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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5 Reasons to Visit Panama during Green Season

Everybody wants to travel during the dry season but you will be missing the most amazing lush colors and unique experiences that only happens during the rainy season (May to December).  I want to share with you some reasons to escape to Panama during the wet season, my favourite time of the year.

1. Amazing Hotel discounts all over

Hotels lower the rates during the green season, which runs from May to mid-November in Panama.  Some offer discounts of more than 25% less than during the high season.   During September there are amazing offers of 4 nights paying only 3.   You can stay at the amazing Isla Palenque Resort , a beautiful island of  160 hectares of lush jungle, framed by 7 untouched beaches, house a number of wilderness trails and hidden spaces to be explored by guests of the barefoot-luxury Beach Suites, for $499.00 per night (versus $900.00 in high season).   Or stay at the renowned Canopy Lodge in the core of the Soberania National Park for 30% off.

Isla Palenque

2. No crowds in Casco, Canal, Biomuseo or SkyWalk

While summer vacationers flood the City Arqueological sites Panama La Vieja, Casco Viejo, during high season, the off months or green season are less crowded and great to explore attractions such as the unique Biodiversity MuseumThe Rainforest Discovery Center in Soberania National  Park at less than an hour from the City, where you could admire the tree canopy from an observation tower of 30 meters from the ground.  Also in the highlands of Chiriqui, you can experience the Skyline and Zip lining during the wet months.  Amazing experiences without the crowds.

Biomuseo, evento Los Humedales.©Victoria Murillo /istmophoto.com
Panamarama

3. The Rain brings us more life and colors!

The surrounded forest around the Panama Canal Watershed is more lush and green during this time of year.  You can see more life and with the rain more flowers, birds, mammals and beautiful butterflies are easy to spot.   On a jungle boat tour, you will be amazed by the amount of wildlife that you will encounter in one day.

tithorea-butterfly

4. Whale Watching tours!

During the months of July–October, you have 99% chances to encounter Humpback whales around the Pacific waters. They come to have their calves in Panama.   The most popular spots to see the whales here are Contadora, The Gulf of Chiriqui, Isla Iguana and even Taboga.   Though you can see dolphins and bottlenoses.  You can take a whale watching tour the Pearl Archipelago.

whale

 

 

 

 

ATTA, EcoCircuitos & Grayl to reduce use of plastic bottle pollution

“One million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, yet in the developing world, only two percent of plastic is recycled. As an industry, we must act together to free ourselves from our dependency on the single-use plastics that are choking our natural resources and threatening the very places in which our industry thrives,” said GRAYL CEO Andrew Weber.

clean_and_safe

This new initiative is designed to challenge adventure travel companies to become part of the solution to curb global single-use plastic pollution. “We’re thrilled to work with GRAYL as its products and goals align with a cause the ATTA cares about — the reduction of single-use plastic waste in the environment,” said Shannon Stowell, CEO of the ATTA. “GRAYL has changed the way I personally consume water, both in outdoor recreation and during travel experiences. I no longer use single-use plastic water bottles. I now make my own clean water in hotels, airports, and even mountain streams. Having tested it extensively in Asia and South America, I can attest that GRAYL is packable, easy to use, convenient, and has absolutely kept me healthy!”

EcoCircuitos has joined the efforts and we will provide our clients with an exclusive discount code for the packing list and you will receive 20%off their order at checkout when shopping at http://www.TheGrayl.com

This is one of the best purifiers + filter bottles, fast and easy to use, and less than 15 seconds you will have clean and safe water to drink!

If you are a client, ask for the code and will receive a great discount on this amazing bottle!

Join us and help reduce the plastic by just purchasing this bottle before your trip.

For more information contact annie@ecocircuitos.com

 

 

 

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.

 

AgroTourism in Panama

Agrotourism or Rural tourism is becoming more popular and an international trend among sustainable travelers.  This type of tourism promotes cultural, historical, adventure and ecological activities and provide an understanding of the countryside heritage and a closer look at local towns, communities, local campesinos and indigenous groups that use farming as a way of life.     For travelers who are seeking a real rural experience and who want a “hands on” experience, this is the adventure for you.    The ‘Fincas’ offer you a natural space, outside of the cosmopolitan city, and delicious, natural and especially organic products.  Panama has great spots for those who want to experience the great outdoors and the healthy living of the countryside farmers.

We started in the cosmopolitan Panama City and head for the interior, where we will learn about the rice fields, poultry and porcine farms.  We also made our first agrotourism stop on the same day: a visit to La Granja Turistica San Judas Tadeo  in Chorrera a farm near the City that aims to teach visitors the best ways to make good use of animal  farms and essential crops of basic consumption and the  benefit  for the local economy. From here we will head to a beautiful circuit combining the Pacific, highlands, Caribbean and more.  In Panama, exist more than 35 licensed farms that offer basic accommodation, and agricultural activities for recreation and visitor learning.  Most rural tourism sites are located in Colón, Capira, La Chorrera, Coclé, Azuero and  Chiriquí.

Why we like rural and agro tourism vacations?   Because being truly sustainable!   The communities you visit helps sustain and develop the village for future generations.   Also Agrotourism is an activity  that helps a person understand and appreciate the land and the people who live on it.  This is the best way to meet with locals  in their natural environments and become more involved with the land they are visiting.

