We found the Gamboa Rainforest Resort to be a fine location from which to explore the Gatun Lake and Chagres River area. The resort itself is well designed, with good sized rooms, air conditioning, and a hammock on the balcony. It is a rather large resort with a large pool and extensive grounds to explore by the river.
Birdwatching on the grounds is actually very good--I saw a toucan and many beautifully colored birds and the many birders staying there seemed very excited by what they were seeing every day, even from their rooms. Early and later in the day are the best times to see the many birds.
We went kayaking on Gatun Lake via Panama Pete's Adventure Travel (and even briefly on the nearby Panama Canal--a safe out of the shipping lanes, though) and would highly recommend taking a kayak tour of the lake/river area from the marina at the resort. You can easily see monkeys and many beautiful birds from water level as you paddle around the lake and up to the nearby rainforest. The marina also includes a very good restaurant, where we had the best buffet lunch of our stay there.
We also hiked the nearby Plantation Trail (you need a guide to take you there) and we saw some beautiful rainforest, birds, sloths, a coati, and other wildlife there
A few other pluses for this property: there is a butterfly house, orchid nursery, and a reptile house on the grounds and the main restaurant serves a daily dinner buffet with a different culinary theme very night. The daily breakfast buffet is complete with an omelet and waffle station, and a wide variety of fruits, cereals and hot entrees, breads and yogurts. Service in the main restaurant was very attentive and the staff overall is well trained and friendly. My wife also had a massage at the spa which was very good.
A few cons: No WIFI in the rooms (only in the main lobby and bar). Access to the butterfly house, orchid nursery and reptile house are by appointment only, although we tagged along on the many tours being conducted through there by private companies throughout the afternoon, which was a bit awkward, but these areas are worth seeing, so don't be shy in arranging a time to see them or in blending in to a few tour groups, which only requires a minimum of tact--feel free to tip the tour guides!
- 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