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.
- 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