In Panama, exist more than 35 licensed farms that offer basic accommodation, and agricultural activities for recreation and visitor learning.  Most rural tourism sites are located in Colón, Capira, La Chorrera, Coclé, and  Chiriquí.

 

PINEAPPLE FARMS

The sweetest Pineapples of the world are from Panama! For example, Verba Odrec, located in Chorrera, is a local family farm, committed to responsible practices and minimizing pesticide and quality of our pinapples in every box. Visiting this farm is an incredible experience where you will learn everything about the growing of pineapples, and of course also tasting it.

COFFEE FARMS

Panama produces one of the best coffees in the world. If you’re a real coffee-lover, and ever wondered how coffee is made, Finca Lerida, a coffee farm which also offers accommodation is the place to go. You will learn about the history, origin, qualities and secrets of coffee handling directly in an ecological reserve! It is located in Boquete, in the highlands of the province of Chiriqui, which offers a perfect climatic condition to produce high quality coffee.

HONEY FARMS

Honey? In Panama? YES! In the province of Chiriqui you will find farms that produce excellent sweet honey. The honey that ‘Boquetebees’ produces is bioactive and minimally filtered. This incredible farm is committed to educate and increase the understanding of the importance of bees to sustainable biodiverse ecosystems.

EcoCircuitos Panama is specialized in sustainable tourism and tailor-made tours through the beautiful country of Panama. There are much more fincas to discover! Contact us and let us create your agricultural experience! info@ecocircuitos.com or visit www.ecocircuitos.com

 

Expedition to Darien and Guna Yala

Adventure, Conservation and Education

By Raffaele Capomolla

The Darien – A region of Panama, that is still unexplored, with an incredible biodiversity, stunning wildlife and a breathtaking beauty. The Darien is not just a place to go and see, but place you will admire, where you will literally feel the nature, which will offer you an unforgettable experience. I had the chance to accompany a group of biology students from the St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas through an adventure in Panama’s treasure of wildlife. The adventure started very early in the morning in Panama City, where we were picked up for a long drive to El Real in the Region of Darien. Once arrived there, we had to hike for 2 hours until we arrive to place called “Rancho Frio”, where we would overnight in tents and hammocks, exposed to nature, in the middle of this beautiful, virgin rainforest. The next day we went on a trail in the area, which beat all our expectations – we saw the impressive harpy eagle, a powerful and very beautiful prey bird. To finish this great trail our extraordinary local guides took us to a wonderful waterfall to have a swim and eat a snack in the middle of nature. We were impressed of what the Darien gave us to see; amazing birds, snakes, insects and amphibians. The region of the Darien is also habitat of the Jaguars; unfortunately, we didn’t see them, but that’s nature is – unpredictable.

Our next part of the trip was an incredible, cultural experience. We went to the Mogue indigenous community, where the “Embera” have their houses made of wood. We literally got to experience their way of living, their old traditions, their typical food and their language. We were impressed of the simplicity of their lives, with no electricity, no internet, just using the nature in a sustainable way.  I was touched of the answer of an Embera when I asked him: “How much meat do you eat? Do you kill animals for food every day?” And he replies: No, because if we kill a lot of animals in a short time, we won’t have enough”. It seems ridiculous, but this is something a lot of people nowadays still don’t realize – Such a simple and obvious answer, but too many people still continue to eat meat every day. We stayed a night in one of those rustic but very authentic houses of the Embera.

Guna Yala, San Blas Cultural Expedition

The last part of our trip was in the beautiful Archipelago of San Blas, called “Kuna Yala” in indigenous language. Not only we enjoyed the typical Caribbean, crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic ocean, but also the culture of this indigenous community, which had to fight a lot for their territory. We slept in comfortable, rustic cabanas and had fresh seafood every day. The Kunas are very organized and very proud of their culture, which they always transmit to future generations. I was picking up a coconut that fell from a palm tree and was first a little confused when a Kuna asked me to pay for the coconut I just found on the sand. But then I understood as he explained to me that the coconut is a very important and sacred object in their daily lives, because the coconut is still used as a payment method for goods. We had then the chance to visit the village and the Museum of the Kunas, where Mister Delfino explained us everything about the history, the culture and traditions of the kunas.

If you are planning to come to Panama, don’t miss the chance to visit the incredible, natural beauty of the Darien and the marvelous clear waters of San Blas. You will have it all in one – Nature, Culture and Adventure! The EcoCircuitos Team and our naturalist guides will be happy to organize this adventure for you. Just contact us!

info@ecocircuitos.com or annie@ecocircuitos.com

New Coffee Farm: Finca Ceriana

Strategically located between the highlands and lowlands of Chiriquí, Finca Ceriana forms part of a privately protected area for the conservation of flora and fauna in the region.

One of Finca Ceriana’s unique characteristics is the number of bird species and other animals from the upper and lower mountain areas. The property is part of the biological corridor that hosts the famous volcano lagoons and a large variety of animal and plant species. Apart from being an important migration zone for birds, the biological corridor of the lagoons and Finca Ceriana is vital for the wellbeing of the protected areas of La Amistad International Park and Baru Volcano National Park. 

The farm offers its visitors easy nature trails for outdoor activities and particularly bird watching, a unique canopy tower, gourmet picnic, sugar cane mill and much more. The total area counts 10 hectares of protected land and nearly 3 kilometers of nature trails, in addition to one of the most beautiful views to Costa Rica’s Golfo Dulce and Osa peninsula as well as to Punta Burica in Panama.