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,...
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
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.
***It's now December 2019 - at the moment our ideal volunteers would be a HANDS-ON COUPLE or 2 FRIENDS
Fabulous solo volunteers are still welcome but we'll simply have less space for volunteers because of the coming high season so we only have 1 room available. If one of you has construction/plumbing skills (see below), you may be our DREAM TEAM***
Projects at our finca:
-construction: help construct a tree house (a NEW one- starting phase), expand a kitchen (new), adding kitchen to treehouse (new), tiling a bathroom (new) a chicken coop (done), a bodega (done), a rancho on the water (done), a jungle terrace (done) 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 (done). DEC 2019 update: we still want more paintings :) Make sure to send photos/examples of your style if you'd like to help with this.
-sewing: sew curtains, pillow cases, mosquito nets (mostly done now, thanks Christina & Stine, but these skills are always handy) Dec. 2019: not needed atm
-garden: pick and dry cacao, hibiscus, lemongrass etc. for future projects, collect horse manure & mix it with cacao pod shells (sounds tasty, right?), planting out seedlings,...
-kitchen: 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'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 crazy kids of 3 & 4 years old, helping the older kids with homework or painting & playing with them
Accommodation & meals:
For 5 hours of work we'll give you 3 meals (a mix of Panamanian & European food) and a bed/matress. Usually you won't be off Saturday and Sunday, but rather 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. There is electricity to charge your cell phone or laptop but no hairdryers please :) 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).
We'll try to combine your pick-up & drop-off with picking up guests so there is no cost for you. That may require some flexibility from your side.
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:
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:
-4 horses: CC, Preciosa, Tequila & Smokey
-3 to 4 (big) dogs: Blue, Whiskey, Charlie & Louis
-roosters, hens, sheep, ducks
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
Can host families
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week