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“Not what we signed up for”

Big Bend River Tours
Ranked #3 of 13 things to do in Terlingua
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Since 1979 Big Bend River Tours outdoor outfitter has offered river trips, guided park tours, backroad tours, hiking and backpacking and now horseback combo trips as well. Come join us in the beautiful Big Bend of Texas. Open every day, 365 days a year. Come discover the magic of the Big Bend!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Houson, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Not what we signed up for”
Reviewed December 27, 2012

I want to write a fair review of the experience we had with big bend river tours. Originally we scheduled a half day river excursion and paid for it beforehand. The night before the trip, my husband had a medical emergency and we had to drive 100 miles to alpine to see a doctor. We called ahead and left a message that we would not be able to do the trip. The company refused to do a refund, so to use the $185 we had paid we asked to do a half day guided hike the next day. The company agreed and we paid the difference of $12 because the guided hike is apparently more expensive. Carol even said they had someone on staff who did back country hikes, so i thought it was perfectly clear what trip we were signed up to go on. Keep in mind that we also had paid $10/person additional for the original river trip because only my husband and I were signed up to go. Th next day, the guide shows up with 4 other people in the car - perfectly fine, but it turns out he is doing a half day tour of the state park, Not a guided hike. My husband and I have a car, we are perfectly capable of driving ourselves through a park and stopping off to take pictures. We don't need a guide for that, or to pay $200 for that. My husband and I love to hike, and are in decent shape, not perfect. Put bluntly, John did his best to accommodate the needs of 4 older people who wanted a ride thru the park (perfectly fine, but again Not what we paid for) and 2 younger people who wanted to hike. But in the end, it was a waste of an afternoon. I would have much preferred Carol the office manger to call me in the morning and let me know the best they were going to be able to do was a half day drive thru the park, did we want to go? We would much preferred to lose the $200 we paid and spent the afternoon doing more of what we loved as opposed to spending the majority of the time driving. I am sure the other 4 people in the car would have preferred we had separate trips as well. I called and complained and Carol did apologize for the misunderstanding and and we agreed to a $20 refund - I did not ask for a full refund of the money even though it would have been justified. We also tipped John because it certainly was not his fault. Bottom line, i will not be using this company again. I recommend future travelers who are not going on the river trip to be very clear about what they are getting - a guided hike that's actually a hike? A drive thru the state park? It's definitely not clear based on what they advertise on the website, and I advised carol to make it very clear. I know this is a highly rated company on trip advisor and i am glad other people had a positive experience with them but the resort where we are staying uses far flung, and i will probably do the same the next time around.

Visited December 2012
2 Thank Gauri P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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172 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Cypress, Texas, United States
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Rio Grand Canoe Trip”
Reviewed November 25, 2012

Did 1/2 day canoe trip down Rio Grand Rive with Big Bend River Tours. Fantastic time and a fantastic group of guides. Our family - 2 adutls, 2 children 6 & 8. Guides very competent, knowledgeable, capable, helpful and very accommodating.

Guides did a good job handling mixed group: 4 kids, 14 adults, some very experienced water rafters/canoe paddlers, some totally experienced. They were one time, friendly, very knowledgeable about area history and geological history. Very hands on and diligent. Good instructors for those inexperienced. Very watchful and careful keeping group together.

When we come back we will ONLY use Big Bend River Tours. Superb!

Visited November 2012
2 Thank Susan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
115 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Excellent 1/2 day Canoe Trip”
Reviewed November 15, 2012

We had a 1/2 day canoe trip with Mark Lewis and I highly recommend it. Even though the water was very low it was an excellent trip.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank Sharon I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“A Big Experience in Big Bend”
Reviewed September 30, 2012

Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park are BIG AND HUGE. If you are a visitor you are in these places for a limited time. If you want to see the very best of what these parks have to offer in the time that you are there, then make a direct line to Big Bend River Tours for wonderful, half day or full day guided adventures into this vast, beautiful and sublime experience.

In our three days with Big Bend River Tours we spent two with John Parker and one with Andy, both terrific, pleasant, genial men with vast knowledge and experience as river rafters, hikers and otherwise all-purpose shepherds into Big Bend. Both John and Andy have lived in the area and were able to impart their favorite places and thoughts about Big Bend and life living on and off of the grid. We saw amazing things with both of them canoeing along the Rio Grande River, hiking into Santa Elena Canyon, and watching sunsets along the renowned River Road within Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Keep in mind that this is a big land and it takes awhile to get wherever you are going. From Terlingua, a small, wonderful town on the edge of both parks, it is a drive of 30 or so miles to the Big Bend National Park visitor center. Once there, there are lots of choices of activities. Both John and Andy knew the best and most efficient ways to do and see what we wanted. At the end of our Big Bend journey, thanks to them, we came away feeling that we had a good sense and feeling about Big Bend. We had a great time and we credit John and Andy and, of course, Big Bend River Tours for this.

Visited September 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“great trip through santa elena”
Reviewed September 24, 2012

the guide and i had a fantastic time smoking with our pants pulled halfway down in the back.
also we got to argue with other customers about politics and racial groups.
it was great!

Visited August 2012
1 Thank 723larry33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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