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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
north of Toronto
Level Contributor
26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Travel Agent Review”
Reviewed May 13, 2014

While recently in Panama, we actually switched from our hotel in Playa Blanca to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, and we wish we had done it sooner. However, we stayed two nights at GRR, and it saved our Panama trip. First of all, location is perfect, you are not too far away from the sights of Panama City, and the airport, and you are right there off the Panama Canal. The resort is on the Gangres River, which runs into Gatun Lake, located at the centre of the canal. As you approach the resort you will go through Gamboa, don;t be misled, this is not a town at all, it is a row of early 20th century homes built by the Americans to house their workers building the canal, and the resort is located on what was their golf course. It is neat though, and it seems that there are people living in some of the homes, looked like some students.

The resort grounds are stunning, peaceful, quiet and lush. It was certainly a whole new perspective of Panama, after Playa Blanca. We were on the all-inclusive plan, and the food was awesome, first night we had buffet, which was not huge, but had something for everyone, and the food was fresh and tasty. Second night we were given menus to order off of, I believe occupancy was low, and hubby had beef tenderloin and i had lasagne. Both dishes were excellent, and there was plenty of food. Desserts as well were great.

Our room had a lovely view over the river and grounds, decor was perfectly fine, bed was comfortable, and we had a large balcony. The room was however very musty, but it is the rainforest after all. However, this could be an issue for people with asthma or allergies.

As mentioned in other reviews, the resort is in need of maintenance, again given the high humidity things deteriorate quickly, and so it would be an ongoing job. Some of the basics, just in sweeping the walkways around the rooms and resort, as i found that fallen palm nuts and large branches could cause someone to fall.

We took the night tour around the resort with Jasmine, and she is very good at spotting the wildlife, and her knowledge and ability to communicate in both English and Spanish were great. We also took the Gatun Lake tour, which was very good as well, you are actually on the Panama Canal in a boat for quite a while, we saw baby crocodiles, tamarind monkeys, howlers and a caiman.

I would recommend this resort for people who love nature, and are easy-going, not looking for nightlife and shopping. This resort will certainly give you a feeling of the exotic, I would go back.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank tripdesigner1
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 review, May 19, 2014
Thank you very much for your time to write your comments is very nice to read all of them show positive and negative aspects of our hotel are a vital help to us for continue providing excellent service to our visitors.
We hope to see you again in Panama.
Sincerely
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Markham, Canada
Level Contributor
140 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 256 helpful votes
Reviewed May 11, 2014

Gamboa is situated in a newly rainforest setting, only 30yrs.
Lush landscape with many animal species you can see from the night exploration bus through
The jungle interiors.
You can buy an all inclusive meal plan if you decide to eat all your meals here.
The restaurant , Corotu has 3 buffets each day, the first night was Italian. It cost us $44 for both
Of us. It was not good. RCI members get 20% discount on food and drinks,
Los Lagartos restaurant , 10 minutes walk away is much better.
Our one bedroom hotel unit is clean and tidy.
You are an hour away from the airport. Panama City is about 40 minutes away.
You are in the middle of a rainforest compound unless you rented a car.
We enjoyed all the tours. Panama Canal, Gatun Canal Expedition.
Our first trip to Panama was good.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank piggylyew2
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 review, May 19, 2014
Thanks for your comments, are very helpful to improve the service of our hotel; we will continue working hard to provide the best service and product to each of our guests.
Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed May 10, 2014

When you arrive at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort you're amazed at the beauty, the location is spectacular. The room balconies feel private, boosting views of the rainforest. The mornings feel magical, you can hear the howler monkeys waking up.
You're away from it all, which also means you're limited to what's available at the hotel. If you're not staying there all inclusive prepare to shell out a lot of money for even the buffet. Also if you smoke, pack enough for your stay there because there isn't anywhere to buy cigarettes in the area. The view is amazing, just be prepared to share it with coach loads of people.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank From C to 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 review, May 19, 2014
We are glad to hear that you had a comfortable stay at our hotel and that you were fully satisfied with our services. We will be delighted to welcome you back in our hotel, shall your plans bring you to Panama again in the future.
Kind regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington State, USA
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2014

