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“Great Place for 2 nights”

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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
Reviewed 29 July 2011

and make sure you book the tours they offer.
but note you are in the middle of nowhere. and the resort charges for everything.
a taxi to town is around $20 each way and a trip to the airport over $50 per taxi.
rent a car to be flexible. MeuterMedia

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank MeuterMedia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 July 2011

We spent the first two nights of a weeklong trip to Panama at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort and it was a great way start to our vacation. We called the hotel prior to our arrival and they arranged to pick us up at the airport (make sure to say "English" when they answer the phone). The ride is about 45 minutes and we paid $90 for six people. Upon entering the hotel, the view from the lobby's huge windows is absolutely breathtaking -- pictures don't do it justice.

The people at the front desk were very friendly, spoke English and they gave our group two rooms next to each other. Rooms were beautiful and clean and had great views of the river. We spent the first day exploring the hotel, relaxing by the pool and organizing our tours.

The people at the tour desk were very friendly and informed us about the two free tours offered by the hotel -- the night safari and a guided tour that took you to the orchid garden, snake house, butterfly garden and aquatic exhibit (all on the property). We booked both tours as well as the Monkey Island tour (well worth the money). We didn't see too much during the night safari but the other free tour was great and we had a very good tour guide. The highlight however was the Monkey Island tour. We took a boat onto the Panama Canal and stopped to look at different monkeys on the various islands but our tour guide also provided us great information about the canal itself. Make sure to book this tour for the early morning hours.

As far as food goes, there is no place to eat other than at the hotel. For the most part, the service staff does not speak English so there can be some communication issues. The buffet is the best option for breakfast and for dinner. It took us a day to learn that the dinner buffet is priced differently depending on what you want. There is one price for just salad, one price for just hot food items and a separate price for those who want everything. We ended up getting just the hot items and that worked out well for us. Food quality was ok, some things were really good others were so-so. For lunch I would recommend eating by the bar in the lobby -- you can sit inside or out on a balcony and get reasonably priced things like burgers, wings, pizza etc.

Checking out of the hotel was a breeze and we arranged transportation to the domestic airport though the front desk. That ended up being $35. Overall, Gamboa is a really nice resort with a lot of things to do but I wouldn't recommend staying there more than a couple of days. There is so much more to do in Panama!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank sverma75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2011

Gamboa was adventurous and exciting! We stayed for two nights and were more than satisfied.
We chose the "all-inclusive" package and would recommend this option if you're a big drinker/plan to be a big drinker. All the drinks (on a specified list) are free!!!
The food was AWFUL!!!! In the "all inclusive" package was a buffet, and the food was terrible. Everything was disgustingly salty and just gross. They do have a restaurant at the bar that serves tasty food, but somehow that food is NOT included in the "ALL INCLUSIVE" package.

The reason my review is "very good" is because we went for the adventures and received plenty!
Our room was big and beautiful, although the bathroom showed signs of mold in places. We had a spectacular view off our hammock balcony. We saw the river and the mountains!
We signed up for the free walking, biking, and night tours and had a blast. We didn't see anything on the night tour, but the bus and atmosphere was nice. The MOST AWESOME part was the MONKEY ISLAND tour. We saw plenty of Monkeys. They were beautiful & funny. One even jumped on the front of our boat asking for food!
We saw tons of parrots (love birds), and plenty of other animals.

Room Tip: Not sure there's a bad room at the hotel!!!
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  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank lstiffen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2011

Worst hotel I ever stayed at and will not recommend it to anyone.

The cute desk clerks speak English but do not understand it very well, I found myself repeating things several times and finally gave up altogether and had my wife do all the talking in Spanish.

We were locked out of our room three times (room key didn't,'t work) each time taking the long walk to the front desk and then waiting 30 to 45 min. to get in our room.
If we had been waiting for a bus which doesn't come often we would have missed it. As it was we missed an important appointment

Reported to the manager that the shower drain was clogged up and I had to stand in 4 inches of water, He said he would get maintenance to fix that, but it didn't happen.
after 4 days we asked for and got another room.

This hotel is located in a remote location and many of the guests do NOT have a car - with out a car you are stuck waiting for a bus or $55 for a Taxi.

