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

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Educational and Academic tours

What is Authenticity?

Take as an example a photo you took of an indigenous woman in colorful clothes during your travels and imagine looking at it at home. Imagine knowing this woman’s story, having experienced her every-day life and the beauty of her culture and traditions. Imagine the difference it would make, if you would have taken the photo just when seeing this woman on the street on coincidence, without knowing anything about her. The only thing you would personally take out of this encounter is a nice photo, without the possibility of broadening your mind and knowledge.

The key in an authentic travel experience lies in interpretation and interaction. There is a difference between seeing something and understanding something, not only with cultural encounters, but also with wildlife watching, bird viewing or walking through an unknown ecosystem.

EcoCircuitos Academic Tours

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.

Biodiversity Tour San Edwards University

Last week, our expert guide Fabio Trujillo led the Biology class of San Edwards University from Texas on their Academic trip through Panama for 15 days. The excursion started in the rainforest area around Panama City, continued to the cloud forest-covered highlands of Chiriqui and ended in the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro. With a focus on interpretation, the students gained holistic understandings of the different ecosystems, without losing the fun-factor through outdoor adventures like zip lining and snorkeling.

 

 

New Adventure at the Mamoní private reserve

Last weekend the EcoCircuitos’ operations team led by Fabio Trujillo and Mabel Barría had the opportunity to visit a private reserve managed by Earth Train. EcoCircuitos is offering new tours and adventures that include wildlife observation in this private reserve. At the narrowest point in the Western Hemisphere, where a mere 50 kilometers separate the great oceans of the Pacific and the Atlantic, is a corridor of primary forest and river valleys rich in biological diversity. For hundreds of species of migratory birds, it is the verdant trail between the Americas. To the indigenous Guna, it is the divine Madre Tierra of their semi-autonomous territory. At the very center of this bridge of life along the continental divide in the Province of Panama, lies the valley of the upper Río Mamoní. The area offers diverse options for adventures, such as hiking trails for wildlife observation, river kayaking, camping in the forest, educational adventures and cultural exchange with the Guna and Embera communities. We invite you to explore this new area of Panama and to assist you in designing the best itinerary for you and your group.

A short time travel to Embera –Quera Village

By Marius

Yesterday, Laura, Roberto, Marc Fabio and I went on a site inspection to an indigenous village of the Embera. After a one hour drive from Panama City, we parked our car at an unimposing parking lot next to the street. Until that moment, I was not very impressed of our trip but what came next changed my mind. We walked a couple of minutes to a small river where some interesting looking man waved to us out of a large self-made boat. Their long hair and their varicolored clothing made us realize that they must be our hosts for that day. The Embera Quera Village is a peaceful place, with friendly people, away from the noisy civilization, that can be reached only by boat. From the moment, we went aboard, our time travel begun.

The half – hour boat trip itself was an adventure. We saw a lot of wild animals like monkeys, a lot of birds, tortoises and even a caiman. In my eyes, the most impressive animal was the Jesus-Christ-lizard. As the name suggests, it is able to walk on water. . Once we arrived we were welcomed by the Embera. The women danced and the men greeted us with traditional music played on self-made instruments.

Atilano, the Chief himself, welcomed us and we learned about their culture and life in the village of the Embera- Quera. The Embera were not the only ones who were happy to see us. A cheeky baby monkey and Tony the toucan were also very curious about the new visitors. After a delicious traditional lunch the gardener and medicine man, Miguel Flaco, showed us the rest of the village and explained the curativeness of the different plants. As we walked between the traditional houses, we got a deeper insight of the life of this interesting and friendly people. I really felt like a time traveler when I saw the simple but wonderful way of life. I was deeply impressed to see people who live in such a close communion with nature. It was amazing to see the women dance their traditional dances, accompanied by the man`s instruments. We even got the chance to dance together with them. After the traditional dances we were able to buy some beautiful handmade trappings and jewelry. We learned that 10 % of their earnings are given to their Children`s educational found. By travelling to the Embera I had the chance to support those people and to see an impressive and unusual way of life.

After this experience I really wanted to spend more time in this village with its friendly people. This wonderful day will stay in my mind and in my heart forever. For more information about this tour or others do not hesitate to visit our website www.ecocircuitos.com or contact us directly at 1-800-830-7142 We are looking forward to organize a trip for you!

Ecocircuitos Incentive Trip 2014 after High Season

By EcoTeam

Last Saturday our company´s boss organizes a surprise event for the office staff.  Instead of going to work on a Saturday morning we were heading to Flaminco pier for an unforgettable adventure.

The Catamaran was waiting for us at the Causeway Marina and while we board the yacht we were experiencing a thrill of what was coming next. Annie Young, our EcoCircuitos Director was exciting and smiling while welcoming us on board.

Fabio and Laura, from our operations department were explaining us about the shore birds, mammals and history of Taboga Island while sailing from the city of Panama to Taboga Island, our destination.

We enjoyed a beautiful sailing trip to the Pacific islands and we spend the day in Taboga, a small island with a beautiful history.   We learned that Paul Gaugin the painter lived there for a while.

We had a fun and unforgettable adventure day after hard days of work during our high season. We made jokes, we play beach football, swim on the pacific waters and some of us even explore the little and colorful island.

The food was fantastic, a BBQ on board the Catamaran. After a very relaxing and fun day, we headed back to the City late in the afternoon. It was a day to remember!

 

Exploring the City of Panama, Central America

By Marius Leidig

In my first week here in Panama I tried to explore Casco Viejo on my own and I really thought that my guidebook would be enough to get all important information. Today I know that I was mistaking: There is nothing like a sympathetic, well-educated guide to explore a beautiful place.

But first of all I would like to introduce myself. My name is Marius and I am a German tourism student doing an internship in Panama. I am very happy to be part of the Ecocircuitos Team for five months. Right now I am part of the operations department.

Even if I like the work at our office a lot, I was happy to be invited to join a half day city tour with our staff guide Fabio Trujillo.  I was very excited to see the old parts of the city with a guide who knows a lot about the history of Panama. At 9:00am we picked up our client who booked the tour.   From El Cangrejo we headed for the outskirts of the modern city of Panama where we got a vivid description of the historic district.  Fabio explained that Panama Viejo was the first city built on Panamas Pacific coast. Founded in 1519;  Panama Viejo has been for more than 150 years an important base and reloading point for the captured treasures.   A walk between the remaining ruins such as the tower of the old cathedral are perfect to put oneself into the position of Henry Morgan who was a famous pirate that attacked the city in 1671 which lead to a huge fire that destroyed most parts of the city.

After Panama Viejo has been destroyed, it was rebuilt in today’s Casco Viejo. So the old town of Panama became our second attraction. In my eyes, Casco Viejo is the loveliest and most colorful district of Panama City.  It is a vivid place with plenty historical buildings and nice cafes and restaurants. Numerous varicolored modern street arts contrast the ancient buildings which creates a special atmosphere.

One of the attractions that stayed in my mind is the golden altar from Iglesia San Jose. When pirates attacked the city, the altar was painted black to cover its beauty to make it uncomely to the buccaneers. Obviously, the plan worked.

Passing plenty of indigenous street vendors we headed for the French quarter. Plaza de Francia with its monument dedicated to the French workers who died during the attempt to build the canal offers a great view to Amador Causeway and the impressive skyline of Panama City.

A visit at one of the best ice cream parlors I have ever been named Granclement in the Old Quarters was a worthy end of a special day in Panama!

For more information about this tour and others, you can visit our website www.ecocircuitos.com or write an email at info@ecocircuitos.com.