Beachfront eco-lodge or small permaculture project in Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean side of Panama




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 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

  • Description


    Our air borders are open to non citizen/residents via the international airport. Some countries are considered "high risk", and if you come from a high risk country, the rules are different. If you are fully vaccinated, meaning your second shot was 14 days before your arrival, then you do not need neither a test nor to quarantine no matter where you come from. if you come from high risk countries (google panama high risk countries covid) without being vaccinated you will need to bring a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours and quarantine, at your expenses, for 72 hours, after which you will need a test again. This is effective as of september 1, 2021. Remember rules change so please double check on that.
    The land border between Panama and Costa Rica are opened both ways, but Costa Rica is considered high risk country for now, so rules above apply. Check on the requirements to enter Costa Rica. They change now and then.
    Tourism is somewhat slowish right now, so the tasks at the lodge are primarily to maintain, paint, gardening, prep and especially clean, to get ready for an eventual return of "normal".
    We try to stay on top of things, travel/COVID information wise, but the government might make last minute changes that could affect your travel. We wont get into a vaccine or anti vaxx discussion, but if your plans are to travel, being vaccinated will certainly make your life easier.

    Thank you for visiting our profile. We have two very different projects where we are happy to provide a safe and productive environment to host workawayers:

    1) A beachfront eco-lodge on the Caribbean side of Panama (Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro) where our primary needs are to assist our local staff with prep and cleaning tasks. We also welcome anyone with one or a combination of the following skills: Gardening and light landscaping; basic and general household maintenance; cleaning, vehicle and generator maintenance; Carpentry, plumbing; sewing; artistic skills such as painting, mosaic or crafts; and web site design. Additionally, we welcome anyone with excellent organizing skills for our crafts/tool/storage/etc rooms :o)

    Seeking minimum 1 month commitment (prefer longer term but will also take shorter term if you have extraordinary skills of some sort. Biggest need is for the months of December through end of April, but welcome help and accept applications year-round. Last minute requests will be considered on a needs basis.

    2) 1 hectare sea-front new-ish permaculture project also on Isla Colon, located approximately half way between town and the eco-lodge. This project entails gardening, trimming, planting, weeding, starting new plants, and several tasks such as building trellises, building raised beds, other light building, painting, trail building, artistic painting, mosaic etc. We are experimenting with making floors and furniture with recycled wood and tiles, as well as re-purposing old furniture. We are in the advanced planning stages of a modest aquaponic system and could use some help with that. About half of the property has been planted so we welcome anyone interested in sharing some design ideas. The site is challenging due to the usually poor soils found in the tropics and the extreme proximity to the ocean. The first two years was devoted to building soil and about a fifth of the property remains to finish that task, although we will always work on soil building.
    We have one live-in local worker to whom we would love to offer some basic writing and reading lessons (in spanish) so if you have that skill it would be wonderful to share it with him.
    We have 10 dogs on the property. They are mostly confined to their own spaces, except one, a full time yurt resident named indigo. But it is more than likely that you will intersect with some of the others at well.
    We have recently converted a container into living space, and are offering farm stays in the rooms upstairs as well as one of the yurt, and we might occasionally need some help with that.

    Prefer 1 month commitment or longer but will also take shorter term help. The projects are on-going so you can apply anytime. Last minute requests will be considered on a needs and accommodations availability basis.
    NB: WE HAVE A 3-DAY PROBATIONARY PERIOD FOR ALL WORKAWAY APPLICANTS TO ENSURE WE ARE A GOOD FIT. Any questionable behavior will not be tolerated, and you will be asked to leave even if it is after the probation time.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    The benefit of a an exchange at either project is not limited to cultural exchange. Culturally speaking the benefit will vary greatly based on the workawayers themselves. Our permaculture site is a great opportunity to work alongside indigenous workers, where the exchange will be based solely on the workawayer willingness to engage. Our live-in worker is very sweet and very kind, and sometimes one or two of his children will be visiting. We expect our workawayers to exhibit respectful and kind behaviour, and be understanding of cultural differences.
    While not a cultural exchange per se, it is a great place to learn about the challenges of a low land sea-side tropical farming system.
    The ecolodge is an opportunity to learn the on-going management of an hospitality business. Many workawayers have stated they would like, some day, to run their own little hospitality business. This project showcases the beauty of the area while also allowing a glimpse into the challenges of operating a business in an off the grid, remote, developing region. Workawayers will have the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world as well as our local staff. As in the permaculture project, these exchanges will be primarily based on the willingness to engage.

  • Help


    For the permaculture site, you must like dogs, for either project, we hope you to be flexible, easy-going, and personable, especially if your volunteer help entails contacts with guests at the eco-lodge.

    Help at the permaculture site does not require stellar social skills but it is likely you will have to share a room as we only have one "private" room available and the shared living space is tight in the yurts so we prefer to avoid psychopaths and certainly getting along with others is always a plus.
    Housing at the lodge is also limited and we only have one room for couples, the others are shared. We might consider occasional requests based on space availability and special skills.
    If you are friends traveling together let us know if you can share a bed as it will help with planning.

    Schedules vary, and hours depending on our needs. In some instances you can trade off day time hours and have your evening free and can also arrange with other volunteers to make your schedule more flexible. We are loads more flexible schedule wise at the permaculture project as it does not entail specific operating hours. You can work double shift and take more days off for example or can be task-based as in "this is your project for the week".

