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Shamballa day cruise

Malibu
Level Contributor
7 posts
17 reviews
Shamballa day cruise

I wanted to find a fun active thing to do by myself for a day, since the people I traveled with would rather spend their day shopping and eat ing/drinking. Receptionist in the hotel Casa Iguana recommended the Shamballa cruise, which represents itself as a cruise providing continental breakfast, lunch, snorkeling Los Arcos rocks, trip to Las Animas beach, and hike/horsebck to Quimixto waterfall, with an open bar and party atmosphere. The continental breakfast was simply fruit and juice, no bread, so I was starving right off. The open bar was nice, and I made friends quickly with a group of Mexicans who amongst them had a gal my age, who was a bilingual US citizen of Mexican descent. So it was very fun and friendly and social cruise. I was one of only 4 other non spanish speakers on the boat. At first it was OK because they translated for me, but as the trip wore on, they stopped doing such, so I went around kind of wondering, or asking my bi-lingual friend what they were saying. I was disappointed by the snorkeling. Although the rocks and water are gorgeous, the boat didnt provide fins, and they let us snorkel for only 15-20 minutes at best. I was expecting at least 40 minutes. The biggest problem came at the trip to the beach, Los Animas. Nobody informed me in English that we were going to be having lunch off the boat, on the beach. So when my friend told me this was what was happening, I got my lunch voucher, camera and sunblock in my hand and got on the little panga. I must have lost the lunch voucher in the ocean because when I got to the restaurant, I didnt have it. I told the tour leader guy suck and he said there was nothing they could do I would simply have to buy my meal. Which was ridiculous, I had paid for it and the y had prepared the meals in advance. So the one leftover fish lunch that was supposed to be mine didnt get served to me because I had lost my ticket. Not one of the Shamballa staff would accomodate me, so my mexican friend actually gave me her lunch and bought herself another lunch, even though I could afford it and offered to do pay. So gracious!! (Thanks again, Claudia!!) That tratment by Shamballa really pissed me off, althought I kept my cool. There was an opportunity to swim after lunch, and after returning to the boat, we went on to Quimixto, where we hiked an quite enjoyable strenuous hike (you could ride a hrse if you wanted) to the waterfall, which has a cold clean pool to swim in, and a small restaurant serving drinks. That was totally enjoyable. On the way back to PV, they played music and had games and contests, all of which were very enjoyable. Once in port, the propina (tip) jar went around, but all I had was 200 pesos. I told the man I needed cambio (change) so after every single person got off the boat, my friend (and savior) Claudia "reminded" the man he had not yet given me the change. I told him I wanted 180 back, so he would get a 20 tip ($2.00 US, which I felt fair) So he handed me 180, and then gave me an expression and words about never having given him a tip! Like, Duh I was stupid? I gave him 200 and had 180 in my hand! So I said to him, "I already gave you 20 pesos tip, senor." Then my friend Claudia told him in Spanish he should be ashamed of his trying to cheat me just because I didnt speak Spanish well I wasnt a fool. Then we got off the boat and all went our separate ways. Warning to anyone doing this trip, the people running Shamballa are fun and entertaining, but in the end they wouldnt even try to do anything to recompense or aid me for my lost lunch voucher, and then they tried to double-dip my tip. Fun tour, great friends, but beware and be savvy. Dont let these jerks rip you off in the name of a good time.

Seattle
Level Contributor
51,644 posts
22 reviews
1. Re: Shamballa day cruise

interesting first post. you joined this forum just to make this complaint?

Level Contributor
5,143 posts
669 reviews
2. Re: Shamballa day cruise

Sorry you had such a bummer trip - last I'd heard the Shamballa was out of business - guess they're back in now, unfortunately for you it sounds like.

There are many wonderful things to do in Puerto Vallarta, as everyone in this forum can attest to - I hope one not-so-great tour won't taint your view of Puerto Vallarta.

Since you're a forum member now, please post some of your other experiences you had on your vacation - we'd all like to hear how it was for you. I hope your overall vacation was a wonderful one!

Calgary
Level Contributor
132 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: Shamballa day cruise

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with the shamballa crew.

When my family and I were in PV in September, we did the same journey to the same three places but with the Santa Maria.

We had translators all day and the staff were excellent.

If you ever travel back to PV and I hope you do, try the Santa Maria,

They were a lot of fun.

