Academic Travel in Panama

EcoCircuitos is specialized in educational travel experiences. Our tour leaders are experts in their field and provide in-depth insights and understandings from culture and history to biodiversity. These understandings foster authentic travel experiences as well as responsible encounters between travelers and nature, biodiversity, and local people.

With being one of the most biodiverse places on earth, Panama hosts world-class biological and geological experiences. With its numerous indigenous communities, colonial towns, ancient ruins and the Panama Canal, the Isthmus it is also a top-spot for historians, anthropologists, and architecture lovers. What is less known, is Panama’s extensive art scene; from numerous galleries in the capital, Afro-Caribbean remains and indigenous handicrafts to artisans dating back to colonial times.

The most valuable experiences in my life have been related to traveling, meeting new and interesting people, discovering different flavors, amazing nature and unique activities and passions. – Annie Young J.

Why studying abroad could be beneficial for college students? By studying abroad the students have the opportunity to discover a new culture, see the world with new eyes, put in practice their studies and a lot more.  Below is a list of some reasons why  your university/ college or kid should consider our Academic 10-day program in Panama:

1. Connectivity / Biodiversity

Study abroad allows you to immerse in one place and Panama is a destination that has it all:  History, culture, nature, science, ethnic studies, great museums like the Biodiversity Museum, the Panama Canal and STRI Barro Colorado among others.  It will be hard to come by an opportunity like this again, so take advantage of the connection and discover this amazing country.

 

2.  Education

By joining our Academic travel,  you’ll have the chance to see a side of your major that you may not have been exposed to at home.  If you are major in biology, history, art, business, economics or international relations for example.  Panama is a hub that will offer many opportunities to practice and network with wonderful professionals and people.  You will meet amazing people, have different opportunities for lectures in the City of Knowledge or Smithsonian Tropical Institute and experience in the field.


3. Take in a New Culture and gain new perspective

Many students who choose our program are leaving their home for the first time. When they arrive in Panama, they are fascinated by the distinct cultural perspectives and this will impact their lives.   You will have the opportunity to find incredible new foods, customs, traditions, and social atmospheres.  Also, you will gain a different perspective, not only on the academic side but also on the way of life.   You will find that you have a better understanding and appreciation for the history and people of Latin America.


4. Practice Spanish

Our academic program will immerse you in our culture and you will have the chance to practice Spanish like a local.   There is no better way to learn Spanish than to dive right in with the locals.


5. Career Opportunities

When you finish your study abroad program and return home, you will return with a new perspective on culture, language skills, a great education, and a willingness to learn. Needless to say, all of these are very attractive to future employers.

Many students find that they love their host country so much that they decide to seek work there. If you can relate, you will find that a local education will be very valuable when searching for a potential job in that country.

6. Find New Interests

If you are still questioning why to take an academic program with EcoCircuitos, you should know that Panama offers many new activities and interests that you may never have discovered if you’d stayed at home. You might find that you are a natural surfer, that you enjoy snorkeling in the Caribbean, that SUP is not that hard, dancing salsa music or that you have a talent for climbing and nature photography.


7. Make amazing friends

One of the biggest benefits of this program is the opportunity to meet new and wonderful friends from different backgrounds.  This program gives you the opportunity to really get to know and create lasting relationships with your fellow students.  We always suggest our participants that after the program they should keep their contact with the international friends.   This will be important for your future.


8. To Grow as a person

Most of our students become active explorers and advocates for conservation and social development in their homes.   We truly believe that our program is a transformative experience and not just another tour!

 

Las Clementinas Hotel now a service apartments

Las Clementinas Hotel is announcing that from now on will become a serviced apartments.   They stated the following:  “It is really the best of two worlds: the independence and comfort of your own apartment, better rates and the personalized attention of a concierge service at your disposal, always taking care that our guests have the best experience during their visit to Panama”.

In the middle of Casco Viejo, Las Clementinas – Serviced Apartments combines great style, comfort, and personalized concierge service. The apartments are designed to make you feel like you are visiting friends, instead of staying at a hotel. All apartments have hardwood floors, plenty of space, a kitchen and balcony. They were carefully decorated taking inspiration from local stories. They are like a home away from home.

Also, they are pleased to announce that Casa Bruja Casco Antiguo just opened at the ground floor a Beer craft with a very interesting menu form the Panamanian chef Alejandro Fabrega.

For more information and details, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

Panama: a new gastronomic destination

By:  Annie Young J.

There is definitely a connection between tourism and gastronomy and the trend of foodie travelers experimenting the local tastes during their adventure travel is growing worldwide.

