Study Abroad in Panama, The Isthmus that Changed the World

Despite its small size, Panama is one of the most biodiverse places in the world with more plant species than in all of Europe.  In vast contrast to the modern lifestyle of Panama City, large parts of the countryside are to a large extent still undeveloped. Deep in the rainforests, hidden in the highlands and cast-away on tiny little islands, there are unique cultures in Panama, who keep their traditions and customs and some living in autonomous regions. On our academic programs you will dive into our cultures and explore our amazing Isthmus.

EcoCircuitos Tour Operator has been conducting academic travel programs in Panama since 2003 promoting Adventure, Conservation and Education with different international partners as Hannover College, who visited recently to learn about Panamanian music, folk craft, dance as they meet with artisans working to preserve the local culture in Guararé, Panamá.

The variety of outdoor and cultural activities provides endless possibilities to experience academic programs in panama.  Nature lovers will find challenges on the various trails winding through mountains, rain forests, and indigenous communities. The spectacular  coastline support an underwater ecology and a diverse landscape. While our unique cultural heritage will transport to ancient times.  The most cosmopolitan capital in Central America will offer you a wide variety of attractions and the unique colonial neighborhood Casco Viejo.

For more information on our academic programs, please contact Annie Young at annie@ecocircuitos.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Academic Travel in Panama: The Isthmus that Changed the world

Recently the Hanover College students participated on a Cross-Cultural Communication tour in Panama City, where they learn about Panamanian history and its culturally diverse society.   EcoCircuitos Panama organize the program under our motto:  Adventure, Conservation and Education.

In the video the EcoCircuitos Tour guide and staff leading the tour on an amazing week where history, interpretation, new discoveries, new friends and fun where part of the daily activities.

 

Video courtesy of Hannover Students.

 

Contact us if you are interested in Academic and Educational Travel adventures and want your students to gain a deeper understanding of Panama’s history, ecological and environmental culture.   For details:  annie@ecocircuitos.com

Unesco recognizes the real Panama Hat

LA PINTADA, Panama (AP) — Cultural authorities at UNESCO have recognized the artisans of Panama for their distinctive woven hats. No, not those hats; the famed “Panama hat” comes from Ecuador.

Panama’s real contribution to the world’s hat heritage is the pintao, or painted hat, handmade from five different plants and a dose of swamp mud.

Production of the circular-brimmed hats is still a family affair carried out on a household scale. The industry’s center is La Pintada, a district about 170 kilometers (105 miles) west of Panama City.

“They don’t have anything (artificial), no machinery; no factory as such exists here in La Pintada,” said Reinaldo Quiros, a well-known artisan, and designer who sells hats out of his home. “Each artisan in his own home makes the hats maintaining the techniques taught by his ancestors.”

The widely known “Panama hat” is a brimmed hat traditionally made in Ecuador from the straw of the South American toquilla palm plant. The hats are thought to have earned their misleading name because many were sold in nearby Panama to prospectors traveling through that country to California during the Gold Rush.

Artisans of the truly Panamanian pintao hat start with the fibers of several plants that are cured and then woven into braids that are wrapped around a wooden form and sewn together from the crown of the hat down.

Pasion Gutierrez, 81, grows some of the plants around his house in El Jaguito outside La Pintada, while others are found high in the mountains. Gutierrez, his wife Anazaria and several of their children and grandchildren make pintaos.  His eyesight doesn’t allow him to do the fine needlework anymore, but he harvests, prepares and braids the fibers.

On a recent day, Gutierrez said he’d gone out the night before to cut agave leaves because they believe the quality of the fibers is best when harvested under a full moon.

“It’s no good with a new moon,” he said.

Several bands of fiber are dyed black with the leaves from a different plant and then stuck in mud for three days. The fibers are woven into fine geometric designs and integrated into the hat giving it its name.

“The pintao hat has become an integral part of regional outfits throughout the country worn during traditional dances and community festivities,” the United Nations’ heritage arm’s statement said.

Depending on the quality of the work some pintao hats can cost hundreds of dollars. Authorities estimate that 4,000 of La Pintada’s 25,000 residents work creating or selling the hats.

Pedro Mendoza, a 50-year-old hat maker, hopes that the UNESCO recognition takes the pintao hat beyond the country’s borders.

“It’s really good what’s happened,” he said. “The hat for us is a way of life.”

Original article:  https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/unesco-recognizes-panamas-hat/4180101.html 

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.

Adventure, Conservation and Education

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. Contact us and experience the real #Panama.

A visit to the Volcano Crater in El Valle

By Raffaele Capomolla

Have you heard about El Valle de Anton? There you will find the crater of a dormant volcano that once used to be the largest of Central America, and it’s located just a 2 hours drive from Panama City. It is a great place for hikers and birders, but also if you just want to escape from the hot and humid weather in the city – this picturesque valley is 600 m above the sea level and offers a cool and pleasant climate. You will find a lot of attractions in El Valle, such as hot springs, canopy zip lines, butterfly gardens, waterfalls, rock climbing and hikes for all abilities!

Ecocircuitos offers exciting tours to visit The Crater of El Valle de Anton; just contact sales@ecocircuitos.com if we can help you with more information just let us know.  Our guides will made the difference and will take you to the secret spots in this natural jewel.

empanada

 

Secret Tip: Do you want to try the best Cheese-empanadas of Panama? Well, so you should absolutely go to Quesos Chela! It’s just in the middle of the way to El Valle, it’s a MUST-Stop, trust me!

 

10 Best things to do in Panama City

There are a lot of reasons to visit Panama. You have probably already thought of the Panama Canal, which is one of the world’s most famous accomplishments of modern engineering. Maybe you have considered a tropical island or beach, or just the climate, which is warm all year round. But there is a lot more to Panama: read here some of our staff picks to do in Panama City.

1.  Visit Seafood market and walk or bike Cinta Costera towards the Casco Antiguo neighborhood while eating a fresh seafood ceviche.
2.  Take a tour at the Biodiversity Museum and hire of our naturalist guides for an introductory rainforest tour in the Metropolitan Park

3.  Bar hopping in Casco Viejo at night and don´t miss the Jazz Bar in the American Trade Hotel

4.  Historical City Tour– walking Panama la Antigua and learn about the Pirates and Conquistadors and the Canal zone era

5.  Kayaking the Panama Canal in the Gatun Lake and a visit to a local Wounaan community for handcrafts shopping

6.  Visit the Contemporary Art Museum and take a Art Cultural Tour with a local panamanian artist

7.  Hike, bike or wildlife observation at one of the many trails of the Soberania National Park

8.  Go on a historical trekking the old 8-mile Camino de Cruces Trail takes you through primarily tropical forest

9.  Ride the Transcontinental train towards the Atlantic side in one day: The Pirate trail and Panama Canal

10.  Enjoy the local gastronomy (tasajo empanada, carimañola, tortilla, yuca frita, and the seafood of Panama).