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“Great location and value for canal and bird watching”

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Ivan's Bed & Breakfast Birding Lodge
Ranked #2 of 4 Gamboa B&B and Inns
Biloela, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
231 reviews
112 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 269 helpful votes
“Great location and value for canal and bird watching”
Reviewed 8 June 2011

We stayed at Ivans Bed and Breakfast for 2 nights on our fortnight trip to Panama. Even though Ivan had given good driving directions we still got lost coming out of Panama City and finally paid a taxi driver to lead us in the right direction.
When we arrived Ivan drove around with us to show us some of the best bird watching areas and give us a general orientation.
We had a double room with private facilities for $90US a night and we also arranged for dinner at $15 per person each night as choices are limited in this area. Breakfast was also included in the room cost.
Room was clean and enough space to put our bags out. There was an air con in the bedroom.
Ivan was a good and knowledgeable host and introduced us to his other guests. He also had a lovely small dog named Lilly.
Would recommend this small accommodation in comparison to the busier and costly resort down the road.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Qldgirl1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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72 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
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English first
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 March 2011

If you're an avid birder this might be a good place for you. If not, the Gamboa resort may be a better choice. The meals were good though, and the owner does all he can to make your stay a more personal one than the resort can offer. He seems to know a great deal about birds.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jasper_Stefan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Coos Bay
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2011

Gamboa does not have many options for lodging, so luckly Ivan's B&B is available. It's a great place to stay for birders, with breakfast and coffee available at 6:00 am. Ivan drove us around town in his golf cart to get us oriented. We were able to walk to the pipeline road from the B&B since we did not have a car. We chose to have dinners at Ivan's since there is little else availble in town, the food was always great. Ivan gave lots of advice on the bus system.

Although not a fancy place, its comfortalbe and convenient.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank CoosBayFarmgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michigan
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2011

Ivan's is homey place, a bit on the eccentric side. The rooms are adequate and clean. This is not a plush place and not advertised as one. It provides the necessities with no frills. If you want more luxury, this is not the place - go to the nearby Resort. From what I gather, if you stay overnight in Gamboa, the Resort and Ivan's are the only options.

We stayed here three nights and had all our meals other than breakfast at the Resort. Ivan's breakfast is so-so. We felt that $90/night for two people was a bit on the high side for what you get, but you don't have many options. What is somewhat disconcerting is that he charges you for every thing - laundry ($10/load), internet access ($5/day). I understand this is a business, but sometimes you feel like you are being nickle and dimed. We stayed at Boquete Garden Inn after this (for about $10/night more) and the stark contrast has perhaps colored my views.

Ivan is a "character." He means well and tries hard to be helpful and make you comfortable.

For birders, lots of birds around the property and the immediate surrounds. I even saw a guide with a birding a group in the nearby park - so I assume this is a prime location. The B&B is also located within minutes of Pipeline Road and Soberania Park.

If you go, don't expect a lot, but you will have a clean place with an interesting host!

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank sirijay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
victoria, BC
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2011

This is a place that you either love it, or hate it. You have to go in with a correct mind set. This is not a plush hotel, it also did not come with a 5 star price. If you like to dress up & sit in luxury, this is not for you, this is a B&B operated by homely folks. You can pay top dollars at the Resort, and still being treated like crap by the staffs there.
The rooms are clean & adequate, while not big, not shining new, nor plush. Bedding & bathroom are clean & well supplied.
Gamboa has no restaurants. We ate 3 dinners at the B&B, Gladys is an excellent cook. In my travels, I prefer home cook meals any day than greasy restaurant foods. We really enjoyed the breakfasts & dinners there.
Ivan gave us rides to Ammo Pond, Discovery Centerer and finally the airport. You have to price these services as private transfers, not bus not taxi, it cost the same by Western first world standards, but not a 60 cents bus ride... but then who can compete with bus fares?
For comparison, the Canopy Lodge also charge $55 for airport transfers, but it is not a private transfer, they will take you & others in a 10 passenger van and take you all over town to do pickups & drop-offs before taking you to the Airport, so keep your fingers crossed that you are the only game in town for that ride!
After paying over $40 dollars at the Resort for a shared lunch & 2 juices, got very poor service, and no one there spoke or even tried to communicate in English at all. Ivan is an excellent host, speaks fluent English, I can't see how someone can write something nasty about him.

