2020 Summer Program suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Read an open letter from our President & CEO here.

Volunteer abroad in Panama for 2 weeks! Discover AMIGOS is a two-week introductory AMIGOS experience led by seasoned facilitators. Volunteers learn about the rich culture of Panama, practice their Spanish, learn about environmental issues and how they impact community health with the Ministry of Health, work with local communities, and stay with a host family.

Example Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Panama City and meet your project staff and fellow volunteers.

Days 2–3

Travel to project location and begin briefing, group preparation and training for your time in Panama.

Days 4–6

Volunteer as a group with an endangered sea turtle protection project. Learn how to transfer turtle eggs to a hatchery, why it’s important to conserve marine life, and join in a community beach cleanup. You might even get lucky and spot a rare sea turtle!

Days 7–12

Travel to host community in the Coclé region. Meet your host family and work on a community service project alongside local students. Spend time at the local school with students and teachers, playing games, beautifying the school grounds, and learning what life is like in your host community.

Days 12–13

Despedida (going away party) in your host community. As a group, visit cool spots in the region, like the Panama Canal and Casco Viejo, the old colonial city. Reflect on your experience and prepare to return home.

Day 14

Pack your bags and fly home!

Length Training
Ages Application
Session A 2 weeks

Online and incorporated into briefing

2020 Program suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read an open letter from our President & CEO.

13–15 -


Session B 2 weeks

Online and incorporated into briefing

2020 Program suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read an open letter from our President & CEO.

13–15 -


Session C 2 weeks

Online and incorporated into briefing

2020 Program suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read an open letter from our President & CEO.

13–15 -


About the Region


Tropical, hot in the day time, but nights can be a little bit cooler.


aguacero = rainstorm
refrigerio = snack
que pretti = how cool


Rice, beans, lentils, plantains, chicken



Cool Spots

Panama Canal, Casco Viejo, Valle de Antón

Panama City, Panama

Why Choose AMIGOS?

Travel with Trust

AMIGOS has run programs in the United States and Latin America for more than 55 years. We’re the expert in service and immersion programs in Latin America and the industry leader in health and safety. We book the airfare for each of our volunteers and an AMIGOS representative travels with the group on the international leg of their flight. Volunteers will be accompanied by AMIGOS staff members at all times.

Learn Spanish

AMIGOS programs provide a unique opportunity to experience a new culture as a local, not a tourist. Volunteers who already know some Spanish will play a leadership role in their group, translating and practicing the language in a real-world context. Living in an immersive environment and spending time with a host family makes it more fun and easier to learn. You will not believe how fast your Spanish improves when you use it in conversation everyday!

Make an Impact

We work with trusted local partner organizations to identify communities that are passionate and committed to working with our volunteers on service projects. You’ll get to collaborate on a service project with volunteers your own age as well as other members of the community.

Build Real Relationships

Do more than just travel — live with a host family, sharing in their day-to-day life! You will become part of your host community, and you’ll connect with people you otherwise would never have the chance to meet. Bond with your host family, make friends, and spend time with your fellow volunteers.

Have an Adventure

Travel to must-see spots in your host country! You’ll visit unique destinations like volcanoes, national parks, and historical sites, and see these places from the distinct perspective of someone who has lived in the country and learned about the culture firsthand. Plus, you’ll bond with fellow volunteers and have fun!

Protect the Environment

Earn 30 service hours while you work on an environmental project that protects wildlife. Be a champion for endangered sea turtles by working with local agencies to clean up the beach and conserve turtle eggs. You’ll get to have a hands on part in local conservation and you’ll get to lead activities with kids in your host community.

Train and Prepare

AMIGOS prepares volunteers with pre-departure and in-country training in topics like multicultural understanding, health and safety, community development, travel safety, Spanish, leadership, and team building.

While abroad, volunteers join in on nightly reflections led by AMIGOS staff members. At the end of their service, volunteers come together as a group to participate in debriefing — putting what they learned in context, preparing to go home, and exploring their host country on group excursions.

Our Service Philosophy

We believe it is crucial to work with local communities, not for them. If we listen to what communities actually want, instead of making decisions for them, the service projects that volunteers implement will be more successful and sustainable. Local buy-in facilitates a deeper, more meaningful experience for volunteers and paves the way to building positive relationships across cultures.

Ready to go to Panama?

Start your application today!


My favorite part of the trip was seeing how strong the relationships we formed were, even in just a few days with community members. When we left Belen (the community I was in), it felt like I’d been there for weeks. Though it was sad to leave all of the new people we’d played and worked with, I was thrilled and impressed by how much we’d collectively accomplished in our short time together.

—Sabine, Discover AMIGOS Volunteer, 2017

Program Requirements
  • Meet the health criteria for AMIGOS participation and follow the mental health procedures if necessary.
  • Receive required immunizations and medications
  • Be age 13–15 on the project start date

Project Director: Luisa Colon

Luisa is a Dominicana local to New York City. She graduated from Boston University Questrom School of Business. While in college, she studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and has since traveled to the Caribbean and various European and Southeast Asian countries. In 2017, she decided to take the road less traveled and move to Thailand to teach English to high school students. After teaching there for an academic year and traveling throughout Southeast Asia, she returned home to teach ESL to adults and manage a university department. She then served as the Associate Project Director for Discover AMIGOS Costa Rica 2019.

She is excited to continue working with AMIGOS and support young people through international cultural exchange, community development, and immersive educational experiences.

Luisa has an affinity for culture, travel, and nature. In her free time, she can be found at the gym, reading, listening to podcasts, dancing, scuba diving, or traveling somewhere.


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Being an Amigo is living like a local community member! Even though we don't expect our volunteers to be fluent in Spanish, we encourage them to grow their Spanish skills and get out of their comfort zone! Are you ready to put your Spanish skills to the test? ...

Once you arrive in Latin America, you'll journey to a sea turtle estuary where you'll get to know your fellow volunteers and learn about sea turtle conservation, all while practicing your leadership skills and having fun! What are you most excited for this summer? ...

One of the best things about AMIGOS is the complete immersion in our communities, and this means that our volunteers don't use their cell phones during their time abroad. Instead, they immerse themselves in their communities, the environment, and the connections with their fellow volunteers. So get ready to disconnect to reconnect! ...

It's finally 2020, and your AMIGOS trip is coming up sooner than you think! Over the next few months, we will be posting more advice and information about Discover AMIGOS, so you'll know what to look forward to and what to prepare for. Follow along and get excited! We can't wait to see you in Panama 😎 ...

Wish you were still in Latin America with AMIGOS? Now’s your chance to sign up for a second summer!

But don’t wait too long… Our projects are already filling up!
The priority deadline is November 4th so make sure you’ve saved your spot by applying today at apply.amigosinternational.org
Summer is waiting. We’ll see you there 😎

As staff counts down the days to the end of our time in Panama, it’s easy to look back at the numbers to try to make sense of our summer. 48 volunteers, 3 sessions, 7 communities, 38 dispensa boxes, 9 completed CBIPs, and 27 host families.

Now, rather than trying to make sense of all of these numbers, we just need to focus on one number. One. One community. One program. One family. United and Amigos.

That’s a wrap on Discover Amigos Panama 2019! Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this project possible!

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