Academic Travel in Panama

EcoCircuitos is specialized in educational travel experiences. Our tour leaders 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.

The most valuable experiences in my life have been related to traveling, meeting new and interesting people, discovering different flavors, amazing nature and unique activities and passions. – Annie Young J.

Why studying abroad could be beneficial for college students? By studying abroad the students have the opportunity to discover a new culture, see the world with new eyes, put in practice their studies and a lot more.  Below is a list of some reasons why  your university/ college or kid should consider our Academic 10-day program in Panama:

1. Connectivity / Biodiversity

Study abroad allows you to immerse in one place and Panama is a destination that has it all:  History, culture, nature, science, ethnic studies, great museums like the Biodiversity Museum, the Panama Canal and STRI Barro Colorado among others.  It will be hard to come by an opportunity like this again, so take advantage of the connection and discover this amazing country.

 

2.  Education

By joining our Academic travel,  you’ll have the chance to see a side of your major that you may not have been exposed to at home.  If you are major in biology, history, art, business, economics or international relations for example.  Panama is a hub that will offer many opportunities to practice and network with wonderful professionals and people.  You will meet amazing people, have different opportunities for lectures in the City of Knowledge or Smithsonian Tropical Institute and experience in the field.


3. Take in a New Culture and gain new perspective

Many students who choose our program are leaving their home for the first time. When they arrive in Panama, they are fascinated by the distinct cultural perspectives and this will impact their lives.   You will have the opportunity to find incredible new foods, customs, traditions, and social atmospheres.  Also, you will gain a different perspective, not only on the academic side but also on the way of life.   You will find that you have a better understanding and appreciation for the history and people of Latin America.


4. Practice Spanish

Our academic program will immerse you in our culture and you will have the chance to practice Spanish like a local.   There is no better way to learn Spanish than to dive right in with the locals.


5. Career Opportunities

When you finish your study abroad program and return home, you will return with a new perspective on culture, language skills, a great education, and a willingness to learn. Needless to say, all of these are very attractive to future employers.

Many students find that they love their host country so much that they decide to seek work there. If you can relate, you will find that a local education will be very valuable when searching for a potential job in that country.

6. Find New Interests

If you are still questioning why to take an academic program with EcoCircuitos, you should know that Panama offers many new activities and interests that you may never have discovered if you’d stayed at home. You might find that you are a natural surfer, that you enjoy snorkeling in the Caribbean, that SUP is not that hard, dancing salsa music or that you have a talent for climbing and nature photography.


7. Make amazing friends

One of the biggest benefits of this program is the opportunity to meet new and wonderful friends from different backgrounds.  This program gives you the opportunity to really get to know and create lasting relationships with your fellow students.  We always suggest our participants that after the program they should keep their contact with the international friends.   This will be important for your future.


8. To Grow as a person

Most of our students become active explorers and advocates for conservation and social development in their homes.   We truly believe that our program is a transformative experience and not just another tour!

 

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Panama: a new gastronomic destination

By:  Annie Young J.

There is definitely a connection between tourism and gastronomy and the trend of foodie travelers experimenting the local tastes during their adventure travel is growing worldwide.

Panama is a destination that has it all and our gastronomic experience is motivating more travelers to come back to savor our tropical cuisine.  More and more foodies from around the world are amazed by our culinary variety and exploring the city becomes an adventure.

From eating ceviche at the local Fish Market, going for tapas and cocktails in a rooftop in Casco Viejo to more elaborated dishes from local chefs in Downtown Panama City.

Panama’s local gastronomy infused with fresh local produce, seafood, and other unique ingredients are competing against other great well known culinary destinations in Latin America.

There is a new generation of chefs (Jose Carles, Mario Castrellon, and Chombolin) that are determined to make Panama one of the most innovative cuisine destinations of the region.

Donde Jose and Intimo are two of the best gastronomic experiences in Panama. Both chefs are constantly developing new recipes and techniques using local and native ingredients with a tropical twist. Their clientele including me enjoys trying new flavors and combinations. Both restaurants have won international recognition.  If you are in Panama, experience a gastronomic tour for the senses.

