Glamping with a twist at san rafael river adventure

SAN RAFAEL RIVER ADVENTURE Glamping with a Twist

April 29, 2017

What originally got me interested with San Rafael River Adventure was their unique glamping accommodation referred to as glamping with a twist. Sleeping in a tent is nothing new for me, but sleeping in a tent on board a raft certainly makes for a one of a kind experience.

Booking wasn’t a pain, our preferred weekday wasn’t available so we settled for another weekday two weeks away. They confirmed our booking, we deposited 50% to their bank account, sent them a copy of the deposit slip and that was it.

Initially, San Rafael River Adventure’s pricing scheme confused me. I’m used to seeing either day tour rates or overnight rates, for them, however, the accommodations are on a per 11-hour basis which makes their overnight (23 hours) rates expensive.

San Rafael River Adventure pool

View of glamping with a twist area from the pool

Since San Rafael River Adventure is just two hours from Manila, we didn’t mind dropping in for just a day tour which was from 7 am until 6 pm. We arrived at 8 am and the check-in process was smooth plus the staff were all courteous.

From the parking area, one of the staff carried our bags and escorted us to our tent. Make sure to watch your step as some bamboos along the walkway would roll once you step over them making the walk a bit tedious.

Bamboo Walkway

The glamping with a twist area is a bit isolated from the main area of the resort. It was a good thing their staff left us his number allowing us to easily reach him in case we needed further assistance.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t expecting the rafts to be so close together. I’m not sure if this will be the glamping area’s permanent set-up, but their old setup would have been nicer.

Glamping with a twist from San Rafael River Adventure’s facebook page

Glamping with a Twist at San Rafael River Adventure

The rafts were too close together and wasn’t what we were expecting

The glamping with a twist area is a good option if you want some peace, with the view of the river giving a more relaxing ambiance.

View of the river from our raft

Most of our photos were taken in the morning before the majority of the guests started arriving. The central area where the glass cottages and swimming pool are located had a very calming feel to it. The other areas, however, felt a bit rushed and incomplete. I’m guessing they’re still in the midst of polishing the entire resort.

We ordered lunch at around 10 am which the staff said would be delivered to our raft by 12:30 pm. The menu had limited selections and was priced fairly but it would still be more cost effective to bring/cook your own meals.

Our lunch, total of Php 290 for the liempo, rice, and pitcher of iced tea

By afternoon, the heat was becoming unbearable, so we decided to swim in the pool. I was surprised that the pool’s dress code wasn’t enforced strictly. Guys swimming in their basketball shorts and sando while others were wearing cotton shirts. The pool area was chaotic with kids running around and even a few guests diving into the pool. It was evident that the pool was too small to handle the number of guests they were allowing to accommodate. Whatever peace we experienced in the morning, quickly dissipated in the afternoon.

Small view deck near the floating pool

From there, we decided to just check out the floating pool. Fewer people swimming in this area, but it was completely exposed to the heat, so we just admired the view from a narrow viewing deck.

Floating pool at San Rafael river Adventure

Floating Pool, I wish they had hand rails for the stairs

By 5 pm we proceeded to the toilet to take a bath before checkout. We were in line for at least 30 minutes since most of the day tour guests were getting ready to go home by this time. Some kids were already using the toilet’s bidet to shower. I’m not sure about the other toilets, but they certainly need more shower areas near the pool.

I think staying in one of the cottages or villas will make your stay more enjoyable and relaxing. If there are four of you in the group, I would suggest just getting the glass cottage for Php 5,000 (day tour/night tour rate). Each person would end up paying the same price we paid for glamping at Php 1,250 per person. I’m still on the fence whether or not the night tour would have been more worthwhile because that would mean fewer people yet it would also mean an awkward 6 am checkout time.

Based on San Rafael River Adventure’s overnight rates, I honestly was expecting more. It feels like they’re accommodating too many people too quickly while still in the process of completely expanding their facilities. Unfortunately, this makes one’s experience too dependent on the number of guests currently within the resort especially if you’re planning to spend most of your time in the pool.

San Rafael River Adventure Contact Information

Notes/Tips

  • If you’re staying in one of the tents or kubos, shower before 5 pm to avoid waiting in line. There are only two female and two male shower areas near the pool. There’s also one near the glamping area but is a bit farther away.
  • Consider the standard glamping accommodation:
    • if you want to be able to park you car near the tent area
    • if you need a toilet nearby
  • Book using their website’s booking form, you’ll have a better chance of getting a response

San Rafael River Adventure Photo Gallery

Also checkout our other glamping experience at Sand and Stars Resort.

