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“Fantastic for Nature Lovers” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gamboa Rainforest Resort

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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Goethals Blvd. | Soberania National Park, Gamboa 7338, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
Ottawa, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Fantastic for Nature Lovers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2009

I love the Gamboa Resort and I am planning to return for a third trip in 2009. I think many of the negative reviews are from people who were expecting something different. I would not recommend the Gamboa if you don't like nature and are not interested in hiking , birding, kayaking or relaxing in a beautiful jungle setting. If you want nightly entertainment, lively dance bars and five-star cuisine then this is not the place for you. For nature lovers this place is great.
My husband and I first stayed at Gamboa in 2006 and enjoyed it so much that we returned with 11 family members in Feb. 2009. Our group ranged in age from five years to seventy-four years old and there was lots for all of us to enjoy. My family and I are all nature lovers so greatly enjoyed walking around the hotel on the many trails, both day and night, to see all the exotic animals, birds, insects and plants. The three children were thrilled to play by the pool or search the grounds looking for lizards, leaf cutter ants and other interesting critters. We saw tamanduas, agoutis, coatis, monkeys, crocodiles, and capybaras all near the hotel. The birding is fabulous. Without leaving the resort you can see hundreds of different species of birds. A short distance away from Gamboa are other trails that are world renowned for birding, such as Pipeline Road.
The food is plentiful, tasty and the buffet is perfect for children since they could chose what they wanted. We could serve ourselves at a relaxed pace or quickly if we were in a rush.
The service on both my trips has been great. The staff is friendly and willing to help. We try to speak Spanish, not very well, but they appreciate the effort.
The only negative I would have of the hotel is the villas . We stayed in one in 2006 and it was quite run-down. In 2008 we all stayed in the hotel rooms and they were very nice, large , clean, facing the river, with a hammock on the balcony.
We rented a car , which I would recommend,and drove around to the various hiking trails near the resort , the canal, to Panama City , to San Lorenzo on the Caribbean Coast and to El Valle, where we did the zip line through the jungle.
In summary :
Do not stay here if you don't like nature. This is a great spot for hikers, birders,and people interested in tropical flora and fauna.
Do not stay here if you want night life. It is a quiet hotel where people go to bed early.
Do not stay here if you want fantastic cuisine. The food is good but not fancy.
Do not stay here if you expect North American 5-star luxury. In Panama the standards are different.
Do not expect everyone to speak English. Learning to speak a few words in Spanish goes a long way.
Do stay here if you love nature and want to spend time in a peaceful and beautiful setting surrounded by exotic flora and fauna.

  • Liked — The abundance of nature surrounding the hotel. It is very easy to view a wide variety of animals, birds and flora from the hotel.
  • Disliked — The villas. They are old, run-down and in need of a lot of repair.
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,065 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Corona del Mar, California
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2009

We got a great deal on Travelocity.com and the room rates were well worth it. This is definitely a resort where you can spend a week here. Lots to see and do. The tour guides are very helpful and love their jobs. The monkey island was definitely our fave. We took advantage of the free tours: jungle walk (do the morning slot), kayak and night tour. Bring binoculars. In case you forgot bug spray, the front desk has some. Try to stay on the 3rd floor and above. At dusk, the birds come out and perch on the trees outside your balcony. The hammock is very relaxing and a plus. Bathroom is huge. Beds are not too comfortable.

The spa and fitness center needs to be updated. Okay, but not the best. Food at the lounge is not good... except for the pizza. Very good for that price. Pool food is also pretty bad. Eat at the restaurants. If you have a rental car, drive to the market, Rey, and get drinks and groceries.

Overall, the property is pretty amazing and has a lot to offer. Definitely a place to visit at least once in a lifetime.

  • Liked — location and rainforest; beautiful view; great wildlife
  • Disliked — food choices
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
81 hotel reviews
Reviews in 83 cities Reviews in 83 cities
100 helpful votes 100 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2009

We stayed in the bungalow units, which are the old wooden military housing 4-plexes from the 1920's or 1930's complete with carports. Each building is painted a different color, making it easier to remember which is yours. The units are roomy and nicely furnished, giving a flavor of what it was like to live there - for those interested in such things. The units have a/c and ceiling fans. The newer main lodge building with restaurants, and a pool outside, is a short walk away.

