I found AZRA to be a company of great integrity. Listening to the guides share their experiences of how they are treated as staff, company policies, training, gear and safety standards, care of the Canyon and on and on. Congratulations AZRA! I have only good words and gratitude for this experience. I will return!
They beat my expectations by 1000%. I really appreciated that there was a nice balance of male to female guides and they were all so competent and incredible! I loved each and every one of them! They each brought unique backgrounds and personalities to the trip. I really feel like they made this trip a really special adventure. I posted a bunch of pictures to my instagram after coming home and have already had a bunch of my coworkers etc ask me about my experience, I have been telling them all that I loved my trip and experience and am telling them all that AzRA is incredible due to the competency and friendliness of the guides and a company that obviously loves the canyon!!! t was an incredible trip, one of the best trips I have ever been on in my life! Wow, how to pick a highlight? I think just being in such a beautiful place for so long and fully being able to disconnect from everything and enjoy the place. Another highlight was spending so much time with my parents on a fun adventure, and another highlight was adventuring/swimming/hiking learning from the guides!
Just wanted to say I really am very impressed with AzRA, from pre-trip communications to all the way through, I felt like this company did a great job creating an authentic experience that was adventurous but felt safe and fun all along the way. I love that there were no motors and we just moved our way through the canyon, exploring and enjoying the landscape. I loved the guides and was so impressed by them. The food was awesome. I had the best time and will hopefully be doing another trip with AzRA in the future!
The team of guides you put together for us was such a perfect group. They all had so much to add to the richness of the experience. They complemented each other so well. Curtis Newell's leadership style allowed for the guides to REALLY shine. He was orchestrating a plan with so many shifting variables but always kept the goal of the best possible experience for the guests in his sites. He absolutely hit the mark with the help of the rest of his team. Never hesitate to bring any of these men and women back to represent AZRA. I could go on but i think you get the gist. Each one of the guides were absolute rockstars in their own special way. We were very lucky to have them on our trip.
I couldn't have asked for a better time. Ever. This was 14 days of pure joy and adventure. It went by so fast, too. I wish it never ended. There were so many highlights from the river, guides, stories, Little Colorado River being so blue, the stars at night so bright, the moon at night, the critters, the hikes were AMAZING, the waterfalls, the other customers, the food, the good times at night in camp eating and telling stories and having fun. I could go on and on.
I was so impressed with each one of the guides because of their general excellent capabilities and also the unique talents that they brought to the trip: Omar's enthusiasm and spiritual attachment to the canyon, Dudley's scientific expertise, Matt's utter mastery of the rapids, Curtis' sympathetic approach, and Trevor's fun-loving music. Thank you for all the thought and hard work you put into keeping us safe from the coronavirus.
First of all, the guides. They're multi-talented, extremely knowledgeable, hard-working and efficient, and real pros in white water. Second, the organization itself. In the time of COVID, everybody from staff to guides got their act together to keep us safe. Third, the equipment and facilities. Everything, from the bedding to the bathroom facilities, was in very good condition and functioned as it should. Fourth, the respect for the natural setting shown at every turn by the members of AzRA.
I can't credit AzRA for the wonderful fellow travelers and the Canyon itself, but I surely wouldn't have enjoyed them without AzRA.
They (the guides) were extraordinary. Confident not arrogant. Professional, aware and able but also personable and humorous. They were very instrumental to the cohesiveness of the group! Reverence and respect for the canyon with its beauty as well as its dangers. Could not have asked for better guides.
Wow-our river guides were amazing. Very personable, and clearly focused on our group safety at all times. I appreciated that two of them were women as well...great role models for the teenage girls in our trip! I know they were stressed about hte uncertainty of the COVID world, but I think they adapted to new protocols well, and as a result, our trip was an awesome experience, and a relief from the stress of the current world. Dave Schafer 8 Day Motor Adventure leaving 6/19/20
My overall impression was that AzRA was an extremely well run, experienced, and thoughtful organization that provided an amazing opportunity for people who might otherwise not ever take such a trip. I have recommended going on a rafting trip with AzRA to many people as it was a fabulous trip for me as first timer and made me wish I could do a trip like this more often. There are too many highlights to name them all and they are highlights for many different reasons. In short, however, but in no specific order they were the people, the surprising beauty of the hikes, the fun and excitement of some major rapids, the beauty of sleeping under the stars and the night sky, the food, the community and the sense of place and time from being in such magnificent beauty that has been around for so very long and has so many stories to tell.
For me personally, I encountered a deep sense of letting go, letting go of having to prove anything to anybody. I could just fully be present to the beauty of the people, both the other guests and the guides. But even more, to the bounty of the elements of water, earth, air and fire. And in being so able to be with the present moment, I found a deep sense of joy and saw it in the rocks. I kept thinking the ancestors here were such happy spirits, I see them in the rock!
The AZRA experience was everything I thought it would be but better. Thank you for providing such a great group of guides, they truly made the trip. Everything was in great condition and I could tell a lot of effort was put into making us guests safe, satisfied, and informed.
