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“Gamboa was fun”

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Gamboa Rainforest Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gamboa
NJ
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Gamboa was fun”
Reviewed September 11, 2006

We (2 adults, no kids) just got back from 3 nights at Gamboa (and 3 nights in Panama City) which included the Labor Day weekend.

Based on the Tropadvisor reviews we decided not to book in the Historic Cabins because of their remoteness from the main hotel. In hindsight, that was a good choice for us.

I checked the Expedia prices for Deluxe Rooms with River View and Balcony in the main building and then called the resort directly. They offered us the same daily room rate as Expedia, but including full board for 2 adults. So that was not too bad - came out roughly to $100/room/nite plus $45/pp for food.

The food was good but not great - the first 2 days buffet, but on the least day we could choose from the full menu, and we promptly went for grilled jumbo shrimp (langostinos) - yum! They picked us at the airport at 10pm on arrival - no problem. They gave us a room on the top floor (15 ft ceilings) with a huge bathroom and a big terrace with a hammock. The river view was beautiful from our room, but I can see how the views from the rooms to the right of us could be blocked by huge trees.

I think the key here is that it's off-season there now (the rainy season), so we had the whole place to ourselves. We could pick the room we wanted and very often we were the only people in the huge pool. There were total maybe 30-40 people in the whole resort.

It was sunny from the morning to about 1:30 pm and then we had 1-11/2 hour tropical downpours every day. These downpours can seriously disrupt afternoon activities during the rainy season, so plan around them.

I liked the rainy season, though - it's RAINforest, after all. We liked the Pipeline Road nature walk and the Monkey Island trip.

And yes, they do feed the whitefaced monkeys which come out when called and pose for the tourists, but I am not going to bend out of shape about that.

All in all, The Ritz it ain't, but for what we paid (see above) we're pretty happy.

Stayed September 2006
Helpful?
13 Thank halfmoonisland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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La Habra Heights, CA
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2006

Gamboa Rainforest Resort is a pretty traditional resort hotel -- big lobby, decent rooms, huge pool. So it's not the kind of place that you're going to remember as being truly unique. But if you do what we did -- stay at a couple unique places in Panama, then stay at Gamboa -- I think you'll enjoy it. After staying at a few more adventurous places, like Al Natural, we were pretty happy to be at a place with air conditioning, dry towels, clean floors, and windows that close. But there is more to Gamboa than that.

First, the location and views are tremendous. Every room has a view of the Chagres river and surrounding jungle, which is beautiful. If you are a birder you'll be in heaven -- we had a fruiting tree about 10 feet from our balcony that swarmed with parakeets, tanagers, woodpeckers, and even a trogon. Plus pipeline road is a short drive away.

The food and the activites are a bit over-priced, but not outrageously so. Prices are in line with what you'd expect in the US.

Service on the whole was good. We had a few head-scratching moments, but we found that to be the case throughout Panama and not specific to Gamboa. The real kicker was when we sat down in the Los Lagartos restaurant and were offered the buffet, which we ordered. After about 10 minutes they started clearing away the buffet! We were given menus to order from, but it was odd that we were offered the buffet when it was about to close.

One final note: on the monkey island tour, they feed the monkeys to get them to come down to the boat. Feeding wildlife is not the way to encourage eco-tourism!

  • Liked — Location, great birding
  • Disliked — Feeding wildlife
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank JAllison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
florida
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed July 1, 2006

Just back from 2 nights at the Gamboa.....a total tourist trap. Found the hotel old but had some charm. The food was below average and some of the wait staff as well as some of the service around the resort was rather rude. The tours are overpriced and impersonal. The room was nice and comfortable.......but everythig was just so overpriced and no other choice but to spend money at the resort.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank fillymo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newmarket
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed May 17, 2006

We have been back for 5 weeks now and we are still reminiscing about our wonderful vacation. This is the second year we have stayed at Gamboa for a week, both times in the Villas. This time the first villa we had wasn't great so we asked to be moved. I have never had such accommodating staff, the Guest Relations lady personally went with us to look at 4 different rooms so that we could pick the one that suited us. I don't think I have ever had that kind of service. They were patient and wanted to make sure that we were satisfied, which we were. The food was still good, fine dining was excellent, Los Logartos by the canal was amazing. The staff were always friendly and efficient. Checking in and out was a breeze. I can't wait until we return.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank cdiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Germany
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2006

Overcrowded, overpriced and lousy service.
We won't recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Honeybee5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2006

We just came back from 4 days at the Gamboa resort and we enjoyed it a great deal. It was perfect for a family of 4 with 2 school age children. But the place does have some limitations that everyone should be aware of.

PROS: The Junior Suite was a perfect family set up and we quite enjoyed our hammock on the porch overlooking the river. (Note that a lot of the complaints about the rooms relate to the "historic villas", which are older apartments orgininally set up for Canal personnel and set a little away from the main property.) It is overall a very nice property set in an incredible location -- in the middle of a rain forest and a stone's throw from the banks of the Canal. There are great excursions, amazing wildlife and a nice pool for the kids in the afternoon. We also enjoyed the game room, ping pong table and free tennis courts. It is also not too far from Panama City (40-50 minutes). We were happy and comfortable throughout.

CONS: This is not a 5-star property -- and maybe not even a 4-star. While it is beautiful, it has the classic look of a Caribbean resort where they put all the money into the original design and construction, but haven't quite found the ongoing cashflow for full maintenance. Nothing serious -- really just paint jobs and some cleaning -- but it isn't full-on luxury. More seriously, the food is more than a little boring and there aren't many options. There really is only one full restaurant, which is a glorified coffee shop with average buffet. (There is a lunch place at the Marina, which is nice, and a small reservation-only fine dining place -- but that is it.) There also isn't anything immediately around the resort either. Until they upgrade and diversify the food choices, this isn't going to be a place where people are going to be willing to stay more than 3-4 days.

Overall, someone asked whether it was "touristy". It certainly wasn't -- and that was both good and bad. While it lacks many of the negatives of a tourist mecca (like crowds), it also takes an hour to get a cab and the cleaning staff repeatedly forgets to leave towels in the rooms. Service isn't bad -- it just isn't always apparent.

In short -- I would encourage families to go -- with their eyes open.

  • Stayed April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
20 Thank chavgopal
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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