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“Diver meets Rain Forest”

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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
New England USA
Level Contributor
142 reviews
73 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“Diver meets Rain Forest”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2009

Well, this is a first for me! I am now writing from the Gamboa resort after paying $47 for three days of internet. For those who know me, I am a scuba diver, who was talked into going to this resort, instead of diving. One of our adult children is in a wedding party, and my wife, miss unadventurous, decided we needed to get away from the shoreline for a change! We are now in our room, her on the balcony using binoculars to see the wild animals walking the vast and beautiful landscape. I, Mr. Bored, am writing to say that I am out of my element here. Since it IS a rain forest, it has been raining EVERY DAY starting around 2p... so the pool is empty and I am in the room with my bride! I am laughing as I write because I am usually gone until about 1-2p, and here, I am sleeping in, reading a book, doing spa treatments, and enjoying the chill out/do nothing scene.

This resort is really nice. I asked my bride her grade and she said a 4. The rooms are VERY NICE, and the views from them are awesome! We were in section 300-320, and it has been quiet until night when the forest screams with life and noises; much like night diving and fish action. For nightlife, we were entertained by the 20's and 30's who were also attending the wedding, so there was action most nights. Otherwise, this is a quiet place for families and couples wanting something VERY different. You will find people who love to jog, hike or bike. There a great excursions to sign up for, and are reasonably priced for the value. We did Monkey's Island trip $35US, boating from the resort's marina, onto the panama canal, for miles of fun views and adventure. We are taking the aerial tram tomorrow, with my bride who is deathly afraid of heights! Oh boy! We brought Ben's insect repellent (97% deet) and it worked fine.. but others were bitten without it. We lost our spare spray bottle to my son, so I suggest you bring extra!

This is an international resort, we met families from all over, amsterdam, bolivia, us, italy, mexico, and many other countries. The Panamanian people are very friendly if you are friendly with them. We found people not being nice to the staff, and the staff responded kindly but with less enthusiasm. Joel, a key bartender ALWAYS smiled and called me by my name, as I treated him with respect as well! Other staff treated me well too. The head of the front desk is WONDERFUL as are her staff. They smiled at me and I smiled back. They were always remembered me when I stopped by for help. I did not find anyone friendly. I wonder why?

The Spa, which I did today since it was raining, was a VERY NICE and well appointed spa. My $70 - 55 minute - Swedish Massage, and $35 - 26 facial were reasonably priced from past travels. The Spa Staff were very friendly and helpful. People are correct, that a $3.50US Heineken was way too expensive than other places in the city, but to take the ride from Panama City to the resort is a long and slow ride, thus costs are different. My son, who ran 3 miles this morning, told us we could buy local panama beer at the convenience store down the road for $0.30 a beer; but heck I am at a resort!

We had similar problems with room availability coming in as some others had, but we just waited calmly, and took our complimentary drink coupons to the nearby bar, built a relationship with Joel and others and had a beer or two until the room was ready. Lunch at the bar was economical, $8.50US for a hamburger or excellent fish sticks. You need to ask for chicken wings as you will not see it on the menu. The breakfast buffet was simple, and the fruits were very FRESH! We did not eat the lunch buffet as we were light lunch eaters, and the dinner buffet was $24 for good buffet food. Ordering from the menu, fillet Mignon went for $19US and well worth buying over the buffet. Fish was ALWAYS fresh and impressive.

A couple of secrets we learned from the local family whose wedding we were attending; We arrived the day earlier and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard in Panama City. The next day, we leisurely left the hotel, and took a cab to the resort. However, we asked the driver to give us a quick tour of the city, and stop at a wine store for a case. Well, as it turned out, we lucked out with a GREAT driver, who agreed to pick us up on Noon when we leave from the resort. It is $42 from the city to the resort for 2 people. The wine shop was downtown, and it was WELL STOCKED, so we bought $200 worth of great wine, beer, whiskey, baileys, soda and snacks that were well priced and high quality. Wines ranged from $4-$250 depending on location and name. We bought Beringer SB for $7.50/btl. Finer wines were $15-25.. but with the adult kids we were supplying, we were able to cover their needs and quality for decent money.

The driver took us the "tourist" route and showed us the President's palace, as well as the other key and notable locations on the way to the resort. We passed the locks, and DO SUGGEST you take the time to have dinner at the first lock.. can't remember the name, but the food was okay, the view of the ships going up or down was AWESOME. While some of the women who joined us were "okay" about watching the ships pass through the locks, the GUYS were all AMAZED and ENTERTAINED by the goings on. Must be a guy thing.

Anyway, time for dinner. I hope this helps you with your decision to go or not. We would come back again. There is value in staying here, and the location is truly unique! However, if you are not the hiking, biking, exercising, or adventurous type, the spa and excursions are just as much fun! Just bring your own beverages from the city if you want to save money!