For more details on our gastronomic adventures, contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

New Model of Climate Change Effects on Coffee Availability and Bee Pollinators

Overcoming Doomsday Scenarios Depends on Biological Intelligence

From STRI

Areas in Latin America suitable for growing coffee face predicted declines of 73-88 percent by 2050. However, diversity in bee species may save the day, even if many species in cool highland regions are lost as the climate warms. The research, co-authored by David Roubik, senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, will be published in early online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences edition between Sept. 11-15.Scientists David Roubik

“For my money, we do a far superior job of predicting the future when we consider both plants and animals (or in this case the bees) and their biology,” Roubik said. “Traditional models don’t build in the ability of organisms to change. They’re based on the world as we know it now, not on the way it could be as people and other organisms adapt.”

A research team modeled impacts for Latin America, the largest coffee-growing region under several global-warming scenarios—considering both the plants and the bees. The team consisted of bee experts from the Smithsonian in Panama; the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Vietnam; the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica; Conservation International and the University of Vermont in the U.S.; CIRAD in France; and CIFOR in Peru.

Despite predicted declines in total bee species, in all scenarios at least five bee species were left in future coffee-suitable areas; in about half of the areas, 10 bee species were left.Mountain in Panama

For land no longer suitable for coffee production, the team recommended management strategies to help farmers switch to other crops or production systems. In areas where bee diversity is expected to decrease, but coffee can still be grown, adaptation strategies may include increasing bee habitat and maintaining native bees. Many coffee types prefer to grow in the shade of tall trees. Choosing tree species that favor bees are a win-win strategy, according to the authors.

Roubik’s favorite example of a potentially huge environmental change that did not play out as predicted is the case of Africanized honey bees, which were accidentally released in Brazil in 1957. Roubik’s studies in Panama of coffee pollination taking native rainforest bees into consideration began in the 1970s as the aggressive non-native Africanized honey bees swarmed north through Latin America. Doomsayers predicted the worst: that the killer bees would disrupt the delicate balance between tropical forest species and their native pollinators. Roubik discovered the opposite to be true. In lowland tropical forests in Mexico, plants pollinated by very busy Africanized bees ended up producing more flowers, thus making more pollen and nectar available to native bees.

“Africanized honey bees in the Western Hemisphere both regulate their nest temperature and their own body temperature using water,” Roubik said. “When the climate is hotter—unless it’s too dry—they’re better adapted to endure climate change and pollinate coffee—an African plant.”

By paying attention to biological processes and managing coffee for maximum pollination depending upon the effects of climate on both the plants and the bees, as well as strategically adjusting shade, rotating crops and conserving natural forests, it may be possible for coffee producers to adapt to climate change.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, headquartered in Panama City, Panama, is a unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The Institute furthers the understanding of tropical biodiversity and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems. Website: http://www.stri.si.edu/. Promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9JDSIwBegk.

Contact us for academic travel and join amazing experts in different fiels on the isthmus that change the world:  Panama!  for details info@ecocircuitos.com

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Imbach, P., Fung, E., Hannah, L. et al. 2017 Coffee, bees, and climate: Coupling of pollination services and agriculture under climate change. PNAS. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1617940114

Why Travel with EcoCircuitos on your next trip to Panama?

Traveling with EcoCircuitos Panama is the best way to know our amazing country.  We are able to negotiate much better rates at hotels and in off season we offer amazing discounts.  Also, we are a local team of enthusiasts that have the best inside knowledge of the top places, lodges, and adventures while in Panama.   We want you to have a real transformative and authentic experience, not just a tour!

Our company was founded in 1999 by a passionate Panamanian woman that love her country and her people and has been committed to the development of sustainable tourism, providing distinct responsible travel options throughout the Republic of Panama. Our team is comprised of multi-lingual travel experts and enthusiasts that ensure our clients are provided with high-quality services and memorable custom made adventures.

We pride ourselves on our reputation for delivering exceptional travel experiences and we have compiled an 8 simple list of reasons why you should choose us on your next vacation to Panama.

