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“Worst vacation experience........” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Wild Rivers Expeditions

Wild Rivers Expeditions
Ranked #2 of 8 things to do in Bluff
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Rafting trips, ranging from one to eight days, on the San Juan and Colorado Rivers that combine learning about the history and natural environment with fun.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Worst vacation experience........”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2013

We booked the one day excursion on the San Juan River from Bluff to Mexican Hat. Our family of four paid $658 for this excursion and were really looking forward to it. When we checked in at the office, the girl said we would be with another couple - Oh wait, another family of four. She was even surprised. The reason this is important is that there are only six seats on the raft! So for 9 hours on this raft, two of our family members always had to straddle the side of the raft. Our guide, Marcus, placed everyone in the raft. He also stated during the trip that it was not usual to have eight people on a raft, but they were short of guides. Of course the owner denies this and tells us we would have had to pay even more money not to be treated as cattle. This alone made the experience miserable, but also led to the problem of hearing the guide. We could only hear about 20% of what the guide said since he was in the back by the motor and we were crammed in the front.
As for the gourmet lunch- a jar of peanut butter & jelly and a bag of Chips Ahoy cookies is what three of us ate. The entree was a taco salad full of things my family would not eat. So, Wild River probably netted over $1300 from this raft and spent about $15 on lunch. What's even more irritating is the ownership response to our complaints. They blame us, saying we did not pick a trip suited to our family. My response is that they were greedy and over-filled a raft and do not want to take any responsibility. These excursions are way over-priced for what is delivered.

Visited June 2013
8 Thank BBBpenguin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildRiversExp, Owner at Wild Rivers Expeditions, responded to this review, July 9, 2013
Thank you again for traveling with us on the river. As I expressed in response to your concerns highlighted in our guest survey, I am deeply sorry that you and your family did not enjoy the experience. I understand your not choosing to come and talk with us after the trip returned and/or to offer any means by which we might help to alleviate your feelings of frustration either at that time, and it seems clear that my response to your survey input did not encourage any feeling of satisfaction that your concerns had been heard. I am also sorry that the result of this is a review in a public forum that has such a significant impact on our business.

Our boats regularly carry 8 passengers and seating on the boat's tubes is usual no matter how many people are aboard. Many of our passengers choose to ride there specifically. Similarly, the guide running a motor at the back of the boat inherently reduces the ability to hear what is being said. We make sure to encourage passengers to give us some kind of signal that they have a question or want to communicate somehow if they are not able to hear us and our guides have training in watching for cues that help them to gauge your interest and needs in situations of all kinds, including those in which you can't hear each other well. Additionally, most of the interpretive information if offered at stops when there is not a limitation in terms of access or ability to hear your guide. Your guide was very concerned at the end of the day that you had not been comfortable or enjoyed your trip and felt that he had tried to make adjustments throughout the day to encourage your ability to do so in any way that he could. Had we known that you were uncomfortable with any particular details of the arrangements that we are able to change, we would have been happy and able to assist more effectively.

Concerning lunch, we are once again deeply sorry that you did not enjoy the salad that was on the menu for the day. We absolutely love food, and sharing an exceptional handmade meal is one of our favorite additions to a river trip. When you made your reservation over the phone, my notes indicate that you were asked about eating restrictions and/or preferences and told us that members of the family did not eat tomatoes and peppers. The medical forms for your family indicated the same notes. We ask specifically because it is important in our ability to send a meal that you are at least able to enjoy, if not truly delight in. The meal did not have any tomatoes or peppers precisely because of that information. Perhaps, had you been willing to share more information concerning what would be acceptable to you and your family, or additional items that clearly were not, we would have had the chance to provide a meal that would have been less disappointing for you.

Finally, I am the girl who checked you in at the office, and the owner that responded to your survey input. We do our very best to provide exceptional river experiences and I am always very sad to find that any of our passengers did not enjoy their time with us. As a result of this sort of input we discuss concerns, and search for ways that we might take full responsibility for our shortcomings and correct operations in any manner that we might to alleviate them as possible to the experience of our passengers. We have the distinct privilege of sharing this river that we love with hundreds of passengers every year, and have done so for 56 years as of this season.

I remain very sorry to have been part of an experience that you were unhappy with on your vacation. We think of vacation as a sacred kind of time spent, particularly for American families. However, our rafts are not overfilled and we are not greedy in our operations by any means. Our trips rely on a willingness of people to explore together on an expedition. In that capacity there are variables that we are and must be fully responsible for, variables that we cannot control, and variables that we rely on trip participants to be responsible for. The nature of the trip includes the balance of all of those things and the willingness on everyone's part to enjoy the adventure.

