Hola amigos! We're a Belgian-Panamian couple with a finca in Dolphin Bay on Isla San Cristobal in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro in Panama. We have lots of projects in the pipeline & welcome volunteers to help us realize our ideas. We have horses that we use for tours with tourists & we grow cacao, luffa, bananas, hibiscus, guanabana, yucca,...
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
Papito is Panamanian and his family lives nearby. He works on several construction projects with a crew of mostly indigenous people.
We speak Spanish to each other but both speak English too.
So this is a great place to practice your Spanish & meet a lot of local people!
We'll also supply you with all the material you need to bring your project to a good ending. We have decent set of Dewalt power tools and power generators to help you.
***Starting December 2016 our ideal volunteers would be a HANDS-ON COUPLE that likes cooking and/or baking (+juicing, making ice cream etc) for our "Jungle Café" and the guests in our treehouse. This combined with construction skills (or electricity, plumbing, tiling, artistic painting) would make you our DREAM team. All other skills mentioned below are a big PLUS. Just write us if that's you! Fabulous solo volunteers are still welcome but we'll simply have less space for volunteers because of the coming high season***
Projects at our finca:
-construction: help construct a tree house (finishing phase), a chicken coop (done), a bodega (done), a rancho on the water (start-up phase), a jungle terrace (start-up) a bridge over the creek (done),...
-plumbing: if you have experience doing plumbing, we most definitely have a spot for you... we need to plumb & tile one bathroom upstairs & one downstairs so if you have those skills you are welcome here right away. Kitchen is done now, thanks Matz & Paco.
-artistic painting: After getting such nice work done in our home by one of the volunteers (thanks Thomas, I admire that maracyuya mural every day!) we'd like to get some more murals done in the newly constructed treehouse. One idea is an underwater theme for the bathroom.
-sewing: sew curtains, pillow cases, mosquito nets (mostly done now, thanks Christina & Stine, but these skills are always handy)
-garden: pick and dry cacao, hibiscus, lemongrass etc. for future projects, collect horse manure & mix it with cacao pod shells (sounds tasty, right?),...
-kitchen: cooking & baking for the Jungle Café (with focus on breakfast, lunch & desserts), help me experiment creating products for a line of natural food & beauty products, making chocolate
-marketing: promote the horse/night/cacao tours + treehouse + Jungle Café, add photos to the website,...
ALWAYS LOOKING FOR ACTIVE, HANDY PEOPLE... If you have plumbing, tiling, electricity or building skills, we always have a spot for you. If you're ARTISTIC & a good painter: please write us too. Feel free to contact me if you have any special skill which you think could be of use.
Other possible tasks: entertaining our 1 year old sweet crazy girl, helping the other kids with homework or painting & playing with them
English, Spanish, Dutch, French
Accommodation & meals:
For 5 hours of work we'll give you 3 meals (a mix of Panamanian & European food and Friday = pizza day) and a bed/matress. Usually you will be off Saturday and Sunday, but it could be one or two other days in the week.You are expected to clean up after yourself and help with the dishes besides these hours. Every day will be different, and if we are going somewhere (Bocas, Almirante, the beach) you are welcome to join.
Since we are on an island, we are off the grid so we need you to pay attention to your use of electricity and water. We currently have 4 small solar panels, so there is electricity to charge your cell phone or laptop. Our fridge runs on this as well. 6 bigger ones will be installed later this year (2016). We've upgraded our water tank to a bigger model since the previous one would occasionally run dry when we had volunteers and there was no rain for a week (luckily Bocas is pretty wet generally so then we do a rain dance & the next day it rains). So no more stress about water, yet we still use it sparingly. So if any clothes need to be washed, we bring them to Almirante where a local lady takes good care of them.
You pay for your beers, soda's, snacks (other than bananas & fruit from our gardens).
Unless you get to our farm by your own means, we ask for a small contribution in the gas for picking you up in Bocas (Isla Colón), Bastimentos or Almirante, i.e. 10 USD per person. Same for drop-off. Long-term volunteers (1 month or more) will not be asked to pay for drop-off. If you are that skilled plumber/tiler/electrician we dream of daily, we wouldn't dare to charge you either.
Duration of your stay:
We prefer longer-term volunteers. The preferred minimum stay is 10 days, but for the right person we are flexible.
Good to know:
You can walk to the small shop ('tienda') of my mother-in-law during your free time to buy beer, soda, snacks etc. Other shops can only be reached by boat so it's best to buy whatever you can't live without before arriving here :)
We are in the tropics so there are insects, especially outside, but also some inside. So please imagine yourself camping in the JUNGLE before contacting us. Our house is far more comfortable than camping in the jungle, but if ants and an occasional spider in the house freak you out, this is definitely not the right place for you. It is truly a wonderful place & we do our best to make it as comfortable for you as we can but nature simply rules here.
Things to bring: long trousers, sunscreen, repellent, a flash light, boots. We have a few pairs of boots for volunteers but having your own size is better :)
Animals on the farm:
-3 horses: CC, Estrella & Ron
-3 (big) dogs: Sofie, Charlie & Louis
-1 rooster who's waiting for his hens and his chicken coop
-2 cats, sometimes :) they keep going back to their old home
Wild animals you can spot here:
Dolphins, sloths, monkeys, alligators, toucans, parrots,...
Fun things to do right here:
Horse riding, fishing from the dock, swimming, jungle walks, peddling in Dolphin Bay with a kayuko
Fun things to do in the neighbourhood:
Snorkeling, going to the beach,...
I've worked with volunteers before at a finca/resort on the same island - I found it refreshing to host volunteers and mostly appreciate self-guided, hands-on people who make suggestions and show initiative. We hope to hear from you soon!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week