  • Liked — the quiet and the view
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2007
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northeast, US
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2009

First off, you should sincerely think about staying in one of the multi-unit bungalows rather than the main building. It's significantly cheaper and the rooms are huge and have kitchens and living rooms. If you pick up some groceries (and booze) in Panama City and bring them with you, you can save tons of money by preparing your own meals in your kitchen. We were very disappointed with the typical resort meals in the resort restaurants. There are no local towns to eat in, so you're stuck at the resort for meals. We actually even spent $35 each way to cab into Panama City for a nice meal and to spend a day in the city.
This resort is merely okay. It's luxurious by Panama standards and it is a great add-on to Panama City if you only have a few days in country. But if you have an extended time to visit Panama, you shouldn't stay here for more than two nights. Get out to the beach or to the backcountry away from Panama City. We were pretty bored here after 24 hours. The free activities are okay and the bird watching on the resort was pretty nice, but the add on excursions were expensive and relatively lame. If you have kids, this may be a very good choice, as the accommodations elsewhere in Panama that we saw were less than accommodating for kids.

  • Liked — Roomy bungalow suites.
  • Disliked — Too touristy and lacking in cultural flavor.
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Rosa, CA
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2009

This hotel is historic, gorgeously situated with incredible views from each room and with multiple attractions as well as an enormous pool. BUT...........
the food was absolutely the worst imaginable............
the room smelled really bad............
in a malarial area with mosquitoes, there were neither mosquito nets nor screened windows and doors............
service was shoddy.............
attractions were over priced...........

  • Liked — stunning views of the CHAGRES River
  • Disliked — lack of mosquito screens
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
westchester county, ny
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
60 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2009

This resort needs a lot of updating. The place is dirty, rundown, the common areas need to be properly spruced up, the rooms were large but also very dirty and very basic. But the prices were anything but basic. Also the staff is polite but not very efficient. This is a resort - the staff should be friendly and helpful. And very few people could speak English which was so surprising. The waitresses were totally unable to communicate with us and they hardly tried. There was a bat in our room and it took over and hour and half to get someone in to chase it away. And what eco-tourism??? There is nothing GREEN about this resort !!
Basically from the physical appearance is in dire need of repair...not just painting over chipped paint...but replacing stairs,and really washing the floors, and repainting the pool area, replacing tiles in the fountains. And our bathroom had mold and needed to be regrouted...it was not pleasant. Would not recommend this place !!

  • Liked — the noctural tour was very good
  • Disliked — The dirty, rundown environment
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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New York, NY
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2009

The Gamboa resort is a nice place to start your Panama trip--as long as you do not stay too long.

We arrived there on Dec 24, 2008 (2 Adults, Kids 17, 13, 9) under the Family Safari Package. Package included airport pickups, breakfast, Monkey Island and Aerial Tram tours.

The main reason to go this resort is the view. The view from your room (get a junior family suite) is gorgeous.

From reading the posts, it seems like the Monkey Island tour is hit or miss. We must have hit it on a good day, because our tour guide lured the monkeys on to our boat with an interesting whistle and a bunch of food. We took some great pictures. I would recommend this tour even if the monkeys don't cooperate, as riding alonside the big ships in the canal is worth it.

The Aerial Tram was a bit lame, and I would have been annoyed had I shelled out extra for it. You do get some nice views of the Chargres River meeting the Canal, though.

The pool is fine, the food is mediocre, except for the Los Lagartoes restaurant at riverside, which is open for lunch and a lot of fun. Food was better and the kids were feeding our leftovers to turtles, fish and a crocodile. Pretty cool.

We stayed three nights, which should be your absolute max.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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
Location: Panama > Colon Province > Gamboa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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: 165
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Deep in the heart of the Panamanian rainforest lies the completely unique Gamboa Rainforest Resort. This magnificent five-star 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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