Volunteering in Panama

Volunteering in Panama City

VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS IN PANAMA

If this is your first volunteer experience abroad, Panama is the ideal destination for its safety, landscapes, culture and charismatic people.

It was the first country where Adventure Volunteer made an impact on social and environmental work through volunteering in Panama, and today it continues to be one of the most popular destinations for international volunteers.

In Panama we collaborate in 4 volunteer programs, each one focused on covering a need, your collaboration in one of these projects is of great help in the protection of abused animals, in the conservation of sea turtles or in the teaching of children.


SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION

In this program you will collaborate in reducing the negative impact created by the lack of awareness in the care and protection of sea turtles and the environment in our coastal communities.


SCHOOL SUPPORT IN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES

In Veracruz we support the work of teaching and transmitting that each child knows that their culture, traditions and language are part of a person’s identity.


TEACHING AND SCHOOL REINFORCEMENT

We give a personalized accompaniment to children of different academic levels to improve their skills, school performance, besides promoting the integration in the schools of our children.


SUPPORT IN WILDLIFE REFUGES

Support the care of animals that have gone through situations of animal trafficking, or have been orphaned by human actions or are in danger of extinction. This space can be described as a botanical garden and wildlife refuge.


REQUIREMENTS FOR VOLUNTEERING

Anyone, groups of friends, students or families who want to be part of a volunteer program with Adventure Volunteer in Panama must:

  • Be a committed person, since you actively participate in educational and social activities that require your commitment.
  • Willingness and ability to work in a team. It is important, since you will work with other volunteers and with people from different cultures.
  • Be empathetic (respect for other cultures or ways of life).
  • As a volunteer you must be flexible and adaptable.
  • Behave well.
  • Be of legal age.

In each project, you can consult the requirements that are requested.


WHERE WILL I BE DURING MY VOLUNTEER WORK?

The projects are developed in the country of Panama, which is between Colombia and Costa Rica.

  • Animals will sleep in Panama City because the program takes 45 minutes by bus from there.
  • To collaborate with children of indigenous origin you will live in the town of Veracruz which is 25 minutes from Panama City.
  • Chame is a town that is 1:30h from the capital of Panama, very quiet with beaches nearby, you will love it!
  • Veraguas, will be where you do your turtle program, it is 7 hours from the city, so for this program you will have to spend the night in Panama City the day you arrive.

WHEN CAN I COLLABORATE IN THE VOLUNTEER PROJECTS IN PANAMA?

  • Schooling and reinforcement in Chame from June 15 until the first week of September.
  • Conservation of sea turtles from June 15 until the last week of February.
  • Children from indigenous communities, open all year.
  • Wildlife Refuge is open all year, except for Easter.

See schedule specifications and arrival dates in each program through its link.

ARRIVAL AT YOUR DESTINATION

When you arrive at Tocumen International Airport (PTY), which is 24 Kms from the center of Panama City, you will be met by a local logistics coordinator of the organization. This will have a sign with your name or the organization’s name on departure, after you pass the immigration controls. You will be recognized by the photo you sent us attached to the extended form. The coordinator will take you to the place where you are staying according to your chosen project.

Depending on the time of arrival and facilities of the project, you will be made the orientation of the house, project and activities to perform. At that time the coordinator responsible for the project or area where you will be assigned will tell you the rules, regulations and procedures to follow during your volunteering.

IMPORTANT FACTS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN YOU ARRIVE IN PANAMA

  • When you pass the immigration controls, if you do not find the person who will be waiting for you, do not move from the airport, which will pick you up. Remember that you can contact us at the numbers we have provided for consultations.
  • If you don’t have local currency (money), you can take it out in the cash machines or go to the exchange house at the airport.
  • If you want to have data (internet) to be connected at all times, the coordinator will guide you where the best options are, as the airport costs three times as much as anywhere else in the city.

VACCINE

Currently, before the global health crisis of March 2020, there is no vaccine to enter the country of Panama.

VISA TO ENTER PANAMA

To enter the country, you will need a passport valid for at least 6 months, with this you will get the visa on arrival (stamp in the passport).

SECURITY IN PANAMA

In Central America, Panama is considered a safe country. But nothing is perfect, and as in many countries of the world you have to take certain precautions and know how to handle certain zones and areas of the city.

Tourist areas are generally safe, but we still recommend that you keep these details in mind:

  • Notify your coordinator, in case of an excursion, so that he can warn you about the places.
  • Keep your coordinator’s phone number and address handy in case you need it.
  • Avoid giving out information about where you are staying, the project and your fellow volunteers for safety.
  • Do not take anyone other than the organization to the volunteer’s home.
  • Avoid risk areas in every place you visit.
  • Travel in austerity in your daily transfers and on your excursions.
  • Avoid attracting attention with jewelry and accessories.
  • If you can avoid taking your mobile phone out in public places.
  • Try to use the country’s safe transportation services or services such as Uber or taxis.
  • Avoid walking alone on unknown streets at night.
  • Never put someone you don’t know into an unknown vehicle, or someone you don’t know into yours.
  • Do not drink any drink of which you do not know the origin.

