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“Fantastic place to stay while you enjoy the Terrific Birding and Wildlife viewing in the area”

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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
Reviewed April 10, 2012

I spent two months at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort in Gamboa Panama during January and March of this year. My primary mission was to photograph the birds and wildlife in the area, and I can't say enough good things about the experience. Located in Gamboa, the hotel is at the intersection of the Chagres River and the Panama Canal, in the heart of the Soberania National Forest...and within walking distance (albeit a healthy 3km walk) of the world famous birding destination, Pipeline Road.

The Area: Birding at the resort is outstanding. One serious birder I met there found 147 species on the grounds of the resort in one day. I found the grounds of the resort to be consistently EXCELLENT birding, both as to species count and to the numbers of birds. Pipeline Road? It's world famous among birders for Good Reason. It takes work to find the bird there (hint: Mixed Flocks and Army Ant Swarms are the 'E' ticket at Pipeline Road) but it's consistently excellent. Don't miss the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center while there. There is an entrance fee, but it's well worth the price of admission. I found both Rufous Vented Ground Cuckoo and Pheasant Cuckoo within yards of the Discovery Center, and their resident Night Monkeys are not to be missed.

The Hotel: A beautiful facility. The Pool is fantastic, the rooms are great, and the Breakfast Buffet is enough to make a serious birder delay getting out into the field during those special early morning hours!.

Activities: Do NOT miss fishing for Peacock Bass trips out of the resorts marina, it is a LOAD of fun--even if you're not much into fishing---and it's a nice break from a grind of serious birding/photography. Dittos for the Birding by Boat tours run out of the Marina---these trips are priced very reasonably, and when you've been hiking your hieny off for a few days it's a great way to keep birding--and get some unique aquatic species while sparing your feet. Dittos for the Snail Kite Flight Photography trips run out of the marina. They take you out into Gatun lake to an area that is LOADED with snail kites feeding, gamboling, etc. It's non-stop photograph of magnificent birds, with a side trip to Monkey Island for White Faced Capuchin monkeys. You're almost guaranteed to find some Howler Monkeys and a Sloth or two on your trip. along with a few Caiman and Crocs to round out the day.

In conclusion, I can only say that I'll be back, soon!1

Room Tip: The rooms are all good--great views of the Chagres River with sunrises, sunsets, and moonscapes galo...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank JAfdemSr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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966 - 972 of 1,704 reviews

Reviewed April 10, 2012

I stayed at the main hotel. Left my curtains open all night to wake up to the sun and birds singing.
The view of the mountains and lake are awesome.

Room Tip: All rooms at main resort are nice. Barracks are as others have said as far as seeing laundry in ina...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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Thank OJHARIS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2012

We ended our two week Panamanian vacation at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. The main building of the resort, and the grounds are beautiful!! The food was excellent, the "Monkey Island" excursion was great, and the pool was enjoyable as well. Be warned. Do not let them put you up in the "historical villas". These are basically old barrack style apartments that served canal workers years ago. There were three couples in our group that were put into the villas. The villas are not clean, they smell bad, they have bugs, and are riddled with termites. They have no view on the fabulous scenery that you see from the main building, are are down a hill from the main building, lobby and pools. We spent our first night in these villas, and insisted that we get changed to the main building for the last two nights. Our Nolitours rep was less than helpful, and stated that all Canadians ask to be changed from the villas to the main building. One of the tour guides on one of the outings that we went on stated that they villas were rented to local families for a very cheap rate, and to Canadian tourists!! We still managed to get into the main building. Here the rooms were great, they were modern, clean and had the fabulous view that we came to the Gamboa for. If we had not had the negative experience being made to feel like second class citizens, I would not have a negative thing to say about the place. Our feedback to them is that they should be ashamed to be still renting these villas to unsuspecting tourists.

Room Tip: Don't let them put you in the Villas! Insist on the main building.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank westernsunseekers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2012

We stayed at the Gamboa Resort for 3 nights. Two of which we spent in the "Historic Villas" What a joke! Dirty, run down, full of bugs. These "Villas" are old U.S. army barracks built back in the 50's or so. We could see daylight through the floorboards of our room. And when we went into the bathroom the floor moved. The sink, toilet and tub were discusting. Stained and rusted, and had bugs climbling over everything. Our room was not cleaned at all for the 2 nights we were in it.When we arrived on Mar.31 there were 3 bags of dirty laundry and some dishes sitting outside. When we left on Apr. 3, the bags were still sitting outside.We could not switch rooms because there was a wedding. But our last night we were moved over to the hotel. It was like night and day. The rooms there are beautiful. The resort itself is great. Good food, great people, nice pool and lovely grounds. We are more upset with Nolitours. They charge us top dollar and figure we will be happy in these run down so called Villas. Funny thing though, it was all Canadians that were put up in these run down, dirty, bug infested shambles. Everyone we met, 6 couples were all very upset with Nolitours and have all said the same thing. We will all be writing letters to Nolitours. So, please go and stay at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, it really is beautiful. But, the minute they tell you that you are in the "Historic Villas" Change your room. My ratings are based on our 1 wonderful night in the hotel section of Gamboa Rainforest Resort.

