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“Exotic, Non-Beach Vacation” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Gamboa Rainforest Resort

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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
canada
Level Contributor
115 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Exotic, Non-Beach Vacation”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2011

This is a beautiful place, regardless that it is not sitting on a sandy beach! The location is the middle of the rainforest, on the Panama Canal. A few note: this is for those who love nature, heat and humidity, and lush greenery. If so, then you will love this place. First and foremost, is the presence of nature, the minute you set foot on the grounds. It is all around, from odd mammals to snakes, crocodiles, lizards, frogs, monkeys, hummingbirds, parrots, harpie eagles (yes - I spotted a young one by the resort!), anteaters, coatamundis, and countless other animals. And there is also a cultural side, the indians that still reside in the area, with their unusual and beautiful artwork, which they display on the grounds as well. The hotel is not brand new, but the main building is quite comfortable. We could not stay in the bungalows (where the canal-builders resided way back) due to the dampness and moldiness. The restaurant was very good, especially the Sunday brunch (to die for!) The food was healthy. There are many opportunities to take excursions to see nature, Panama City (suggested! it is beautiful!), and see the grounds at night. It takes your breath away - to see a real anteater on a tree nearby, with it's luscious fur and delicate nature. And sloths are terrific swimmers! The Smithsonian island (research center) was also very interesting, but you need clearance to visit there. I found this type of vacation, where the predominant color was green, to be VERY refreshing and relaxing. And I love wildlife, so this was a plus! We didn't miss the beach at all! And don't forget to bring a camera and binoculars, if you have some. They come in handy. A nice vacation getaway - which will work for a few days, as well as a week or more!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank marikaS23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,583 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Orlando
Level Contributor
59 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 24, 2011

Spectacular location and experience. The main hotel is lovely and the views are worth the trip.

Restaurants were good.

I will certainly return but I will not stay in the apartments/separate accommodations again.

Room Tip: I understand the hotel rooms in the main building are wonderful
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Frank M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2011

Approximately 20 minutes from Panama City is the Gamboa Rain Forest. This new resort opened in 2010, sits on 240 acres overlooking the Chagres River. Everything about it seems to be in harmony with nature, to mingle with birds, plants, sounds of wild animals.

This is the perfect spot for nature lovers. Several nature tours are offered from here: you can take a boat ride and go looking for monkeys on Monkey Island; visit a bird observatory tower from where you may spot toucans, Harpe eagles (national bird), and other birds while also enjoying amazing views of the canal and the Chagres river; visit the Embera Indian village and eat their fresh fish and be part of their everyday life. You name it!

195 rooms. A lovely library. Connecting rooms and handicapped rooms available. Digital safety box and coffee maker in the room included. Mini fridge/ bar at extra cost.

Spacious run of the house rooms with 1 king or 2 double beds. Maximum occupancy is 2 adults + 2 children or 3 adults. Only 7 garden view rooms on the lower floors. Deluxe river view rooms have hammocks on the balconies.

If you want to be even closer to nature and do not really care for luxury accommodation, the Historical Villas section of this hotel will suit you best. These were built in the early 1900s, used at the time by Americans in charge of the construction of the Canal. They are made of wood, with basic refurbished old bathrooms, a cottage type of accommodation. And the best part: their backyard is the rain forest. You can walk out of your room and literally touch wild wife.

Room Tip: The Deluxe river view rooms have the largest balconies, with hammocks on!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ana Maria F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riga, Latvia
Level Contributor
234 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 411 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 12, 2011

We saw monkeys, birds, caimans here. Stayed in a historic apartment and it was comfortable. Took the tour to Pipeline Road; although listed as a bird watching tours we also saw and heard howler monkeys. Also enjoyed kayaking.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sigulda158
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2011

A picturesque setting worthy of 2 days stay,quiet and sedate,i love nature but not for a week in this hotel,it was advertized each room will get a hammock,ours never arrived in spite of our persistence,informed the desk,bellboy and the maid,the night before we leave front desk promised again to send it we told her not to bother as we were leaving the next day.The bartenders at the Monkeybar were awesome and accommodating,Food at the buffet were limited,one waiter did not even offer us any drinks,we got water at the end of our meal,we were told he was our waiter,he came to our table to give us the bill,when our food was paid for anyway.Our room was in the 2nd floor but we took the stairs up to go the restaurant as the lobby to the elevator smelled like mold,the maid was snotty,we requested new towels everyday.It was very hard for anything to dry as it was very humid.Bring anti fog for camera lens,definitely raincoat or umbrella. I found it a boring place not a lot of people around,if your not spending money for tours then there's not much to do,we walked a lot but were not birders,they have a shop that sells Columbia clothing and Helly Hansen,expensive Panamanian crafts.Apply bug spray often in and out of the hotel,the pool was great, they run out of towel,we did not know where to get it.

