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“Wonderful Educational Satisfying Experience”

Panama Rainforest Discovery Center
Book In Advance
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US$105.00*
and up
Panama Canal Eco-Cruise and Rainforest Discovery Center
Ranked #2 of 17 things to do in Gamboa
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Panamá Rainforest Discovery Center is the main project of the Fundación Avifauna Eugene Eisenmann, non-profit environmental organization for the conservation of birds in Panama. Our objective is to protect the tropical rainforest throught sustainable tourism.We offer bird feeders, a 32 meters observation tower, 2 kilometers of trails, gift sotre and educational programs for students.Most of the staff of the Panamá Rainforest Discovery Center are from neighbouring communities. They are incorporated into the center after going through a training and selection program.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Stairs / lift
Bellevue WA
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Wonderful Educational Satisfying Experience”
Reviewed 9 January 2014

January 9 - a Panamanian Holiday so no need to get to work on time, instead I arrived at about 6:30 at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center. Even though I had previously checked out the entrance location, I did miss the turn in the dark at first. The woman at the checkin/gift shop was pleasant and encouraging; telling me there would be a guide there by 7:30 or 8:00 and to continue up the track. For those who are easily confused in the semi-darkness like myself, there is a parking area where you see some signs and boardwalks. The visitor center is slightly uphill from there and the tower downhill (and then up). By the time I had sorted myself out, there were a couple of serious birders and a guide and I followed them the short distance to the tower.
Even if you have no birding experience you will enjoy this place. But be sure you have binoculars. Just be quiet and listen, take advantage of the experienced birders who are likely to be there, they are friendly and helpful. We saw the most birds between 7:30 and 8:30. But maybe that was because there were the most people looking then. You also don't need to speak Spanish. The hummingbirds at the visitor center were a delight and I could have watched them for much longer.
I hope to go back with more time to walk the trails as well as climb the canopy again.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Fred&Maisie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Karen A, Director General at Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, responded to this review, 11 June 2015
Thank you for your comment that allowing us to constantly improve. In this way we can offer a memorable experience in the tropical forest of Panama, combining environmental education and sustainable tourism.

We are glad that you enjoyed the visit at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, and we hope you can repeat the experience soon with us.

And thanks to your support we have won the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

Best regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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163 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    97
    42
    16
    7
    1
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Carlos, Panama
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Paradise abandoned”
Reviewed 29 December 2013

I have visited the Center many times since 2008 and was saddened to find it in a deplorable state of disrepair. There were no guides, no scopes---only an apathetic employee collecting the entrance fee of $30.00, and a young man on a 4 wheeler, presumably keeping out intruders. The trails were dangerous with loose, rotten, and missing planks, and the handrails were filthy with rust. The tower is badly in need of repair, and the overall atmosphere is one of abandonment. The guide books speak of making reservations, but the web site is down and the phone appears to be disconnected. I would put it last on the list of places to visit in Gamboa. One could have a much safer and more rewarding experience by simply walking the Pipeline Road, for which a nominal fee is charged.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
7 Thank birdophile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Birds, monkeys, butterflies, sloths, lizards, leaf cutter ants!”
Reviewed 29 November 2013

We got there at 7 am. We saw from the tower and from our hike about 62 birds (with the help of expert guides)... and saw other wildlife.

A dream come true!!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Naomi68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Karen A, Director General at Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, responded to this review, 11 June 2015
Thank you for your comment that allowing us to constantly improve. In this way we can offer a memorable experience in the tropical forest of Panama, combining environmental education and sustainable tourism.

We are glad that you enjoyed the visit at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, and we hope you can repeat the experience soon with us.

And thanks to your support we have won the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

Best regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Hummingbird Heaven”
Reviewed 9 October 2013

We arrived after 10 and paid $20 to hike up the tower (nice view) and go to the headquarters - a small facility offering an open air porch, bathrooms, a few informative boards and a tiny stand with someone collecting the fee and selling high priced snacks and some field guides. The porch made it worth the fee for me. It is set up with half a dozen large hummingbird feeders perched around a broad railing and a few stools available to sit and observe the birds coming to the feeders. It was literally abuzz with hummingbirds. These birds are so used to people coming and going, they pay no attention to you at all. You can sit right next to a feeder on a railing and feel the birds fan you as they sweep in to collect some nectar. If you're from the eastern USA where the hummingbird species are limited, this is an incredible treat and opportunity to study these amazing creatures at close quarters. Time slots are limited - if you come after the am peak, you are supposed to leave before the pm peak.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank SallyC71_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Karen A, Director General at Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, responded to this review, 11 June 2015
Thank you for your comment that allowing us to constantly improve. In this way we can offer a memorable experience in the tropical forest of Panama, combining environmental education and sustainable tourism.

We are glad that you enjoyed the visit at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, and we hope you can repeat the experience soon with us.

And thanks to your support we have won the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

Best regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Panama City, Panama
Level 6 Contributor
27 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Makes it easy for anyone to experience the rainforest”
Reviewed 7 October 2013

Panama is packed with tropical rainforests, and there are plenty of national or natural parks in which visitors can observe the large amount of biodiversity that can be found in them. However, access to several parks might be difficult, requiring long traveling times, having great physical fitness, or being experienced in hiking. The Soberanía National Park is quite close to Panama City and the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, located within the park, has an array of facilities that makes it easy for any ordinary and inexperienced person to enjoy this park.

The Panama Rainforest Discovery Center has a small staff, yet very helpful, assisting tourists at the visitor's center and at the 100 feet high observation tower. They're very friendly and enjoy giving visitors information about the park, what can be seen in the trails and the observation tower, the animals' behaviors, etc. The trails are quite short, well marked and easy to do, that's why I mentioned that any ordinary person can walk them. But don't believe that because it's easy to walk you won't get to see many animals: this is a tropical rainforest, after all. In a short walk, we saw plenty of birds (including some birds of prey from the observation tower), a few mammals and a pair of crocodiles. Climbing up the observation tower does require some phyisical effort, but it's worth it.

The visitors center has basic but adequate facilities. There are toilets and you can get a much-needed dose of cold drinks and snacks from its small shop once you get back from hiking. Also, part of the entry fee can be used as credit towards purchasing any goods from the shop.

Something else that it's worth mentioning is that the whole place is run by a nonprofit association called Avifauna, whose goal is protect Panama's birds and to educate the general public about why it's important to do so. The facilities were constructed without felling down a single tree, using existing clearings and roads in the jungle.

Needless to say, we were very happy to find out about this place and visiting it, and we expect to be back a few more times.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank El_Chiners
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Karen A, Director General at Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, responded to this review, 11 June 2015
Thank you for your comment that allowing us to constantly improve. In this way we can offer a memorable experience in the tropical forest of Panama, combining environmental education and sustainable tourism.

We are glad that you enjoyed the visit at the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, and we hope you can repeat the experience soon with us.

And thanks to your support we have won the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

Best regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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