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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
Reviewed 30 July 2008

I had read the reviews and said this hotel has issues and maybe isn't so bad. Maybe it is just people without the Central American experience of doing things backwards. As a person who travels to Central America a lot I offer the following review. The hotel is large and impressive situated in a little town called Gamboa 45 minutes from the city. The hotel tells everyone they are 5 star and in fact barely make 3 stars. Check in was fine room was clean and very basic with a large balcony. The food is basically ok and be prepared to pay for everything you do. Internet is $15.00 a day, drinks average almost $10.00 each with tip and the basic hamburger is over $10.00 with tip. BE PREPARED TO PAY $4.00 for a glass of milk for your child!! THEY WILL NOT TELL YOU BUT ASK FOR THE CHILD MENU IT IS MORE THAN HALF OF THE REGULAR MENU!! They do have a better restaurant and the food is basic just more expensive. Make sure when you book breakfast is included. Better yet call the 1-800 reservation number not only will you get a better rate you can negotiate breakfast. If you don't it will make the NYC city breakfast look cheap! Now some bad news DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT question a bill! If they make a mistake and you bill is wrong you question it you will be labeled a troublemaker and service is even less than the non existant service you already receive! If you need soap around dinner time be prepare for the front desk to tell the housekeeping is eating dinner and will be available in about a half hour. I assume this is Gamboa's 5 star treatment. Be prepared when you ask to speak with the manager the front desk will do everything possible to make you believe he is not there. Ask the tour desk they will help you! The free tours are excellent! ASK FOR GABRIEL HE IS AWESOME!!! HE will take you kayaking in the river and the night tours are a must! He is also a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about his job! So if you are going to stay here I would offer the following tips. 1. Do not stay for more than 2 nights! 2. Be prepared to open your wallet for the best nickel and dimming time. 3. Go to the little town of Gamboa they have a little store beers .80 with bottle, soda .50 and snacks, personal supplies, cigs etc are dirt cheap! The town is very safe. 4. Do the tours with Gabriel. 5. Do the $35.00 1 hour monkey tour! You will feel bad not giving Gamboa more of your money for an overpriced tour. 6. Do the areil lift. 7. Go see the butterfly , fish, orchard and snake exhibit. 8 TAKE THE EMBRA INDIAN TOUR!!!!! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! 9 Relax at their large pool with waterfall! 10. REMEMBER SATURDAY ONLY IS THE CANAL TOUR IT IS A MUST!!! Would I stay here again??? I think I have seen it and could enjoy El Valle or Playa Coronado more and still enjoy all the above tours with day trips! Just my thoughts and opinions!!

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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3  Thank mrrentman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 July 2008

I was really hesitant to book the Gamboa RR after reading the mixed reviews- it seemed you either loved it found a reason to hate it. We stayed three nights in mid July and enjoyed it. Contrary to what some folks reported, the staff- every one we dealt with- was very friendly, really seemed to want to help, and spoke very good English. We were pleasantly surprised.
The hotel itself is beautiful, the grounds are very well kept and the setting is great- on a hill right on the confluence of the Chagres River and the Canal. In the afternoon you can watch the capybaras come out of the river onto the lower grounds. The place is great to swing into the hammock on your balcony and read a book and listen to the rain (it rained a lot). If you're after a relaxing time, you can have it here. If you're after a rousing, adrenalin fueled eco-adventure, forget it. There is not that much wildlife in the area, and the major tour is the monkey island cruise, which is a boat ride to a place where the capuchins come down to the boat to be fed. It's still kind of fun, but tame. You'll see some howlers and maybe a sloth and a caiman- kids will like it. The aerial tram and the exhibits are worth going on, but are also less than thrilling.
The food is OK. Just OK. You can tell the cooks are trying to do their best with not-the-most-expensive ingredients. They do pretty well. It's expensive to drink there, too. A rum punch runs $6.50 with a $3.50 tip added. Bring your own.
I was surprised by the number of conventioneers at Gamboa while we were there. Apparently it's a big draw for that sort of thing in Panama, mostly for Tech companies.
All in all, it's a beautiful property to stay for a few days. Just don't come with lofty expectations, and you'll do fine.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank snalfaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2008

I would like to make just one short comment.
We lived in one of these apartments 25 years ago. I have to say, that they have done a wonderful job of preserving them. It was so nice to stay there again. All ours old memories has been refreshed.