Room Tip: Upper floor.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank migi040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
91 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2011

We did several tours, and they were all great. Our whole family loved it. You can stay here 3 days and fill your time. One of the restaurants is only open for dinner, and requires reservations - get them and go. Great food.

We did 3 tours, and loved them all:

Radio Tour (w/ stop at Monkey Island)
Tram
Embera Village

Each one was different and thrilling.

Word of caution: this hotel is in the rain forest. So request a high floor room to limit your bugs. (We didn't see any inside the room.) But, again, this is in the rainforest and YOU'RE the one invading their space.

Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank tj1551
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Warwick, Rhode Island
Level Contributor
46 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2011

FIRST IMPRESSION:
When we first entered the lobby we were immediately impressed by the view out of the huge windows. It was a beautiful view of the rainforest and the mountains in the distance. The view was the same from the Monkey Bar, where we spent most of our nights having a few drinks. Juanna was an awesome bar waitress! We were on the all-inclusive package and whenever our drinks were running low she came over with refills before they were even gone.

THE ROOM:
The view from our room was nice since we were on one of the top floors. We upgraded our room so we got a balcony with a hammock on it, which was a very nice touch. The room was a nice size but they gave my husband and I a room with two queen beds as opposed to a king bed. I'm not really sure why because the resort seemed pretty empty. We were traveling with four other people, two singles and another couple. The other couple got a king bed. It was fine and the bed was still very comfortable but it just didn't make much sense to me. The linens were good too. The bathroom was rather large and so was the shower but the water never really got hot. The whole room and some areas of the resort were in in need of some updating. The room cleaning was at very different times every day and they refused to give us more than two towels at any given time. This was annoying because if you went down to the spa or pool and showered afterwards you would have to use the same wet towel after your morning shower (nothing really dries in the rainforest so everything gets a musty/moldy smell). They knocked on our door to clean the room at 6:30 one morning, which was pretty frustrating!

THE SPA:
The spa was nice and with the all-inclusive package we were able to use the sauna, steam room, whirlpool and other facilities for free (spa services like massages and facials were an additional cost). We spent some time in the spa and that was nice and relaxing.

THE POOL:
There was one pool and it was ok enough. It was clean and there was a swim-up bar, which was fun. We enjoyed rum punch in the pool each day that it didn't rain. When it did rain we were told we couldn't be in the pool.

THE NIGHT CLUB:
The resort's night club, Capybara, was only open at strange times and it closed at different times each night. One night it closed at 10:00 and another night at midnight. It was interesting inside because it was designed to look like a cave with little nooks and crannies. The drinks were included in our all-inclusive package. There weren't many people in there at all, in fact, it was just us most of the time.

ENJOYING NATURE:
The resort has some walking/hiking trails you can explore, which was kind of nice. Some of the people with us saw monkeys on a trail one day. In addition, we saw agouti and capybara all over the resort. There were also lots of birds, including toucans. We saw frogs, lizards, turtles, cayman and a 12-foot crocodile on the property. We did a lot of excursions, including kayaking the Panama Canal, Monkey Island and the Radio Station Hike. The kayaking and monkey island tours were very cool. The radio station tour was neat but our guide didn't tell us much about the radio station and when we asked questions she didn't answer them (not sure if this was a language barrier or if she just didn't know). We also did the complementary nighttime safari around the resort, which was a giant waste of time. The drivers did not position the bus in a way where everyone could see the nightlife they were pointing out and we didn't see much. We were annoyed because the resort offered some activities but not everything we wanted to do and they wouldn't help us book anything that wasn't offered directly by them.

THE FOOD:
The food at the resort was ok. We had the all-inclusive package so it included the buffet only and some ala carte meals here and there. The buffet was just ok and got a bit repetitive after two days. Our first meal was lunch at Los Largos, a resort restaurant that is down at the marina. We sat on the deck and there was a good view. When the food came out it looked great but my friend and I both found live worms in our lettuce!!! I STRONGLY SUGGEST NOT EATING ANY LETTUCE AT THIS RESORT, it is not washed properly!

PANAMANIANS:
My sister-in-law and I went to Gamboa Town for a couple of hours and we enjoyed walking around but the Panamanians didn't seem very friendly. They did a lot of staring at us and we didn't feel very welcomed. The people who worked at the resort were fine for the most part.

THE SUMMARY:
All in all, we enjoyed ourselves. We stayed here for four nights, which I think may have been one too many. It seems like a good family place but it may not have been the best choice for 6 friends to visit. It may be more exciting and have a little more nightlife when it's the dry season but I can tell you November was pretty quite and there is nothing anywhere near there so you are pretty much trapped on the resort. Panama was fun but I'd say, if you never been to Central America, you should go to Costa Rica instead.

Room Tip: Choose a room on one of the top levels if possible for a better view.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank WanderingNomad123
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
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: 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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