CSR: Educational Project in Panama

ASSISTING IN THE RENOVATION OF A LOCAL SCHOOL BUILDING

volunteervacation

There are schools in Panama, Bocas del Toro that are in need of renovation. EcoCircuitos together with APTSO.org are donating needed funds to schools, but there is still a lot to do. An EcoCircuitos volunteer vacation activity would be very welcome to finish ongoing school renovation projects.

Volunteer Activity:

Group participants will work together with students, teachers and representatives in specific renovation projects and support with workshops focusing on recycling, garbage management and other requested areas of expressed interest. Group members will be divided into small groups to share their experiences and skills with the students and staff. Some activities may include painting, arranging doors, bathrooms, planting trees or flowers, supporting the teacher in needed areas. Donations are also welcome, needed items include computers, footballs, chairs, desks, lamps and classrooms materials.

Meet Multigrado Teacher Raquel Perez from Bocas del Toro.  Help us help her!

Donations to http://www.aptso.org  info@aptso.org or directly to the school with supplies.

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Tranquilo Bay Winter Escape From $2195.00 – Arriving on Friday

Escape the winter to the soothing waters of the Caribbean; discover the ecosystem of Bocas del Toro archipelago through snorkeling, kayaking or hiking the National Park.   The lodge lies within an area of nature reserves on land and in the sea, which is one of the most biologically diverse places in Panama. Encounter tropical birds, different monkey species, iguanas and many more during your stay and feel yourself relax and refresh in the unique natural environment.

Save $635.00 per person when you travel in February 2015. Applied to all February departures.

Day 1 – Welcome to Panama!- Today at the appropriate time an EcoCircuitos representative will meet you at the Tocumen International Airport to assist and transfer you to your hotel located in Panama City. At this time you will also receive an EcoCircuitos information kit that will provide you with all the details for your stay in Panama. Once you arrive to your hotel, please check-in. Marriott Executive.

Day 2 – Fly to Bocas del Toro Archipelago – This morning your Caribbean adventure begins! You will be transferred to the domestic airport in Albrook to catch your flight to Boquete to Bocas del Toro Archipelago. Once you arrive to the island, you’ll board a water taxi that will route through the archipelago’s small canals, passing local communities, mangroves and into the Caribbean Ocean. You will arrive to Tranquilo Bay ecolodge and check in in your private cabin. Enjoy a welcome lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the beautiful surroundings. (B,L,D)

Day 3 – 5 Bocas del Toro Island Adventures – Awake to the sounds of nature and overlooking the Caribbean. After breakfast you will get ready for a day full of adventures. You will discover the tropical beauty that surrounds this magnificent Archipelago and National Park. Included in this adventure package is one daily standard activity each day. Daily actitivies include: snorkeling, kayaking, diving, hiking, fishing, visiting turtle nesting sites, surfing, birding, or exploring nearby beaches. The island’s midsection and surrounding waters are protected in the Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park, and the entire island offers nature lovers an array of wildlife, both terrestrial and marine. The waters here are filled with brilliant parrot fish, angel fish, red snapper, slender needle fish and many others. Four species of sea turtles come ashore to nest on the beaches and the forests are home to many endemic and endangered species such as neon colored frogs, the red billed tropic bird and two and three toed sloths. (B,L,D)

DAY 6 – Return to Panama City and Visit the Biodiversity Museum or Miraflores Locks – This morning you will return to Bocas del Toro domestic airport for a short flight back to Panama City. You’ll be met at the airport for a visit to the Biodiveristy Museum design by Frank Gehry on the entrance of the Panama Canal or a visit to the Miraflores locks of the Panama Canal to observe the “eighth wonder of the world.”  After the short visit, you will be transferred back to your hotel to enjoy your last afternoon in Panama City. (B)

Day 7 – Departure – At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the Tocumen International Airport for your outbound flight. You will arrive at the airport approximately 2 hours before your departure time.

Note: customers will be picked up 3 hours before their flight time.

