How To Become A Volunteer In Panama |  Opportunities

How would you like to spend your free time volunteering in an amazing location surrounded by beautiful tropical nature, fresh air, and amazing animals??

You want to discover the rainforest, but you also want to go somewhere in the Pacific… and the Caribbean sounds too good as well!

Why not travel to a country where you can experience fun while volunteering? Volunteer in Panama today!!

You should read what we have to say about volunteering in Panama. While you do that, you can also learn why volunteering is important.


About Panama

Panama with its population of 4,368,000 is an incredible place. The name Panamá means “abundance of fish, butterflies, and trees”, according to ancient, Pre-Columbian Panamanian dialect.

Panama is a natural land bridge that connects North and Central America with South America. That’s why Panama hosts animal and plant species from both regions! Do you know that you can find more bird species in Panama alone than in North America as a whole!

Volunteering in Panama allows you to lend a hand to the country’s gradual, sustainable development.   

Panama is a beautiful country rich in traditions, food, and history. Here you will have an amazing opportunity to volunteer and help others and be in contact with a society on the rise.


In Panama, you are not paid for your time as a volunteer, but you may get money to cover expenses. This is usually limited to food, drink, travel, or any equipment you need to buy.

Also, you might be classed as an employee or worker rather than a volunteer if you get any other payment, reward, or benefit in kind. However, some organizations give volunteers allowances.

How can you become a volunteer in Panama?

To become a volunteer in Panama requires a step-to-step guide.

Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help you on your quest to get volunteer opportunities in Panama and make your volunteer period stress-free.


Panama has lots of volunteering opportunities, anyone, considering volunteering in Panama should make at least a basic effort to learn the local language. Combining Spanish lessons with volunteer work is a bit difficult, you might not have enough time on your hands to combine the two. 

Although about 14% of Panamanians speak English(which is the second most used language there) it is still basically important to learn Spanish. Once you have learned Spanish you can now focus on getting a volunteering job. 



The second step to getting volunteering opportunities in Panama is to know what you have to offer and how to deliver. Typically, nonprofits are often searching for people who can help them in precise areas, like fundraising, PR and marketing, event planning, and finances.

Choosing to volunteer for an organization or cause that you feel passionate about can increase the chances that you enjoy the opportunity.

So, take time to determine what you really care about before starting a volunteer opportunity. Without doing this, the volunteer opportunities search period would be pointless and unsatisfactory.

The following are volunteer causes in Panama you can probably select from:

  • Teaching
  • Childcare
  • AnimalCare
  • Conservation work
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Health care
  • Crime alleviation
  • Women empowerment


A volunteer resume that lists your previous experience as a volunteer, as well as your skills and interests, can be a great asset when applying for opportunities.

A resume allows the organization to quickly see what you have to offer and help find the most appropriate volunteer position for you.


Identify how many hours and days a week or month you can commit yourself to the position. For example, if you work a full-time job during normal business hours, you may want to volunteer on Saturday or Sunday.

If you are a stay-at-home parent, you may want to volunteer more frequently. Being realistic about your availability can ensure you don’t over-commit or overwork yourself when volunteering.

The truth is, if it’s going to be too time-consuming or too much of a problem to get there, your will burn out faster, Trust me.


After identifying the cause you would like to support and how many hours you can dedicate to it, you can now start checking volunteer websites for available positions.

Much like job search sites, you can use volunteer sites like Volunteer world,, or to help you find volunteer opportunities in Panama.

Organizations list volunteer openings on their website, and you can search through and narrow them down, much like you would job listings.



If you still can’t find out where you want to volunteer, start asking people you know where they volunteer.

You may find one of them has the perfect opportunity for you, and it can make it easier to volunteer with someone you know the first time.

Volunteering with friends can make it less scary and more enjoyable because you’re with people you know and have fun with.

The Application Process –

Others will want many of the same things an employer would want. For instance, many will have you fill out an application.

They’ll likely want to talk with you, as well as check your references. Be courteous and professional throughout these interactions.

Spend some time preparing for the interview, much as you would for a job interview. Be ready to talk about yourself, your background, and what you have to offer to the organization.

Remember, the interview is also a time for you to assess whether the organization is the right fit for you. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have.

#7. Follow up after you apply and are interviewed.

After applying for a volunteer position, follow up two or three days later if you haven’t heard back from the organization.

