through bogs, along the sides of valleys on scree for up to 12 hours a day. It was amazing and beautiful and tranquil but anyone undertaking it should realise it is not an easy trek it is serious hard work.
‘Once again thank you so much you made a dream come true and we had the most wonderful time.’