About Panama

The Global Volunteer Network's Panama program allows volunteers to become involved in a variety of community aid projects in Panama. With such a range of interesting projects there's one to suit everyone!

You have the opportunity to contribute to orphanage, school, wildlife, and environmental projects, working with the elderly, or handicapped, literacy projects, jewellery making, and much more!

The Panama projects are based in the small mountain village of Boquete. It is a picturesque tropical rainforest tucked away on the eastern slopes of Volcan Baru.

For more information, please visit the Panama webpage on the Global Volunteer Network website.

Recent Panama Journals:


 Posted by Jane Wright at 12:26 pm  Panama  Comments Off on Wednesday
Jan 232013

We are getting a good taste of all the volunteering options availabe in and around Boquete. This morning Oscar took us up to the wildlife rescue centre.  We cleaned out bowls and troughs in the monkey and bird enclosures and cleaned the trays under the boa constrictor cages, as well as feeding some of the animals.  There was a beautiful spider monkey who loved attention and who would reach through the fence to hold your hand and to make sure that you would stay there and stroke her, she would wrap her tail around your arm.  It was amazing the strength of her grip.  A little capuchin monkey was darting in and out of the enclosure and enjoyed climbing all over us.  The parrots liked landing on our shoulders also.  It was very cool. We then picked Kaytee up and all headed to David.  We had a huge meal at a great Chinese restaurant in David then went to a centre that accommodates children suffering from leukemia or cancer throughout their treatment.  It was a great facility that is made available to children from throughout the country. From there we went to another facility that has been set up recently to cater for teenage girls – some of whom have come from Hogar Trisker (the orphanage).  The director was previously director at Hogar Trisker and she set this one up because she felt the teenage girls needed a separate facility.


 Posted by Jane Wright at 11:49 am  Panama  Comments Off on Tuesday
Jan 222013

I have decided that it would be very beneficial if I could temporarily disengage my sense of smell.   There are certainly some terrible smells around town and one of the first things to hit me when we visited the orphanage today was the smell from the dormitory wing, which of course is to be expected when you have 60 children living in a confined area.  The other thing to hit me were the bars on all the windows and the barred doors with the children looking out expectantly.   We played board games with a group of girls.  They were slightly apprehensive at first but enjoying a laugh with us by the time we left.  They interacted well together and really seemed to enjoy having our company. We took part in one of Kaytee’s yoga classes later in the afternoon so are feeling nice and relaxed.

Monday 21 January, 2013

 Posted by Jane Wright at 5:55 am  Panama  Comments Off on Monday 21 January, 2013
Jan 222013

Kaytee came to the Volunteer House in the morning and we went through the Orientation programme, discussing our motivation for volunteering, our goals, and the different volunteering options and activities available in and around Boquete.   We went with Kaytee and Oscar to a nearby Panamanian restaurant to have some of the local food for lunch.  My meal of fried chicken, rice and salad cost $2.75. After lunch we went to the Habla Ya language school to sign up for some classes.  We then walked around town distributing flyers for an upcoming fundraising event. The girls then introduced me to Sangria at a local restaurant.  Yum. We are amazed at how many North Americans are living here.  We spoke to one who has just made the decision to move here.  He said that the tax benefits and very low cost of living are the attraction, along with the perfect weather of course.  So there is a real mix of people in town with the indigenous people in their brightly colored traditional costumes, the local townspeople and the North American immigrants.

