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“The luxurious way to see a Rainforest”

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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The luxurious way to see a Rainforest”
Reviewed 14 May 2010

The Panama Canal was an extraordinary experience. When I was coming to visit Panama I wanted to just stay in places where natural beauty was a step away. My journey was a two stop two week vacation in Panama City and then Bocas del Toro. When in Panama City I went to Gamboa Rainforest Resort, located just off the side of the Panama Canal. The resort was amazing with large glass windows and excellent views of the Panama Canal. It was like being in the comfortable glass box with a real Rainforest right outside. The meals were very good and the live salsa music and great audience made the stay even better. I went kayaking through the Canal, where I witnessed the Cayuco International Panama Canal Race that I latter learned is a old Canal Zone tradition. It was spectacular to see these people paddling in wooden "canoes" which they called cayucos. The race was intense and the Gamboa Rainforest Resort even took guests to the end of the race in the Causeway to check it out. What a real treat, something awesome to witness. I also went deep into the jungle of Gamboa and explored old Spanish colonial roads and lost towns in the middle of the jungle. The tour of the Panama Canal is outstanding and truly an engineering masterpiece. I have to admit, I feel like I owe my entire excellent time in Panama City to Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Without them I would have never seen the things I got to. Thanks a lot! Highly recommended!!!

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled solo
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1 Thank travelgirlkahn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Riverview, FL
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 May 2010

We stayed at the resort the first week of May 2010. My ONLY complaint is the directions on how to get there from the airport on the website. It is very cryptic at best. But it allowed us an unscheduled tour of Panama City before finding our way. I am glad we arrived in the day time. I recommend getting a rental car. There is plenty to see and do in the area. And you can stop by Rey Supermarket (next to Albrook Airport) and get some food and beverage to help save a little money.

We liked the Monkey Island Tour at the resort. We also did the Pipeline Road/Discovery Center/Observation Tower on our own. We went to Colon inadvertently while trying to get to Portobella and Isla Grande (Carribean side). We had to turn back because there are no gas stations there.

The rooms were spacious and clean. The grounds maintained very beautifully. The staff were all very friendly and helpful. I thought the food was at best OK. My wife thought the food was great. Los Lagartos was the best of the options. I liked the food better at the Albrook Mall food court. That should give you an idea of my sense of taste. At times it seemed like we were the only people in the resort and other times 4-5 buses of people showed up for dinner and/or tours. The pool was very clean.

My favorite thing about the whole stay was the incredible view from the balcony. And we were only on the second floor. The view was a bit different every morning because of the rain clouds and mist. I looked forward to it every morning with the coffee provided in the room. I think it was called Duran and I will be looking for it.

Panama and the Gamboa Resort is very very beautiful.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank PChandler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 May 2010

First I have to say that we just went for the day and didn't stay so I'm not an expert on the rooms. This is part of the old American Canal Zone and there was US housing on this site, some of which you pass on the way in to the hotel. That sets the sene for a hotel that is reminscent of a Cuban all-inclusive hotel or a 3-Star Club Med. The setting is amazing with fabulous views of the Chagres River and rain forest, but the facilities are all looking rather tired. That said, the service was helpful and friendly, and the tours that they organise are fantastic.

We did the aerial tramway through the rain forest and climbed the tower to the canopy. Good knowledgeable guides made this an amazing trip, and the return to the hotel via the orchids, crocodiles and butterlflies was a great bonus. We saw wild toucans on the way down and heard Howler Monkeys when it started to rain.

Lunch was a rubbish 3 Star buffet in a tired dining room with old furniture. Perfectly edible though.

Afternoon was a trip to Monkey Island in a small boat with another really good guide and we got to travel along a couple of miles of the Panama Canal on the way, passing an enormous freighter. We saw juvenile crocodiles, white-faced capucins, and a two-toed sloth. A really great trip.

There are other trips available, including kayaking and fishing. I would be tempted to risk the 3 star trip, and stay overnight and do more excursions. The lakeside restaurant was a great location, but looked like a municipal canteen. The pools at the main hotel were good.