The tours are a joke, we went and felt cheated, similar to gas stations attractions in Georgia except the ones in Georgia are free.

Breakfast cost $37 each - mostly things we wouldn't want to serve to guests - most of the time we drove our rental car to McDonnell's.

Rentals cars in Panama is another scam - the car rental was priced okay however it cost nearly $800 for two weeks insurance.

Our credit card number was stolen and charges were made of over $800, we reported this and the charges were removed, however the only place we used our credit card was at the hotel.

Ice was a problem, you have to call room service and when they don't answer I called the front desk, when they didn't answer after 16 rings I walked up 4 floors to the front desk only to find the lobby empty and he was talking to one of the porters.

They have a card in each room asking that you hang and dry your towels and reuse then more than once to save them money.. Problem is it so humid the towels won't air dry in one day - - - We don't like using our own towels at home more than once and find it annoying that they would ask.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sk1ppy1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2011

Due to a change in plans, we arrived a day early to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort one day early and three hours before check-in. They gave us a drink card and we headed out to the balcony to take in the view and have a few drinks. I walked over to the tour desk and started to arrange all of our tours. One of the hidden secrets of this hotel is the air conditioned library over the lobby with wi-fi. The main lobby and the Monkey Bar are open air.
Our first tour was the Aerial Tram Tour and Ecological Exhibit. They picked us up at the lobby and we rode to the tram entry area. The tram gradually rose through the trees as our guide pointed out plants, trees, flowers, birds, ants, termites, and told us how all of these interact with each other. We crossed over a pond and looked for caimans, turtles and frogs. When we got to the top of the hill we got off of the tram and walked a few hundred feet through the jungle to an observation tower. The tower is over 100 ft tall, but the slope of the walkway is so gradual that you hardly notice that you are walking uphill. We stopped at many spots on the way up so the guide could show us certain leaves and how some are designed to let light through to lower leaves, she showed us trees that had ant nests at many different levels and explained to us how these separate “factories” all work together. We saw lots of butterflies and we could hear monkeys in the distance. It was amazing how the jungle changes as you work your way higher into and eventually above the canopy. There was a nice view of the Panama Canal traffic below and the Chagres River. After we returned to ground level we walked through various ecological displays including a fish and reptile exhibit, a separate snake building, an orchid garden and a butterfly conservatory with plenty of blue morph butterflies. That evening we walked around the grounds for an hour and a half. We walked to the marina and saw a huge crocodile swimming around and we listened to the parrots and frogs and the fireflies were everywhere.
We stayed on the 4th floor in one of the wings off of the lobby and that was convenient because it is at the same level as the front desk and other services. The view from the balcony was great and the birds were everywhere. You could close your eyes and know without a doubt that you were not in the US just from the sounds of the birds. Parrots were everywhere, and we saw two toucans right outside of our room. There were so many types of birds that we were constantly looking from tree to tree to see new ones. There were capybaras between the hotel and the Chagres. The hammock is very comfortable and there is also a table with two chairs on the balcony and a ceiling fan. The beds were comfortable and the bathroom was large and everything was very clean.
The next morning we started out with the breakfast buffet, which was good, and then we got on the shuttle to the marina and hopped on the boat which is on the Chagres River. We headed under the wooden one lane bridge and out into the Panama Canal. We passed several ships and we also saw the huge Titan crane floating down the canal. The driver stopped many times to tell us about the ships that we were passing and they showed us the current expansion work that is being done on the canal. We stopped at a couple of little islands and looked at baby crocodiles and searched for howler monkeys. We pulled up to the “Monkey Island” and there were capuchin monkeys (white face) everywhere. Some of them jumped in the boat to check us out and then jumped back into the trees. We sat there about 10-15 minutes and then checked out some other things in the area. We saw a large iguana and then we found a pack of howler monkeys on another island and they put on a pretty good sound show for us. As we headed back to the resort we passed several more ships.
After the tour we wanted to check out some other things in the area, one downside of the resort property is that there is no quick access to taxis. They offered to call one in from Panama City but we walked out front and talked to a guy standing by a tour van. We rented the van and driver by the hour and we visited Soberania National Park, Panama Rainforest Discovery Center and the Summit Zoo. They offer a free night tour of the grounds in the open shuttle and drive around with spotlights looking for critters.
At 6:45am the next morning we departed for our three hour Pipeline Road Bird Watching Tour. This was the highlight of our stay. Jose was our guide and he spoke great English and he was very knowledgeable about the birds, trees, plants, insects and other animals. He pointed out trees and plants that are used by the Embera Indians for medicine and food. He had a bright green laser that he would use to help us locate birds in the trees and he spotted a three toed sloth for us. He also had a speaker that he connected to an iPod and played bird calls in certain areas to bring birds into view. We learned so much about the jungle. Bring mosquito repellent.

