Stride climate

8
Reviews of Gamboa Rainforest Tours
87% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 6 Great 1 Average 1 Disappointing 0 Terrible 0
Value
4.6 Guide
4.4 Activities
4.6 Lodging
4.6 Transportation
4.8 Meals
4.5

V

Recommends

Caravan goes above and beyond April 2019

5.0

Panama Canal Cruise, Rainforests & Beaches

After traveling around the world with a number of tour companies, my wife Fyllis and I assumed we had seen, and experienced, just about everything they have to offer. That assumption changed after we traveled with Caravan Tours to Panama.

We were attracted to that company because of the very reasonable prices of its trips. Then we quickly learned that Caravan doesn’t hold down costs by scrimping on what it provides. In fact, in some ways the company goes above and beyond what participants might expect.

We experienced that even before our trip began, when we were told that the tour which we had booked had been canceled. Our dismay turned to delight when the Caravan representative informed us that a trip following the identical itinerary would be departing the previous day and that, if our schedule allowed us to take it, there was room.

We explained that we had purchased non-refundable tickets and would lose what they had cost. No problem, came the reply. Caravan would take care of our new flight arrangements so we wouldn’t lose any money.

Then came the proverbial icing on the cake. Caravan’s customer service manager said the company would pay for an extra night at a hotel in Panama which the schedule change required, and added that we would receive a “courtesy discount” for the inconvenience we had been put through.

That very positive pre-trip introduction to Caravan Tours was followed by a number of other welcome features.

Along with the usual information about our itinerary, what to pack and the like, the material we received included an honest word-picture of what to expect (possibly mosquitoes in some areas), what not to always expect (shower water not always hot, and air conditioning not as cold, as at home), along with an honest discussion of some delicate issues related to our destination.

The choice of accommodations, which ranged from a four-star beachfront hotel to a rainforest resort, served as an introduction to the diversity of Panama.

That also applied to the itinerary, which packed into our busy days activities that immersed us in much of what the country has to offer visitors: Seeing the sights of Panama City, including its collection of high-rise buildings that create a stunning and dramatic skyline. Learning all there is to know about the incredible Panama Canal, including a cruise through part of its length and into the intricate system of locks. Getting close up and personal with members of two of the seven distinct indigenous people who live much as they have for centuries.

As with virtually all trips we have taken with group tour companies, our guide Raquel was a real treasure. Not only did she provide a wealth of interesting information during bus rides, she invited and answered questions about her country completely and honestly; interspersed periods of commentary with quiet times, and handled requests for information or assistance by individual members of the group cheerfully and efficiently.

In addition to presenting the big picture of destinations to which it travels, Caravan pays attention to little details that can help make trips as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Examples: All meals throughout the tour were included in the cost, which not all tour companies offer. Each time we reboarded the bus after a stop, our driver offered each passenger a bottle of cold water.

Speaking of the bus, Caravan follows a policy of seat rotation, which has passengers moving once or twice a day. Not only does this result in “fair and equitable seating” for members of the group, Fyllis and I – and, we observed, the other passengers as well – liked the opportunity to chat with every person on the tour.

That practice was among the many reasons why every one of our fellow trip participants whom we asked said they plan to travel with Caravan Tours again. So do Fyllis and I
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Operator Caravan Tours

PF

Recommends

Great trip March 2019

5.0

Panama Canal Cruise, Rainforests & Beaches

My family and I went to Panama with Caravan Tours and Pedro Palma was our host. Panama is a beautiful country and there is so much to enjoy and explore it can get overwhelming. Pedro made enjoying every part of the trip easy of us. He was so detailed about when and where to give information. He thought ahead of any challenges we would face in order to prevent any mishaps and to keep everyone organized. I could tell how hard he worked on making all of us happy.
After getting home from my trip I realized I had forgotten an item at the hotel. I contact Pedro and he took all my stress away by arranging to get my stuff back to me. Pedro is great. He stayed up around the clock for us to attend to any need and answered any question about the country we had. He definitely added to how much I enjoyed the trip and the next time I take a toured trip with Caravan I hope the next host is just as awesome as Pedro Palma.
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Operator Caravan Tours

PTwPaD

Recommends

Really Amazing tour, we were well cared for! March 2018

5.0

Panama Canal Cruise, Rainforests & Beaches

We went on the tour with Pedro the tour director and David, our driver. We departed on the 15th and were there for a week. We toured the canal top to bottom. I'll be honest- if you're looking for lots of nature time, this isn't your tour. HOWEVER, we knew that going in AND we still picked up over 80 species of birds, lots of monkeys, etc. We toured Panama City for a day and a half, spent two days in Gamboa, 2 days at the beach and then one last day in Panama City.

