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“DANGEROUS EXPERIENCE AND WORST SERVICE”
Review of Panama Rafters

Panama Rafters
Burlington, Vermont
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“DANGEROUS EXPERIENCE AND WORST SERVICE”
Reviewed April 4, 2012

My experience with Panama Rafters in Boquete was the worst experience I have ever had with a tour company, or any company for that matter. There were no issues for the beginning of the whitewater rafting trip, but towards the end, the rafting guide put us in a very reckless, stupid, and life-threatening situation. He led us over a hydrological dam spillway with about a 4 foot waterfall. I have a lot of kayaking experience on dammed rivers, and I know how dangerous spillways are and have always been taught to stay as far away as possible. The rafting guide took us over the spillway and had us stay there--in the waterfall that was shaking the raft all around. Then we were ordered to back paddle. The raft hardly budged, and we were tossed back into the tumbling waterfall. If this hadn't been a dangerous situation, the guide would have been able to get us out. As spillways are constantly cycling water, the current is extremely strong and can so easily cause drowning. If one of us had fallen out of the raft....

The guide panicked a little bit and asked a male tourist for help, but the tourist had no idea what to do. Another guide jumped in the water to grab a rope our guide had thrown. The guide then told all the tourists to jump into the water, against the current, to swim to the rope. This situation was handled extremely poorly. Not only was there a much safer way around the spillway that another raft has taken, but the guide put us in a further dangerous situation by having us jump out of the raft into the strong current by the spillway.

After we returned to the office, I asked to speak to the manager and told her that I didn't want to make a big scene but that something extremely dangerous happened on the trip. I told her about the incident and that I wanted a refund because I didn't pay to get stuck in a dam. She belittled the experience saying that the municipality said they could use that part of the river (which means nothing), other people hadn't complained (which is a lie), and that I am just a tourist who wants a free trip (also not true). She was incredibly rude and unprofessional, and continued to tell me that I am anti-Semitic and was unhappy that I had to be in a boat with two Jewish women (I hadn't even brought up other people on the trip, and my sister is Jewish...). She yelled at me, continuously interrupted me, and seemed like she was trying to start a cat fight with me. It was a very strange and AWFUL experience. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT TAKING A TOUR WITH PANAMA RAFTERS IN BOQUETE due to serious safety concerns that the manager and guides do not understand are unsafe or take seriously. As a note, the manager has not been out to this area. I've heard the other rafting companies in Boquete are great, and Panama Rafters has been complained about for multiple reasons. Steer clear of this place.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
7 Thank Mindy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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21 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
99 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Don't miss water rafting in Chiriqui - kids love it”
Reviewed January 5, 2012

We were a group of 6 adults and 9 kids (4-11 years old). We set up the trip a few days before and wired the money to their bank account. We met the bus in David, and then we rode for 90 minutes to the drop off points. The guides were al very nice and friendly.
While gearing up, the smallest girl (4 years old), simply refused to go on the boat. One of the staff offered to take her while her parents went in the river, and they all accepted (we were extremely surprised at the girl). On the way back we found her safe and sound, happy to not get in the river!
The trip was great, the river was a level 1, I think. The guides knew what to do, and were very fun. The younger children (5-8) stayed in the middle of the boat and didn't paddle, but we were all vey safe.
We took about 3.5 hours down the river, with a 30 minute break, and the kids loved every minute of it.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
Thank E_Panama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frankfurt, Germany
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great fun! - tough river, not for unsporty people”
Reviewed December 20, 2011

Did the Chiquiri Rafting today, it was GREAT fun! Would recommend Panama Rafters to everyone who likes action and adventure but wishes to have a good guide who cares about everybodys safety. (We had a very good guide who had the rafting boat everytime under his control. The river is a TOUGH one at some points (grade III) so this matters as I am not an experienced rafter. This is not for beginners I would say... but for people with some muscles who dont mind getting complelty soaked its great fun.)
Panama Rafters is a company owned by some locals (not foreigners) if this matters for your decision with whom to do the rafting.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank fieep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Change my trip to central america for the better (MUST READ)”
Reviewed August 28, 2011

My family and I went white water rafting with panama rafters and to say we enjoyed it is a understatement. However even though the trip was amazing that is not why I decided to write this review. The service at Panama Rafters saved my trip from going into the ground. At the end of the day as we were travelling back to my hotel in Boquete, Panama and my wallet must have slipped out of my pocket. They dropped me and my family off at the hotel and unbeknownst to me my wallet was still sitting in the van. The next morning as I went to get my wallet to go for breakfast I realized my wallet was missing and after checking my luggage I ran to Panama Rafters to see if my wallet was there. The shop was closed and there was nothing I could do but go home. Desperate to get my wallet back because it had all my money as well as my bank card I returned back to the hotel to write a letter in spanish to try to get PR to mail my wallet to my next address but b/c we were only staying for one day, it would not work. I informed my tour guide of my loss who then told the hotel receptionist who called the owner of PR. Within two minutes the owner came to the hotel from her house drove me to PR unlocked the van let me retrieve my wallet all in the span of 5 minutes. My trip was saved. Thank you Panama Rafters. huge recommend to anyone in panama. ill tell my friends.

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
Thank KieranZC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A great time on the water”
Reviewed August 22, 2011

The river is fantastic and the guides are really first rate. They ensure that everyone has a great time. Their knowledge of the river, the area and the wildlife was truly amazing. It was an incredible trip.

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
Thank khug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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