``Adventure of a lifetime``. I was pretty much terrified to my core a good portion of the time we were rafting and hiking...but due to the overall magic of the Grand Canyon, our excellent AZRA guides, the thorough and thoughtful ARZA trip prep and execution, and the great mix of fellow rafters on our trip...I left thinking we should ``do this again``.
It was an amazing gift for a mom of two little ones who has a very demanding job. It is difficult to highlight one thing. For me, it was a privilege to have the opportunity to reconnect with myself and my sister in such a breathtaking setting while having the opportunity experience the physical satisfaction of paddling and hiking. But it was also about the river itself, with which I've completely fallen in love, and connection to the natural world. I could go on...
This trip was the most excellent professional and fun trip I have been on. The guides are the best! Food was fantastic. Everything was pure class from start to finish. No worries and just a whole lot of fun and adventure. I can't say enough good about it. Thanks AzRA!
It seems I am getting smarter as I get older...... Vs. trying to put together another private trip through the Grand Canyon, I gathered a group of great friends and we chartered a trip with AZRA. What a wonderful adventure; all the fun and none of the work...... I highly recommend the folks at AZRA for their very competent, experienced, talented and fun boatmen and women, for their incredible meals, for the their ability to personalize charter trips to suit the needs of your group.
This most excellent of adventures has touched me from the outside in, with indescribable beauty, grace, emotion, pure delight, tenderness, and spectacular memories. a lovefest to to embrace my watery spirit. thank you.
We just returned from our 6th trip on the Colorado River thru the Grand Canyon. Of course, all of them have been with Arizona Raft Adventures (AzRA). They are a premiere rafting outfitter, so choosing them is a no brainer. They cover every aspect and have decades of experience on the river.
I spent a week on the water with AzRA rafting the Grand Canyon. The guides were not only proficient in their water craft, but also very knowledgeable of the canyon and shared that information. The food was well above expectations. I am comfortable with stating that AzRA is a must do experience.
OUTSTANDING! This is how I describe my rafting adventure with AzRA. There is no detail missed from the initial sign-up through the last day of departure. Everything is top shelf. The guides were extraordinary, knowledgable, and awesome rafters. Anyone who goes I would STRONGLY encourage you to sign up to paddle. What a blast! The food was unbelievable. The ONLY way to really see the Grand Canyon is though a trip with AzRA. I will definitely be signing up ASAP for the lower half trip to complete my journey.
The experience with Azra was superlative. Amazing guides - not just knowledgeable and technically superb, but genuinely interested in the guests and supportive of our strengths and cognizant of our fears, getting us through rapids and up on rocks to waterfalls. As someone afraid of ledges and edges, they helped me get through on most of them, and left someone with me, and others, when it wasn't our cup of tea.The guides are knowledgeable in everything from wilderness medicine to geology to archeology to group process!
Azra's website, packing lists, etc were perfect. A fantastic two weeks of beauty, learning, exercise, friendship.
Afternoons spent relaxing in the shade of slot canyons provided a sense of serenity that could only be found as a result of being totally detached from the outside world. Several of the folks on our trip had been through the Canyon multiple times and at first I couldn't understand as there are so many things I'd like to see in my retirement years. Now I can hardly wait to return.
Thanks AZRA for making was was planned as the trip of a lifetime into two weeks unlike anything l've experienced.
Its not just the fact you float and paddle serenely, lazily and then full on action with rapids in one of the most beautiful and peaceful settings you will experience, but its how you do it. You do it with a mixture of people you might never otherwise meet, with a crew that makes it fun, safe and seemingly never tire of attention to detail, and without the need for constant electronic communication or external intrusions. You go to bed when the sun goes down and get up when it comes up to the sound of ``coffees up`` and you pack up your camp (we did this in June when it was so hot you slept outside every night, no biting insects, but sometimes some fierce hot wind and sand storms!) and indulge in some heavy breakfast. Our team had 3 raft guides and 3 support crew (which is a little demeaning because they are pretty skilled themselves but row your luggage and food!) plus some extra staff experiencing what it means to be crew a trip. From our initial contact with AZRA we were impressed with their responsiveness, attention to detail and customer focus (sound likes cliches I know) but also their commitment/passion to the river. All the guides seem to have spent more of their lives on the river than on land, and it showed. They knew the river, the topography and geology, the wildlife and numerous entertaining and tall tails to enliven the longer drifts on the river. They could play guitar, cook, tell stories and at will conjure dress up costumes for ``summer solstice parties`` and ``lava falls celebrations``. Every night we had oven stove ``treats`` to celebrate little known birthdays, minor events and nothing in particular. In the day, after what we might call a languid mornings planning by team leader ``If i was more laid back and understated I might just float away`` Matt we would hear where we were heading, where we had been and what it all meant- then a little reading from the poetry/literature of the river- sounds corny but it wasn't. Then you jump on a boat and paddle- somedays it was lots of paddling and not many rapids, others the reverse, in June on average most days were 100F or above and getting wet was essential- rapids welcome, be prepared to ``flip`` and ``swim`` the rapids, be prepared to hike canyons to view other swimming holes/waterfalls and rivers, some easy, some challenging, none boring or repetitive. Its amazing how varied the canyons can be. Lunch is prepared for you and stops are usually beaches/rock platforms or magically in the river when you are at Havasu! In the evening you pull up at another sandy spot and locate yourself to avoid the intense retained heat of the canyon walls, be near the cool river. Naturally hardship needs to be broken and liquid refreshment appears from the ``bar`` and is cooled in the river- what sort of hardship must man endure when you can only bring 4 cans/person/night?!