The entire trip we were well cared for. The food was really good (though if you're bringing kids on the trip, the Gamboa Resort is the only one that has more typical kid fare) David and Pedro kept us well hydrated, educated on all things Panama (historical, ecological, etc). Pedro also went out of his way to be sure our 5 year old was well cared for including time in the captain's cabin during the canal transit, telling them jokes, etc. He says he doesn't get to see many kids on this tour, so he seemed as excited as our son!

The accomodations are great with the exception of the Intercontinental Miramar. The food there is average and the rooms need updated. However, The Westin was an all inclusive day and amazing. The Gamboa resort is something out of a magazine - and the pool there is fabulous (though their bartenders need a little extra motivation it seems).

On our free day, Pedro even helped us organize a tour out to the Pipeline so we could get some extra birding in. He called a few different locals that were trustworthy and affordable so we could get more time in the rainforest.

Overall, it was worth every penny and we're excited to take other Caravan Tours!
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Operator Caravan Tours

PT

Does Not Recommend

Money Hungry Tour Director February 2018

3.0

Panama Canal Cruise, Rainforests & Beaches

My husband and I just returned from the guided tour of Panama with Caravan. This was the first time and the last time we have travelled with Caravan. We go away twice a year and like to take guided tours and have travelled with many tour companies including very large and prestigious travel company such as Trafalgar. Many companies we travelled with have a Tour Director/Bus Driver tipping recommendations - but those are only recommendations and not the expectations of a tour director. Pedro - our Caravan Tour Director expected to get $8/day/person - so for the bus of 41 people (this was the number of people on our tour), for 8 days he should get $2,624 - well if you make this kind of tax-free cash in one week - please go ahead and give him his $64/person for one week. My husband and I do not know anyone who makes this kind of tax-free cash, hence we decided to give him less generous tip. Pedro was so cheeky that he opened the envelope (that he himself provided to each couple on the bus) as he received it and checked the amount of money given to him by each couple. It become quite clear to us that Pedro did not appreciate our tip as he returned the envelope with cash to us. SHAME ON YOU PEDRO! SHAME ON YOU CARAVAN FOR HAVING PEDRO WORKING FOR YOU!!!! I wonder if Pedro did this because both my husband and I are of Polish descent and have an accent? I guess to Pedro having an accent is equal to being stupid and English language illiterate, hence being unable to complain and/or write a review. Well - Pedro - we just proved you wrong!
Throughout entire trip Pedro was hinting how great he is and how he made very special arrangements for us and how this trip would have been a totally insignificant without him. He made a point of telling us that Caravan build stairs and washroom facilities , so that Embera Village can be visited, he also claimed that because of Caravan, there is now ramp to access Kuna Indian Marketplace. Yet, Caravan was not powerful enough to ensure that we get take-out breakfast on the last day when we were being transferred to the airport at 5:00 a.m.! Interesting!!! No matter where we travelled to, if we had to leave early to the airport - every hotel has provided us with a "take-out" breakfast - after all we paid for this. But not at the Intercontinental Miramar - no breakfast, no apology, no explanation! Well - having travelled with many travel companies the hotels, food, services provided by Caravan and Pedro were average. We certainly had better Tour Directors, better hotels, better food and much better experience with other tour companies then with Caravan. We had much better caliber of Tour Directors then Pedro but no one was ever so cheeky as Pedro and did not return his/her tip to us - this was a hit below the belt - disgusting!!!
Maybe inexperienced travelers find Caravan and Pedro great - but we did not.
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Operator Caravan Tours

L

Recommends

Amazing trip! I love Caravan Tours! August 2016

5.0

Panama Canal Cruise, Rainforests & Beaches

Caravan tours are amazing. I have traveled w/ Insight, Globus, Cosmos, Pacific Delight, Maupintour, etc etc....and this was one of the best tours I have been on. Slick, well run, good hotels, good food, great tour guide, etc. Can't wait to travel with Caravan again! Read more

Operator Caravan Tours

D

Recommends

Loved our trip with Caravan August 2016

5.0

Panama Canal Cruise, Rainforests & Beaches

My husband and I just completed our second tour with Caravan. This time in Panama. The hotels were first class, the activities great and the food in the buffets good. It would have been nice to have had ala carte once. Gererado our guide was knowledgeable, friendly and made certain we had a great time! Alexander our bus driver was a man of few words even in Spanish. He took very good care of us and drove very safely in a country where road signs, stop signs and lights are just a suggestion!

I definitely would recommend this tour just bring your bug repellent and sun screen.
Read more

Operator Caravan Tours

See all reviews for Gamboa Rainforest Top Operators & Trips
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