Many nonprofit organizations are busy and have limited resources, meaning it can take longer to respond to inquiries about volunteer positions.

Following up ensures your volunteer application is received and conveys your interest in the opportunity.

Then, complete any required training and commit to the cause. Once you have secured a volunteer position, complete any training required.

Most training will be minimal, but some organizations require you to hold a certification or complete a training course before you can begin volunteering.

Then, fully commit to the cause. Let’s discuss how to find volunteering opportunities in Panama.


How can one find volunteering opportunities in Panama?

One can find volunteering opportunities in Panama through the following ways:

#1. Check out websites geared to skill-based volunteering. Below a

 A few excellent ones where you can find appropriate nonprofit opportunities: 

  • Oneworld 365
  • VolunteerMatch

Since it started operation in 2006, whether you’re over 50, a student, a medical professional, on a budget, or prefer a luxury volunteer and travel program, volunteer world helps you find the perfect volunteer opportunities in Panama.

In 2021, Volunteer World offers more than 1,600 volunteer programs in 84 countries. Whether you’re excited about marine conservation in Madagascar or wildlife conservation in South Africa, you will find these international volunteer opportunities along with many others on their platform.

Oneworld 365

One World 365 will inspire you to do something different and experience a new region of the world.

If you would like to work abroad, learn a new skill, contribute and help by volunteering, see wildlife on a safari or go off the beaten track you will find something to match your interests. One works 365 offers amazing volunteer opportunities on their website.


VolunteerMatch is one of the largest databases for connecting nonprofits with volunteers. Since its inception, VolunteerMatch has connected 15.2 million volunteers to organizations globally.

VolunteerMatch offers a simple interface for either posting volunteer roles or searching for them. Nonprofits, schools, and non-U.S. NGOs are all welcome to submit a call for volunteers, as well as government organizations and other tax-exempt organizations. is an environmental and forward-thinking organization that facilitates voluntary services overseas in southern and central America. They get you the best volunteer opportunities in Panama no matter the cause.

Adventure Volunteer is incorporated as a non-profit association in Spain with Tax Identification Number G98882483. It is registered in the national registry of associations with the number 612414 and is based in Valencia. 

The organization consists of a team of professionals with in-depth experience in international volunteer programs all focused on social issues. Adventure volunteer is one of the best places to get amazing volunteer placements.

Several other volunteer websites like, work away e.t c offer amazing volunteer opportunities that you can in Panama.

#2. Look for places that let you interview before committing: 

A conversation with a nonprofit worker can give you a sense of the group’s agenda and needs so you can see if you think it’s a good fit. Conversely, the talk lets the group decide if it thinks you’ll be right for them.

#3. Network with friends and family:

If you still can’t find out where you want to volunteer, start asking people you know where they volunteer.

You may find one of them has the perfect opportunity for you, and it can make it easier to volunteer with someone you know the first time.

Volunteering with friends can make it less scary and more enjoyable because you’re with people you know and have fun with.

#4. You could try online volunteer jobs :

Some people have the time to go in person to an organization to volunteer. If that’s you, great. If it’s not, think about volunteering remotely by doing work online.

Many organizations are now looking for people who can help with things like writing and PR work, most of which can be done online.

Read Also: Top 13 Dentistry Volunteering Programs Abroad In 2023


Below are 10 volunteering opportunities in Panama available this 2023:

#1. Teaching assistant at village schools (Give and surf)

Since it began in 2011, Give & Surf has strived to provide equal access to education for the indigenous communities of Bocas del Toro.

Due to the isolated nature of some of these village communities, they have limited access to school, and thus Give & Surf offers preschool, after-school, and summer camp programs to supplement the education provided by the public government. 

They now serve over 500 students weekly in the community centers and preschools in eight communities on five islands and continue to grow each year!

Available Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers have the unique opportunity to be immersed in the local island communities and assist with the preschool and after-school programs. 

Weekdays typically consist of a half-day of volunteering as an assistant teacher/instructor with one of their preschool or after-school programs and the remaining time is free to explore and enjoy the beautiful Bocas islands. 

Volunteers are encouraged to share their passions and talents and help plan activities for children to participate in including arts & crafts, sports, field trips, and more! 

Groups of volunteers are also welcome to help with special projects such as the construction of a new playground or school.