  • Stayed July 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank WarmVacations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2009

It is a beatiful big hotel where you can do a lot of things. Please, note that if you want to go / drive to the city it is about 20-30 min away. Thus, you have to be sure about your planned activities in advances. You have to be aware to buy "handy" stoff because the hotel does not have all of them. The food is very good. Be sure you will not need good business needs as the net is not very good and business center does not work properly.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sbaldini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2009

Gamboa Resort is absolutly beautiful. My husband and I had the pleasure of staying there a few weeks ago. It was such a different experience for us staying in the middle of the rain forest, just amazing. Peaceful, quiet with stunning views from the rooms. The pool was so very beautiful with a foot long waterfall down the lengh of the pool A very tranquil, relaxing place to spend some time. We are independent travelers who found the distance from Panama City challanging. We would take the bus from Gamboa town, which definitely had it's own schelude, to Albrook bus terminal and then taxi it to various parts of town. We were able to go to Miraflores locks, Ancol Hill, Panama Viejo, Summit Gardens, Mi Pueblito, Casco Viejo, and the Amador Causeway. The taxi drivers, for the most part, do not speak English and you have to negotiate your price prior to getting in the taxi so this part is tricky. Luckily my son, who was with us, speaks some Spanish. We would then taxi back to Albrook bus terminal and bus it back to Gamboa. If you are on a budget staying at Gamoa may not be the place for you. The restauant and bars are expensive, especially compared to Panama City! We did not take any tours but heard they were good. Depending on your situation, I would highly recommend Gamboa Resort.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank marialaffy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
116 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2009

I really find it difficult to believe that there are a (few) gripes about this place.

Have literally just returned (2 hours ago) from our 14 day tour holiday courtesy of Virgin Holidays. 3 nights Panama City, followed by 4 nights at the Gamboa, and then 7 nights at the Royal Decameron. I'll write my reviews on the other hotels later.

I feel quite privileged to have been able to travel extensively over the past 35 years and this resort will go down as one of my favourites.

I can honestly say that our time at the Gamboa was just brilliant. We had a very large room overlooking the Chagres River and the view from our room was just amazing.

We took the Monkey Island tour and the Aerial Tram and perhaps these trips may have been a little bit expensive but the £ -v- $ probably hasn't helped. I did, however, enjoy both trips but wished that the Monkey Island one was a bit longer as I didn't get to see any Howler monkeys!!

For anyone thinking about booking a holiday at the Gamboa - weigh up the reviews - you will find loads positive stuff written about the resort. As one who is not easily pleased - I can honestly say, hand on heart, that the resort far exceeded my expectations in every respect (apart from those Howler monkeys!)

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank panama_patti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 June 2009

This was one of the most amazing places that I have ever been! The grounds were amazing. The adventures were wonderful. We took off early in the morning for a self-guided hike and it was beautiful! Monkeys, ant eaters, camen, toucans, and blue morph butterflies! When it became too hot we stayed in the pool. We had a rental car, so we took night drives. This is so close to Panama City, yet you feel completely isolated. The monkey island trip was worth the money. They had many free activities. The only complaint was the very slow service and the price of food. Also, the deck and hammock needed to be cleaned. I would recommend this to families looking for an adventure and anyone who loves wildlife! I would be more than happy to answer any questions on this place!

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank seetheworld02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
pointe claire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 June 2009

We spent four weeks at the Royal Decameron in Farallon ,( good food, good golf, good times) and then spent our last week in Gamboa at the Rain Forest Hotel.
I loved it! My husband, not so much, but he finds it a bit boring if there is not a golf course on his doorstep!

The staff were very helpful and courteous at all times and the accomodations were lovely, especially the hammock on the balcony overlooking the Chagres River.

The food was very well presented and the restaurant down by the river is a great place for lunch and watching the ships go by on the canal.
All in all a very relaxing week before coming back to snow and drizzle. Now, if they could only find a way for the mosquitos to get lost, it would be quite perfect.
Oh, by the way, the villas....Not too pretty outside, a bit old...opt for the hotel rooms instead.

Helpful?
2 Thank welltravelled090
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio
Level Contributor
19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 May 2009

My husband and I stayed at Gamboa for part of our honeymoon and we loved it. Like other reviews have mentioned, the service in Panama is what some consider bad. If you learn to accept that and not get frustrated, you will have a fabulous time. Gamboa is in the middle of no where, so you are stuck on the property, but there is plenty to do. I would suggest stopping at the store and grabbing some groceries before you go. I would grab sandwhich stuff, drinks, and maybe some granola bars for brkfast. That way you can eat out for dinner and cut down on the cost. You can also grab some beer; since the drinks at the bar are expensive, but the green frog drinks are really good. Just keep in mind where you are and stroll around the property. We saw a tucan and some little monkeys; along with alot of other colorful birds. Remember it's Panama and you will have a blast.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank travelingtexan537
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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