Room Tip: Don't stay in a "Historic Villa". Ask to change room immediately.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Initforlife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2012

I had been to GRR 3 times previous, but only to have lunch. I was very impressed with the resort and decided to bring my wife on a Panama trip and stay at GRR for a week. We came in the month of March. Before coming, I went on-line to see some of the reviews and was shocked at some of the negative, (some horrible), comments and experiences posted. Now maybe there is another Gamboa Resort that I don't know of because the one we stayed at was nothing but wonderful. It's not the Ritz-Carlton, but it was nice and clean. The staff was very friendly and helpful and I thought they spoke reasonably good english, at least a whole lot better than my spanish. The food was quite good especially in the Chagres restaurant. What we enjoyed the most was having a good cup of coffee in the morning on our balcony overlooking the Chagres river valley watching the sun rise, canoe racers practice, and the wildlife. Going to breakfast with nice buffet, then either on a hike or especially to the fantastic swimming pool to swim laps (I'm figuring 60 meters in length), then soak up some rays, read a book, leisure swim up to the pool bar and have a margarita or two. Rode bicycles around complex and down to the canal. Took "Monkey Island Boat Tour" which was enjoyable. All and all we had a wonderful, peaceful, relaxing, and fun stay. One week honestly seemed like two. I look forward to our next trip to Panama and another stay at Gamboa resort. Another recommendation in Panama is going Nitro City Hotel on Punta Chame which is about an hour drive from the Panama City.

Room Tip: Upper floors I think have a nicer view.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Jeff S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2012

My husband, daughter and I really enjoyed our three day stay at the Gamboa. It is a beautiful-looking and impressive resort, situated within the Rainforest with lovely views over the forest and the Chagres River. The Panama Canal can be seen from an observation tower on the grounds. Guests are treated to a Rainforest hike, a night transport to view wild-life and bikes to ride around the extensive grounds or to the near-by village, and we enjoyed these activities. An additional variety of tours can be purchased and there are even various exhibits on the grounds, such as a butterfly house, reptile and snake houses and an orchid nursery, which you need to tour with a guide.
Our daughter went on a kayak tour on the river and really enjoyed herself.
Our accommodation was the Bali Suite, and it was quite large and very nice. There were two balconies and one had a table and chairs, the other a hammock - actually, it appeared that every balcony in the hotel had a hammock - a nice treat.
One of the best things about our stay were the buffets - I can honestly say I have never eaten better buffet meals anywhere! Top-quality and numerous, varied dishes - three times a day! We couldn't wait to eat! A three-day stay entitles guests to one a la carte dinner, which we did enjoy, but honestly - not as much as the buffets!
We also really enjoyed the pool with swim-up bar. The Gamboa offered great facilities in a beautiful location and we had an extremely enjoyable stay.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank jewlsbaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2012

I am on my way back to the Gamboa Rainforest Hotel for the 3rd time. It is that fantastic! I went in March 2011 (dry season) & again in late September (wet season). I am a Birder and Wildlife Conservationist, so I was in heaven. Gamboa is in the middle of the rainforest, so birds are abundant and plentiful, as are numerous mammals. They have miles of roadways and exhibits to explore. I took my Electric Travel Scooter with me; and, I was able to navigate the hotel and all of its roads quite easily. Each day I made the rounds to all the bird feeders, the orchid house, the butterfly pavilion, ariel-tram area & marina. I got fantastic photos of birds, sloths, and other mammals. You never have to leave the resort to have a fulfilling eco-experience.
Everywhere was serene and beautiful, with majestic views of the Chagres River, the Panama Canal, and surrounding mountains. Sunsets were simply magical. The rooms and the food are fantastic. The pool was refreshing and has a swim-up bar. In between birding tours, I spent many an hour swaying in my hammock on my private balcony just listening to the birds.
I am a person with special needs due to my COPD, Asthma & Emphysema, and, I am allergic to all chemicals and fragrances. The hotel management and staff are fantastic and very accommodating. They ensured my room was free of all irritants and even brought in a dehumidifier for me.
So fellow Birders and Nature Lovers this is the place for you. And, remember, even if you are a person with special needs like me - don't be afraid to live life to the fullest.

Room Tip: Stay on the 2nd or 3rd floors away from main hotel lobby and pool area. It is quieter and you may ev...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank ShirleyTaylorPrakelt
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: $120 - $283 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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