Room Tip: Our room on the 4th floor was on the same level with the lobby and most services
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  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
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9  Thank Sewtex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2011

If you are looking for peace, than this is the place for you!
My husband and I are nature lovers so entertainment and partying were not on our list of priorities. We got exactly what we were looking for: monkeys, sloths, capyberras, coatis and more!
This hotel is located in a national park where wildlife is abundant...you don't even have to leave the grounds! If you wanted to take a walk towards the ariel tram, you can see even more wildlife. Go around 8am, 3pm and 6pm for the best viewing of birds, lizards and monkeys.
The all inclusive part was a little confusing the first day, you have to sign for all your meals except breakfast, but don't worry, you won't be charged! They do give you a "receipt" so you can see how much you could have paid if you didn't do all inclusive! Once we figured it out by asking the staff, everything was easy!
The staff were so wonderful, especially the bartenders at the lobby bar. They literally would see us coming and have our drinks (mojitos) ready for us.
The pool was always empty except on the weekend which was heavenly in my opinion, even then, I would not even consider it full!
We stayed in the main hotel and the room was very clean with a huge bathroom. I've heard that the villas are not as great but I did not see them personally.
The food was great, whether it was buffet style or when we ordered off the menu. The restaurant at the marina is also a great place with a view of the canal.
We did the Monkey Island tour and it was awesome! Certainly a must see as you get to take a boat ride on the canal and pass giant freighters!
For the adventurous, you can walk to Pipeline road which took us about an hour. We walked through the town of Gamboa and always felt extremely safe. Take lots of water with you though, it's hot!
Take full advantage of the free night tours. A guide will take you through the grounds on truck with a huge spotlight. We saw all kinds of cool things!
I definitly recommend this hotel but only if you are interested in the wildlife, culture and solitude. There isn't any entertainment other other poolside activities! It truly is a paradise that you should not miss.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Mariannabanana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2011

Pictures looked great, and reviews seemed fine, but dissapointed when arrived. Was probably nice 20 years ago, but seems worn out and dirty. Gave us a free drink coupon upon check in, they would not take it at bar or pool ? Main restaurant in main building very poor food, too small, very dirty. Activities were well done (monkeys, fishing, etc). Pool was fine, but pool bar closed at 4 PM while tons of people stayed out there until 7 PM ? Food at pool bar was very poor. Room was nice size and clean, bathroom was old and dirty. Overall, a great property and location, just needs some clean up and new food and beverage services. For $300 per night with internet not included I expected more.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank Kurt1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Address: Goethals Blvd. | Soberania National Park, Gamboa 7338, Panama
Region: Panama > Colon Province > Gamboa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
Price Range: £94 - £215 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Gamboa Rainforest Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 166
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Deep in the heart of the Panamanian rainforest lies the completely unique Gamboa Rainforest Resort. This magnificent destination rests where the scenic Chagres River meets the Panama Canal and is the only resort property in the area. Few places on earth offer such an amazing natural experience while providing an unsurpassed level of luxury. Escape the noise and hectic pace of everyday life and surround yourself with the tranquility of the mystical Soberania National Forest. Here, just a short 30-minute ride from Panama City, on 340 acres overlooking the stunning Panama Canal, you can commune with nature in a pristine environment where explorers and pirates once tread. Our Panama Tours offer an exhilarating variety of jungle adventures such as an aerial tram, guided boat tours, fishing expeditions, and much more. Our tours are designed to show you wildlife in its natural setting amidst the colorful splendor of the jungle flora. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gamboa Rainforest Hotel Gamboa
Gamboa Rain Forest Resort

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