Getting here

 Posted by Jane Wright at 5:42 am  Panama  Comments Off on Getting here
Jan 222013

After more than 30 hours travelling, including flights and transit times, I arrived in Panama City early Thursday morning.  As we landed I was treated to an amazing view of the canal.  I could see ships at different stages along the canal and around 100 on the coastline and in the harbour.  The city was certainly a city of extremes with the most incredible skyscrapers, the beautiful old town and large, very derelict low income housing areas.  The traffic was crazy and taxi rides were an adventure.  I took the hop-on hop-off bus tour around the city, stopping at the canal to watch a ship progress through the Miraflores locks. On Friday I flew from Panama City to David where I was met by Oscar.  Oscar drove me to Boquete and dropped me off at the volunteer house.  I was the first volunteer to arrive so was on my own for the first night, but then Robyn arrived from Canada on Saturday and Jessica arrived from the States on Sunday. There was a large fair (the Coffee and Flower fair) on in Boquete throughout the weekend.  This meant the town was very busy and incredibly noisy as there was music pumping all day and nearly all night, resulting in very little sleep.  We have also had issues with very little water so have had to adapt to the fact that you just have to make do.  We are getting quite adept at slowly filling buckets with water from the tap to flush the toilet with.  We are also getting used to having to put our toilet paper in the bin as the pipes can’t handle it.  

day 3 Panama

 Posted by Roger Rowe at 3:27 am  Panama  Comments Off on day 3 Panama
Jun 192011

A great little trip yesterday to discover the area, Kaytee and Oscar took us to a gorge in the middle of a rain forest just outside Boquette. It was truly magical, I have seen a lot of falls and swimming holes but nothing quit like this. The hike down was about half a mile through the foliage on some pretty steep inclines, the path was hardly worn. I felt like maybe a handful of people had ever been there. At the bottom the scene opened up to an expanse of water and rock cascading down from the mountains. It was a stirring moment. My son, KC and I just looked at each other recognizing we are seeing a memory that we will talk about years to come. Life is about memories of events you have with each other that binds your relationship with each other. We immediately took to the water. Swimming to the 15 foot high rock just below the falls. Up KC went, to the very top and dove off. The smile he had was incredible. Of course dad had to follow along with everyone else. It was an experience we will savor for ever.

Panama Volunteer

 Posted by Roger Rowe at 2:17 am  Panama  Comments Off on Panama Volunteer
Jun 182011

We awoke to sounds unknown to my ears except the fact I knew they were birds. Birds I had never heard before. I am 62 years old, I am here in Botique, Panama with my 17 year old son KC. I came here for one major reason, I am losing my son to drugs. I volunteered in Panama to give us both an experience that I believe will change our lives. You see in the United States it is hard to keep children from feeling entitled. My hope is that his experiences in Panama will change his outlook on life. Maybe not a huge change but maybe enough for him to look through his lens on life a little differently then before. This is our first day in Botique so we don’t know much, but if this continues like it has started it will be great. To be continued!!!


 Posted by Roz Clarke at 10:40 am  Panama  Comments Off on Christmas!
Dec 292010

Day 7 – Christmas Eve We got up early and headed over the house Kaytee and Oscar are currently house sitting for a birthday breakfast… champagne, orange juice, American blueberry pancakes with syrup, bacon and fried tomatoes, mmmmmmmm  The house was really beautiful and had an amazing view from the balcony of a stream and tree covered mountains. After breakfast we initiated Christy in the previously mentioned Colombian birthday tradition! Oscar is from Colombia and had told her about it a few days before, half joking, and bizarrely she actually agreed to do it… they crack one egg over your head for each year of your life then throw flour at you. Apparently it’s only for family and close friends haha. So we got a box of eggs and went outside! This was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and I videoed the whole thing for her because she didn’t think anyone back in New Zealand would believe she did it! Oscar went up on the balcony and hosed Christy down, and then when we all went inside he and Matt decided to go and pick up the eggshells from the patio. I said to Kaytee we should sneak out onto the balcony and spray them with the hose to get them back, which really made them jump, hilarious! After another glass of champagne and giving Christy her birthday presents, Lauren, Oscar and I headed back into Boquete to go to the supermarket for last minute supplies for Christmas dinner. It was soooooooo busy it was crazy, and we caused a big drama by using a $50 note…. apparently they are so worried about fraud here that every time you use one you have to produce your passport, and sign a piece of paper with your name, address and phone [click here to read more]

The first few days….

