PANAMA CITY -- As this country's promotion slogan is proving,
Panama is more than a canal.
With the Panama Canal's final transfer from the U.S. to Panama
to occur exactly at the turn of the century, the strategic waterway
is headed for a central role in tourism development that will
highlight its ecological attractions, provide ecotouristic resorts
within the zone and expand facilities for cruise ship tourism.
Already being built on 340 acres along the canal, at the fork of
the Chagres River and the Gatun Lake, is the Gamboa Tropical
Near the middle of the Isthmus of Panama -- 25 miles from both
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans -- the resort will have 100 rooms,
a pool and spa, a restaurant, a marina, and views of Soberania
National Park from the main lobby's three-level atrium.
After next year's opening, guests will be able to explore the
tropical forest on a variety of excursions.
Currently open is the Village at Gamboa -- 26 family villas with
one- or two-bedroom apartments, refurbished and redesigned in
pastel colors with tropical furniture -- is housing with a history,
for it was originally occupied by U.S. families who came to the
isthmus to work on the construction of the canal.
For information on the Gamboa Tropical Rainforest Resort, call
(011) 507-214-1690/91/92; fax (011) 507- 214-1694; e-mail
gamboaresort @sinfo.net, Web: www.gamboa resort.com.
Also in the Canal Zone, clients can now stay in Canopy Tower, a
silo-like lodge converted from a U.S. Air Force radar installation,
which also serves as the perfect place for bird-watching and forest
Guests are accommodated, seemingly right in the trees, in six
double rooms with private baths. Dining facilities cater to both
guests and day trippers.
For information on Canopy Tower, call (011) 507-264-5720, fax to
(011) 507-263-2784 or e-mail to [email protected].
Another change coming from the conversion of U.S. military
property to civilian use will be the five-star Gran Hotel de Las
Americas, to be managed by Sol Melia.
Five miles from the Canal Free Zone, the hotel will have 260
rooms when completed next year. Facilities will include three
restaurants, a 27,000-square-foot pool and a small marina.