Hope you made some more enjoyable memories on your trip as well.

Seattle
Level Contributor
51,644 posts
22 reviews
4. Re: Shamballa day cruise

I sure wish we had more information. Like why did she choose to go with this particular company? Had someone recommended them? It does sound like an awful day, but one that could easily enough have been avoided with some prior research.

I have never had a single bad experience in many many trips to Vallarta, but then I have never done organized tours like this one.

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Vallarta
Level Contributor
5,302 posts
171 reviews
5. Re: Shamballa day cruise

Sorry to hear about your experience with this tour company, my family and I have been on many tours over the last 15 years and we have yet to experience one bad tour/excursion. Most of our excursions have been through Vallarta Adventures, but not all of them and most of them work really hard to please their customers...if not, it will hurt their business. So, the point is, they are not all like Shamballa.

Hope the rest of your trip went well!

Malibu
Level Contributor
7 posts
17 reviews
6. Re: Shamballa day cruise

So sorry you think I have written some sort of complaint letter, but maybe if you read the whole thing you would get it -- Fun tour, great friends, but beware and be savvy. Dont let these jerks rip you off in the name of a good time. -- the unfortunate events that transpired can be blamed squarely on the inattention or inconsideration of a couple of the crew of Shamballa. That is my complaint -- the tour operator, if your going to go on a boat tour to these destinations, just choose another company, is all. I was hoping someone would post a Useful Reply, some info on how I could contact the tour operator in the US so I could tell them what I experienced.

bemidji minnesota
Level Contributor
8,257 posts
19 reviews
7. Re: Shamballa day cruise

Not sure if the use of the terms "jerks" and "pissed me off" was necessary and perhaps that is what puts people off with your complaint. Also think $2.00 might well be a chintzy tip for the all day tour(?) You sound hard to please. Just my 2 cents worth.

Seattle
Level Contributor
51,644 posts
22 reviews
8. Re: Shamballa day cruise

brodiekat- let it go. And stop calling people names.

As above, that is perhaps why no one is taking your "complaint" seriously (or cares). And $2 *is* an incredibly cheap tip for a day tour, that's what his "expresion" was probably about. sheez I tip that much for cocktails...

-suze

Malibu
Level Contributor
7 posts
17 reviews
9. Re: Shamballa day cruise

....and again, my point is lost.... I'm amused at all these irrelevant comments which have nothing to do with my point... but I have to address the post from suze in seattle. I go to Mex all the time, I live close to Baja. You're supposed to tip porters and bell men and waiters and such. Most of those in the service sector live on 5 dollars US a day. So, suze, I shouldnt fret about giving the dude more than half a days pay? When I was on a pre-paid boat trip? Whatever. You are entitled to your opinion. But you miss my point. My point, is that there's a person, or persons representing Shamballa, that are trying to take advantage. Head's up is all. To perhaps save someone from having the same happen to them. Isnt that the point of this website-- sharing the info? Helping your fellow man? So you might consider going on this boat , and you might encounter the same -- wave knocks the panga, lunch ticket in the drink -- sorry, you get to starve for the rest of the day! (Did I mention it was an all-day cruise?) but, you might not have some kind person sitting next to you offer to buy you lunch, like I did. So, better bring an extra friend or two to borrow from, or better yet, 10 bucks US. Just in case. This is just advice. Accidents may happen, the cruise operators should have a policy in place for such. I was bothered that they didnt. Bottom line, end of story. So, unless you have a contact email for Shamballa boat tours for me, I'm done.

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
28,162 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: Shamballa day cruise

I think your anger is misdirected at us, and at the employees who work for the owner of the boat. Do I understand this correctly - you're blaming the crew for something that happened with the booking company/agent? Don't you think your beef is with them instead? Your carelessness with your lunch voucher isn't their fault though, it's yours, so I don't think it's fair of you to blame them for that.

So the question remains...what did you do about this other than come here and spill your guts? Did you file a complaint while you were actually still IN Mexico? What were you hoping *we* would be able to do about it? It's not like any of us own this boat. Sorry you feel like you had a lousy time but we're not the Better Business Bureau - we are experienced PV travelers here to offer tips and advice to people seeking it.

You didn't ask for any advice in any of your posts in this thread...so while people have offered you sympathy on having a less than enjoyable trip, you appear to want to focus on the negative, so I don't think there is anything anyone here can do for you.