Simon travelled to Patagonia in January 2013 where he visited the ‘End of the World’ in Tierra del Fuego, and explored in and around El Chalten, where he stayed in an eco friendly camp at mount Fitz Roy, and trekked and ice hiked on the Viedma and Perito Moreno Glaciers. Here he tells us some more about his experiences…
What did you think of Swoop Patagonia?
Brilliant… everything was superb.
What did you think of the operator that looked after you on your Trek In & Around Ushuaia ?
I would have no hesitation in recommending the services of this operator in general, and my guide Luis in particular.
I completed a wonderful 3 day trek (Oveja Valley to Laguna del Caminante, Superior Valley to Mount Falso Tonelli and Laguna del Caminante to Ushuaia via Andorra Valley).
Luis was extremely knowledgeable of the track, which, as you can’t see large parts of it is extremely useful, as well as the geology and flora and fauna of the area.
A certified guide Luis set an appropriate pace and speaks good English. We decided to explore a different route on the way back to Laguna del Caminante and I agreed to this as I have complete confidence of Luis’s knowledge of the area and his ability as a guide. As a result of this taking this route back I can say that I have seen views of Superior Valley that very few others apart from guanaco and puma have seen and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been with a guide who inspires that level of confidence.
What did you think of the operator that looked after you in El Chalten?
I would have no hesitations in recommending them, they were absolutely brilliant. I used their services for the last 60% of a trip to Patagonia. They arranged airport transfers, accommodation, general transportation and hiking guides and it all went like clockwork.
Before the trip started I asked lots of questions which were always answered quickly and fully. Nothing was ever too much trouble particularly as LAN Argentina (which I booked directly) changed ALL of my flights without telling me which caused all sorts of changes to my itinerary at the last minute, which the operator incorporated without surcharges or delays.
The accommodation was a mixture of good quality hotels and a log cabin at Eco Camp FitzRoy.
What did you think of the Fitz Roy Eco Camp?
On arrival at the Eco Camp I was greeted by a lovely group of buildings made largely of wood surrounded by forest and a glacier melt water stream.
The staff at the Eco Camp were as helpful and friendly as the rest of the team, again nothing was too much trouble, and all are multi-lingual Spanish/English speaking
The communal area has an open fire and a bar (the prices in which are in line with the surrounding area). I had fine steak dinner with a very acceptable red wine and Mount Fitzroy as a backdrop – difficult to think of a more idyllic situation.
There are spotlessly clean single sex toilet and shower facilities with plentiful hot water after about 5:00 when the wood burner has had a chance to do its job.
If you want peace and quiet combined with good home cooking in comfort in the wild I can’t think of anywhere better – this is a near to getting close to nature in luxury as I can imagine
The individual, two single bed cabins have their own patios and electric light/sockets and heating
Meals at Fitz Roy Eco Camp
Fernanda who prepares the meals is an absolute gem and with her husband Marcos they create a real “home from home” atmosphere.
Meals typically consisted of:
Breakfast – Juice, selection of cereals, toast with jams and spreads. A selection of cakes and a variety of tea and coffee.
Packed lunch- a very tasty vegetable pie or sandwich or rice salad, chocolate biscuits, muesli bar, fruit and sweets.
Dinner - 4 courses including hors d’oeuvre. The food they served was freshly prepared, delicious (I know Argentina has a reputation for good beef but I had some of the tastiest steaks I have ever had there) and plentiful.
Guides at the Fitz Roy Eco Camp
The guides (Juan and Huego sorry if I’ve spelt the name wrongly) were superb, they both spoke excellent English, paced the walk perfectly and were clearly both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about both the local geology, flora and fauna.
Advice for other travellers about Fitz Roy Eco Camp
The Eco Camp at Fitz Roy is 17km from El Chalten, so you need to bring reading material or be prepared to empty your mind of worldly cares for a bit and just take in nature.
Happily there is no Internet or mobile phone connectivity but the on-site live in staff are on call 24 hours and have access to any emergency services.