Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Swoop in for new tours in Patagonia

Specialist tour operator, Swoop Patagonia, is adding a raft of brand new treks and accommodation to its offering for 2019.

New Treks

Tierra del Fuego: Two new, guided three-day treks, both of which start and finish in Ushuaia, provide seasoned hikers with the opportunity to experience technical routes and wild camping in remote areas that, while they are easily accessible from the city, are frequented by very few people.

The Torres del Rio Chico Traverse features a challenging trail from sea level up to high altitude lagoons, where spectacular views of the Andes are an impressive reward, while the Mountains to Sea Trek takes in the iconic Mount Olivia, ice hiking on the Albino Glacier, the emerald lake and the shores of the Beagle Channel.

Both of these new options are exclusive to Swoop Patagonia, are available for groups or on a private basis and start from £355pp and £379pp respectively. Prices include mountain guide, meals and hot drinks, tented accommodation and transfers.

Kawesqar National Park: Accessible from Puerto Natales, the busy gateway to Torres del Paine, which attracts floods of tourists, The Thunder Pass offers an alternative route that is practically deserted. Located in the Kawesqar National Park, one of 17 parks in the new Ruta de los Parques, Thunder Pass can be reached only by boat via the southern fjords. It offers the chance to spot some of the area’s prolific wildlife, including seals, dolphins, penguins and condor, to explore fjords by boat and trek through a landscape of imposing mountains to Thunder Lagoon, which is surrounded by massive rock formations that create a huge natural amphitheatre.

One of these vast rock walls has been forced open by a glacier, creating Thunder Pass, which now allows hikers to venture deeper into this wild, remote, uninhabited area, without seeing another soul.

The fully guided four-day trek includes two nights’ wild camping, boat transport, the final night’s accommodation on an exclusive floating B&B, the Explorador, plus meals as indicated in the itinerary. Prices start from £1,625 per person and the trek may be added on to Torres del Paine itineraries to give a true sense of the wilderness at the bottom of the world.

Aysen: The Aysen region offers some of the best hiking in Patagonia and the new Aysen Wilderness Trek is no exception. Now is a good time to visit the area before it becomes discovered and this seven-day trek in the privately-owned Soler & Cacho Valley that buffers the San Rafael National Park combines traditional gaucho history and a glorious variety of landscapes from emerald blue lakes and booming rivers to old beech forests, rocky pinnacles and glaciated mountains. Not overly challenging, the trek is family-friendly and features a variety of accommodation, including wild camping, a comfortable guesthouse and a rustic ranch. Prices start from £2360 per person.

New Accommodation

Aysen Luxury Glamping – Following on from the opening in November 2018 of Outpost Maule in Chile’s oldest wine-growing region, Outpost Patagonia is set to open in March/April 2019 on the shores of the Rio Jeinimeni.

The pop-up Outpost camps aim ‘to go where tourism doesn’t exist today, where one can feel overwhelmed by nature and touched by the local (remote) culture’, and guarantee a certain level of comfort, with insulated tents, proper beds and gourmet meals.

Multiple activities are also available, such as fishing for brown and rainbow trout, horse riding, trekking and bird watching, with dedicated departures for special interest trips arranged throughout the season. These include several in March 2019 – trekking (5-14 March; US $5490pp for 10 days); photography workshops (6-13 March; US $4750pp for eight days) and fly-fishing (24-28 March, 28 March-1 April and 1-5 April; US $3950pp for five days).

Futangue Hotel & Spa – In the foothills near Lake Ranco in northern Patagonia, this private 13,500 hectare reserve boasts more than 100kms of trails, a smattering of waterfalls, native forest, impressive bird life, plus the chance to go mountain biking, fly fishing, take boat trips and visit local communities.

Futangue Hotel & Spa comprises two charming and comfortable properties, located just metres apart - Explorer’s House and Caulle House, with 10 and 16 spacious rooms, respectively. The latter, which also houses the restaurant and bar, is constructed from native wood and decorated with ethnic fabrics and local textiles, reflecting the region’s traditional Mapuche culture.

Other facilities include heated indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and an amazing restaurant offering a true Patagonian culinary adventure, with dishes based on locally sourced and home-grown ingredients.

Luxury Oceanfront Villas on Private Patagonian Nature Reserve – Situated on a stunning stretch of coastline in Chilean Patagonia, Mari Mari Resort & Spa offers five-star accommodation overlooking the Pacific Ocean within 9,000 acres of pristine Patagonian rainforest.

With accommodation for a maximum of 36 guests in six private oceanfront villas, it offers the chance to truly escape the fast pace of modern life. Guests may indulge themselves in the sumptuous spa and wellness area, visit the outdoor pool, oceanfront dining room, or participate in meditation and yoga on the beach.

Alternatively, guided treks through the vast network of trails can be arranged, as well as horse riding, kayaking, birdwatching and boat trips.

The price is $ 970 USD (GBP£750) per person per night, which includes accommodation, all meals, excursions and transfers plus, for groups of four or more, it will include a helicopter transfer one way.

Stay in Argentina’s First Marine Park – Purchased by Douglas and Kristine Tompkins in 2001 to create Argentina’s first marine park, Monte Leon National Park is home to a magnificent array of wildlife from penguins and sea lions to pumas and armadillos, as well as a huge assortment of seabirds. Today, the original house, which was brought over at the start of the 20th century from Ireland and was once home to the landlords of the sheep ranch, has been refurbished and converted into guest accommodation.

Hostería Estancia Monte León allows guests to experience what it might have been like to live in what was once one of Patagonia’s most important working ranches. A collection of historic objects is located throughout the house, the library is dedicated to the history of the area and the sheep shearing sheds are still intact. Plus, the house is warm, welcoming and comfortable and offers half-board accommodation and picnic lunches in four spacious bedrooms – one double, two twins and a triple.

For more information please visit or telephone 0117 369 0296

About Swoop

The team at Swoop is passionate about the ends of the earth. Less travel agent, more destination ambassador, the specialist company focuses exclusively on arranging adventures in the Polar Regions and Patagonia. Offering extensive knowledge and experience gained from living, working and travelling in these regions, combined with a wide choice of options available through its long-standing relationships with tour operators and local partners, Swoop helps to plan trips that match individuals’ dreams, budgets and appetite for adventure.

So, whether it’s a tailor-made itinerary taking in the volcanoes, glaciers, fjords, mountains and plains of Patagonia, a hotel or ship-based holiday, a group tour, soft adventure or an intrepid polar expedition complete with mountaineering, Swoop has the contacts and expertise to make it happen.

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