So whats the difference between the upper/lower canyon?- well its really how much time&budget you have to spare, whether you like walking in/out at Bright Angel trail and if you like camping. The upper canyon has less ``hikes`` but probably more intense paddling/rapids in the shorter time, and the canyon is more enclosed. Little colorado river is unmissable beauty and fun- floating through the intense lime blue waters on your life jacket and ``the exploration of the wild lands- aka your guides pretend to be water monsters`` is a highlight. The lower canyon opens up more, the water colour changes and the canyons are more their for hiking- the rapids are more dispersed but you get plenty especially Crystal (flip here tick!), upset and Lava just to mention a few. We did 14 and regretted nothing except ending and going home.
Is it hard? well the fitter you are and the more camping savvy the easier it is to settle in. But plenty of our travellers had little or no experience and most adapt to sleeping outdoors, portable toilets and ``weeing`` in the river. The paddling requires some attention but everyone seems to get it (flipping early certainly reminds you why attention to technique matters!) and the walking- its hard in the sense its often on uneven paths, climbing is needed and its hot. But nothing attempted nothing gained! But the reality is its still easy- the guides do the hard work, you help with loading and unloading. They cook and the food is fabulous and in excess..you wont starve!
Would I recommend AZRA? Absolutely and I can say no ``paid adventure holiday`` has come close to the perfection of organisational skill, personnel and personal attention, education, fun and community. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime and we still wish we were riding a rapid or pulling in to shore for the evenings camp as BJ calls out ``dinners nearly ready``...Matt, BJ, Margaux, Claire, Doty and Wesley- thanks to you all, you did us proud.
This was an eight day motor trip that has exceeded my expectations eleven times. I enjoyed the last trip just as much as the first trip. A first class trip at a bargain price. It was worth every penny.
I have seen a blind couple on a trip enjoying the sounds of the canyon, a handicap trip with people in wheelchairs. There is something there for everyone and AZRA can't be beat.
This was much more than a white water raft ride down killer scenery. It was a history lesson, a geology lesson, an awareness of our fragile ecology lesson, a social team building experiment in helping each other endure both the hardships and the joys of eight days in tough temperatures, and sand in every possible place you can imagine; it became a journey unto itself, facilitated with great generosity, from beginning to end, by our charismatic guides. If you didn't come away from this having been changed for the better, well, you just were not paying attention. Everyone should do this once in their lives. Really.
Where do I start? As one of our guides (Alan) wisely said, ``Ask me what time it is and I'll tell you NOW`` ``Ask me where you are and i'll tell you HERE.`` That is pretty much what you need to know to enjoy this amazing life experience. I would never call this a TRIP or a VACATION because it is so much more.
I have NEVER camped. I have NEVER been white water rafting. I have NEVER enjoyed being outdoors as much as I did with AzRA and the crew who took the absolute best care of us. A huge debt of gratitude to Andrew, Alan, Derek, Bev, Tess, Steve, Heidi and Thomas.
Did the 9-day Lower Canyon all paddle trip leaving in early July. I couldn't recommend this trip or AZRA as a company any more.
In general, I'd say the two things that surprised me the most was the variety of landscapes in the canyon and the differences between our days. Some days we paddled more, some days we hiked more, every day was spectacular.
If you are healthy and fit, I also definitely recommend the all-paddle trip. It attracts an adventurous crowd as a whole and I think it allowed us to take some longer hikes and explore a little more. You also seriously bond with the other people on the trip as you work together to go through some seriously big water.
The canyon is always going to be spectacular, but I think a few things set AZRA apart as a company:
1) The Guides-- Our trip was led by Kevin, the other two paddle captains were Joy and Lynn, and the support boats were rowed by Kevin, Claire, and Doty. Each and every one of them was incredible. They all added something different, but in general, they were personable, fun, and, best of all, incredibly knowledgeable about the canyon. They could discuss geology, botany, history, and more at length. On the rare occasion they didn't know something, they would ask around or reference a book and get back to you. Couldn't recommend them more.
2) The pre-trip support- AZRA provides a ton of documentation to help you get ready and purchase supplies for the trip. Every time you call, you are able to reach an actual human who will happily answer any questions.
3) Attention to detail- They think about pretty much everything. Storing a suitcase for the course of the trip, recommending restaurants for post-trip dinner, bringing supplies to the pre-trip meeting for those who forgot to purchase something, and more. In general, I couldn't have felt more taken care of throughout.
4) The food- I have no way of knowing how other outfitters feed you, but I can tell you that I absolutely enjoyed every meal that I had on the trip and even asked for a few of the recipes. Most luxurious ``camping`` meals that I've ever had.
If you are thinking of taking a Grand Canyon trip with AZRA, do it. You won't regret a thing.