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“Save your Money!!”

Pathfinder ATV Tour
Reviewed March 26, 2009

I would not recomend this to anyone..
It is Dirty,Dusty,and rough roads.
We bought a bottle of tequila at the "Tequilla Tour"
When we got it home It was GREEN. Ugh
What a rip off....
Pay to drive up a dirt road as fast as you can, make
so much dust you can't even see the road in front of you.
Then, you get to a resting place that you are "encouraged"
to purchace something to look at some water (a waterfall)
and even go for a swim.....what a joke. Then you speed back
up the rest of the hill and are dropped off to buy booze???

4  Thank pdahl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5 - 8 of 8 reviews

Reviewed September 7, 2008

What a disaster! My wife and I just returned from Puerto Vallarta (September 2008) after a week of sun, fun and humidity! We were there for a week, and it was fantastic...except for the three hours of time and $93 we lost on the Pathfinder/ATV Tour. What a total rip-off. We booked through Vallarta Online and the pics and description of the Pathfinder ATV Tour are soooo misleading. They promise off-road adventures where you can really "open-it up" in your very own dune buggy, and they promise a "tour of a Tequileria".

First, we booked the 9am tour. The choices are 9am or 2pm, and we felt with the heat of the day, and a 3 hour tour, the 9am tour would be the best bet. We show up to their "office", which was a broken down building with a bunch of broken down dune buggy's and ATV's on the lot. These guys must own stock in the zip-tie and duct tape industry, because there are more zip-ties and duct tape on these vehicles than you can imagine. So, we hand the tour guides the registration confirmation print out, and they tell us that they accidentally booked us for the 2pm tour. After telling them that we had plans for the afternoon, he asks us to wait a few minutes. While we are waiting, we can hear them trying to fix one of the many broken down buggies for us. Ten mintues later, they tell us they don't have another functioning buggy for us (there were two other groups waiting, and they had the only two functioning buggys), and asked if we wanted to take an ATV instead. We said we would. The first ATV they put us on died when I pressed the accelerator. So, they move us to another ATV which won't even start!! So, we decide to just come back at 2pm.

We come back at 2pm, and there is a buggy waiting for us. The first ten minutes are spent on the shoulder of a relatively busy street, as cars and trucks buzz by you only inches away. Then we turn off onto a dirt road that takes us to our off road adventure...or so we thought. The "off-road adventure" turned out to be a tour of the ghettos of Puerto Vallarta on dirt roads. Then, about half way through our drive through the poorest communities of town, our buggy dies!!! They try like hell to fix it, but can't. So, we are given an ATV to complete the tour and they push the buggy off into the brush. Five mintues later, the ATV breaks down! After a minute of trying to start it back up, it finally came back to life and we continue. We turn out onto a paved road, and travel about a half mile, when we stop at an auto parts store so they can get the part to fix the buggy. Then we move on to the "Tequila Tour", which amounted to a guy explaining a painted mural on a wall about how Tequila is made, and then asking if you want to buy any of their Tequila. Awkwaaaard. Then we go back to the buggy to fix it. They do so, and give us back our buggy. Five minutes later, it dies again!!!! This time, we have to push start it and dump the clutch just to get it to start! I can understand that trying to maintain several off-road machines is probably a bit difficult, but if you can't handle it, then get out of the business.

Then, after this disaster of a tour where: 1) Our reservation was mishandled; 2) Our dune buggy broke down; 3) Our replacement ATV broke down; 3) Our "repaired" buggy broke down AGAIN; 4) A crappy "Tequila Tour"; the tour guides had the nerve, no wait, they had the out-right AUDACITY to recommend tipping them for the tour. I about puked.

I know that looking at the tour it looks fun as hell. We thought so too! But save your $93 USD and go do something else with it. Not only is it a waste of money, but more importantly while on vacation, it is a total waste of time. I'm not mad that I blew $93 on it. It happens. But that was three hours of time I can't have back that I could have spent elsewhere...like at the beach drinking the fantastic Margaritas!

One last thing. I'm not exaggerating anything I've just said. Not one thing. I'm all for people trying to run and maintain a successful business, especially in tourist trap cities like Puerto Vallarta. I wasn't expecting brand new buggys in pristine condition. However, I wanted to at least feel safe on the tour and with so many mechanical failures, this attraction is also a total failure. Take your $93 and spend it elsewhere. You can have more fun over a three hour period playing in the ocean or walking through the ganutlet of shops in the flea market or doing about anything else in Puerto Vallarta.

