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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
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Reviews (1,848)
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1,009 - 1,014 of 1,848 reviews
Reviewed November 3, 2012

The determining factor as to whether you like this hotel is primarily how much you embrace the rain forest in which it is located. The rain forest is the reason that the hotel is there in the first place. My wife and I loved the rain forest and we loved the Gamboa Rain Forest Resort. They have a grand 100 year old Corotu tree between the lobby and the rooms. If the Rain Forest bores you then you will be bored at this hotel. The rooms are large and clean. The overall service is comparable to a nice American hotel. We found the restaurant and the bar staff to be particularly friendly. Taking the boat excursion to the Monkey Islands was one of the highlights of our Panama vacation. We were on Lake Gatun amidst the ships making the transient through the canal. The guide was knowledgeable and friendly. Our favorite hotel restaurant is the one on the banks of the Chagre River; while dining you can watch the ships traveling through the Canal. That restaurant is a little removed from the main hotel grounds but they provide shuttle service. Their breakfast was bountiful and good including made to order omelets. They also had the hottest breakfast of any of the hotels in which we stayed in Panama. My wife enjoyed a hot stone massage in their SPA. We appreciated the free Wi Fi in the lobby but you have to pay if you want Wi Fi in your room. As others have said the view of the rain forest and the Chagre River from your balcony is fabulous. Unless your intent is to “get away from it all” you probably don’t want to stay for more than a few days, especially during the rainy season.

Room Tip: I beleive that all rooms have a view of the rain forest. Of course higher is better. The hotel has six floors.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank wardguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 5, 2012

I really appreciate your comments and suggestions this will make our hotel a better place to visit. I have noted each of your recommendations because all are great help for us. Thanks again
We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012

I will never forget staying at this property. How often can you say you stayed in 4-star accommodations in a rain forest?? Our rooms were nicely appointed with a hammock on the balcony and a large bathroom. We arrived when it was raining so we asked for a room on a higher floor and to use a de-humidifier as my husband has asthma. Thanks to these two, he had no problem. For all the rain they get, there was no mold smell. The doors are all hand-carved with various local animals. The lobby decor brought the rainforest indoors. Tall ceilings, lots of windows. The views from here, the restaurant and our rooms were unforgettable. They offered free wifi in the lobby which worked well. (Would have loved to have it in our room.) There is a tour desk there where you can sign up for the Gatun Expedition, formerly called Monkey Island Tour. Do it! It was worth seeing all the critters, not just monkeys. The restuarant had some of the best food I had at a resort in Panama. You wouldn't expect that. Good omelette maker at breakfast, great steak at dinner. Just before check-out, the electricity was out, yet the restaurant still had their full menu and it was just as good. Appreciated the aerial tram, orchid nursery and butterfly farm. Even saw a toucan and a sloth just walking through the grounds. No visit to Panama should be complete without staying here.

Room Tip: If you have trouble with breathing and/or humidity, ask for a room higher up and borrow a dehumidifier.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
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4  Thank beav16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 5, 2012

Thank you for sharing your experience during your stay at the hotel. We appreciate your comments and suggestions. Hope we get the pleasure to have you again with us in a near future.
Sincerely

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Reviewed October 18, 2012

I have stayed many different times at Gamboa Rainforest Resort and each time I love it there. The rainforest feel and grounds are wonderful. The staff is friendly, but can be a bit slow. I don't come here for the 5* service as you won't get it but I come here for 5* view and the location. The wildlife wander through the area without any fear, the birds are amazing and the rooms are a good size. IF you want nature - come here.

Room Tip: ask for a room in the new wing or on a higher floor. the lower rooms tend to be a bit musty smelling. after all you are in the rainforest.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank CZBrat1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded November 5, 2012

Thank you very much for your time to write your comments, are very helpful to improve the service of our hotel. We hope to see you again in Panama.
Regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2012

This place had so many mixed reviews I wasn't sure what to expect but it's nice, peaceful and clean. The aerial tram is over priced and over-rated but if you stay one night you get a night safari, guided bush walk and free use of the bikes which more than makes up for it. We were the only ones on the guided bushwalk and the guide was very knowledgable (strongly recommend insect repellent though!). We also had the monkey island tour to ourselves and the local guides were fantastic - they went out of their way to locate iguanas in the tree tops, monkeys, caimen and various other animals for us. It was also great to see the mighty canal first hand and to pass between ships crossing the canal. The restaurants were also reasonably priced.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
6  Thank Megan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2012

Thank you for sharing your experience during your stay at the hotel. We appreciate your comments and suggestions. Hope we get the pleasure to have you again with us in a near future.
Sincerely

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2012

My fiancée and I travelled to Gamboa during the second week of September. Despite being surrounded by magnificent rainforest and views of the canal everywhere you turn, the resort itself was just not that all impressive. Maybe at one point…in the 1980s, this resort could have been impressive, but I wouldn’t classify it now as anything beyond 2.5-3 stars. The grounds, the rooms, the facilities, all seem very outdated. We weren’t sure if it was because it was low-season, but the ‘resort’ grounds seemed almost dirty.

Our room was ‘musty’, and the furniture and TV were both quite outdated. There were cracks all over the bathroom ceiling and walls. Our TV had problems with the bass levels…a problem we ended up fixing ourselves. However, it took us three calls to the reception to even get someone to come in and take a look at it. The technician barely spoke English, so we’re not sure he even understood what were talking about.

We took one paid tour and two ‘free’ tours with the resort. The paid tour was a visit to an Embera village. While our tour guide was quite nice, the ‘experience’ was somewhat ruined by the fact that (1) the native taking us on the boat ride to the village talked on his cell phone the entire boat ride; (2) our boat ride went through a mangrove area that was covered in trash (what the tour guide said was overflow from the Canal/city). This was just depressing. The visit to the village itself seemed very staged and played up for tourists. It's almost as if after 5 pm you could imagine the 'natives' packing up their belongings, changing into regular clothes and travelling back to the city to their modern-day homes. It just didn't feel genuine at all. This...for $55 per person.

Then., in regards to the ‘free’ tours, we noticed on our first day that Gamboa offers free tours to its guests (clearly outlined in its tour book) including a night animal watch and a visit to on-site animal and floral exhibits. We tried to book one of these tours, and the tour desk argued with us, saying it’s not free. We pointed at the sentence outlining this offering to the girl at the desk, and then she very shadily said “okay, it’s free…but just for you”. We found this absolutely ridiculous and unprofessional.

I think the only good thing we could find about our stay was the food, which wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but was still quite delicious. However, because the only option within walking distance is to eat within the resort, you have to eat there, and the prices are expensive.

All in all, this was the worst experience we had (and only negative one out of our two weeks in Panama), and we kind of wished that we could have avoided this area completely in retrospect. For what it’s worth, you’re better off traveling to other parts of Panama for a more authentic experience.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank rwyhuang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jetzel M, Guest Relations Manager at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2012

Thanks for your time to write your remarks. Our apologies for all the inconveniences experienced during your stay. We are continuously working with all departments to improve our staff service, in order to provide a consistent high level of service that all guests deserve.
Sincerely

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