ACCOMMODATION IN HOUSES FOR TEACHING VOLUNTEERS

The volunteers who collaborate in the projects of:

  • Teaching and school reinforcement (Chame).
  • School reinforcement with children from indigenous communities (Veracruz).
  • We live in houses or sometimes also in a hostel for volunteers.

WHAT DOES THE ACCOMMODATION FOR THE PROGRAMS WITH CHILDREN INCLUDE?

  • Bunk beds in rooms shared with other volunteers.
  • Use of the common areas.
  • The 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during your volunteer work.
  • WIFI connection (internet)*.

*In the project of school reinforcement with children from indigenous communities, you have a computer with internet connection, not WIFI.


SEA TURTLE PROJECT ACCOMMODATION

The volunteers who are part of the sea turtle conservation project in Panama live in the spaces set aside for volunteers (usually houses on the same beach where they work).

WHAT DOES CONSERVATION PROGRAM HOUSING INCLUDE?

  • Bunk bed, in a room shared with other volunteers.
  • Use of the common areas.
  • The 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during your volunteer work.
  • WIFI connection (internet) at specific times.

ACCOMMODATION IN THE ANIMAL PROGRAM

The volunteers who decide to go to the wildlife program in Panama will live in the same city, in hostel mode.

WHAT DOES THE HOSTEL INCLUDE?

  • Accommodation in bunk beds
  • Self service breakfast
  • WIFI Internet
  • Pool use and common uses

The contribution in the volunteer projects in Panama for a period of 14 days is 490€ and with the tax deduction you will only pay 251€

WEEKSANIMALSTEACHINGTURTLESINDIGENOUS
1475€475€
2490€585€630€630€
3630€765€800€800€
Additional140€180€170€170€

You will be able to deduct approximately 45% of the total economic contribution to the program by means of the tax certificate that we will give you.

WHAT ARE YOU PAYING FOR?

  • Welcome and transfer to your accommodation.
  • Accommodation during your volunteer stay.
  • Meals during your volunteer stay. In the case of hostel accommodation, only breakfast is included.
  • 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the program.
  • Orientation and induction to the project.
  • Certificate of weeks spent volunteering.
  • Receipt from NGO about your program fee.
  • Guidance, advice and management in choosing the program.
  • Volunteer T-shirt.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?

  • Flight to Panama.
  • Return to the airport on the last day.
  • Visa, if necessary.
  • Internal transportation or excursions.
  • Trips inside or outside the country.
  • Travel insurance (obligatory).
  • Drinks, diets and special meals.
  • Bottled water.

We remind you that the value of the donation can be deducted from your full income tax liability, up to a limit of 10% of the taxable base.

  • Donations up to 150 :(donation equal to or less than 150), the deduction will be 80%
  • Donations over 150 euros: (donation over 150 ?), will be 35% and 40% if made for more than 3 years in a row of the same value or more to the same association.

NOTE: There is a deduction from the IRPF for donations made to non-profit organisations under Law 49/2002, of 23 December. established in Articles 68.3, 69.1 IRPF Law and 69.2 Regulations. Royal Decree-Law 17/2020 of 5 May. (refunds are made in the year following payment). As a donation, the 150 euros initially contributed are not refundable.

HOW TO BOOK?

PANAMA

Located in Central America, separated by two seas and a channel that unites cultures, traditions and wonderful landscapes. It has different unique places like:

  • Guna Yala
  • Bocas del Toro (Columbus Island)
  • Boquete
  • Anton Valley
  • Portobelo (Big Island)
  • Ask for
  • Panama City

It is a country that hides a great diversity of fauna and flora. A destination with welcoming people that makes your stay as a volunteer most pleasant and surprising.

CLIMATE

  • May and November (wet season) is where it usually rains almost every day.
  • December and April (dry season) is where the sun rises every day and at all times.

CURRENCY

The local currency of Panama is the Dollar (Balboa). Convert it

In your volunteer trip you will use dollars (it has the same value as the Balboa).

Examples of costs in Panama: (1,09$ = 1€)

  • A cappuccino coffee 2.64 dollars (2.39€).
    A menu of the day, in economic places 7,00 dollars (6,33€).
  • A bottle of water 1.00 dollar (0.92€).
  • Bus transportation 0.50 cents (0.46€). This may vary depending on the type of transport you use.

FLIGHT

For your volunteer work in Panama, your flight must have as its final destination the Tocumen International Airport (PTY), where one of our logistics coordinators will be waiting for you.

  • Flights range from €450 to €700 approximately.
    You can find good flight offers on google flights or skyscanner.
  • Other companies that offer cheap flights are Iberia and Air Europa.

TOURIST SITES

VALLE OF ANTON

The Valley of Anton PanamaThe joy and friendliness of its people, accompanied by the great nature that El Valle de Anton has, makes it unique.