6  Thank G-Tizzle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2008

My husband, 2 adult sons, and daughters (16&12) took this tour in June 2008. We had been to a wonderful dune buggy tour in the Dominican Republic last summer so Pathfinders had their work cut out trying to come close to that excursion experience. They failed miserably. The tour starts in town, travels through on a very busy highway and then a small village, where busses and cars compete with the buggies for the road. IT is very dangerous I felt. The country side is very beautiful once you finally get into it.
The dune buggies are in very poor condition with zip ties, and wiring holding many of the jimmy rigged things together. Admittedly it had been a while since I had driven a vehicle that required use of a clutch and I did snub out a few times. (I was not the only one!) Oil leaking out. Guides not fun, very business like, policing everyone, admonishing them if they felt people were going to fast, etc. I am 5'2" and had to REEEAch for the clutch. I think it is made for a 6' person to drive. By the time we would be going fast enough to get into second gear, it was already time to slow down/stop because the leader was lining everyone up single file so the people in back could catch up.
The first stop was a waterfall where if you paid a "fee" you could go enjoy it. Or for a 'Fee" you could buy a drink. For a "tip" you could get the 10 year old Bernardo to let you use the modern flush toliet that he mopped up after every use. (Cute boy, hard worker). Then after sitting around here there was a short ride to a tequila "talk" --no manufacturing is going on. We opted not to participate as we had been to numerous of these "talks" in PV on previous vacations.
It was then that the guide came to tell me he could "smell" my clutch, that I had "burned it up" and it would have to be paid for. My son and I traded dune buggies and he noted no clutch problem, but by that time I was demoralized and snubbing out just from being nervous, thinking I might get accused of doing damage to his dune buggy. Also, once I was riding in 3rd gear, thinking I was in first. I just wanted to get back to the starting point and be done with this excursion. You see, they get your credit card before the tour and can charge what the owner deems appropriate for any damages. Apparently in 45 minutes of driving the guide felt I ruined the clutch and would not listen to reason from my husband or son (who happens to be mechanically savy). The rest of the trip was anything but fun after that. Upon our return to the Treks/Pathfinders office the owner refused to discuss the allegation of damage or even come out and inspect the clutch for himself.
So lesson learned the hard way. Beware! Even without the clutch incident this trip was not worth the price we paid. What promised to be a 4 hour tour, turned out to be 3. (that is with the stops) Someone with a vision for a tour with less traffic, better dunebuggies (preferably auto transmission), fun guides, etc. could make a killing financially. People would be fighting to go on this tour. This would be an excellent business venture and the competition would not be hard to beat!!!!
No matter what adventure place you book a dune buggy excursion with, this is where they end up. (the only one in PV I was told.) Different names, same rip off.
We are fair people and would pay for any damage that we do. This was totally ridiculous. You will find I seldom leave a negative review. I know business persons in PV have a hard life but I feel the need to warn people, as I have gleaned so much good advice from TA and want to pass it on.
My family jokingly wonders what dune buggy will need a new clutch tomorrow and what unsuspecting family will be paying for it? Mine was number 11 and I bet it was out for the afternoon tour "burned up clutch " and all.

3  Thank wisconsin76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2008

In April of 2008, we participated in the Pathfinders dune buggy tour. While we had a great time, it was not what we expected.

The only place I've found to prebook this adventure online is through VallartaOnline. It was advertised as an off-road trek through mud and dried up river beds, but much of the driving was on-road.

The dune buggies were not in the best of condition, with no seatbelts, seats that required a thrown-in cushion, and frames that were held together with bailing wire. No joke, our friends' buggy frame was held to the engine solely by bailing wire.

But, we did have a great time. The guides were super friendly and very nice. We made three stops on our trip, one at a very remote bar for a beer break before splashing through the only river on our journey. The second stop was at a remote village where we were the only Gringos in sight (this was lots of fun, it was a very pretty little village with a nice church and delightful smelling food everywhere). The third stop was at a tequila factory, though we didn't actually see the tequilla being made we got to sample many kinds and got a great explanation of how it's made and what the differences are between the different tequilas.

So, in conclusion, if you are looking for an off-the-beaten track tour, but not necessarily a wet and wild dune buggy tour, then you will likely enjoy this. If, however, you are dying to rev the engines and drive like a madman through sand and mud, look elsewhere. Just try not to look too closely at the bailing wire.

3  Thank BankerLisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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