 Posted by Roz Clarke at 4:06 pm  Panama  Comments Off on The first few days….
Dec 232010

Miami The plane journey from Heathrow to Miami was surprisingly good! I’d never flown that far before, and was not expecting the little pack of goodies which British Airways left on my seat…. a blanket (much welcome due to the unnecessary freezing air-conditioning, in December!!), an eye mask, earplugs and headphones. Somehow they must have been pre-warned of my height as well as they kindly gave me a seat with extra legroom. Sitting in the seat next to me was Carolina, who does the same job as me for a different company, and as it turns out also doesn’t particularly enjoy being kicked in the back for 10 hours by the worst behaved child in the UK! Despite leaving an hour late the plane landed in Miami just about on time and after being interviewed about why I was in America (they seem suspicious that anyone would want to be there….hmmmm!) I retrieved my cases and found a taxi to my hotel on Collins Avenue near Miami beach. I had decided if I’m only in the US for one night I may as well have a look around. The city looked very pretty at night, and I took in all the familiar scenes from Bad Boys and Scarface on the way to the hotel. I dropped off my stuff and set about finding my friend Vicki and her Mum who also happened to be in Miami… randomness of the best kind! The man at the hotel told me it was only a few blocks away so I decided to walk it. The men here were pretty annoying, random people stopping you saying ‘how you doing? Want some company?’ and even in one case yelling at me across the street ‘Hey, tall thin girl’…. this must be a novelty in the US! After wondering [click here to read more]

Boquete – Weekend One

 Posted by Charlie Belbin at 9:52 am  Panama  Comments Off on Boquete – Weekend One
Sep 052010

Finally arrived in Boquete 2 days ago! Massive relief to make it to the volunteer house and meet everyone after a mission of a journey. I had spent a night at the Albrook Inn on my first night in Panama, a fairly swish hotel on the outskirts of Panama City (not too far from the canal), before waking up at a shocking hour of the day to catch the internal flight to David. The travelling was a great experience though for somebody whose longest flight was a mere 4 hours before this trip! My first impressions of Boquete are definitely positive. The locals are very friendly and welcoming towards foriegners and there is a positive vibe throughout the town where everyone appears happy and upbeat. One minor compliant is the constant rain! It has literally been non-stop since I got here, but it is the rainy season so can´t say it wasn´t expected. Orientation is at 9am tomorrow morning and I´m looking forward to finding out what I am going to be doing. I have applied to volunteer in the Literacy Program, but there is a slight shortage of volunteers at the moment so I´m excited to find out what else I can help out with.


 Posted by Sarah Henderson at 10:15 pm  Panama  Comments Off on Ciao
Jul 032010

So, 4 months on and its time to move on. I wouldn’t say I am at all happy about this because I love the life the I had established in Boquete but, I am looking forward to a bit more travelling. I couldn’t imagine going directly home. In earlier posts I wondered if I would be ready to leave Boquete when the time came, and I think that the truthful answer is, Yes. I was ready to leave but I’m pretty sure thats because I’m already preparing to come back!!! The last month in Boquete was really great. I was helping Kaytee with a large variety of tasks and really enjoying my remaining days there. We definitely did a little partying too!!! My mother came to visit for 2 weeks or so and I’m really glad she did. I figure it will work to my advantage when I say I’m coming back! It was security for her as well, I think. Knowing where I have been, what I have been doing and with who was important for her. During my last 3 weeks in Boquete I moved into a house. I cannot express how nice to was to have my own space after 3 months in a volunteer dorm room (which by the way is great). The only downside was the disconnection from the volunteer house activity. I am a person, however, that really enjoys time alone and after 3 months it was something I felt I needed more of. I think it was also my way of dealing with the fact I was leaving. Having that time to think about my experiences was very important for me. And so, in conclusion, Boquete was amazing. Thank you to all the people there that made my time there fantastic. I made some [click here to read more]

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