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Ivan's Bed & Breakfast Birding Lodge
Ranked #2 of 4 Gamboa B&B and Inns
Reviewed 21 February 2012

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.

Room Tip: Room #1 has cross-ventilation, so no airconditioing is necessary.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled solo
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2  Thank Russell H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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42 - 48 of 73 reviews

Reviewed 15 February 2012

We stayed at Ivan's for 3 nights in January, 2012 and had a wonderful time. Ivan was a superb host and informed us about all of our Gamboa options. Our upstairs room was spacious and very nice. One day Ivan drove us to the Rainforest Discovery Center. We climbed the observation tower and then leisurely walked the Pipeline Road back to Gamboa. We saw beautiful birds, butterflies, night monkeys and sloths. We heard the deafening sound of a group of howler monkeys who 'roared' at us from nearby trees. We finally decided that we were not in danger and enjoyed the LOUD serenade. We went to the Resort and rode the aerial tram which was very nice. We mainly relaxed and walked around Gamboa. On our last day Ivan drove us back to our hotel in Panama City.

The meals cooked by Gladys were wonderful. It was so relaxing to be served delicious food after a day of roaming in the rainforest. We hope to return to Gamboa in the future and will definitely stay at Ivan's again.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank gibsonl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2012

We stayed at Ivan's on two occasions during our visit to Panama in March/april 2011. I had to take my original review down as I made a mistake in the pricing - sorry Ivan and Gladys that it has taken me so long to re-write this review!
This is a small B&B and not a luxury hotel; expectations should take this into account.
We stayed in two different rooms on two visits to Gamboa. The room downstairs has a private bathroom but is small. Though the 'upstairs' room in the main house has a shared bathroom it is in the old style part of the house with big sash windows and a view over the pretty street - and it is big enough for two double beds and plenty of space besides. We loved that room.


Ivan is a friendly and knowledgeable character who can advise about the area, the birds and wildlife. The breakfasts are good and different every day and we ate our eveining meal there (Restaurant facilities in the area are basically here or the Gamboa Resort). Glady's, Ivan's wife, cooks an enjoyable, great value, three course meal There is no choice, but again, she is careful to ensure that visitors get a nice variety of food during their stay. 
The Wifi is good but there is a small charge.

Gamboa is simply a lovely spot to stay in, a pretty and historically interesting town, though the 'town centre' is nothing much more than a tiny grocery shop and a fire station! It is full of birds and is great to wander around. We saw marmosets in the trees and toucans, as well as many other birds. The Gamboa Resort is a five minute walk away.

Ivan's is ideally located for birders wanting the walk the 'Pipeline Road' but even if your interest in birds is limited, the rainforest there is a great place to experience. It is within walking distance of Ivan's but better, quite honestly, with transport as the heat is fierce and as a 'round trip' it is demanding if totally done on foot. The Chagres river is also very close and there are various tours available on the water. If you are lucky as we were, you might see one of the huge ocean liners up close as it passes by the Gamboa Bridge on it's way through the Panama Canal.

Room Tip: The upstairs room is cool and roomy.
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  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank YabbayabbaDotNet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2011

We plan on visiting this summer to see where my dad grew up. His father and grandfather were workers on the Panama Canal. The house used to be a duplex. In the 40's, his neighbor was a man named Lyle Womack. This guy went to the South Pole with Admiral Byrd back in the 30s. The house behind this house to the right was the house where the grandson of Francis Scott Key lived!
My dad lived in this house when he was 6 years old in 1938 until about 1948. He lived on side A. He said somewhere in the backyard should be buried some lead soldiers from England that little boys played with back then.
This town is so packed with history. We can not wait to come and here more stories. My dad, who turned 80 this year, is coming with us :)

Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
1  Thank 1023Heidi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2011

Ivan transferred us from panama city and gave us an orientation drive of gamboa. Birdwatching was good in the village and ivan's is close to great forests. The local bus is cheap. The b n b is excellent. Recommended.

  • Stayed: November 2011
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1  Thank Magpie29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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
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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: £34 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
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 

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