Overall I think this a great place and a must-visit in Panama. It does need urgent updating, but the tours and guides are world class. I recommend you go, but wear your low-expectations hat for the food and hotel rooms and public areas. It's worth it.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank hypercritical
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clarenville, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 April 2010

I spent 5 nights here, and thoroughly enjoyed the experiences associated with its location.
I walked around the exhibits provided by the hotel (fish, reptiles, orchids, walking trails), and enjoyed sightings of local wildlife (lizards, turtles, agouti, capybara, herons, hummingbirds, and innumerable small songbirds)
The tours organized through the hotel were more reasonable than those provided through the tour operator (Sunwing) and, judging by comments from other guests, the quality was comparable. I did the Embera Village tour and the Birdwatching tour, as well as the free kayaking and night viewing tours.
The pool was lovely: spacious and well-kept.
The rooms are looking a little shabby: walls need repainting, linens look their age. The room I was given had a shower that didn't drain properly and flooded the room (no divider, just a slight sloping floor), but at my insistence they found me another room where everything worked.
Nightlife is almost non-existent; I only saw the disco open once, and the quiet little bar did have a live performer one evening. The hotel giftshop is tiny, and the nearby town is almost equally tiny. However, I didn't go there expecting clubs or shopping malls.
Most of the staff were quite pleasant, and spoke adequate English to deal with travellers who were mainly American, Canadian, or British.
This is a great opportunity for families or individuals who want to experience the diverse and fascinating flora and fauna of Panama.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank centralNFLD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Varsseveld, The Netherlands
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2010

Hotel is located in a beautiful surrounding. Main building is very nice. We had an appartment in one of the cottages. Could use some paint, but roomy and clean. Shower gives some hot water, once you found out how it works. AC is loud but working ok. Breakfast is excellent. Lunch and diner from the menu also ok. Diner Buffet should be avoided. You can make several trips. We did the Pipeline Road (saw howler monkeys, sloths, several birds etc), the Aerial Tram (not so exciting, but with a very nice view at the top) and Monkey island (nice boat ride, saw howlers, capucin monkeys, crocodiles etc).

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Walter077
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jersey City, New Jersey
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2010

We stayed at Gamboa for 3 nights (which is enough). The resort is lovely, and I would recommend staying in a room that faces the river (which faces east) if you enjoy waking up to the sun and seeing it’s warm reflection on a river. The rooms are clean, and have aesthetically pleasing décor. If I had to sum up the resort I would say it is relaxing, almost zen-like, and a great place to get away from any hussle and bustle you may have at home. The pool was large, surrounded by lounge chairs, and a bar. It was also large enough so that you didn’t have people on top of you. It also has a large kiddie pool area.
I’ve read elsewhere on Tripadvisor, that the food was pricey, and I thought that may not be my perception, because I’m from New York, and pricey might be a relative thing. But I have to say the food was pricey for what you received. The food wasn’t really bad, but it wasn’t great, and you are dropping quite a lot at each meal. You also have no choice but to eat at the resort because there is nothing around. So be prepared to over pay for mediocre buffets (although everything seemed fresh, but not always hot).
They also offered a variety of tours (some free, some at a cost) that you can arrange at the main building. We had taken the aerial tram canopy ride with a guide ($55 per person). We saw no animals, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. We have travelled to almost every other Central American country, and I have found the best way to see animals is often on horseback with a guide. My husband did the monkey island tour for a fee which he said was worth it because he saw lots of animals up close. We did 3 free tours --- a guided walk, a night safari and a kayak tour – which I recommend because you can’t be free and they were fun.
I also had a Swedish massage at the Spa. It was very good, relaxing with the background “music” of birds, and I thought a good value for $70.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank TeacherNYNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2010

This place is amazing. Only 30 minutes outside of Panama City and you are in the middle of the rain forest!

Stayed June 2009, travelled on business
Helpful?
1 Thank Kingfisher007
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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