Educational Travel in Panama

In today’s world where a good education is a key to success, it is important to offer the students experiences abroad.  An academic travel can impact the participants beyond the fun and adventure.   Below 10 benefits that students gain from educational travel from Dr Wendy Amato Ph.D and take it from World Strides.

  1. Better Academic Performance – On an educational tour, students get to experience different styles of teaching and see a new side to their subject of study. When able to see, touch and smell the very things they have learned about in books, students return to the classroom with a deeper connection and greater motivation for their studies.
  2. A Global Perspective – Unfamiliarity and separation from home are great incubators for thought. New experiences will question one’s preconceived ideas. The enriching experience of educational travel encourages students to expand their world view, witness a new way of life and better understand people, history and culture.
  3. Confidence – Living for any amount of time in a culture that’s different from home can help prepare students for the future in ways more profound than any camp or holiday can. Overcoming challenges while traveling help students grow confidence and prepare them for life’s obstacles.
  4. Grit – Travelling away from the comfort of friends, family and familiar surroundings is tough. But doing it shows that a person is interested enough in the rest of the world, and confident enough to venture out and discover other parts of the world. This is a character trait that’s very appealing to employers.
  5. Networking – Travel provides students with a global network of contacts and references. Plus, instead of relying on others’ opinions, travelers establish perspective, confidence, and conviction that make it easier to gain the respect of others.
  6. Growth & Independence – While away from home and the ease of a regular support system, students have opportunities to see what they are capable of accomplishing by themselves. Travelling allows students to develop themselves in ways that can’t be achieved without stepping outside of their comfort zone, becoming more mature, independent and self-aware.
  7. Individuality – Travel provides experiences to define a person’s place and purpose and establishes lifelong values and priorities.
  8. Career Opportunities – Employers view students that have traveled as well-rounded as they have shown not only a commitment to their education but a confidence to venture out and discover new things as well as their ability to adapt to new situations.
  9. Appreciation – Getting away from home is also a chance to allow a student to realize what they miss most. Experiencing another place and culture is an opportunity to appreciate what they already have and realize the importance of the little things that often go unnoticed.
  10. New Friends – Cultural immersion through travels can also help break down language barriers and open new channels of lifelong communication. Exploring a new place opens doors to establish new friendships and relationships that never would have been acquired without traveling.

For more information about our educational tours, contact us at annie@ecocircuitos.com

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10 of the best things to do in Panama

By Maelle Denoule

For the past 10 years, tourism in Panama has grown considerably, attracting more and more visitors around the world for its canal, but also for its marvelous environment. Located in Central America between Costa Rica and Colombia, and bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and on the south by the Pacific Ocean, the isthmus is a land bridge for an important number of mammals and bird’s species.

Nevertheless, the number of travelers to Panama is still relatively small compared with Costa Rica. But contrary to his neighbor, Panama still have plenty of treasures under-explored to discover. In fact, due to its unique geographical position, Panama provides paradisiac places, a variety of landscapes and an incredible biodiversity which offer travelers, an access to incredible adventures and sustainable experiences.

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Home of an amazing ecosystem, Panama gives you the opportunity to discover a rich culture and unique nature.   Our 10 best things to do in Panama:

Encounters with an indigenous community

With 7 indigenous communities around the country, Panama offers you the unique opportunity to share a cultural experience.  Their traditional lifestyle and their close relationship with nature will impact your life forever.

This authentic experience that everyone should live once in Panama, contributes at the same time to the conservation of these communities and their culture.

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See the pygmy three-toed sloth in Escudo Island 

Another reason why Panama should be your next destination is to see the pygmy three-toed sloth, also known as the monk sloth or dwarf sloth. This sloth can only be found in only one place in the world: National park Escudo Island, a small island off the coast of Panama, situated in the province of Veraguas.

With no official permanent residents on the island, you can have the incredible chance to see lots of them, but it remains very important to not feed them. Indeed, wild animals who depend on people for food can cause injuries or spread disease, but also increase the chances of fighting and injury among animals.

Snorkel or scuba dive in Gulf of Chiriqui

Humpback whales, sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays, orcas, whale sharks, tiger sharks, and many more marine mammals and animals can be seen while swimming there. With around 760 species of fish, the Gulf of Chiriqui is becoming one of the favorite places for scuba divers and snorkelers in Panama.

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White Tips sharks

Panama Canal Transit

Impossible to miss one of the world’s greatest human-made marvels, the Panama Canal. To learn about this fantastic engineering, nothing better than experience a transit. During the transit aboard the Pacific Queen, enjoy the splendorous Bay of Panama and pass by the Miraflores Locks where you can watch the locks operate. Discover at the same time its history while following the most enormous cargos and cruise ships of the world!

Panama Canal Transit
Panama Canal

Volcan Baru’s summit

Located in the highlands of Chiriquí, the impressive Baru Volcano’s worth the detour. Down from its 3 474 meters, this dormant volcano is the highest mountain of Panama and one of the only places in the world from where you can see at the same time, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Apart from the breath-taking panoramic views at the top of the volcano, this one is also surrounded by lush jungle, offering the chance, during your summit, to see different birds of Central America, and if you’re lucky, the resplendent quetzal. Adrenaline guaranteed for this extremely challenging trail.