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16 Comments

  • jayde

    hi, we are planning to go here. how many tents are there for glamping with a twist? and are all those tents/rafts build close together and in just one area? better if they are scattered for taking best photos with the river. your reply will surely help us a lot. thanks.. 🙂

    May 27, 2017 at 11:19 pm Reply
    • Juander Woman

      Hi Jayde,
      When we were there, there were four tents in total. I think the raft next to ours had a bigger tent so I’m not sure if some tents can accommodate more people. They were all close together when we visited, I don’t know if that set-up is temporary so you may want to ask the resort directly.

      May 28, 2017 at 12:05 am Reply
  • Anne

    This seems like a cool idea but I would be totally put off by the 30 minute wait. I’m not a big fan of camping anyway although I like the raft and riverside location

    August 12, 2017 at 2:27 pm Reply
  • Punita

    That seems like a great idea..glamping on a raft! I want to try that too. And its quite reasonably priced too. Did you enjoy the food?

    August 12, 2017 at 3:10 pm Reply
  • Linda

    Looking at the difference in the pictures from Facebook and yours, I can understand your disappointment. We love camping in secluded spots. However, it still looks like a great location despite the small disappointments.

    August 12, 2017 at 3:23 pm Reply
  • Siddhartha

    Your glamping experience looks like so much fun…I would absolutely do it! In fact glamping is something I really want to try out, and hopefully soon 🙂

    August 12, 2017 at 6:54 pm Reply
  • Gabriela@IamFoodieTraveler

    The colors from your pictures are the clear evidence that this is a must visit!

    August 13, 2017 at 5:39 pm Reply
  • Ferna

    that’s really a different kind of glamping, so unique. and to think this is only 2 hours from the busy Manila, this must be a good time to relax and be away from the metro.

    August 14, 2017 at 3:09 pm Reply
  • Megan Jerrard

    Thanks for such an honest review of your experience – it does sound like like a unique and fun experience, though definitely a lot of room for improvement. I would love to give the experience a go, but hopefully they’ll hopefully they see your helpful feedback and can take it on board to improve the experience before I do. Overcrowding is not something I’m super keen on when I travel, and those rafts do look super close together.

    I will admit that I’ve never come across a place which charges based off 11 hour slots before, so I found that a little strange!

    Love the concept of a floating pool, surprised that this was the escape! I would have thought out of everything this would have been where people flocked to first because it’s so unique. Thanks for the tip on being more cost effective to bring your own food.

    Sorry to hear that overall the experience was disappointing, however I hope that it’s allowed them some constructive feedback on how they can change.

    August 15, 2017 at 8:35 am Reply
  • Siddhartha Joshi

    Glamping is something that I am very keen to try out, but looking at your experience it’s certainly a mixed bag at San Rafael River Adventure. The boats so close to each other would certainly take away some of the charm and a pool full of people not adhearing to Teh dress code would be a downer too.

    A stay at the cottage certainly seems like a better idea…

    August 15, 2017 at 10:54 am Reply
  • Paige W

    I’ve never heard of a place that charges per 11 hours. That seems quite strange. Even though the tent on the raft/dock looks cool, I don’t think it would be worth this. The swimming pool looks nice, but it seems like, for the budget (11 hour) option, that’s really only good for an instagram story.

    August 16, 2017 at 6:30 am Reply
    • Juander Woman

      11 hours really feels too short, it’s good for a quick overview of the place. There’s no alternative to an overnight stay for a more relaxed pace.

      August 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm Reply
  • Punita

    Glamping on a raft seems like a great idea to try out. And its quite reasonably priced too. I noticed that you mentioned Liempo as one of the dishes on the plate. I’m assuming that is seafood. Since there doesn’t seem to be any food option around, except for that served onboard, how would you rate the food?
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    August 16, 2017 at 11:45 am Reply
  • Jenna

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this! The glamping experience does sound really neat, but it’s too bad it doesn’t live up to expectations. I love the concept and from the photos the place looks like it has a cool design to it, but the crowding, strange 11 hour rates and the rafts being close together would definitely put a damper on it. Would love to check it out if they worked on some of these issues though!

    August 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm Reply
  • Kasia

    As a Hotel Blogger I enjoy reading about a lot o different kinds of accomodation around of the world.
    I wouldl ove to try this kind of vacations. I’m just wondering if these tents are not getting too hot during the day.
    I really like their floating pool 🙂 Such a good idea to attract more tourists.

    Best regards,
    Kasia

    August 16, 2017 at 5:21 pm Reply
    • Juander Woman

      It does get hot in the afternoon, a fan is provided but dipping in the pool might be a better idea especially during the summer months where the heat may be too unbearable.

      August 17, 2017 at 9:49 pm Reply

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