Beachfront eco-lodge OR non-profit permaculture project in Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean side of Panama




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  • Description


    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 6 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 non-profit 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 planning stages of a modest aquaponic system and could use some help in the design and initial plumbing some of which entails water collecting layout. 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 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 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, so we are not the right place for anyone dog phobic..

    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.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Animal care
    Helping with Tourists
    Art project

  • 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. 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 while you might not have to share a room per se, 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.
    Due to limited housing at the lodge we prefer couples or solo travelers who do not mind sharing a room as a private room is very rarely available. 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".

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    At lodge: english, italian and spanish. At permacuture project: english, french and spanish

  • 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 and two have a double bed and a bunk bed so can be either private or shared, with shared bathroom.

    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. 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.

  • 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.

    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 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 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

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    maximum 25 hrs/week - We provide basic staples.

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Accuracy of profile: (4.9)

Cultural exchange: (4.8)

Communication: (4.9)

Host ref number: 754587489683