Visit a coffee plantation in Boquete

Did you know the country is world famous for the Geisha Coffee? Actually, one of the rarest and most expensive coffees in the world comes from Panama. So, if you love coffee, Boquete must be one of the stops of your itinerary. Thanks to the volcanic ash situated in the soil of the region, local farms have found the best place for the coffee to grow up and make it so special. Visit one of the coffee plantations and learn about its process. There, you will maybe have the privilege to taste one of the most exquisite coffee in the world!

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Surf in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean

Although, if the Caribbean Sea or Pacific Coast is famed for its relaxing long white sand beaches with palm trees, it’s also the best place to surf and have fun with the waves. Unlike Costa Rica, Panama is still virgin and only a few people know about Panama’s surfing potential. El Palmar, Santa Catalina, Playa Vaneo, and many other beaches can provide you the best surfing spots of Central America. Surfers? You will love it!

Try on traditional Panamanian clothing: the Pollera

Panama is also the land of a rich culture. To not lose a crumb of Panama, we invite you to discover in Pedasi, the traditional Panamanian clothing: the Pollera. National dress of Panama worn by women for festivals or celebrations is also one of the most admired national costumes of the Americas. Handmade and very colorful, this traditional dress with Spanish colonial influences is the pride of all Panamanians. Men are well, have their own traditional costume they wear during festivities. Why not try it on to make you feel, for a moment, like a real Panamanian?!

Panamanian Pollera
a girl with Pollera in Pedasi, Azuero Peninsula, Panama

Whale watching while migration season

Have you always dreamt to see whales? It is possible in Panama! In fact, humpback whales come to Panama every year, between July and October, to migrate and give birth, making the isthmus, one of the few places in the planet where you can see these majestic mammals. Many species of whales and dolphins can be found in Panama’s water during that period of the year, especially in the archipelago of the Pearl Islands, on the Pacific Coast.

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Taste 5 typical dishes of Panama

Even if Panama is not known internationally for its cuisine, the food is however very tasty and diverse. Made with local and fresh ingredients, Panamanian cuisine is a mix of traditional cooking methods from diverse regions of Panama. Consequently, it’s very common to find dishes made from coconut, seafood, root vegetables, and tropical fruits along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, but also root vegetables, starchy fruits, livestock, chicken, beans and rice, eaten everywhere in the country. Enough ingredients to make a variety of delicious typical Panamanian dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panama is for Adventurers

There’s another side to Panama, just beyond the Panama Canal — dense biodiverse ecosystems like rainforests and islands. Sip pure coffee and enjoy amazing rivers and vibrant ingenious cultures. Let go of control and give Panama the wheel.

Panama Stopover with Copa Airlines – A new Destination to Explore

Do you know that  COPA Stopover program allows travellers to visit two destinations for the price of flying to one?  YES!!  No more layover and have a stopover in Panama!

Instead of waiting in an uncomfortable chair and eating airport food, take advantage of the COPA stopover and discover the new and trendy destination in Central America:  Panama.

Copa Airlines 737-800 WL HP-1825CMP (12-BioMuseo)(Tko) GRU (RDC)(46)-L

If you are traveling to Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico or any other destination with COPA, you can book a stopover flight and stay 3 days in Panama and explore a new destination for a very little cost.

If you visit Panama for a few days you must stay in Casco Viejo hotels and experience the beauty of our colonial town.  We offer several special deals in the green season that will combine stays in chic hotels and amazing experiences.

Some of my favorite things 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 of the Biodiversity Museum and Causeway and hire one 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.  Go on a birding adventure tour– Panama is a paradise for birders and home for more than 1005 different bird species.  Within city limits, there are several spots ideal for birding where you can find specialties:  Panama Flycatcher, Southern Bentbill, Rufescent-Tiger-Heron and Yellow-tailed Oriole.

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 an 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 in the old 8-mile Camino de Cruces Trail that takes you through the primarily tropical forest.

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

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

 

New Tour: Photography Expedition on the Gatun Lake

An unforgettable wildlife experience.  Panama has not only abundance of fish but birds, reptiles, mammals and over 10,000 species of plants.  On board, an expedition boat adjusts for only Photographic tours you will experience an amazing adventure where you will learn to use advanced camera equipment and return home with stunning photos.  You will explore inlets and islands on this amazing adventure.  For 4 people maximum.

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Picture by Maelle Denoual @EcoCircuitos

EcoCircuitos Panama photo Expedition tour and adventures are specialized for photographers of all ability levels. From day tour Jungle boat expedition to multi-day photo safari, and more, our focus is on helping you take exceptional pictures of nature, local people and unique sceneries. Each journey is led by amazing naturalist guides specialize in the neotropical nature and by nature photographer.  All our photography trips feature small groups to guarantee the best access and flexibility for amazing photo opportunities.

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Take home amazing pictures of Panama’s rainforest and its inhabitants with a photography Jungle boat tour in Gatun Lake.   We will be offering the equipment on board our vessel and our naturalist guide will lead you along the Lake and through diverse wildlife habitats. Capture all the details of incredible animals like crocodiles, birds, snakes, monkeys, sloths, and butterflies, plus delicate orchids and other tropical flora.  This tour is for professionals and amateurs.

For more information on our day tour or multi-adventure photography expeditions please contact info@ecocircuitos.com

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

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.

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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.

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