Panama

 

Student Travel in Panama

Explore Panama With No Barriers Youth Programming

No Barriers Youth offers an experience of Panama that combines rich biodiversity with indigenous cultures. Research coral reef ecology and conservation biology while snorkeling in the magnificent reefs of Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos, or:

  • Paddle sea kayaks through mangroves and the emerald waters of the archipelago of Bocas del Toro or step into the neighboring jungle in search of exotic wildlife
  • Develop an understanding of the issues facing indigenous peoples through a visit and community service project with the Ngöbe-Buglé tribe
  • Work alongside local community members to construct school buildings or tutor students in English classes
  • Marvel at the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal or visit the historic Casco Viejo – the oldest city on the Western Pacific Coast.
    Summary

What to Know Before Educational Trips to Panama

Panama is a hidden ecological gem connecting Central America and South America. It has a higher percentage of its land area in protected rainforest and bio-reserves than Costa Rica and receives far fewer visitors. Panama is home to many indigenous groups; among them the Kuna of Comarca de Kuna Yala, as well as the Ngöbe-Buglé people of the marine sanctuary of Isla Bastimentos. And of course, the 50-mile-long Panama Canal still stands as one of the most important engineering feats in the world, providing passage for over 14,500 ships every year.

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Choose Your Adventure for Teen Travel in Panama

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Indigenous Cultures and Sustainability

Day 1: Arrive to Panama City 
  • Afternoon/Evening: Arrive to Panama City. Meet your No Barriers Youth Expedition Leader upon arrival and transfer to hotel to settle in and relax. 
  • Accommodation: Hotel, Panama City 
Day 2: Orientation/City Tour/Panama Canal 
  • Morning: Receive an orientation to Panama culture before seeing the important sights of Panama City. Learn about the pirate history and see the ruins they left behind in the old city, continue on to the new relocated city of Casco Viejo and gain an understanding of what a UNESCO World Heritage site is, followed by a quick tour of the modern capital city filled with shiny skyscrapers. 
  • Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy a tour of the Panama Canal and visit Miraflores Locks where you will see ships passing through the world-famous canal. Visit either the Smithsonian’s Punta Culebra Nature Center for a hands-on activity or the newly opened BioMuseo. 
  • Evening: After a busy day of sightseeing and history, enjoy a traditional Panamanian dinner of chicken, beans and rice. 
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Panama City 
Day 3: Travel to Bocas Del Toros 
  • Morning: Rise early to catch your flight to Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of islands located in the northern Caribbean Sea just below Costa Rica. Upon arrival, take a water taxi to an eco lodge on a neighboring island. 
  • Afternoon: Participate in a presentation about coral reef ecology before embarking on a snorkeling excursion across the bay to Zapatillas Cays in Bastimentos National Marine Park. 
  • Evening: Learn about the local Gnobe Bugle culture. Participate in a group reflection and journaling before bed. 
  • Accommodation: Hotel, Isla Bastimentos 
Day 4: Cultural Immersion 
  • Morning/Afternoon: Kayak through the mangrove forest to visit a village on the island. Participate in local projects with the community and learn more about their way of life and island home. 
  • Evening: De-brief your time with the community and engage in some personal reflection. Prepare for the following day’s activities. 
  • Accommodation: Hotel, Isla Bastimentos 
Day 5: Community Engagement and Sustainable Tourism 
  • Morning: Take a boat ride out to scenic Ensenada. Participate in community engagement projects with the people of Ensenada. 
  • Evening: Discussion on community-based development and sustainable tourism. De-brief service project, sharing reflections of your stay. 
  • Accommodation: Hotel, Isla Bastimentos 
Day 6: Hit the Beach! 
  • Morning/Afternoon: Beach time! 
  • Evening: Enjoy dinner at the hotel. 
  • Accommodation: Hotel, Isla Bastimentos 
Day 7: Canopy Tour and More Adventure 
  • Morning: Depart by water taxi to Bastimentos Canopy Tour for lots of fun and adventure including zip lining, ropes course and rappelling. Enjoy a quick stop in Bocas before boarding your flight to Panama City. 
  • Afternoon: Travel to Panama City. 
  • Evening: Gather together for your last night in Panama and the No Barriers closing ceremony. 
  • Accommodation: Hotel, Panama City 
Day 8: Adios, Panama! 
  • Morning: Depart Panama City. Return home with a new appreciation for indigenous cultures and environmental and economic sustainability. 

Getting immersed in the culture of India and getting to know and love the children was the greatest. When the students would cling to me at the end of class, and tell me how much they enjoyed having me there was heartbreaking.

Rachel W., Student

There is so much life, happening all the time. It's crazy to think that, after only three weeks, I feel like I've become accustomed to so much of how the world move.

Saul S., Student

I just wanted to take a moment to formally thank you for another unbelievable and life changing trip. No Barriers Youth made it all possible and took the guesswork out of a potentially nerve wracking and complicated task.

Amanda W., Trip Leader