Educational and Academic trips in Panama.

EcoCircuitos is specialized in educational travel experiences. Our guides 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.

Private Reserves:  Mamoní Valley and ideal spot for neotropical studies

Located at 2.5 hours east of Panama’s international airport, and in the heart of the Mamoní Valley, lies an amazing rainforest campus amidst land manage by a non-profit organization that support Tourism and Conservation.    Their efforts supports its large-scale land conservation and habitat restoration within 28,000-acre Upper Mamoní Valley Watershed and beyond.  They offer a natural campus within a critical biological corridor that is the bridge for culture and wildlife throughout the Americas and home to many endemic and endangered species.

They have count to date 332 birds, 51 amphibians, 63 mammals, 62 reptiles and a incredible diversity of plants and trees.

We partner with this organization to offer Educational Trips for universities and high schools students interested in hands-on learning, while making a positive impact on the flora, fauna and communities in an ecological hotspot.  Some of the projects involves permaculture, wildlife observation, rainforest treks, adventures and exchange with local communities.

A fun and engaging environment for my students to learn through hands-on learning and solving real world problems.  – Nader Afzalan. Teacher at Redlands university.

EcoCircuitos has experience with programs that have been tailored to middle and high school level students and with undergraduate and graduate students. For more information contact us at: info@ecocircuitos.com.

 

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Tips when Traveling to Guna Yala/San Blas

 The San Blas Archipelago / Guna Yala is home to the Guna people. This province consists of numerous small islands and keys and part of the mainland. It is known picturesque scenery that consists of white deserted sandy beaches with palms, transparent blue waters, seafood and the colorful Guna culture.

For EcoCircuitos it is important to manage expectations to all destinations, but particularly San Blas Archipelago/ Guna Yala territory.  We would like to highlight the following:

  • Very rustic, it is not a luxurious destination nor a snorkeling or diving destination. It is a cultural destination.
  • Lodging is rustic with basic amenities
  • Take precautions for mosquitos, chitras, bats and other rodents
  • Be flexible, you will be on Guna time
  • Remember everything in this area of the country is operated by the Gunas under their rules and regulations
  • Tours can change due to climate and weather conditions

Flying to Achutupu or Playon Chico: Domestic flights to San Blas are operated in small planes that seat around 12 people and have the strict check in baggage limitations. Each person is allowed to check in 14kg and can carry a small bag. Don’t be surprised if the airline representative asks to weigh you as well.  They are very conscious of how much weight the planes can carry. This flight is approximately 30 minutes long.

When flying to Achutupu or Playon Chico it is possible your plane could make multiple stops, be sure to listen to the captain at each stop when he announces the name of the area. If you do not hear name of the stop, please ask the captain.

Achutupu Airstrip: When you arrive to Achutupu you will see an airstrip and a small one room concrete structure. Your host will be waiting for you to transfer you approximately 15 minutes to your lodge.

Playon Chico: When you arrive to Playon Chico you will see the airstrip and a long walking bridge that connects the airport area to the Playon Chico island. A representative from the lodge will be waiting for you to take you to your lodge, which is less than 10 minutes away.

Arriving by car to Carti (Please remember your passport): From Panama City to the coast of San Blas it can take approximately 3 hours. You will travel east along the Pan American Highway passing the Tocumen International Airport in the direction towards Darien. You will pass through one checkpoint. Eventually you will veer to the right and travel down a windy and curvy road that will take you through the Guna Yala Territory to the coast. There will be two check points, one will be a police check point and the other will be to pay Guna tourism taxes. The road is like a roller coaster and we recommend travellers with that are sensitive to motion to take motion sickness medicine just in case.

Once you arrive to Carti you will be met by your local host and will be transferred by boat to your lodge, this boat transfer could take approximately 20 minutes.

To take: enough cash ($100 max each for two nights/ three days, better to take more than less just in case. Also useful for some Kuna handcrafted products to buy on the island), a mosquito net, mosquito spray, toilet paper, shower gel and shampoo, sunglasses and high protection sun cream (the sun is really hard in the tropics), hat, towel, snacks and water, raincoat and camera/ gopro of course! Better to wear long clothes during the night.