Price per person in double room: $2195.00

Internal Flights (Panama City – Bocas del Toro – Panama City): $325.00

(Flight cost is subject to change)

The program includes:  Private Transfers from international airport to hotel in and out, 6 nights of lodging and taxes,  All meals in Tranquilo Bay, Government taxes, Tours as mentioned above, bilingual guide during tours and adventures, Breakfast at all mentioned hotels, Information kit, Lodging taxes, Panama kit.

The program does not include:  Optional activities, International and domestic airfare and taxes,  Departure taxes ($40.00 per person for Panama), Meals not specified in the itinerary, Alcoholic beverages, Personal equipment, Extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service, etc.), Gratuities

Rates are valid until October 15th, 2015 and subject to change due increases on fuel prices

  • Prices are net per person.
  • Prices are given in US Dollars.
  • Prices are subject to change without previous notice depending on any significant increase in rates, taxes, fuel or due to availability problems.
  • Prices are based on the minimum of paying participants previously informed.
  • If the minimum number of paying participants changes, the rates would also change
  • Tips for drives and guides not included

Note: This is a quote not a reservation. Please note that all quotations given are subject to availability at the time of reservation and cannot be guaranteed until payment is received. Please note that credit card payments are subject to processing fees.

EcoCircuitos realizes that has important environmental and social responsibilities in and out of the office. We create memorable travel experiences in Panama’s natural history and cultural heritage.   Our office team and suppliers ensure quality service, cultural sensitivity, local knowledge, innovation and social and environmental responsibility. As travelers ourselves we believe giving something back is essential. Therefore we work with our team, suppliers and customers to ensure that benefits will contribute directly to the communities we visit and their environment.

For more information, please visit our Responsible Travel Policy link.

Encourage the channeling of part of our revenues towards supporting the conservation and sustainable use of Panama’s biodiversity. We are committed to the conservation of protected areas, education and local community development.

 

Mindfulness Eco Retreat – Stress Relief Program

Take time to unwind in the tropics, escape the day-to-day hustle and bustle and let yourself be carried away to a place where bird songs and the wind rustling through the trees replaces the sounds of the city. You will stay in lodges that nestled in nature  allow you to disconnect and relax. Discover the boundless wildlife that surrounds you, hike through the forests or enjoy top notch spa facilities to rejuvenate yourself.

Yoga and meditation classes are also offered during this special itineraries in different areas where we sustainable ecologes are home to a myriad of wildlife. The program will include your stay at lodges tucked away from the tourist path. The perfect combination of forest, beach and mountains will allow you to relax and unwind. For a detailed itinerary please contact us today!

Do you Know? Bastimentos Marine National Park

Bastimentos Marine National Park is comprised of a group of islands located in Almirante Bay in the province of Bocas del Toro. The park encompasses a large portion of Bastimentos Island, Zapatilla Cays, in addition to the waters and mangroves that surround the island.

The north eastern side of Bastimentos Island faces the Caribbean Sea. Five beaches are found here along with stretches of cove inlets and coral reef. These beaches are: Wizard Beach, Red Frog Beach, Turtle Beach, North Beach and Playa Larga. The south western side of the island has a mangrove coastline with very calm water year round. The landscape is much more dramatic, with large rock faces, stretches of long beaches, in addition to coves and inlets.

Bastimentos was Panama’s first marine park and covers an extremely diverse 28,600 marine acres.  With a protected corridor no wider than seven miles, its oceanic diversity includes sea fan garden, vibrant coral reef, and over 200 species of tropical fish.  Oceanic formations in the area include walls, freshwater caves, tunnels, pinnacles, coral spires and towers, groove and spur, ocean impact reef, sandy ledges, and protected patch reef.  Bastimentos is one of the few protected areas in Latin America that preserves, simultaneously, the wildlife and habitat of beaches, coral reef and mangroves.

