Travel to Panama to backpack, study, intern, volunteer, work or live as a digital nomad, expat or emigrant?

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Intro: life and experiences in Panama

Backpacking in Panama

  • Panama is frequently visited by backpackers and considered one of the most surprising countries in Central America. Panama has “everything”: great surfing, diving and snorkeling sites, the Archipelago de San Blas (the territory of the Kuna Indians, with more than350 islands), highlands, jungle and volcanoes.
  • Characteristics: Many traveling nationalities, varied nature and everything within a relatively short distance.

Traveling in Panama

  • A trip through Panama is a journey through tropical islands, the Panama Canal, the Chiriquí province, lush mountain areas, rainforests and, of course, Panamanian coffee (Boquete) and Latin American cuisine.
  • City spotting: Panama City (with it's trendy Casco Viejo), Barro Colorado, port town of Portobello. But also the smaller Santa Catalina (fishing village) or Boquete in the highlands, surrounded by jungles, volcanoes and mountains.
  • Island spotting: Bocas del Toro (Isla Colon), Las Tablas, Isla de Coiba (whale sharks and manta rays), Pearl Island Archipelago (including whales, dolphins and gigantic schools of tropical fish) and tiny Isla Boca Brava.
  • Animal spotting: crocodiles, several special bird species (including the yellow-winged macaw & rare quetzal), humpback whales, orcas and an extensive underwater world.
  • Nature spotting: Panama has several tropical rainforests with magnificent orchids. The Chiriquí province, but definitely also national park Coiba. Or hike along the 8km Quetzal trail. True adventure can be experienced in the inhospitable Darien National Park, on the border between Panama and Colombia.

Studying in Panama

  • Language schools: Panama has very relaxed language schools; obviously in the capital but also on various Caribbean islands or just in the highlands. Another possibilities is that you can sometimes combine a course in Panama with one in neighboring Costa Rica.
  • Studying in Panama is advantageous (especially at the public universities, which are also open to international students free of charge), due to the high quality of education and low cost of living.
  • Panama has several large universities and smaller colleges, plus some sub-establishments of large American universities.
  • The academic year in Panama has two semesters: summer (March) and fall (December). Educational institutions are closed in January and February; there is a two-week vacation in June and July.
  • You will find many regular studies in Panama, but e.g. also water science, environment, fleet management or tropical disease research.

Internships in Panama

  • Internships: internships can be found in all sectors of society. The tourism sector has the most supply, but you will definitely find opportunities in marketing, tropical forest management, conservation, sustainable agriculture.
  • Characteristics: the work culture is also generally very “mañana,” screw your pace back and make sure you have learned Spanish beforehand.

Volunteer in Panama

  • Volunteer projects: particularly in the social sectors and nature management.
  • Nature projects: protection of sea turtles, coral reefs, orchids, birds, among others.
  • Characteristics: volunteering possible from 1 or 2 weeks to several months.

Working in Panama

  • Jobs: temporary work can be found mainly in the sectors: hospitality and tourism, such as at diving schools and in the travel sector. Also (limited) opportunities at language schools.
  • Characteristics: take into account the mañana work culture, make sure you have a good basic knowledge of Spanish and set yourself up for work for room and board.

Working as a digital nomad in Panama

  • Favorite cities: Panama City (with the trendy Casco Viejo district), Boquete (coffee culture!), Bocas del Toro, David, Las Tablas.
  • Internet: Panama is the country in Central America with one of the best and fastest Internet connections.
  • There are specific digital nomad visas, remote worker visas.

Living in Panama

  • Language: Spanish is really the basic language. English is spoken in the better-known tourist towns and locations.
  • Characteristics:Panama is one of the countries in Central America with a relatively large group of working nomads, temporary emigrants and international adventurers.
  • You can choose the modern and very “urban” Panama City, one of the idyllic islands or just the cooler highlands around Boquete.
  • If you live and work in Panama, you will benefit from the good healthcare system, with doctors who are well-trained in the USA and often speak excellent English. Having your own (international) covered health insurance is recommended.


Favorite stories, blogs and texts related to Panama

Toeristenvisum Een toeristenvisum voor Panama is niet verplicht voor bezoeken tot 90 dagen. Je vult een formulier in en krijgt een toeristenkaart voor 30 dagen bij aankomst (waar je overigens wel voor moet betalen). Een verlenging kan aangevraagd worden bij een kantoor van ‘Migración y ...

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