I recently spent three nights at Ivan’s. http://www.gamboaecotours.com/ He picked me up in central Panama City precisely at the scheduled time; days later, in spite of several episodes of stop-and-go traffic, he delivered me to Tocumen Airport in plenty of time to catch my Miami-bound flight. His wife, Gladys, provided me with a quiet and clean room and excellent breakfasts and dinners. Honor-bar access to the dining room/lounge refrigerator insured that I was able to remain hydrated from early morning until late in the evening. Outside, a lanai (covered open area) with chairs, sofa and a hammock provided space for additional hydrating, watching neighborhood birds or the many agoutis scurrying by.
The B&B is in both sides of a ca.1938 three-story duplex built for workers of the US Panama Canal’s Dredging Division. Concrete piers support a redwood-sided, yellow pine-floored copper-roofed building. It is a well-maintained and presented a comfortable piece of Canal history.
Not a serious birder, I was in Gamboa to catch an early morning boat to Barro Colorado, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s well-studied former-mountain-top island in Gatun Lake. Ivan delivered me to the pier and offered to pick me up upon return. I declined, enjoying a late afternoon walk along a bird-populated pond and the quiet streets of th very small town. Each evening, Ivan loaned me binoculars, taking me to the pond near Pipeline Road/STRI pier and to the marina at nearby Gamboa Rainforest Lodge. With help of his eye and ear, I would have been able to add many sigthings to my non-existent lifetime list.
Ivan and his near collage-age children are all involved in ocean-to-ocean cayuco racing. A cayuco is a native canoe and as used in racing is one of wood or fiberglass in which four paddlers –male/female/coed under/over 21—paddle from Christobal (near Colon) on the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal to Panama City on the Pacific: forty miles, three days, in only a little over five hours. In my mind much more challenging than Harvard-Yale or Henley.
I heartedly recommend Ivan’s.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our B&B was founded 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