Women adventure week in Panama (June 18 – 24, 2016)

 

An active outdoor program just for women during the week of June of 2016. This 7 day adventure includes: Beach combing in Bocas del Toro, active and cultural activities in the City and in the highlands of Panama, bilingual guides, and the fun of the City. Great opportunity for professional networking. This will have a maximum of 20 participants and minimum of 10. Includes: all transfers, 6 night of lodging – 2 nights in Panama City and 2 nights in the highlands of Boquete, 2 nights in Bocas del Toro, day tours, all breakfasts, lunch during tours, entrance fees to national parks and attractions, information kit and taxes.

Day 1 – Welcome to Panama!  Today at the appropriate time an EcoCircuitos representative will meet you at the Tocumen International Airport to assist and transfer you to your hotel located in Panama City. At this time you will also receive an EcoCircuitos information kit that will provide you with all the details for your stay in Panama. Once you arrive to your hotel, please check-in. MARRIOTT EXECUTIVE.

Day 2 – Day 2 Kayaking the Panama Canal Watershed & Rain Forest Discovery Center Early in the morning you will be greeted by your guide in the lobby of your hotel to begin your kayaking adventure in the Panama Canal Watershed. As you begin your journey into the Panama Canal Watershed you will leave the Panama City limits and enter in to the Soberania National Park, building will slowly be replaced by secondary and primary rain forest, and you will pass the former Fort Clayton, Miraflores Locks before entering the Park. Keep your eyes open for toucans, sloths and other animals as they awake with the morning sun. Once you reach dock you will receive a safety briefing and introductory paddle lesson before slipping into your kayaks to start paddling into the heart of the Panama Canal Zone. Seated at water level in your kayak will give you an interesting perspective of the Panama Canal in action. Our guide will lead you to places of special interest, while educating you about the flora and fauna of the area. After kayaking we will visit the Rain Forest Discovery Centre, where we will learn more about the Panamanian rain forests´ secrets. Climb the rain forest tower that is 30 meters high with emergent trees reaching 40meters. It is an amazing experience in the core of the tropical rainforest. We will have a picnic lunch, while observing the numerous species of humming birds in the area.

IN THE AFTERNOON: The Highlands of Panama

You will be transferred to Albrook Domestic Airport to take your one hour flight to David, the capital of Chiriqui Province. ****Flight is not included***Upon arrival, you will be met by an EcoCircuitos Representative and transferred to Finca Lerida state coffee lodge. This Ecolodge is nestled in the middle coffee plantation and surrounded by a private natural forest reserve. You will wake up to the symphony of birds and to the aroma of our home grown “Finca Lerida” Estate Coffee brewed specially for you. All the rooms are individually decorated and named after birds found in Finca Lerida Highlands. (B, pic nic lunch)

 Flying within Panama has a luggage weight limit of 25 pounds (lbs) per person.

Day 3 – Los Quetzales Trail This is considered one of the most spectacular trails in Central America and one of the most popular hikes of the western highlands. Depart from your hotel in Boquete at 7:00 AM in a 4×4 to the ranger station in Baru National Park where you will begin your trek along the Quetzales Trail. Walk through different elevations and landscapes giving the group the opportunity to see a great variety of tree, plant and bird species, including the Resplendent Quetzal, the Silvery-fronted Tapaculo, Silvery-throated Jay, Black-faced Solitaire and the Barred Becard. Includes: Transportation, Box Lunch, and specialized Guide. Duration: Full day tour. This trail is only recommended for experienced hikers and people with an excellent physical condition due to its difficult nature. (B, pic nic lunch)

 Day 4 Transfer to Bocas del Toro Archipelago (A day Tour!!) You will be transferred by land and boat from Boquete to Bocas del Toro Archipelago. You will pass through the Talamanca Continental Divide and you will enjoy the amazing landscape of our highlands. Enjoy the view of some areas of the Palo Seco and La Fortuna Natural Reserves during the transfer. Upon arrival to Almirante (Bocas del Toro Mainland pier), you will board a water taxi that will head you to Isla Colon. (Boat transfer 25 minutes) Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Check in at the hotel Playa Tortuga. Transfer duration: 3 ½ hrs approx.