Thank you Gamboa, for unforgettable stay.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank smith_j045
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2008

I read the reviews here on the Gamboa Rainforest Resort and I was shocked to see so many negative things written about this beautiful resort. You should not come here expecting to find the "Atlantis Bahamas" - it's not that kind of resort.
The Gamboa Resort is quiet, serene, and welcoming, and the staff are overwhelmingly friendly. Our family made so many new friends at this hotel, I can't even count them on both hands. We began our trip in Panama City, where we planned to stay for the entire 8 days in Panama, doing day trips out from there. After the first few days we weren't very excited with the city, but when we took a Gamboa boat cruise to see the monkeys we spotted the resort and moved there the next day. We were so glad we did. It saved our vacation. We have traveled extensively (with 4 year old) around the world, including many other Latin American cities. In our opinion, PC is very much like most other Latin American cities: while much safer, NOT cleaner, and NOT less hectic. Gamboa is a nice retreat from that mayhem.
A few notes: The food in the bar is just that - bar food - nothing special, but the food in both restaurants is quite nice, and the evening buffets were surprisingly good! Breakfast is often included with your room (ask so you'll know!) and the buffet for that is huge and diverse. The pool was wonderful. The spa was small and functional, but I had the best massage of my life there. The hotel tours aren't huge, but they're nicely done, and fun for the family, especially children. The hotel can also arrange for larger boat tours (Canal transits) that are long, but worth it - do the partial transit only with children (~5hours long). We didn't find anything to be overpriced. Food, gift shop, and tours were all very reasonable. We stayed in the villas (one bedroom apartment) where the space was nice to have for a family. But these are 100 yr old buildings, so not resort-perfect, but very nice indeed.
Gamboa is making an honest effort to educate its visitors, not only about the canal, but also about the surrounding rainforest and its inhabitants...something that our family enjoyed immensely. Enjoy Gamboa for what it is - it's a wonderful place!

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled with family
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5  Thank sbsmithfl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2008

Gamboa is simply too expensive for Panama and what you get. I would not stay there again.

Our room, patio and bathroom were large and very nice, live Orchids included but not really worth $215/night. The lobby was huge and beautiful. The pool and grounds are very nice. We enjoyed the exhibits.

The tour desk was unaccommodating and lacking any organization. No one showed up to take us on the Monkey Island tour and when I inquired they acted like it was somehow my fault. Additonally, we could not take the Embera Indian trip because they did not have anyone else signed up. Very unfortunate since that is why I paid the high rent!!!!!!!

A Pina at the Monkey bar will run $6.00 with a $3.50 tip automatically added! The food was horrible, and again, super expensive! You don't have any choice as there is nothing near by. The closest restaurants are near the Rey Supermarket in the City.

It is not that far out of town so youcould rent a car and drive in from the city for the day and save yourself some money.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank brenmae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2008

From the moment we walked in to Gamboa Resort the staff was courteous and helpfull -they continued to be so for the remainder of our stay. The activities were exciting adventurous and educational. The views are spectacticular and the pool was exceptional. I highly reccomend this for a roamanitc gettaway or a family experience.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank tippy222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2008

We had read many disturbing things on the internet about this hotel before we left. We found the hotel staff, accommodations and the meals to be very good. We had read on the internet about being charged extra on your credit card. They swiped my card on arrival and asked me to sign it. I refused, saying I was going to pay cash for everything. Imagine my surprise to come home to a call from Mastercard. Three charges were made on my card on April 21st, the day we arrived, totalling over $900. What a terrible ending to a beautiful vacation. I hope this problem can be resolved because this hotel is so wonderful we would have loved to recommend it. Unfortunately, this is impossible now.

The staff in the Monkey Bar and Corutu Restaurant went out of their way to make our trip memorable.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank NaBobCollingwood
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: £69 - £155 (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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