In a weekend or day, you can visit the different waterfalls, such as El Macho, Chorro Las Mozas, the waterfall. You can also go canopy or bathe in the hot springs. You can also do the routes to climb Cerro Gaital or India Dormida.

Every day you can dedicate it to some of these activities during your volunteering.

el valle de anton panamá

BOCAS DEL TORO (MOUTHS OF THE BULL)

Bocas del toro panamá volunteersIn the archipelago of Bocas de Toro Islands, near the border of Costa Rica, you will enjoy a long weekend.

The price of the bus is twenty-seven dollars (27$) per trip plus a $2 boat ride from Almirante to Colon Island.

On the island you can do scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and fun water activities. You can also visit the indigenous community ngobe-buggle or see sea turtles and other aquatic animals such as dolphins depending on the season.

Hostels cost about twelve dollars (12$) a night, in a shared room bed. Apart from other islands, Colón is the most touristic and the one with the most nightlife, you will fall in love with its premises with wharfs close to the Caribbean Sea. Bocas de Toro is a lively destination and you will always find someone to share moments with.

Voluntariado en Sur América

GUNA YALA (SAN BLAS)

San blas panama volunteerThis archipelago has 365 islands, located northeast of Panama. Its islands, some inhabited and others tourist have the charm of the typical island paradise of the Caribbean, wooden cabins between white sand and coconut palms.

In order to go to San Blas it is recommended to contact with companies that make this type of excursions. The distance from Panama is 2.5 hours (one way). The cost is between 160$.

SANTA CATALA

Preferred destination for the more alternative, here you will find European and American residents who have hostel or business diving courses. The hostels are around fifteen dollars (15$) a night. The distance from Panama is 5 hours (Ida only), the trip leaves approximately in 18 dollars.

There you can hire a day trip to Coiba Island for about seventy dollars (70$). This excursion includes lunch, snorkeling on three Pacific islands and a trekking excursion through the natural park of Coiba Island.

In Santa Catalina you can also hire your surf class or have fun with the local people living in this beach area.

PORTOBELO AND BIG ISLAND

Destination to spend a weekend in the Caribbean more local, but also cheaper, you can visit Portobelo, a mandatory stop to see the forts of the time of the conquest.

You can sleep in Portobelo one night and another in Isla Grande, or directly go to Isla Grande and stay at Makondo hostel for ten dollars (10$) the approximate night, with breakfast included, you can also visit Isla Mamei, perfect for diving.

portobelo panama volunteer

OLD HELMET

You’ll love walking around Panama City. From the town of Chame or Veracruz, you can go to the center of Panama City for $2.5.

In the city you can visit the canal, go shopping on the famous Salt Street if you can. Also enjoy the fun nights in the Old Town.

IS IT ADVISABLE TO DRINK TAP WATER IN PANAMA?

Panama is one of the few countries in Latin America that can still drink tap water.

The quality of the water is good, so it is not necessary to be buying bottled water. However, in areas such as the islands of San Blas, it is recommended that all volunteers drink bottled water, since the water you find on the islands cannot be drunk.

WHAT VACCINATIONS ARE NEEDED TO TRAVEL TO PANAMA?

In general, no vaccination is mandatory for Spaniards traveling to Panama. It is only required to people coming from countries that are considered carriers of certain diseases such as yellow fever.

IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY ANYWHERE IN PANAMA, WHAT NUMBER CAN I CALL?

It is important that in addition to the telephone number provided by your travel insurance (which is mandatory) for calls from abroad, you have the following 911 number. With this number you can contact the fire department, the police and the local medical service.

WHAT BUDGET SHOULD I HAVE FOR MY TRIP TO PANAMA?

The amount of money you decide to take will depend on what you want to see in your free time while volunteering. A figure you can spend per week could be $25, since food and lodging are included. In addition, weekend excursions are approximately $160.

WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES CAN I BRING FOR MY VOLUNTEER WORK IN PANAMA?

For collaboration hours, you should pack a pair of long pants, T-shirts (not suspenders) and a pair of closed shoes.

For day to day and excursions, bring summer clothes, a jacket, which is not bad for buses (usually cold, because of the air conditioning) and beach clothes.

WHERE CAN I CHANGE MONEY IN PANAMA?

If you carry dollars you will not have any problem, as it is the currency that is used nationally.

Otherwise, you can withdraw from ATMs, or at the exchange house at the airport and in the shopping centers of the city (there are very few).

VOLUNTEERING WITH CHILDREN

My experience in the turtle program has been very nice, plus it’s very exciting to be able to go out at night to patrol, find the turtles’ eggs and relocate them in the hatchery.
Being a teacher myself, it was very nice to be able to share with the school children, in such a beautiful environment.
Laia e Ethan

VOLUNTEER WITH ANIMALS

I learned a lot about each animal and about the plants and trees in the park. The park is very beautiful and fresh in the morning.
The coordinator, Ilse, is very kind.
There were volunteers from France, Belgium, Germany and Panama during my time volunteering

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