Gamboa is a small town only 45 minutes away from Panama City, overlooking the Panama Canal and surrounded by hundreds of acres of the magnificent Soberania National Rainforest. This land was once a jurisdiction of the U.S. Army (back when the Canal was still controlled by the U.S.), and today is one of the most unique and enchanting destinations for nature lovers in the region.
The Gamboa Rainforest Resort offers luxury and adventure for its guests. Some of the tours available include a two hour aerial tram that takes you up through tree tops providing the most breathtaking views and of course, always with friendly monkeys, sloths, and birds popping in to say hi. Kayaking or fishing on the Panama Canal is another popular activity. The hotel’s pool is stunning, and the spa is an absolute treat.
My last visit to Gamboa was a last minute improvisation – we showed up without booking anything in advance and were told all tours and activities were sold out for the day. We were given a map of the rainforest and told we were free to walk around at our leisure. Of course I was disappointed, because the aerial tram is an absolute must,but we ventured into the jungle regardless and had the most amazing experience.
We walked for a couple hours under the cool shade of trees following trails that lead to the most beautiful, hidden places. Gamboa is home to reptiles, birds, and mammals – we were thrilled when we had the chance to spot these tiny, bright colored poisonous frogs I had never seen before; a variety of birds and even two sloths.
The Orchid Nursery was another highlight for me. It was just so beautiful and spectacular to walk around admiring the different colors of these native flowers, such as the Spider and Catleya Orchids – bright and beautiful species unique only to this region.
I had not visited Gamboa since I was 12 years old, when my parents took me and my brothers for a full weekend at the resort. This last visit reminded me why Gamboa is so special and that I must definitely come back and make sure I can partake on the various tours the resort offers.