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“Nice Friendly Folks”

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Ivan's Bed & Breakfast Birding Lodge
Ranked #2 of 4 Gamboa B&B and Inns
Reviewed February 26, 2011

This is a place that you either love it, or hate it. You have to go in with a correct mind set. This is not a plush hotel, it also did not come with a 5 star price. If you like to dress up & sit in luxury, this is not for you, this is a B&B operated by homely folks. You can pay top dollars at the Resort, and still being treated like crap by the staffs there.
The rooms are clean & adequate, while not big, not shining new, nor plush. Bedding & bathroom are clean & well supplied.
Gamboa has no restaurants. We ate 3 dinners at the B&B, Gladys is an excellent cook. In my travels, I prefer home cook meals any day than greasy restaurant foods. We really enjoyed the breakfasts & dinners there.
Ivan gave us rides to Ammo Pond, Discovery Centerer and finally the airport. You have to price these services as private transfers, not bus not taxi, it cost the same by Western first world standards, but not a 60 cents bus ride... but then who can compete with bus fares?
For comparison, the Canopy Lodge also charge $55 for airport transfers, but it is not a private transfer, they will take you & others in a 10 passenger van and take you all over town to do pickups & drop-offs before taking you to the Airport, so keep your fingers crossed that you are the only game in town for that ride!
After paying over $40 dollars at the Resort for a shared lunch & 2 juices, got very poor service, and no one there spoke or even tried to communicate in English at all. Ivan is an excellent host, speaks fluent English, I can't see how someone can write something nasty about him.

All in all a very nice stay.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bcmatrixman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 - 63 of 74 reviews

Reviewed February 9, 2011

We cose to stay at Ivans as we preferred not to stay at the Resort and it seemed to be the only other option. We had seem a video clip of the aerial tram at the resort and I just had to do that. We are not birders but just wanted to experience the rainforest. We had met in Panama City a coup,e of people who had only just stayed at Ivans and weren't very happy so we went feeling a little anxious. We needn't have felt anxious at all. I think the other couple had different expectations but we loved it. The room was fine, having cooled it down with the noisy aircon and then left the very quiet fan running all night. The wardrobe was a rail like in a sports hall changing room bot so much space. Bathroom fine with loads of well-pressured hot water and a double size shower. The dining room was newly done and full of all sorts of interesting curios, old typewriter, 70 year old beautiful glass beaded necklace and many more. Breakfast was simple, adequate but beautifully presented. The 3 dinners were great, getting bigger and better by the day. Thanks Gladys. There is a small "honesty bar" fridge with beer, smirnoff ice and coca cola. The outside area amused us and this was the part of our stay that we enjoyed the best. The old outdoor dining area is now a really atmospheric sitting area, light enough at night to be able to read. Ivan would join us every night for a chat. As I said before, the thing that originally brought us to Gamboa was the aerial tram. The first afternoon we walked to the resort which took ages but going by the back road is only 5 minutes (ask Ivan) we booked to take the tram 2 days later. That evening Ivan was telling us that it was expensive and not worth the money, leaving us hesitating. Day 2 we walked the long hot walk to the Discovery centre and tower at the start of the Pipeline road. So hot, so humid but so worth it, even for non-birders. We decided in the end to take the tram on day 3 as it was that which brought us here and the thought that I would regret it. Ok $53 each but I really enjoyed it. The tr am goes through the canopy with a guide for each carriage. A 3 toed sloth met us at the top. More of this later. The views at the top were worth every cent. The river, the canal and the rainforest! Back at the tram, the sloth had climbed onto the mechanism and it took about 30 mins for him to be teased back into a tree. No hurries. I van arranged transport back to the airport $55 so not cheap. Apparently the bus is about 60cents according to some website! Still this was the end of a 26 day trip so what the hell! All in all a great stay at Ivans and for birders it is paradise apparently. I would be happy to go again but don't suppose we will as there are too many places and not enough time

  • Stayed: February 2011
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1  Thank ddickinscoll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2011

Ivan's B&B is the place to be if you're into birding. Just a short walk to Pipeline Road where all the action is. Ivan is full of useful information and makes you feel at home. The rooms are clean and spacious with an old fashioned sort of charm. The backyard alone is worth staying there, as we saw all sorts of birds and wildlife while sipping our morning coffee.
Be forwarned though that there is not much in the area in terms of stores/ restaurants so planning ahead is advisable, especially if you have any dietary restrictions as we did. (Vegetarians)
Ivan and his wife Gladys are quite accomodating, good humored & are open to suggestions. I mentioned that us girls like having a full length mirror available and he went and purchased one the following day. He was also nice enough to turn me on to his favorite rum... I thank you for that!! :))
All in all we had a very comfortable stay and if ever in the area would go back again!!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lollichops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2011

