VOLUNTEERING IN PANAMA
Volunteering in Panama is getting involved in cultures from all over the world.
Located in Central America, separated by two seas and a canal that at the same time unites cultures, traditions and wonderful landscapes.
It has different unique places such as:
- Guna Yala
- Bocas del Toro (Colon Island)
- The Valley of Antón
- Portobelo (Big Island)
- 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 as pleasant and surprising.
You have specific information of each project in its section, since according to the program, different conditions or concepts will be included or excluded, as well as the arrival and cooperation schedules.
PROGRAMS IN PANAMA
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.
give a personalized accompaniment to children of different academic levels to improve their skills, school performance, in addition to promoting the integration in schools of our children.
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.
WHEN CAN YOU COLLABORATE ON 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.
ACCOMMODATION IN HOUSES FOR VOLUNTEERS
The volunteers who collaborate in the projects of:
- School teaching and reinforcement (Chame).
- School reinforcement with children from indigenous communities (Veracruz).
Live in houses or hostel destined for volunteers.
WHAT DOES HOUSING FOR VOLUNTEERS INCLUDE?
- Bed type bunk beds, in a room shared with other volunteers.
- Use of common areas.
- The 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during your volunteering.
- WIFI connection (internet)*.
*In the school reinforcement project with children from indigenous communities, you have a computer with internet connection, not WIFI.
ACCOMMODATION IN SPACES PROVIDED WITHIN THE PROJECTS.
The volunteers who are part of the sea turtle conservation project in Panama, live in the spaces provided for volunteers (usually houses on the beach where they work).
WHAT DOES YOUR ACCOMMODATION INCLUDE IN THE SPACES SET ASIDE FOR VOLUNTEERS?
- Bed, in a room you share with other volunteers.
- Use of common areas.
- Use of common bathrooms.
- Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during your volunteer stay.
- Connection to WIFI (internet) only at specific times.
All volunteers who are part of the wildlife refuge project in Panama, are housed in hostel selected by the organization.
WHAT DOES HOSTEL ACCOMMODATION INCLUDE?
- Bed type bunk beds, in a shared room.
- Use of common areas.
- Access to WIFI
- I use low cost laundry*.
*In some accommodation you have areas for hand washing.
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.
- Be of legal age.
In each project, you can consult the requirements that are requested.
Teaching and school reinforcement in Chame has a cost of:
- 2 weeks (minimum period) € 585
- Each additional week is 180€.
School reinforcement with children from indigenous communities in Veracruz has a cost of:
- 2 weeks (minimum period) 630€.
- Each additional week is 170€.
Wildlife Refuge in Panama has a cost of:
- 2 weeks (minimum period) 490€.
- Each additional week is 140€.
Conservation of sea turtles in Veraguas has a cost of:
- 2 weeks (minimum period) 630€.
- Each additional week is 170€.
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 IN THE PROGRAM?
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
THE VALLEY 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.
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.
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$.
Preferred destination for the more alternative, here you will find European and American residents who have hostel or business diving courses. The hostels are around fifteen dollars (15$) 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.
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.
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.
- From the moment you fill out the registration form for a program in Panama we will save your place for 7 days.
- To confirm your place definitively, you must pay a deposit of 150 € within 7 days, once the deposit is paid, your place will be guaranteed and you will be formally part of the family of volunteers of Adventure Volunteer.
- As soon as you pay the program down payment, we will send you an email to confirm that your place is secure where we will provide you with the volunteer guide, your t-shirt, mandatory insurance and the volunteer agreement.
- The rest of the payment is made one month before your incorporation to the project.
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).