My husband (Panamanian) and I (from the US) (and our toddler) own and operate an award winning, small seven room bed and breakfast with tours in a small mountain village, next to a National Park, in Panama. We have been in business for six years, have two local employees, and our focus is ecotourism.
Our town is a great place to lose track of time :) for those who do like peace and quiet. There are beautiful views for "hammock gazing", a beautiful river nearby (600m) for swimming, dirt roads that meander over the countryside for hiking, formal trails to waterfalls in the national park that surrounds the town.
Tourismus / Gastgewerbe
Our tiny town of 3000 is located in the highlands of Panama, where tourism is still not big, and the village is authentic. In one aspect, the traveler will benefit from being immersed in another culture...where going to the market, or traveling by bus will take you into the heart of Panama and perhaps a different way of doing things. There is a saying in Panama that "hay mas tiempo que vida", that means time will always exist, but you may not (so take time to do things). Our location is not a busy place. It is not a party town. It is a relaxed, quiet, countryside setting where people say hello to each other on the streets. Rivers are swift, forests are beautiful. Certainly, by living in an area where Spanish is spoken and English is not, language skills will improve, just by trying to get things done.
We are looking for someone (1 person), to help in reception during our off season 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. This will include:
-Answering guests' questions about the area or our policies,
-Responding to guest concerns,
-General reception duties
-Selling Tours and Rooms
-Generally being flexible, nice, pleasant, and responsive.
Since our off season is slow (we typically have one to two rooms occupied), we also require for general help around the Bed and Breakfast (help on grounds, light housekeeping (we do have housekeepers), maintaining communal areas, etc...) while you watch the reception area, this includes lending a hand when and where needed around the inn (we need people who are ready to jump in to help) and helping on a mutually agreed on project based on what your interests are and what our needs are.
Projects will take up about 50% of you time. Sample projects could include: reviving our vegetable garden, planning a garden to attract butterflies or hummingbirds, general maintenance, working on a display about coffee, grunt work for tours, discovering /trying/costing a great new recipe we can incorporate for breakfast, taking, organizing and tagging photos, working on social media, doing a mosaic, or something you enjoy and we need!
This is an odd mix of a position. You need to really enjoy listening to people and helping them, but also be fine in being self directed, motivated and productive with long periods of quiet time.
We offer a private room with shared bathroom. A mini refrigerator is in the room and a coffee maker can be placed there as well. It is a simple, but nice room, with a Queen Bed, overhead fan, and closet area. In the B&B there is a kitchen with stove (used mainly for breakfast prep), that can always be used before 7am and after 6PM, and during the day sometimes, if not busy, as well as an extra shelf for additional food storage. We will provide meals for the first couple days after the volunteer has arrived, before a shopping trip can be organized, and meal stipend of $40 week provided thereafter. Local items are available in town (10 minute walk), specialty items can be purchased in Santiago (1.5 hrs by bus). We have washing machines where a volunteer can do laundry, and a clothesline to dry.
Public transport are taxis and buses. The bus leaves our small town for the regional capital every half hour during daylight hours. We try to invite volunteers to accompany us on tours in their off time.
Infrastructure. There are no large stores in town, and grocery markets are small, with simple necessities. More people use horses to get around than cars. About 50% of the district does not have electricity. Internet is slow. We have no phone lines to the inn. All communication is by cell phone.
Communication. Volunteers should consider bringing a cheap unlocked international smart phone with them, or buying one here (available for under $100). A phone stipend of $5/week will be provided if they do. If we are not around, the volunteer will be expected to use this phone to communicate with us, and help guests (call for taxis). The price for a prepaid data & phone plan is $4.99/week through a local carrier.
Guests are always watching. Since the volunteer is housed at the inn, we ask your cooperation in respecting guest needs (or something that feels like a need to them!) and their culture or customs. If say, you love to play the ukulele, no problem, but we ask you to play in an area that is away from guests' rooms. You should maintain your room's outdoor patio area clean. Most of our guests are in the age range between 30-70, enjoy the outdoors, enjoy traveling, but are or have had professional jobs. It is always easier to relate to someone who looks like what you are used to, so we ask volunteers to maintain a nice appearance when dealing with guests...this is not corporate wear, but being appropriately covered in clean clothes while at the inn and outdoors (it is not appropriate, for example, for a man to be without a shirt in public in panama if not at the beach). In addition, we do not permit visitors at the hotel. No smoking. No nudity. No drinking on the job. No loud music.
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Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week