Ivan's is an ideal spot for birders who are visiting the Gamboa area. It's next to the birding hot spots and is very comfortable. Ivan is a wonderful host and is an expert on birding in the area as well as on the history of the Panama Canal Zone. Granted, it's not cheap, but it's in the same price range as other places in the area.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank mlpwrc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2010

Not worth your time. At 45 bucks a person, this was one of the more expensive places we stayed in Panama and was definietly the worst of all. Location is decent, not far from the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, but aside from that it was a waste of time. Ivan is a chatty one, hovering over you at all times. If you like that, this is the place for you.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank kyle27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BirderGamboa, Owner at Ivan's Bed & Breakfast Birding Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 8, 2011

Surprinsingly I read this review
Our comments to this review:

-All our guest either by reservations way in advance ( 95%) or last minute show-ups ( 5%) are
informed of our nightly rates and what is included prior check in therefore, the last word
on lodging or not with us is certainly in the hands of the interested party

Traditionally this 5% last minute show ups are travelling on a budget without
a lodging pre planning and on a day to day basis and most of them find themselves
they have not other choices but to
-Return to Panama City at night time which is an hour by bus
- Pay a much higher rate at the only other available to lodge ( resort ).
- Stay at our birding B&B lodge and have a place to overnight at a reasonable price

In the other hand, customer claims hoovering over the client´s presence
which in fact is not the correct term
As owner, historian, Porfessional Guide and a Panamanian, we concider that a traveller always generate many questions and inquiries which demmand response to which we do gladly assist at all times.
Furthermore, as an owner, is our responsability to supervise and ensure thata our property
is all times operating properly therefore personal presence within the lodges premises is
for us and for the welfare of our guest a must.

Your Truly
Ivan Ortiz
Director
Ivan´s Bed & Breakfast
Birding Lodge
Gamboa, Panama

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2010

Friendly family run place with only a few rooms, so book early. We had a spacious twin room, probably a bit more spacious than some. Gamboa is of course a great place for birdwatching and Ivan is knowledgable and helpful, and will show you around. One night he heard a spectacled owl and extracted us from our room for a sucessful search.
No restaurants in Gamboa but dinner is optional at Ivans and very good.
Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kipling000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2010

This is an excellent place to stay if you're interested in wildlife but want to avoid the Gamboa Resort. It's a short walk to Pipeline Road. We spent 2 and a bit days walking up and down and wished we'd had longer. We saw many many birds and monkeys, sloths and an anteater. Other places are easily reached by bus. Ivan's is a great place to stay- all well thought out and Ivan is an excellent host who is committed to making sure you make the most of your stay. The b and b is family run and everything you need is there (laundry, beers from the honesty bar and very good bird guidebooks) . There's also lots of wildlife in the garden itself and in the surrounding area. The only minor drawback was that we did pay for some rather expensive transfers that seemed out of proportion to other transport in Panama (I guess this is because Ivan takes you himself). This may be our ignorance but I'd check prices first and maybe investigate other possible transfers or travel by taxi if I visited again. I would love to go back though- it's a great part of Panama to visit.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Panamaholidaymaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ivan's Bed & Breakfast Birding Lodge

Address: Jadwin Avenue 111, Gamboa 0043, Panama (Formerly Ivan's Bed & Breakfast)
Location: Panama > Colon Province > Gamboa
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Gamboa
Price Range: $45 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our B&B was founded in 2005 and it is in the historic town of Gamboa located aprox 25 Km from Panama City. The house was built totally in wood under rustic structures in 1936 Our family operated B&B is mostly dedicated to Birding and Nature observation comprised of 4 rooms, 2 rooms located in the ground floor and 2 rooms located in the upper floor all with full privacy & comforts. Our service objective is focused on personalized attention to our guest, The historic Town of Gamboa is mainly a residential area without commercial activity . Gamboa is located within the Soberania National Park offering superb biodiversity of plants, birds, mammals and insects. Please note there are no supermarkets, restaurants, bars and /or cafe's in the residential area ... more   less 

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