 Day 5 Bocas del Toro Archipelago After breakfast you will visit a local indigenous community where you will learn about their conservation initiatives to protect their surroundings. Look for local wildlife species such as Three-toed Sloth, the quintessential Red poison-dart Frog, White-faced Capuchins and Howler Monkeys, along with many bird species, and venture inside a rainforest cave. Later today, after an outdoor lunch you will enjoy a tour of Bastimentos Marine National Park to snorkel, and relax at the beach. Lodging will be at a hotel in Bocas. (B,L)

 DAY 6 – Return to Panama City  Return to Panama City and upon arrival Full Day Historical City Tour During the half-day morning tour you will visit the ruins of Old Panama, climb up the Cathedral tower, visit the Old Panama Museum and then continue to Casco Viejo (the old city compound), which dates from the late 1600’s. A bilingual guide will describe the events in history leading up to the eventual movement of the capital city to its present location. Casco Viejo is home to monuments to Ferdinand de Lesseps and other Frenchmen instrumental in the ill-fated attempt of the French to construct a canal through Panama. Your tour ends with a visit to the Panama Canal Museum. 
The full day tour continues with a visit to the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal where large ships can be seen transiting the canal. Enjoy a presentation by the Panama Canal Authority on the history of the Panama Canal and marvel at the workings of this feat of human engineering. Lunch will be serving at a local restaurant. The tour then continues to the Panama Canal area, including the town of Balboa, formerly part of the Panama Canal Zone. You will stop at the folk art market at the old YMCA building. Late afternoon you will return to your hotel in Panama City. (B,L). (B)  ****Flight is not included***

  Day 7 – Departure At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the Tocumen International Airport for your outbound flight. You will arrive at the airport approximately 2 hours before your departure time. Note: customers will be picked up 3 hours before their flight time. ** END OF SERVICES**

Prices upon request!

The program includes:  6 nights of lodging , Private transfers in and out of Tocumen International Airport, Tours as mentioned above, bilingual guide accompany the group during complete itinerary, Breakfast at all mentioned hotels, Information kit, Lodging taxes

The program does not include:  Optional activities, International airfare and taxes, Departure taxes ($40.00 per person for Panama), Meals not specified in the itinerary, Domestic and international flights, alcoholic beverages, Personal equipment,
Extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service, etc.), Gratuities

Rates are valid until June 15th, 2016 and subject to change due increases on fuel prices

  • Prices are net per person.
  • Prices are given in US Dollars.
  • Prices are subject to change without previous notice depending on any significant increase in rates, taxes, fuel or due to availability problems.
  • Prices are based on the minimum of paying participants previously informed.
  • If the minimum number of paying participants changes, the rates would also change
  • Tips for drives and guides not included

Note: This is a quote not a reservation. Please note that all quotations given are subject to availability at the time of reservation and cannot be guaranteed until payment is received. Please note that credit card payments are subject to processing fees.

EcoCircuitos realizes that has important environmental and social responsibilities in and out of the office. We create memorable travel experiences in Panama’s natural history and cultural heritage.   Our office team and suppliers ensure quality service, cultural sensitivity, local knowledge, innovation and social and environmental responsibility. As travelers ourselves we believe giving something back is essential. Therefore we work with our team, suppliers and customers to ensure that benefits will contribute directly to the communities we visit and their environment.

For more information, please visit our Responsible Travel Policy link.

Encourage the channeling of part of our revenues towards supporting the conservation and sustainable use of Panama’s biodiversity. We are committed to the conservation of protected areas, education and local community development.

 

Exploration on Isla Bastimentos

By Meret Schueschke

A short boat ride away from bustling Bocas Town with its multiple bars, restaurants and  souvenir shops, Bastimentos Island is a nearly untouched Caribbean retreat. With less than 1 500 inhabitants, and no access to cars on the island (there are no roads there) this is one of those places that do not seem to have changed much through the times.

