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“Tropical Paradise with all the amenities” 4 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
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Top Contributor
150 reviews 150 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
205 helpful votes 205 helpful votes
“Tropical Paradise with all the amenities”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2009

We spent two nights here as part of an OAT tour of Panama. The stay followed 2 nights in a fairly primitive eco-lodge, so arriving at the Gamboa was a like a slice of paradise. Our room was in the tower section, 6th floor, with a breathtaking view of the river and hotel grounds. The room was spacious and well appointed. If you go here, be sure to insist on the main hotel, not the villas. The villas are quite dated and in need of restoration but the hotel is very lovely. No one in our group of 20 had a single complaint, exceept we would have liked to stay longer. We ate twice in the more casual restaurant and found the menu to be varied and intersting. The food and service were fine. Be aware that in many places in Panama, a 10% tip is automatically included in the bill.

  • Stayed September 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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939 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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california
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2009

Unfortanatly I cant give the same rosy reviews other travelers have. The resort is beautiful, has a nice pool and so on. But the hospitatlity was awful. We felt like third class guests the whole time we were there. When you entered our room it was beautiful at first. But the bathroom sink was rusted, light sockets were bare, the bathtub was molded and cracked. I took photos of this. This was in the one bedroom villas. Believe it or not I could have lived with this. We had lunch at one of the resort restaurants. We were told it was $40 for two buffets. I was shocked when the tab came to $57! I asked to put it on the room tab. We were later hunted down & told we had to pay for it immediatly. When I called the front desk about this they hung up on me! Never Ever Again!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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VA
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2009

The Gamboa Rainforest Hotel is simply appointed and the staff do their best to be helpful, but the real draw is the wildlife. It was hard to leave the room without stumbling upon another great creature. Situated along crocodile river, and boarded on all sides by thick and bountiful rainforests, the hotel is the perfect location for nature lovers eager to experience the flora and fauna that Panama abounds with. The hotel offers numerous excursions at a cost, but with a little effort (and a rental car) you are just as able to experience Panama's lush rainforest for yourself. Local recommendations include: Camino de Plantacion, Pipeline Road, and the nearby zoo ($1 entry fee) is also pretty good albeit riddled with playgrounds. Not 5 star accommodations, but 5 star location.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dover, New Hampshire
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2009

So many things to do there and the view is wonderful!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2009

Objectively the Gamboa Rain Forest Resort gets at least 4 stars - good food (but expensive - tip: book half board or Medio Pension as an option - because there is nowhere else to eat.), very large comfortable rooms, service on the whole is pretty good. Nice bar. Enthusiastic staff. Lovingly sculpted pool and grounds. All in very sympathetic - even gorgeously tasteful - plantation architecture. Every room airconditioned, all mod cons, a balcony, and a hammock to watch the sun rise and set.

All of which completely misses the point.

When I walked into the foyer, the hair on my arms stood on end - literally - as I saw the most stunning view I have ever seen - over beautiful unspoilt tropical rainforest, with colourful birds, mists rising over the Chagres river, native canoes paddling by, the distant hooting of monkeys, the Capybara wandering wild through the grounds.

We spent four marvellous days here, trekking through rainforest, fishing the Panama canal, visiting Monkey Island, taking a rooftop cable car ride through the jungle. The guide staff are super and the only downsides are 1) Take the strongest possible mosquito repellant for the hikes (the hotel itself is high enough to be mostly ok) and 2) dont bother with the on-site attactions which are just a substitute for the real thing - just walk into the jungle (with a guide of course) and see it for real.

Take a stout pair of shoes and long trousers/longish sleeves in light material for trekking.

Budget to spend quite alot on excursions (our family of 4 spent $1000 in 4 days, not including breakfasts or dinners) and expect to have to be dragged away kicking and screaming from the nature experience of a lifetime. Ten stars out of 5 from my family. Very highly recommended.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
UK
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2009

We arrived late at night - and when we opened the curtains next morning, the magical view over the Chagres River took our breath away. (We had the deluxe top floor room with hammocks) The villas would not have this view, but they appear to be large, and similarly appointed - and a more economical option.
Hotel is situated in a beautiful protected area of true rain forest close to the Panama canal. They offer lots of special tours with enthusiastic and competant guides, who get you really close to the wildlife. Monkey Island tour was especially good, as we passed several big ships on the Panama canal, as well as seeing howler and capuchin monkeys, and a real live sloth! As well as the paid for tours, there are several free ones - the night tour around the extensive grounds shouldn't be missed: we saw loads of animals, including parrots sleeping in the trees.
Food is fine, but fairly expensive - and its not a bad idea to take a taxi to the supermarket to stock up on drinks and snacks. We liked the hotel's Lagato restaurant down by the marina. Pool area is also very nice.
if you go to the rain forest in the rainy season, weather will be warm but showers frequent, so don't forget to take a mac!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
New England USA
Top Contributor
109 reviews 109 reviews
70 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
110 helpful votes 110 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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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