*After reading this document and you still have questions or would like more details, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com or marketing@ecocircuitos.com

     

10 Ways to be a Greener Traveler

We all enjoy traveling and discovering new cultures, meeting new people and trying new food.  But we do forget about the impact that our travels and adventures can leave to the world.  Take a look of our 10 recommendations to be a greener traveler, so you can explore the world and keep it for the future generations.

  1.  Bring your own water bottle:  instead of purchasing plastic bottles of water, bring your own bottle.  Panama’s water from the tap is good to drink, you will also can fill the water at the hotel, restaurant or tour company.   Check TAP (Travelers Against Plastic).
  2. Use e-tickets instead of printing vouchers: From flights, vouchers, itineraries,  online confirmations, and e-tickets.  You can have it in your phone when traveling (less consumption of paper and more trees) by choosing e-tickets.
  3. Conserve water and energy: Be mindful of the local communities water needs and energy costs by keeping showers short and reusing linens and towels in a hotel, hang your laundry to dry, brush your teeth, and do dishes without running the water.  And also, turn off the lights and TV when you leave the room.
  4.  Use biodegradable products instead of plastics: If a product is biodegradable, it simply means it can be broken down in the natural world into raw materials.
  5. Use local business and buy local products:  Tourism support local economies and alleviate poverty. But only if you’re actually spending the money locally.  Do your research ahead of time, and find nice locally-run business and hotels instead of big chains.
  6. Stay away from animals in captivity:  If you see an attraction or a hotel that advertises interaction with wild animals, be very wary.   We suggest to avoid any attraction based around animals in captivity.  Explore our national parks and try seeing them in the wild.
  7. Hike marked trails:  Don´t go off marked trails when hiking and maintain a safe distance from any animals you encounter.  Take your trash with you when you leave the trail.
  8. Recycle your Trash:  Make sure to ask the hotel and your tour operator about their recycling program.  If traveling to San Blas Islands make sure to bring the trash with you.
  9. Book non-stop flights whenever possible:   A significant percentage of a plane’s carbon emission come from takeoff and landing.
  10. Book a biking or walking tour:  those are low impact and help you get to know the area in a better way.  A good option is our walking tour Casco Antiguo and Cinta Costera.

TIPS for arriving to the Tocumen International Airport in Panama

Currently Panama City’s primary airport is Tocumen International Airport.  It is under a major expansion and renovation process: new terminals, 20 new gates, more parking, 4-lane access to offer a better service to our international travelers. This project is anticipated to be ready in 2017.

Sometimes the arrival area after immigration could be packed with tourists and people waiting to pick up their relatives.   This can be confusing for first time visitors and travelers to Panama.  Our staff will waiting for you with a sign with your name on it.

We suggest you to follow the below instructions to avoid any hassle:

Once you arrive to Tocumen International Airport you will first go through immigration, then you will proceed to pick up your luggage.  After you have your luggage you will need to clear customs and agriculture, you will pass your all your luggage through an x-ray machine.  Then you will proceed to exit the area, once you pass through the exit door you can go either to the right or the left. EcoCircuitos Panama recommends that you go to the right to better locate our staff who will be receiving you with a sign bearing your name with the company’s logo.  In case you do not locate our staff please approach the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) tourist information stand, our staff will be close to this area. 
 

Visita al proyecto de Expansión del Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumén

Miembros de la Cámara de Turismo de Panamá, entre ellos operadores, hoteleros, arrendadores de autos y asociaciones de guías visitaron el proyecto de expansión del aeropuerto internacional que impulsa el Gobierno invitados por la constructora Odebrecht.  La construcción de la nueva terminal aeroportuaria tendra capacidad para recibir y atender a 15 millones de pasajeros para el año 2022.

El nuevo edificio tendrá longitud de 662 metros y 26 metros de altura, contendra en su centro un jardín de cristal cilíndrico que atravesará todos los entrepisos y que a su vez quedará abierto en la cúspide de la cubierta, permitiendo el ingreso de luz natural y concentrando una muestra de la vegetación nativa de Panamá.

Al finalizar el recorrido de la expansión, los miembros de la Cámara de Turismo participaron en la siembra de un árbol Panamá en el boulevard principal con el equipo de la constructora Odebrecht.

Esta obra cuando culmine, consolidará el país como el Hub de las Américas en materia aerportuaria.