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“Great place to stay while in Gamboa”

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Ivan's Bed & Breakfast Birding Lodge
Ranked #2 of 4 Gamboa B&B and Inns
Reviewed 26 November 2011

Ivan's Bed and Breakfast is a great place to stay while you are in Gamboa. Ivan and Gladys are excellent hosts, my sleeping arrangements were very comfortable and the bathroom is clean and huge. Meals (breakfast and dinner) were very good, as was the coffee in the morning. Ivan drove us around to show us our landmarks on the way to Pipeline Road so we could find our way back after birding. The birding, even in his neighborhood, is fantastic. I saw 40 new birds in one day. Ivan's air conditioned shuttle to the airport is well worth it. The busses are cheap but can take a long time in the heat. You will want to be fresh when you hop on that plane! On my next trip to Panama, I'll start and end my trip at Ivan's.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank Rudy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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46 - 52 of 72 reviews

Reviewed 23 August 2011

agree with the other review that the owner undermines his own place.
plus the meals are bad and ovepriced. we're not at all picky or overly sensitive
to negative attitudes, but it was hard to ignore feeling that the owner sees his guests
as the enemy. he's in the wrong business if hospitality is what he's trying to achieve.
room was nice, but we felt like an intruders just being there.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with friends
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6  Thank mary s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2011

Decent rooms at not too bad a price. Meals, however, are excessively priced and range from okay to very bad. Do whatever you can to avoid shelling out for dinner. Our last night we got wise and took a bus into Panama City, had a great meal, and saved money. What really brought the experience down was the nature of the owner, Ivan. He's not a bad guy, and has a lot of information, but we wouldn't leave me and my family alone. If we ventured out into the common area, he swooped in like a hawk and proceeded to dominate any discussions we tried to have. He subjected us to not one, but two dull videos of some boating expedition through the canal that his son and daughter had done. We couldn't really escape because we were eating a savorless, overpriced dinner. He also kind of gouges for any additional stuff, like computer access, rides, beer, water, etc. So yeah, go, stay, and enjoy but BYO snacks and drinks and only eat dinner (likely with Ivan blissfully bending your ear) there if you must.

Room Tip: Just look at them first and pick the one you like best.
  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled with family
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2  Thank Metacomet666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2011

Top ten reasons to stay at Ivan's Bed and Breakfast.

1. Ivan. He's a great guy. Genuine, fun, and knowedgeable about birds and the Gamboa area. He cares about his family, home, and guests. Ivan's an amazing host who will make sure your stay is fun and memorable. If you need recommendations for things to do, he's got them.
2. Gladys. For a little bit more money, you can add on the dinner option. We were glad we did because Gladys makes a delicious meal. After a busy day, the last thing you want to think about is how you're going to fix up dinner. Candlelight dinners are usually served at 7 PM. Many times we would chat with Ivan or guests about our day.
3. You are physically minutes away from the famous Pipeline Road and Soberania National Park. Birders, this is an absolute must see!! Ivan's is perfect for the bird enthusiast. He knows his birds. The place has books with information on birds. And of course, it's near one of the world's premiere birding places.
4. It's an old historical canal home with a lots of personality. It's quite large and spacious with 3 floors.
5. If you arrange it ahead of time with Ivan, you can have transportation arranged to and from the airport. Make sure you talk about the price. No need to get stuck in Panama City.
6. Speaking of avoiding Panama City, you can grab a cheap bus from Gamboa and head over to the Miraflores locks on the Panama Canal. You can catch the bus one block away from his house.
7. You can organize trips, like Monkey Island, with Ivan ahead of time. Or several blocks away, the expensive yet beautiful Gamboa resort offers kayaking or canopy tours.
8. A/C. Panama's weather is oppressively hot and sticky. Each of the rooms offers an a/c unit with fans. While my body eventually adapted to the humidity, I found the a/c a great way to sleep and relax a bit from the onslaught of nasty temps.
9. Breakfast and coffee included. Ivan is flexible and will organize a time with you the night before as to when you'd like to have breakfast.
10. Wildlife is all around you. Just steps away from the house, you'll see the real residents of Gamboa....the agouti. You don't have to go far to see bats, birds, reptiles, insects, or mammals. Without even stepping into the national park or Pipeline road, we saw a green iguana, a toucan, bats, agouti, fireflies, tanagers, parrokeets, tons of butterflies, turtles, frogs and capybara.....all within a several minute walk from Ivan's place.

We travelled all over Panama for a month, but no place matched the magic of Gamboa or Ivan's Bed and Breakfast. We began our trip here and changed our itinerary so we could spend our last two nights with Ivan. He's a cool guy. Don't waste your money on the Gamboa Resort. It's beautiful but overpriced. Have a drink there but stay at Ivan's. You won't regret it. Note. His place is not for college kids who want to drink or party nor it is for families with babies. It's perfect for birders or people looking to get away for some R and R. I also think it would be great for families with OLDER ones as the rooms are set up nicely for Mom and Dad to be nearby. If you're super loud, Ivan's mother, oh yeah...I said his mother, will go upstairs and find you:) It's a beautiful home with lots of space. We miss Ivan and Gladys but are thankful we had the chance to cross paths with them. It was truly a memorable experience. Mil gracias!

My Las Aventuras Travel and Garden blog will feature Soberania National Park, the infamous Pipeline Road, and a segment on birds during the month of August. A special thank you to Ivan for taking the time and helping me identify a lot of my bird pics.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Chris R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2011

We had heard good things about Ivan's B&B from a friend who was a big birder. We knew it was going to be significantly more expensive than the other places we had stayed in in Panama, but decided to stay there anyway. The room was decent and Ivan was nice. However, the breakfast was sub-par for the price of this B&B, just eggs, toast and a glass of fruit juice. We were at least expecting something a bit more filling and traditional.

If we had to do it again, we would have stayed in Panama City and made Gamboa as a day trip rather than stay here. That said, if you are not traveling on a budget then this place might be worth a look. Bottom line, though, they should start serving more substantive breakfasts if they want to use the name Bed and Breakfast.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank MrTravelsAround
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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Thank Qldgirl1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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1  Thank Jasper_Stefan
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

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: £33 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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