A substantial part of the Island and the waters surrounding it form the Bastimentos National Marine Park, a marine nature reserve. Encompassing coral reefs and sandy beaches, as well as a sizable chunk of rainforest, the reserve provides shelter for a variety of wildlife. The animal the Island is most famous for is a species of poison dart frog: the tiny red amphibians with their black spots can be found only here, and are numerous enough to have given their name to one of the most popular beaches on the island: Red Frog Beach, which is located inside the National Park. Accessible by boat only, this beach is a wonderful sunbathing and surfing spot. It was from here that I set out on a little forest adventure: The trail to the town of Old Bank.

This trail, roughly three kilometers in length, runs along the northern coast of Bastimentos, and is, as I was about to discover, not exactly a walk in the park, but definitely worth doing.

I walked along the beach for a while, until a painted sign pointed me to a small path in the forest, and began my adventure. At first it was relatively easy going. The trail was narrow, but easy enough to find, and every step led me to a new discovery.

The forest was full of the sounds of birds and insects, lizards scuttled around in the undergrowth, and I could still hear the crashing of the waves on the nearby beach. Now and again, the path returned to sandy strips of beach, meandered through coconut tree groves or passed across rocky outcrops before another reliable little sign pointed me back into the forest.

After a while, I started to feel like a true explorer, discovering a completely foreign place, almost expecting pirates or the Spanish explorers of days long gone to pop out from underneath the trees. I kept stopping to look at the fascinating little things along the path: tiny red frogs, bits of broken coral, and my personal favorite: colorful hermit crabs inhabiting empty shells. Now and again I went to cool off my feet in the waves breaking on white sand (and got thoroughly soaked several times, but in the warm weather this was a welcome refreshment).

After a while, the trail started getting muddier, and harder to walk, but being all caught up in discovering this exotic forest, I only took serious notice of this when one of my sandals got stuck in a mud hole. Fortunately the next bit of beach where I could get cleaned up was not too far away, and from that point on I just went barefoot when the mud became too persistent.

And then, suddenly, I found myself on a long stretch of white sand beach again, a new sign informed me that I was almost at the end of the trail: I had arrived at Wizard Beach. Another twenty minutes through the forest brought me to the town of Old Bank. Brightly painted houses, children playing in the streets, fruit vendors selling coconuts down by the docks: This was the Caribbean as I had always imagined it. I realized then I had spent almost four hours in the forest, I was muddy, tired and hungry, but I had had the chance to experience an amazing place, and to discover yet another facet of the ever-changing beautiful country of Panama.

If you would like to visit Bastimentos Island f or stay at one of the fantastic lodges on the island of Bocas del Toro such as Eclypse de Mar with its cabins  built over the water, across the bay from Old Bank, La Loma Lodge in the Jungle, Tranquilo Bay on the Southern tip of the Island, or Al Natural near the indigenous settlement of Salt Cree you can contact our office for details and itineraries at Info@ecocircuitos.com or calling our Panama office at +507 3151488

Smithsonian reports “intense spawning”: Good news for coral in Bocas del Toro waters

Image

 

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) reports excellent news for nature lovers who enjoy scuba and snorkeling in the warm Caribbean waters of Bocas del Toro. According to STRI scientist emeritus, Nancy Knowlton, the recent coral spawning she witnessed was the best she had ever seen. “It was spectacular,” she said.

For almost two decades, Dr. Knowlton, who holds the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, has been visiting Panama to witness corals reproduce.

She reports that the recent “intense spawning,” an annual reproductive event, brightens the corals´ future with hope.

About coral

Coral reefs have exi
sted for tens of millions of years. Their global seafloor coverage is equal to the area of Texas and yet hosts 25% of marine life. One third of coral species are at risk of extinction and hard-hit Caribbean corals have declined by 80% over three decades.

“It´s good news that the corals are still reproducing,” said Dr. Knowlton excitedly. She has since 1974 labored with STRI on the subject of coral. “A lot of eggs were fertilized for sure,” she reported.

 

Source: The Visitor