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Reviewed 3 January 2009

The Gamboa resort is a nice place to start your Panama trip--as long as you do not stay too long.

We arrived there on Dec 24, 2008 (2 Adults, Kids 17, 13, 9) under the Family Safari Package. Package included airport pickups, breakfast, Monkey Island and Aerial Tram tours.

The main reason to go this resort is the view. The view from your room (get a junior family suite) is gorgeous.

From reading the posts, it seems like the Monkey Island tour is hit or miss. We must have hit it on a good day, because our tour guide lured the monkeys on to our boat with an interesting whistle and a bunch of food. We took some great pictures. I would recommend this tour even if the monkeys don't cooperate, as riding alonside the big ships in the canal is worth it.

The Aerial Tram was a bit lame, and I would have been annoyed had I shelled out extra for it. You do get some nice views of the Chargres River meeting the Canal, though.

The pool is fine, the food is mediocre, except for the Los Lagartoes restaurant at riverside, which is open for lunch and a lot of fun. Food was better and the kids were feeding our leftovers to turtles, fish and a crocodile. Pretty cool.

We stayed three nights, which should be your absolute max.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank gcaug2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2009

Underwhelmed!

While the "theme" of being in a rainforest (not a cloud in the sky) sounds good it all comes across as overpriced and overhyped.

Tours are overpriced and disappointing. Monkey Island....you spend 5 or 10 minutes seeing the monkeys...and the "tour guide" didn't even bring something to feed them. No wonder they pooped on the boat !

The rooms were nice but for the price they could offer feather or down pillows which they don't have.

The buffet dinner was very good with good service. And the pool is very nice.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank jwsmd3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 December 2008

We were a group of 10 (7 adults and, 1 teen, 2 11 yr olds.

We were coming from a combo with the Decameron.

1. Be polite and you will have great service.
2. Great food. Did not do Chagress since we were all inclusive and it was not included.
3. We were in 4 different villas and yes they are old but they are clean. They were huge ! Fully equipped. We could have been 10 of us in 2 villas. Get out early to see the nature.
4. We rented a driver for the day - if you go try to do this from Panama city. Our driver cost us 150 usd for the day for 10 of us and a large mini-bus.
5. Do all the free tours. We did night tour. We paid for mini Chagres and saw the canal because river was flooded. A bit pricey.
6. Take the bikes and explore.
7. Go to the canal resto - JUST amazing.

If you visit Miraflores - check out cruise ship schedules.

A wonderful family weekend. Would go back in heart beat.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank Montrealtravelgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 December 2008

We spent a week at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort and had a wonderful experience. Our room was great. No problems as reported elsewhere. Everything was clean and worked. We had a regular Riverview Room, a king bed and a sitting area. The balcony was large with a very clean, large hammock, 2 chairs and a table. There was also a ceiling fan and light on the balcony! It was wonderful to be able to lie in the hammock on the rainy afternoons just listening to the rain and the birds, and enjoying the time away from our already cold and snowy winter.

It is important to know that there are 3 tour desks. One is for the free tours offered by the resort, of which there are suprisingly many. We took the night tour and saw caimen, tarantula and a couple of night birds.

The next tour desk is for the paid tours offered by the resort. We took the Pipeline Road birdwatching (twice), the Embara Indian tour and went kayaking in the canal. All were excellent.

There is a third tour desk operated by Gamboa Tours which offers more expensive, longer trips to areas away from the resort. Unfortunately, our scheduled trip to El Valle was cancelled as the Bridge of the Americas was closed due to flooding.

The staff at the restaurants, bars, the tour desks and the guides were all friendly, most spoke excellent English and were helpful. The restuarant and bar staff remembered our preferences and we cannot fault the service we got anywhere. In particular, Hector, our bird guide, was very knowledgable and friendly. as were the staff on the resort tour desk. The girl at the bar even insisted on carrying our drinks to our room for us several times.

You can walk up to the canopy tower without taking the tram. Especially if you are into birdwatching, as we are, the tram operates too late in the morning. To walk up to the tram, walk towards the Ecological Exhibits. Just past the orchid display, between it and a large empty pavillion, a road goes up the hill. Take this road, note that it is quit steep. At the top, before you start to go down a large hill, there is a small path/stairway to your left. Go up here, it takes you to the top of the tram. Go across to the pathway which will then take you to the tower. It is ramped, so an easy walk to the top, for great views of the surrounding area.

Other great spots for birds were the road going past the ecological exhibits up to the tram station, and the road to the Model Embara Indian Village. This was great in the late afternoon and we even had white-throated crakes in the marshy area here.

It was very easy to get around. Gamboa Village is within walking distance (take the back road out of the resort) and even Pipeline Road is within a long walk, but doable. Other areas are easily accessable by taxi (expensive) or bus (really cheap). The only problem with the bus is on weekends when it does not have a scheduled run time. On weekdays it seems to come about once per hour.

We had an entire week here and wished we had more time. There is so much to do on the resort and the surrounding area.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank margw6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 December 2008

I knew I wanted to have a day trip to Gamboa for the activities, but ended up staying here due to another part of my trip being cancelled. In a nutshell, it's a big hotel in a gorgeous rainforest. The hotel and restaurant staff members are VERY indifferent to your needs. Our room was semi-used when we arrived (dirty toilet, mini bar half stocked, no soap) and we had to call twice for someone to help. The AC was cranked to 16 degrees C - BRR! I never warmed up and could barely sleep I was so cold.

The big plus is the setting. Others are the swimming pool, walking trails and wildlife tours (which cost extra).

It does attract a highly American crowd, many with unruly children. I would have been happier on just a day trip - I think the overnight experience was less than positive.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank TerrySF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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