Canopy Family Panama

A Short History of the Town of Gamboa

The Canopy Bed and Breakfast is located in the sleepy, forested town of Gamboa, Panama. During the construction of the Canal, Gamboa was vibrant and especially important to the Canal's planning and development. The construction of present-day Gamboa began in 1911, when a population of non-U.S., non-white workers settled here to work on the Canal.  By the end of the Canal construction in 1914, the population of Gamboa had fallen to just 173 residents. The town then continued to be a small, undeveloped Canal stop for many years.  For much of the town's history, its non-US, non-white population was segregated in a section of Gamboa, called Santa Cruz.

Aerial view of the bridge entering into Gamboa

In 1933, after much debate, the Panama Canal Company decided to build a new dredging division here.  From 1934 to 1943 Gamboa was transformed into an all-American town of Canal workers and their dependents, with the population peaking at 3,853 in 1942.  Back then, Gamboa was quite self-sufficient, with its own commissary, post office, school, churches, railroad station, fire station and gas station. Through the 1970s Gamboa was a thriving community.  On September 7, 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian Chief of Government, Omar Torrijos, signed the Panama Canal and Neutrality Treaty, which gradually relinquished American control over the Canal to Panama, culminating with a complete transfer to the Panama Canal Authority on December 31, 1999.

Goethals Boulevard

Today, Gamboa, Panama is a quiet and pastoral village, making it an attractive destination for nature lovers and tropical birding enthusiasts, or for people wanting to get away from busy city life or just to have a relaxing vacation. Yes, Gamboa, once a thriving center of Canal activity, is now a safe haven for tropical birds, such as Keel-billed Toucans and parrots, where rainforest agoutis roam the gardens with impunity, iguanas lounge lazily on branches and where capybaras and crocodiles may be found by the river. The main residents now are scientists who work at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) facilities on adjacent Barro Colorado Island. And of course, it's the location of our Canopy Bed & Breakfast, an ideal destination for tropical birding tours.






Canopy Bed and Breakfast by Sara Firman

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