All in all a very nice stay.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank bcmatrixman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Radcliffe on Trent, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
94 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2011

We cose to stay at Ivans as we preferred not to stay at the Resort and it seemed to be the only other option. We had seem a video clip of the aerial tram at the resort and I just had to do that. We are not birders but just wanted to experience the rainforest. We had met in Panama City a coup,e of people who had only just stayed at Ivans and weren't very happy so we went feeling a little anxious. We needn't have felt anxious at all. I think the other couple had different expectations but we loved it. The room was fine, having cooled it down with the noisy aircon and then left the very quiet fan running all night. The wardrobe was a rail like in a sports hall changing room bot so much space. Bathroom fine with loads of well-pressured hot water and a double size shower. The dining room was newly done and full of all sorts of interesting curios, old typewriter, 70 year old beautiful glass beaded necklace and many more. Breakfast was simple, adequate but beautifully presented. The 3 dinners were great, getting bigger and better by the day. Thanks Gladys. There is a small "honesty bar" fridge with beer, smirnoff ice and coca cola. The outside area amused us and this was the part of our stay that we enjoyed the best. The old outdoor dining area is now a really atmospheric sitting area, light enough at night to be able to read. Ivan would join us every night for a chat. As I said before, the thing that originally brought us to Gamboa was the aerial tram. The first afternoon we walked to the resort which took ages but going by the back road is only 5 minutes (ask Ivan) we booked to take the tram 2 days later. That evening Ivan was telling us that it was expensive and not worth the money, leaving us hesitating. Day 2 we walked the long hot walk to the Discovery centre and tower at the start of the Pipeline road. So hot, so humid but so worth it, even for non-birders. We decided in the end to take the tram on day 3 as it was that which brought us here and the thought that I would regret it. Ok $53 each but I really enjoyed it. The tr am goes through the canopy with a guide for each carriage. A 3 toed sloth met us at the top. More of this later. The views at the top were worth every cent. The river, the canal and the rainforest! Back at the tram, the sloth had climbed onto the mechanism and it took about 30 mins for him to be teased back into a tree. No hurries. I van arranged transport back to the airport $55 so not cheap. Apparently the bus is about 60cents according to some website! Still this was the end of a 26 day trip so what the hell! All in all a great stay at Ivans and for birders it is paradise apparently. I would be happy to go again but don't suppose we will as there are too many places and not enough time

  • Stayed February 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank ddickinscoll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brooklyn, New York
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 January 2011

Ivan's B&B is the place to be if you're into birding. Just a short walk to Pipeline Road where all the action is. Ivan is full of useful information and makes you feel at home. The rooms are clean and spacious with an old fashioned sort of charm. The backyard alone is worth staying there, as we saw all sorts of birds and wildlife while sipping our morning coffee.
Be forwarned though that there is not much in the area in terms of stores/ restaurants so planning ahead is advisable, especially if you have any dietary restrictions as we did. (Vegetarians)
Ivan and his wife Gladys are quite accomodating, good humored & are open to suggestions. I mentioned that us girls like having a full length mirror available and he went and purchased one the following day. He was also nice enough to turn me on to his favorite rum... I thank you for that!! :))
All in all we had a very comfortable stay and if ever in the area would go back again!!

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lollichops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ivan's Bed & Breakfast Birding Lodge

Property: Ivan's Bed & Breakfast Birding Lodge
Address: Jadwin Avenue 111, Gamboa 0043, Panama (Formerly Ivan's Bed & Breakfast)
Region: Panama > Colon Province > Gamboa
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Gamboa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our B&B was found in 2005 and it is in the historic town of Gamboa located aprox 25 Km from Panama City. The house was built totally in wood under rustic structures in 1936 Our family operated B&B is mostly dedicated to Birding and Nature observation comprised of 4 rooms, 2 rooms located in the ground floor and 2 rooms located in the upper floor all with full privacy & comforts. Our service objective is focused on personalized attention to our guest, The historic Town of Gamboa is mainly a residential area without commercial activity . Gamboa is located within the Soberania National Park offering superb biodiversity of plants, birds, mammals and insects. Please note there are no supermarkets, restaurants, bars and /or cafe's in the residential area ... more   less 

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