  1. Value for Money:  From the moment of your booking request to your departure, every single step of your journey is attended by local specialists to ensure an authentic travel experience.
  2. Tailor made for you:  Our team of Panama experts designs your itinerary personalized for you and depending on your preferences and the time and budget you want to spend.
  3. IN-depth insights: Gain a holistic understanding of culture, architecture, history, nature, and wildlife with our specialist local guides who are experts in the field.
  4. Local passion: We are Panamanians and travel enthusiasts.  Our vacation programs are designed base upon our own discoveries and favorite places.  We believe in offering authentic experiences by local’s experts.  We want you to experience the real Panama!
  5. Responsible Traveling: Our philosophy is to approach each destination carefully, considering the impact that our tours will have on the environment and the local communities.
  6. Safety & Trust: EcoCircuitos has a Health and Safety policy in place, which is communicated to all staff members, guides, drivers, and subcontractors.   All our vehicles meet all local safety/maintenance standards.  Also, we go beyond and carry a liability insurance of 500K.
  7. Flexibility and Logistics: Using EcoCircuitos give you the flexibility to enjoy fully your vacation.  We will deal with all communications, logistics and will take away all the hassle from you.  You only get to sit back and enjoy Panama.
  8. Unique Destinations: We love exploring unusual places away from common tourist paths:  lush rainforest, archeological sites, beautiful islands and amazing local communities.  You will experience always something new!

Panama is Diversity

By Anaisha Shuffler

When you hear someone mention “Panama” what´s the first thing that comes to mind? Some people have never heard about the country before. Many think of Panama City, Florida. Others immediately picture the Canal.

What about the people? What do Panamanians look like? Are we mostly Caucasian or African American? Are we tall or short?

Aside from the Canal and the humidity, Panama is also known for its ethnic diversity. These groups include Mestizos, which are a mix of European and native ancestry, Afro-Panamanians, and also a considerable Asian population.

For this post, although I´m Afro-Panamanian myself, I will focus on the Asian population.

I graduated from a Taiwanese-Panamanian school, so naturally, most of my friends are Asians, and I have gained a huge appreciation and respect for their culture. And a vast love for their cuisine.

If you are ever in Panama and have a craving for Asian food, whether it be Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese… you will have many options.

One of the most popular Chinese restaurants in Panama is “Golden Unicorn”. Over the years, their clientele went from exclusively Asian to a clientele as diverse as our country. They are known mostly for their delicious Chinese breakfasts called “dim sum” and for their “hot pot”, known here as “fogón”.

The concept is simple: You pay a certain amount of money and they place a small stove in the middle of the table with a pot full of stock which can be spicy or regular (And if you want both, they place a divider). They bring multiple plates of different raw foods to your table such as shrimp, lobster, fish balls, meat balls, fine slices of steak, vegetables, noodles and more. You then proceed to cook your own food. The best thing about this is that once you are done, and you want more, you can ask for another round!

You may think “why would I pay to cook my own food?”, but it´s actually a fun experience. I went many times as a teenager with my friends and a few weeks ago I took my 14-year-old cousin to experience it and she loved it.

Many foreigners came up to us and asked us what it was all about, and as we explained, they got excited and went over to their table to ask for the same thing. My cousin and I would sneak glances at them, and you could just tell that they were having a blast!

It´s an awesome group activity. And if you are like me, and you like to eat, you will ask for another round.

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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

 

Top 6 Reasons to travel to Panama during Green Season

Panama is worth seeing throughout the year! Not only the dry season is a good time to travel to the Isthmus, the wet and green season could be the best time to explore and enjoy different outdoor activities with less people and better prices.

Some of the reasons to visit Panama during the green season:

  1. Fewer Tourist walking the streets of Casco Viejo.  You can enjoy more time on the attractions without the crowds, have a reservation at one of the best rooftops restaurants and enjoy the beauty of this UNESCO site just for you.
  2. Lush nature in national parks and tropical fruits.  The green season is the best time to go hiking, wildlife observation or just trekking  in our national parks.  It is the time for the flowers, the birds and beautiful plants.   It is also the time for many of our tropical fruits, so get ready to taste new flavors!
  3. More water for paddling in river, kayaking and water sports.  If you are like me and enjoy paddling,  the green season is the best time for learning SUP or going kayaking in many places around Panama.
  4. Surf and Whale watching season.  The season for the humpback whale watching is starting in April and is the best time of the year to go and experience this amazing mammals.  Also good waves in both Caribbean and Pacific with less surfers.  You will have the waves just for you!
  5. Special Discounts in tours and hotels.  This is the best time to travel and get special rates.  The industry lower the rates during the green season and you will get the best deals from us.
  6. Discover the local culture.  Many national festivals and activities are held during the low season.  The national day of La Pollera on July 22 is one good opportunity to admire the national dress and hundrends of women wearing it on one day parade.  This is just one of many.