Panama is a destination that has it all and our gastronomic experience is motivating more travelers to come back to savor our tropical cuisine.  More and more foodies from around the world are amazed by our culinary variety and exploring the city becomes an adventure.

From eating ceviche at the local Fish Market, going for tapas and cocktails in a rooftop in Casco Viejo to more elaborated dishes from local chefs in Downtown Panama City.

Panama’s local gastronomy infused with fresh local produce, seafood, and other unique ingredients are competing against other great well known culinary destinations in Latin America.

There is a new generation of chefs (Jose Carles, Mario Castrellon, and Chombolin) that are determined to make Panama one of the most innovative cuisine destinations of the region.

Donde Jose and Intimo are two of the best gastronomic experiences in Panama. Both chefs are constantly developing new recipes and techniques using local and native ingredients with a tropical twist. Their clientele including me enjoys trying new flavors and combinations. Both restaurants have won international recognition.  If you are in Panama, experience a gastronomic tour for the senses.

For more details on our gastronomic adventures, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

Top 4 Festivals in Panama

Panama is a country with amazing history, culture, and traditions and we Panamanians like to celebrate.   Thre are many reasons to visit Panama. You have probably already thought of the Panama Canal, which is one of the world’s most famous feats of modern engineering. Maybe you have considered the exotic jungles or the weather, which is warm year round. But there is much more to discover in Panama including our Festivals and Traditions.  A list of all calendars and festivals are on this link but below some of our favorites.

1. Panama Jazz Festival – Every January, Panama welcomes summer with the Panama Jazz Festival. The festival attracts international artists, promoting Panama City to the world of jazz.  The festival is the most important annual event held by the Danilo Pérez Foundation committed to positively transforming society through music. The week-long event includes free shows, classes, concerts, and educational activities centered around music and culture. In 2017, the four-time Grammy award-winning artist, Esperanza Spalding, headlined the events.

2.  Boquete Flowers and Coffee Festival – Boquete blooms every January with the  Flower and Coffee Festival. This ten-day festival featuring the popular coffee from Boquete artisans and amazing flowers have been held in Boquete since 1984 with the purpose of promoting agricultural development and tourism. The fair includes folkloric groups from Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia and local bands.

3.  Festival de la Pollera -During the month of July, the town of Las Tablas in Los Santos province, holds a festival in honor of one of the world’s most beautiful national costumes, the Panamanian Pollera. This festival is held at the Belisario Porras park in downtown Las Tablas. The celebration joins with the festivities for Santa Librada, the patron saint of Las Tablas, whose day is July 19.  The most anticipated part of the festival is the National Pollera Contest, in which women from across the country, including the current Carnival Queens, compete for the Margarita Lozano medal.

4.  Festival del Congo de Portobello -The most unique and colorful manifestation folklore of the province of Colon. The tradition of the dances and the interpretation of the Afro-American culture are expressed with an impressive visual wealth in the Festival of dances of Devils and Congos of Colon. These dances have great historic value in the Afro-Panamanian culture and the Diablo is said to be a representation of ferociousness of slave masters.

New Model of Climate Change Effects on Coffee Availability and Bee Pollinators

Overcoming Doomsday Scenarios Depends on Biological Intelligence

From STRI

Areas in Latin America suitable for growing coffee face predicted declines of 73-88 percent by 2050. However, diversity in bee species may save the day, even if many species in cool highland regions are lost as the climate warms. The research, co-authored by David Roubik, senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, will be published in early online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences edition between Sept. 11-15.Scientists David Roubik

“For my money, we do a far superior job of predicting the future when we consider both plants and animals (or in this case the bees) and their biology,” Roubik said. “Traditional models don’t build in the ability of organisms to change. They’re based on the world as we know it now, not on the way it could be as people and other organisms adapt.”

A research team modeled impacts for Latin America, the largest coffee-growing region under several global-warming scenarios—considering both the plants and the bees. The team consisted of bee experts from the Smithsonian in Panama; the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Vietnam; the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica; Conservation International and the University of Vermont in the U.S.; CIRAD in France; and CIFOR in Peru.

Despite predicted declines in total bee species, in all scenarios at least five bee species were left in future coffee-suitable areas; in about half of the areas, 10 bee species were left.Mountain in Panama

For land no longer suitable for coffee production, the team recommended management strategies to help farmers switch to other crops or production systems. In areas where bee diversity is expected to decrease, but coffee can still be grown, adaptation strategies may include increasing bee habitat and maintaining native bees. Many coffee types prefer to grow in the shade of tall trees. Choosing tree species that favor bees are a win-win strategy, according to the authors.