We stayed for two nights. I was disappointed when we checked in that they were not able to accommodate my request for an upper room to enjoy the views of the river. We checked in late afternoon, and they were booked up, so we ended up with a lower room. However, within an hour, I completely changed my mind. We had a nice balcony with a hammock and three beautiful trees as our view rather than the river. Those three trees were teaming with a huge variety of beautiful looking and sounding birds. We had plenty of opportunity to enjoy the views of the river from the lobby and the restaurant. The room was nicely appointed, clean, quiet and comfortable. The staff were very nice and helpful. We enjoyed the excellent breakfast buffet, and dined ala carte for our other meals. Service was excellent, food very good, and I found the prices to be reasonable for a resort. The resort offered a free night tour, which I loved, seeing an armadillo, crocodile, a bunch of capybara, a 3 toed sloth, night hawks, and bats. The pool was clean and they had nice lounge chairs with cabanas. The resort also offered other tours for a fee. I went on the boat tour to Gatun Lake, and it was excellent...an opportunity to take a boat ride down the canal, passing a huge container ship that had just traversed the locks, seeing the way they are widening the canal, and seeing howler monkeys, white faced monkeys, baby crocodiles, baby iguanas, and lots of birds. I know some people have commented that this resort needs work, but in my opinion it was in excellent condition given its location in a tropical rainforest where they are constantly having to battle bugs, high humidity, etc. It was clear to me that the staff are constantly working hard to keep the upper hand against the elements.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank WayfaringStranger13
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 review, May 19, 2014
We appreciate your review of our property during your recent stay. I have forwarded your comments to the appropriate departments for their review. We are happy that our customer service was excellent as well as the location of the hotel. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
53 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2014

The biggest debate my wife and I had at the resort was whether the view was better from the lobby or our bedroom. Both were spectacular. Based upon previous reviews, we smartly chose a fourth floor room overlooking the river (with a side view of the enormous pool). We spent time reading and just gazing at the scenery from both.

We also went on a paid hour boat trip on the Panama Canal to see wildlife (and the enormous ships) and that was enjoyable. But two free guided tours the hotel offers were equally enjoyable (and from what I can tell, underutilized). Be sure to take the free evening tour on the grounds to see sloths, crocs, birds, monkeys, etc. Our guide was highly entertaining and knowledgeable.

Tip: Take the last one of the night, because the guide will have a better idea of where the animals he saw on earlier tours are located and he can extend the normal 30 minute time (our tour was 45 minutes). Another must is the day time wildlife trail walk (about 1 hours) led by another knowledgeable guide.

It's been written that the restaurants offer bad-average food and I can't say I had an outstanding meal, but the variety was good. We also took advantage of the outdoor seating so -- sorry to be repetitive here -- we could gaze out at the view as we ate. If you want to avoid crowds and have no children, there is one small restaurant opposite the large buffet room that offers decent food in a much more intimate setting. If you don't mind putting on a pair of pants (no shorts) and a decent shirt, this is a great option.

The swimming pool is extraordinary and offers shaded seating for all. It was very quiet when we went and we found the area to be relaxing.

Beyond the AC in our room, the hotel placed a dehumidifier that we emptied twice a day. Perhaps staff would do it, but I didn't have a problem emptying it and it did a decent job of fighting the high humidity that can plague the rooms. Beds were perfectly comfortable.

Overall, the location and views are so perfect (and just 40 minutes from our Panama City hotel) that the hotel's imperfections didn't faze us. I believe the hotel could improve by posting a daily activities sheet that include paid and free activities. In addition, there were almost no evening activities (mid-week at least) and most people seemed to disappear after dinner. The facilities are enormous so I'd love to see them add a movie or other activity that enabled mid-week guests to chat or be entertained.

Room Tip: Fourth floor room overlooking the river.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank GRC_10
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 review, May 2, 2014
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.
Regards,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
78 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2014

I really loved the location of this resort - being so close to the rainforest and able to see all the animals, including sloths, howler monkeys, toucans, agouti and capibaras was simply amazing. The customer service was also very good, the rooms were spacious and clean, with nice balconies with hammocks. The pool area was constantly filled with droves of screaming children, so we did not spend much time there, but it is to be expected, since this is more of a family resort. It is however long overdue for a major update, everything looks extremely worn and the decor is decidedly 80s. The tours offered were fairly priced and allowed you to get close to many animals and birds, the tour guides were really great and able to point out animals we would not have otherwise noticed. The food is inedible - we did both the buffet one night as well as ordered off the menu, everything was extremely overpriced and consisted mainly of frozen items they barely warmed up or deep fried. There were almost no vegetables or fruit to eat, mainly carbs. Bottom line - go there to see the animals and get close to wildlife, but don't spend more than 2 nights and eat elsewhere.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lidia P
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 review, May 2, 2014
Thanks for your time to write your remarks, is very nice to read your comments all of them show positive and negative aspects of our hotel. We are continuously working to ensure our guests receive the service they deserve. .
Cordially you.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ontario
Level Contributor
28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2014