    At the farm we do not receive any volunteers on sundays, as it is our only day to "disconnect". If your departure is on a sunday, let us know ahead of time, and we will make arrangements for you. If you arrive on a friday, we will ask you to work a few hours on a saturday, mostly to orient you. Rarely do volunteers arrive on a monday, the clear beginning of the work week, so we will make teeny adjustements to the schedule as dictated by your arrival day. Usual days off are saturdays and sundays or Sunday and Monday.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    at the eco-lodge we have 5 rooms available for volunteers. One is shared by up to 3 people and has its own bathroom. one is private with shared bathroom with another room with a double bed and a bunk bed, and another room in the lodging area of our local staff, so if you want to immerse yourselves in local culture, that's the one you will want :)
    We can take a maximum of 9 volunteers

    At the permaculture project we have 1 yurt available for volunteers. The yurt has 4 rooms/spaces: 1 with a queen bed, 1 with 2 single beds, and 1 room with a double bed and a single bed. The loft is occupied by our permanent worker.
    The rooms have walls and doors but are in an open ceiling yurt. There is a shared toilet inside and 2 shared outdoor showers. There is a basic kitchen with fridge and stove. We have an elaborate filtering system and when engaged, the water filter from the kitchen faucet is used to fill up 5-gallon tanks with drinkable water.
    We have opened up the project to receive volunteers on this site for less time than the lodge and it is still an evolving space which hopefully we can work together to improve as we go. We can take a maximum of 6 volunteers

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The eco-lodge is located on a gorgeous stretch of coastline at the edge of beautiful Bluff Beach, a renowned bodyboard surf beach and within walking distance to the best surf spots of Isla Colon. We are somewhat isolated and 4 miles/7km from town. We are not what could be considered a party place and if you have a need to be in town a lot, we may not be the best place for you. The permaculture project is also ocean-front, about 3km from town and a 15 minute walk to the first surf break.
    From Bluff your options are the bus, a taxi, walk or bike at the lodge. If you stay for one month or longer, another option is for you to buy your own new bike (approx $120) or used (approx $80) and resell it shortly before you leave.
    At the farm, same story, we have attempted to provide bikes for our volunteers to use, but sadly, with the exception of THREE volunteers, bikes are not washed after use, or maintained at all. For example a chain might break, the bike is then tossed aside and another one used and the vicious circle continues until we have a heap of bad bicycles. They never get washed after use. Sometimes they are left lying around in the mud, And in some other examples, the bike is not properly secured and it ends up stolen. Or a plate gets lost, risking to have the bike impounded. Bla bla bla, you get the picture. Thus we have a new bike policy.
    We have refurbished a few bikes. These bikes will come with a lock and key. If you wish to be assigned a bike, we will request a $40 deposit. This bike is then yours to use. You can choose to share it with someone, but essentially that bike is "yours".
    A few days before you leave we will assess the state of the bike. If it needs repairs you can either do it, or we will get the bike shop to do it and pay for it from your bike deposit. We certainly are not attempting to get rich from this, but merely attempting to stop the bleeding of the bike expenses, which are, after all, only there for your convenience.
    Same as for the lodge stay, If you stay for one month or longer, another option is for you to buy your own new bike (approx $120) or used (approx $80) and resell it shortly before you leave.

    For either project, people with substance abuse (alcohol, drugs etc) problems need not apply. If it becomes apparent that you do have a problem you will be asked to leave with no notice.

    We (or the tropics in general) are probably not the best place if you are insect phobic.

    NO smoking on the premises, as regulated by Panamanian law for public places, and by personal preference. Non smokers definitely preferred and if you do smoke please let us know when you first contact us. If you indeed worry about the environment we encourage you to Google "effects of cigarettes on the environment" and are socially conscious Google "health issues of children working in tobacco fields'.

    After being part of the workaway world for a while now, we have found out that a few applicants will be a no-show. So while, we might respond to you we have no space, a space could open up a few days later. For this reason we leave our calendar open as availability can change quickly.
    At times we get bogged down and might not be speedy in answering. If you are really interested do not hesitate in writing again if you have not heard back from us within 2 days. If we respond that we would like to host you, and have a date planned, please follow up if you do not hear back. We field up to 10 applications daily, so please be patient, and never hesitate to ask for a confirmation. In that same vein, we realize travelers do not always have easy access to Internet. Having said that, if you write us and we respond, and our message shows it was read, we will assume a lack of response means you are no longer interested. If you do commit to a certain date, and then fail to respond to a follow-up message that shows up as read, we will also assume you are no longer coming and assign "your spot" to someone else.

    When you make your travel plans, please note that it is cheaper/shorter to come to us from San Jose, Costa Rica, than it is from Panama City.

    NB: WE HAVE A 3-DAY PROBATIONARY PERIOD FOR ALL WORKAWAY APPLICANTS TO ENSURE WE ARE A GOOD FIT. Any questionable behavior will not be tolerated, and you will be asked to leave even if it is after the probation time.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    25 hrs/week - We provide basic staples.

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Accuracy of profile: (4.8)

Cultural exchange: (4.7)

Communication: (4.8)

Host ref number: 754587489683