We did a two day rafting trip with Ecoaventuras, and although there was absolutely nothing wrong with the actual rafting, we are left with somewhat mixed feelings towards the company. First the positive stuff: The rafting was excellent, we had a very good English speaking guide – Diego, really great guy – in our raft who made us feel completely safe throughout the trip, while still making sure that we got the adrenalin kick we were looking for. Part of our 2 day package was a canopy tour, it was great, cool ziplines as well as a bit of rappelling and a suspension bridge. The place we stayed overnight was called Pacuare Lodge, not to be confused with the seriously upscale luxury Pacuare River Lodge. It was a lot more rustic than its name sister, but really lovely, extremely quiet and beautifully located. Facilities were above average for a basic jungle lodge.
Now to the less positive aspects of our experience. First of all, they’re small things, but combined they can be a little too annoying to ignore. They really all have to do with the owner/manager Marco not really getting the concept of customer service. Firstly, I am gluten intolerant which I failed to mention to him prior to the trip. So the first day, I was perfectly happy to eat what I could from what was served, even though it was a vegetarian pasta dish for dinner, as it was my own mistake. However, I was not impressed when it was white sandwiches or (wheat) flour tortillas for lunch the next day when I knew that this stuff had been brought to the lodge that same morning from the supermarket, and that they could therefore have taken my gluten intolerance into account.
Secondly, on the first day we were just 4 people rafting on the river and staying at the lodge which was very, very nice. However, on the second day, a group of 23 people had booked a one day combination tour, starting with the canopy tour and then rafting with us for the rest of the day. They had problems with their bus getting to the canopy tour, which meant that everything was delayed significantly. The 4 of us in the lodge spent the morning by ourselves, waiting and waiting without any information about what was happening and why the guides had not come back to the lodge at midday as they had said they would. They finally came back at 2:00 pm, and then after a hurried lunch, the rafting trip started. As much as we did enjoy hanging out at the lodge, sitting around for 5 hours with no information on what is supposed to be a full day tour is not exactly what you’d expect. It was obvious that on that second day, the priority of the company was the big one day group.
Finally, after finishing the rafting of that second day (which had been good but VERY crowded on the river with about 5 rafts), there were facilities to get changed and showered, but no towels, despite my asking when we booked the trip whether there would be towels supplied. At this point we were tired, wet and cold, and when I moments later discovered that my backpack, dry set of clothes and hiking boots had been left in the back of a pickup truck while we were on the river despite the fact that we had some rain that day, leaving my stuff not drenched but fairly wet, I lost my last ounce of patience. I expressed my dissatisfaction (admittedly a bit too loudly and with too much swearing) to Marco, who did not have anything to do with putting my stuff in the back of that truck, but who nevertheless was the responsible person for the trip as a whole, but I was met with total silence and was subsequently completely ignored. Eventually, the guide from our raft, Diego, came over – off his own bat – and listened to my complaints, said that he was really sorry that all that had happened and gave me a big hug. It was so nice to have someone finally acknowledge my complaints, but so embarrassing for the company and its owner/manager that it is a 21 year old guide has to step up and show proper customer service. As my boyfriend told Marco as we were dropped off at our hotel, he seriously needs to grow some "manhood" and courage to face and acknowledge the criticism.
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