Where to Begin?
In reading some of the latest reviews in Tripadvisor I’m confused. Did I stay at the same place? Could it be me that is overly demanding or particular? Well, I have posted about a dozen reviews in Tripadvisor and this is my first negative review. To be fair, there are some good things about this resort, three in fact, location, location and location.
The resort is located where the Chagres River empties into Gatun Lake, or more precisely the Panama Canal. From their marina restaurant you can see ships travelling through the canal. As well it is located in Soberania National Park. About 15 minutes from the resort is the Pipeline Road, which runs through the jungle and where you can see a variety of wildlife. We saw numerous exotic birds such as toucans and Torgons. We also saw howler monkeys, sloths, ant eaters and numerous Morpho (giant blue) butterflies,
You can also see a variety of wildlife right on the resort property. Once again we saw all sorts of exotic birds. A crocodile right in the marina, various lizards and Iguana’s and a family of Capybaras.
That’s the good. The bad, simply stated; the resort is very poorly run. This resort has all sorts of potential, if only someone, a major hotel chain that knows how to run a resort would buy it!
EXAMPLES of what’s wrong:
• As other has mentioned the resort is very dated, it desperately needs to be updated. Even minor things like a fresh coat of paint would help.
• The place needed cleaning! Our room did have a moldy smell but that was not the worst of it. My wife mopped up some water on the bathroom floor and the towel came up black. Our balcony was never cleaned. There were animal droppings on the balcony. The hammock was stained; the table on the balcony had dirt on it.
• Needs to define who its clients are, tours, all inclusive, pay as you go guests? As well needs to separate its tours/attractions from its hotel operations.
• If you advertise something, then deliver the goods. They advertised guided bird tours. On the first day there we were told that need to be 24 hours notices, so the following day wasn’t possible but the next day would be. The next day we were told that the guide had not got back to them. After three more days of asking we were finally told that it would not be possible this week!
• Service was fair sometimes, terrible other times. At the pool bar there were six employees, all standing around check their phones. There were dirty dishes poolside; no one came around to ask if you wanted a drink. Once guest told me that they order a Hot Dog, the price was $6 (see menu in pictures), and were told that it would be a least 20 min as the y had to go up to the kitchen to get in (three stories). On another occasion we waited 2 hours and 5 minutes to get our meal. During which no one came over to ask if we need another drink. They asked the table beside us if they had received there appetizer, they replied “it’s been so long we can’t remember!” That evening 5 of the 20 tables were occupied.
• If you are not on an all-inclusive plan be ready to shell out your money! They nickel dime you to death! Check out the prices for mini-bar in my pictures. The only free tours are a 20 minute walk that was okay, the night tour was a waste of time. It’s better to go for a walk by yourself on the hotel property you will see a lot more. (see pics). On 6 of the 7 days there we paid to do some activity in order to have something to do. Only other option was the pool, and there the was little shade, as well dirty and terrible service.
• The buffet, by far had the least to offer of any all-inclusive that we have stayed at. One of the complaints about Cuba (which has an US embargo) is the food. I have stayed in two Cuban resorts, both of which had more variety than here.
• They do not provide you with any information about the resort unless you ask specifically. They do have maps of the complex; they are not provided at check in or will you find them in your room. We were also surprised when we spoke to a number of other guest that they did not know of Los Lagartos Restaurant located at the marina (by far the better choice for lunch). No yonder there were very few people there!
• Annoying stipulations considering it is all-inclusive. On Sunday we were told that we could not eat lunch at the buffet, unless we paid $40 each as this was a champagne Brunch. Another day we were told we could not east at Los Lagartos Restaurant as there was a private function booked that day. On two occasions we were told we could not eat out on the deck of the buffet as that section had been reserved.
• The evenings are very quiet. There is no entertainment day or night, but a least in the day time you can go for walks or as poor as the pool is at least it provides an alternative to staying in the bar. At the bar in the evening there is no music, sometimes there are only a couple of guest there. Most people seem to be in the lobby on the internet. (it’s the only place that there is free WiFi). After being here a week I started missing those annoying animation teams from other resorts.
I could keep going on, but I realize that I’m just venting my frustration. Is there any hope things will improve? I don’t think so. There is no competition. And as long as they are making money why is the incentive to improve.
What’s the alternative? Stay in Panama City at a decent hotel. Arrange for transportation to the Discovery Centre located in the park, or the pipe line road. Just make sure to tell the taxi you will pay them in full on the return trip. We went both spots and loved them; just wish we had done them on our own as opposed to stay at Gambo.

Room Tip: Higher floor has better view
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank OntarioHappycamper
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 review, May 2, 2014
We would like to thank you for taking your time and share your comments, we have taken notes of your pleasant recommendations. We are really sorry for not meeting your expectations; such as yours comments allow us to take an honest look at our operations and make necessary improvements.
We will be very pleased if you allow us to serve you once again in the future.
Sincerely
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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