Again, we are very sorry that you did not enjoy yours.

Thanks again for boating with us and for sharing your input.

Have a great day.

Kristen McKinnon
Wild Rivers Expeditions
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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78 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
109 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“An Amazing Day Trip down the San Juan River in Southern Utah”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2013

Once a year to clear my head and to recapture the beauty of the San Juan River from Bluff to Mexican Hat, Utah I do a Wild River Expeditions rafting trip. Along the way you see astonishing signs of ancient native peoples, Mountain Goats, Big Horn Sheep but, most of all, the quiet and serenity of the river relaxes every inch of your body. At several points in the 26 mile river trip, you leave the raft and explore wall paintings and other signs of life along the river many thousands of years old. The guides are amazingly knowledgeable, very pleasant and lunches are always a treat with much of the food locally grown. My last trip was in late September and the weather was perfect.Cost is $150 per person plus a gratuity (like me I'm certain you'll feel one is in order for the memorable time you've just had). Wild River Expeditions is a very friendly and professional company and each of the 4 times I've done this trip, dealing with them has been a pleasure.

Visited September 2012
2 Thank Morley G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Level Contributor
46 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Awesome Rafting the San Juan”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2013

Wild Rivers is the absolute best for rafting in the Four Corners. We had a fantastic adventure traveling down the San Juan in two rafts, stopping at Big Kachina panel, at River House and floating through the most astounding geology. Greg, our boatman, made "Nankoweep" style willow animal figures for us as he navigated down the San Juan.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Carolyn E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
110 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Fabulous Rock Art Trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 27, 2013

Wild Rivers offered a special four-day/3-night trip in early May 2013 that focused on birds and rock art. Our boatman, Bryan Brown, is an ornithologist, and our archaeologist was Sally Cole, who is not only an authority on rock art but very knowledgable about wildflowers. Last year there were about 12 participants on this trip; oddly enough, there were only two of us this year, so we felt blessed even though we had some rain. If you bring your own tent and/or sleeping gear, I recommend sending it ahead instead of packing it in your luggage. The food was very good and the scenery is terrific!

Visited May 2013
Thank DaylilyFan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newnan, Georgia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 12, 2013

Their website mentions the use of a motor. . . if water flows are low. I believe they use the motors much more often than not - 26 miles is a long way to row. It is like the buzz of a chain saw the whole trip. The guide Greg was congenial & knowledgeable. The website also mentions the mouth watering sandwiches / chips & lunch. NOT ! !. We had pasta salad, peanut butter & jelly, cookies, crackers & cheese. I was charged $175 X 3 for the trip, yet the website said $165. I brought this to their attention afterwards and they said it was last year's page. I told them they needed to update the whole page considering the lunch disappointment.

Visited May 2013
3 Thank 1zilla1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WildRiversExp, Owner at Wild Rivers Expeditions, responded to this review, May 14, 2013
Thank you very much for boating with us and sharing your input here, as well as in our office after the trip and in our customer survey. We are very sorry to find that you were disappointed in the experience and that our immediate willingness to refund the difference in trip pricing was not a satisfactory response. Our trip fares changed at the beginning of 2013 and our records show that all pages associated with the website and advertising were updated by the end of January. When your trip reservation was made in mid-March you were quoted the 2013 rate. Clearly, despite these measures there was some form of misunderstanding for which we sincerely apologize. We've also looked carefully at all notes on the page concerning motor use and lunches to understand how we might have communicated insufficiently to create an expectation on your part that was not accurate for the trip as you experienced it. Lunches are described to include homemade salads and sandwiches. Generally, the pasta salad is one of our most favored lunch meals by passengers and we are regret that you did not enjoy it. Finally, our notes do indicate always that we row boats for the day trip at high water levels and that it is motorized in lower water. The San Juan, by nature is a low water river, and it is indeed most often a motorized trip. This year, with notably low winter precipitation and snow pack totals throughout the watershed, and water conservation measures in place at Navajo Dam upstream of us, we do not expect to see high enough water to row the daily at all. In other years, we have done so for as long as 8 weeks of our season. In the end, we are most sorry to find that our trip did not meet your expectations and that our efforts to address the concerns that you presented to us afterwards have not succeeded in alleviating your disappointment. We'll hope that you find more fulfilling experiences in future travel. Thanks again.
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