Roubik’s favorite example of a potentially huge environmental change that did not play out as predicted is the case of Africanized honey bees, which were accidentally released in Brazil in 1957. Roubik’s studies in Panama of coffee pollination taking native rainforest bees into consideration began in the 1970s as the aggressive non-native Africanized honey bees swarmed north through Latin America. Doomsayers predicted the worst: that the killer bees would disrupt the delicate balance between tropical forest species and their native pollinators. Roubik discovered the opposite to be true. In lowland tropical forests in Mexico, plants pollinated by very busy Africanized bees ended up producing more flowers, thus making more pollen and nectar available to native bees.

“Africanized honey bees in the Western Hemisphere both regulate their nest temperature and their own body temperature using water,” Roubik said. “When the climate is hotter—unless it’s too dry—they’re better adapted to endure climate change and pollinate coffee—an African plant.”

By paying attention to biological processes and managing coffee for maximum pollination depending upon the effects of climate on both the plants and the bees, as well as strategically adjusting shade, rotating crops and conserving natural forests, it may be possible for coffee producers to adapt to climate change.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, headquartered in Panama City, Panama, is a unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The Institute furthers the understanding of tropical biodiversity and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems. Website: http://www.stri.si.edu/. Promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9JDSIwBegk.

Contact us for academic travel and join amazing experts in different fiels on the isthmus that change the world:  Panama!  for details info@ecocircuitos.com

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Imbach, P., Fung, E., Hannah, L. et al. 2017 Coffee, bees, and climate: Coupling of pollination services and agriculture under climate change. PNAS. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1617940114

Tips for fly and drive vacations: Self drive adventures in Panama

EcoCircuitos Panama Travel Blog

In order to be independent and maximize your holiday experience, we recommend self-drive in the western region of Panama including the provinces of Cocle (El Valle), Los Santos (Azuero Peninsula) and Chiriqui (Boquete). This allows the flexibility to stop whenever you see something interesting. Compared to its neighboring countries, the main roads in Panama are in very good conditions. Do bear in mind that Panama is a mountainous country, roads can be curvy and signage is generally poor once outside the main cities. However, full directions are provided by our staff when you receive the vouchers and the vehicle.

We generally recommend a Group C vehicle, Toyota Yaris or similar. We have selected National Car Rental and Budget Rent a Car as our suppliers in Panama. They have offices in Panama City downtown, Panama City – Tocumen International Airport, Panama City-Albrook Domestic Airport, David Airport located in the Chiriquí Province.

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Why Travel with EcoCircuitos on your next trip to Panama?

Traveling with EcoCircuitos Panama is the best way to know our amazing country.  We are able to negotiate much better rates at hotels and in off season we offer amazing discounts.  Also, we are a local team of enthusiasts that have the best inside knowledge of the top places, lodges, and adventures while in Panama.   We want you to have a real transformative and authentic experience, not just a tour!

Our company was founded in 1999 by a passionate Panamanian woman that love her country and her people and has been committed to the development of sustainable tourism, providing distinct responsible travel options throughout the Republic of Panama. Our team is comprised of multi-lingual travel experts and enthusiasts that ensure our clients are provided with high-quality services and memorable custom made adventures.

We pride ourselves on our reputation for delivering exceptional travel experiences and we have compiled an 8 simple list of reasons why you should choose us on your next vacation to Panama.

  1. Value for Money:  From the moment of your booking request to your departure, every single step of your journey is attended by local specialists to ensure an authentic travel experience.
  2. Tailor made for you:  Our team of Panama experts designs your itinerary personalized for you and depending on your preferences and the time and budget you want to spend.
  3. IN-depth insights: Gain a holistic understanding of culture, architecture, history, nature, and wildlife with our specialist local guides who are experts in the field.
  4. Local passion: We are Panamanians and travel enthusiasts.  Our vacation programs are designed base upon our own discoveries and favorite places.  We believe in offering authentic experiences by local’s experts.  We want you to experience the real Panama!
  5. Responsible Traveling: Our philosophy is to approach each destination carefully, considering the impact that our tours will have on the environment and the local communities.
  6. Safety & Trust: EcoCircuitos has a Health and Safety policy in place, which is communicated to all staff members, guides, drivers, and subcontractors.   All our vehicles meet all local safety/maintenance standards.  Also, we go beyond and carry a liability insurance of 500K.
  7. Flexibility and Logistics: Using EcoCircuitos give you the flexibility to enjoy fully your vacation.  We will deal with all communications, logistics and will take away all the hassle from you.  You only get to sit back and enjoy Panama.
  8. Unique Destinations: We love exploring unusual places away from common tourist paths:  lush rainforest, archeological sites, beautiful islands and amazing local communities.  You will experience always something new!