Volunteer in Panama

Contribute to coral reef conservation in the protected waters of Panama.

Allow yourself to be captivated by Panama’s diverse landscapes, sparkling coastlines, lush jungles, vibrant cities and welcoming spirit. From the majestic Panama Canal to the tranquil beauty of Bocas del Toro’s bright, blue waters, this Latin American country is a sight to behold. As a volunteer in Panama, you’ll contribute to the conservation of coral reefs in Bocas del Toro, a designated Hope Spot critical to the overall health of our oceans.

Overview

Witness the breathtaking beauty of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago in Panama. This tropical paradise is an ocean enthusiast’s dream, enchanting visitors with its rich marine life including sea turtles, nurse sharks, bottlenose dolphins, rays and a host of Caribbean fish like angelfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish and more. 

With nine main islands and several smaller islands to explore, there’s always an adventure to be had. Spend a day trekking through the vibrant jungles and you may come across unique wildlife like pygmy three-toed sloths, red frogs, strawberry poison frogs, parrots or keel-billed toucans.

On the island of Solarte is our research station, nestled between rich vegetation with the ocean practically at its doorstep. Here, our dedicated volunteers will assist in the monitoring and conservation of coral reefs through diving in the protected Bocas del Toro waters.

With this volunteer program in Latin America, you will not only make a tangible difference to the health of our oceans but also play a crucial role in the preservation of several marine species.

Our programs

Volunteering
Marine Conservation Expedition in Panama
Location

Panama, nestled between Costa Rica to the west and Colombia to the southeast in Central America, is famed for its fascinating geography and iconic landmarks such as the Panama Canal, linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Panama City, the capital, is a vibrant urban centre on the Pacific coast. Just 300 kilometres away is Bocas del Toro, a breathtaking tropical archipelago. Here, you’ll find stunning beaches, incredible reefs and lush forests. Nestled within this paradise is Solarte Island.

When you volunteer in Panama, you’ll live and work on the island of Solarte, shaded by tropical jungle vegetation and a mere 80 metres from the ocean.  Solarte is one of several islands found in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago in Panama. The small, secluded island is inhabited by members of the Ngäbe indigenous community. Volunteers will have the unique opportunity to learn more about this rich Panamanian culture while working alongside our project partners.

A short 10-minute boat ride lands you in the lively town of Isla Colon. Those in search of restaurants, markets and a vibey nightlife will find it here.

In December 2019, Bocas del Toro was designated a Hope Spot by Mission Blue, declaring it a protected area critical to the ocean’s health. A dive into these waters promises encounters with incredible marine species like bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, nurse sharks, southern stingrays, mangrove crabs, long spined urchins, parrotfish, snappers, angelfish and more than 120 varieties of sea sponge. 

To indulge your adventurous spirit, explore the lush jungles scattered throughout the archipelago where the famous red frog, strawberry poison frog and pygmy three-toed sloth is located. While there, listen out for the call of tropical birds like parrots, montezuma oropendolas, keel-billed toucans and three-wattled bellbirds.

Program

We offer one volunteer program in Panama. Our marine conservation expedition gives volunteers the opportunity to contribute to the protection of coral reefs in Panama and the diverse marine life found within it. 

As this is a diving program, participants are required to have their PADI Advanced Open Water certification. No need to worry if you’re not qualified yet, we provide training for Open Water and Advanced Open Water certification as an add-on. Divers of all experience levels are welcome!

When you volunteer in Panama you’ll assist in the collection of data at individual dive sites across different depths, specialising in substrate and coral monitoring. Key activities include essential training on precise monitoring techniques and data entry processes, education on coral reef substrate, anatomy, reproduction and more, investigation and studying of reef structures and polychaetes, coral colony health assessments as well as weekly leisure dives.

FAQs

What if I do not have PADI certification?

No need to worry, we offer PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications as optional training for participants. Our dive centre is a PADI 5-star Dive Resort, the first PADI Eco-center in Panama and a Green Fins member.

What languages are commonly spoken in Panama?

Common languages include Spanish and English. 

What is the weather like in Panama?

The weather in Bocas del Toro, Panama is typically warm and tropical throughout the year with frequent rain. Expect temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86 °F). 

How can I stay in touch with people back home?

You’ll have access to wifi at the research station. You can also purchase a local SIM card and buy top-up credit for your mobile phone. 

What activities can I do in my free time?

In your free time in Bocas del Toro, Solarte, you can enjoy activities such as jungle walks, swimming and exploring the nearby islands. This scenic location offers ample opportunities to immerse yourself in nature and discover the unique charms of the archipelago.