Gamboa Rainforest Vacations
The quiet town of Gamboa is alive with spectacular wildlife and lush rainforests. Located on Panama’s Chagres River, Gamboa was originally developed by the United States for temporary housing during construction of the Panama Canal. Today, hundreds of species of colorful birds and unique creatures make their home amid these pristine forests.
Featured Gamboa Rainforest Hotel
Nearby Soberanía National Park offers an exquisite habitat for the elusive jaguar, white-tailed deer, monkeys, raccoons and herds of wild pigs. And, of course, that grand marvel of human engineering, the Panama Canal, looms mightily in the distance. Its amazing Miraflores locks, whose water raises ships above sea level to enter the Canal, can be explored, along with Panama’s impressive Old Town.
Just south of Gamboa, Lake Gatun and the Chagres approach the Culebra Cut, where the Canal winds across the Continental Divide.
Even though Gamboa lies so close to Panama’s most visited site, the Panama Canal, its jungles remain largely untouched due to the area’s remoteness. There are a host of trails and activities available for visitors wanting to experience this magical rainforest up-close, including Embera and Wounaa reservations and an aerial tram above the forest for a bird’s-eye view of the jungle.
What To Do
Ride Panama’s only tram high above the rainforest in Gamboa. Tour the Mariposario Butterfly Farm and get a superb panoramic view of this lush forest from its observation tower.
Visit the Gamboa Wildlife Rescue Center, where injured animals are rehabilitated and released into the rainforest.
Hike along one of the region’s myriad trails, such as La Chunga or Laguna, where you may spot monkeys, toucans and other amazing wildlife. Go whitewater rafting along the Chagres River.
Explore the 55,000-acre Soberanía National Park, for a look at Panama’s wilder side. Learn about the native customs of the local Embera indigenous community. Meet some of their welcoming inhabitants who live along the banks of the Chagres River. Take home souvenirs of your Panamanian vacation from the Embera Market, featuring rosewood animal carvings, woven baskets and other unique native handicrafts.
When to Go
Temperatures in Gamboa generally range between 75 F and 85 F. There are two major seasons in Panama. The dry season begins at the end of December and continues until May. The rainy season occurs from May through December.