  • Minimum Age: 18 years I.e at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
  • Language Skills:You need to speak English (basic level)
  • Education Requirements: at High school level
  • Nationality Restrictions: No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
  • Other Skills: Must enjoying working with kids but no previous experience is required! Some knowledge of Spanish is helpful but not required.
  • Time Commitment: Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:30 – 13:30
  • Location: bocas del Toro
  • More information@ volunteerworld com

Note: there are fees to be paid by volunteers

2. Animal Conservation Volunteer

The animal rescue center cares for animals that have fallen victim to the illegal animal trade. In most cases, they have been confiscated from customs at the airport or on the black market.

Some animals have also been rescued from other captivity (e.g. private households, circuses, hotels, etc.) and brought to the station. Sadly, most of the animals are in life-threatening and terrifying conditions.

The animal rescue center loves nursing the animals back to health. The best-case scenario is their reintroduction back to the wild.

Unfortunately, this is only possible in rare cases, as many animals would no longer survive in their natural habitat or become poaching victims again.

So, about 300 animals have found a safe home in the animal rescue center. In addition to the extensive areas for the rescued animals, there is a vet station and a visitors’ center.


  • Minimum Age: 18 years
  • I.e at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your parents accompany you.
  • Language Skills
  • You need to speak English (intermediate level)
  • Nationality Restrictions
  • No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
  • Time Commitment
  • Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • Note: volunteers are to pay a stipulated fee 
  • More information on

Read Also: 10 Best Volunteering Virginia Beach Opportunities In 2023

#3. VAW medical outreach: 

VAW – Medical Outreach allows volunteers to shadow medical professionals and work side by side with experienced doctors. Volunteers will accumulate medicines prior to the trip to the host country.

While in-country, volunteers will shadow and assist the doctors, perform triage, measure vital statistics, manage the pharmacy and teach public health classes, all under the direct supervision of experienced, local doctors.

This is an intensive internship, valuable to future nurses, physicians, dental assistants, dentists, public health majors, and anyone interested in gaining experience working in the medical field or internationally.

VAW Global Health Alliances develops community health systems while allowing interns and volunteers to work alongside experienced local healthcare professionals.

VAW Global Medical Interns and volunteers work closely with community partners to implement primary medical clinics across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).


  • Multiple Locations
  • Philippines
  • Peru
  • Panama
  • Guatemala
  • Dominican Republic


VAW Global Health Alliances

8595 Pelham Rd, Suite 400 #301

Greenville, SC 29615, USA

VAW Global: +1 (888) VAW-TRIP (829-8747) | [email protected]

Project Types: 

Health Sexual Health Medical Community Development Education Service-Learning Teaching.

#4. Global brigades

Since 2008, Global Brigades has refined a holistic approach specific to the strengths and goals of Panamanian communities to grow local economies, improve access to healthcare and empower families with legal resources to resolve disputes and formalize businesses.

Inspired by our many indigenous community partners, our Panama model promotes a sense of belonging within communities and prioritizes collaboration program execution.

Panama boasts one of Global Brigades’ strongest economic development programs having established over 20 internationally recognized community-owned banks in some of the country’s most under-resourced, rural communities. 
Global Brigades has registered charities in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany.
General Inquiries
Phone: +001 (206) 489-4798
[email protected]

#5. Sea turtle conservation volunteer

Panama is a country where you can meet wild nature, know the Caribbean culture and everything in a country considered the safest in Latin America.

If it is your first volunteer experience abroad, a volunteer in Panama is the ideal destination for its safety, landscapes, culture, and its charismatic people.

It was the first country where Adventure Volunteer impacted social and environmental work, currently, it continues to be one of the most chosen destinations by international volunteers.

With the purpose of executing and implementing activities aimed at protecting, maintaining, and promoting the growth of aquatic biodiversity, the volunteer program for the conservation of sea turtles in Panama was created.

In this sense, it seeks to sensitize the population near the beaches, about the conservation and protection of endangered species.

Volunteer responsibility

  • Preparation of the sand for the creation of the nurseries.
  • Night jobs such as: Patrols on the beach where the turtles nest.
  • Protection of female turtles. When the tours are carried out and you see a turtle that is arriving at the beach, the patrolling group must wait without making the least noise possible for the sea turtle to start the process of laying the eggs and then proceed to take the measurements, identify the type of turtle species and relocate the eggs in the hatchery.
  • Both volunteers and local staff must monitor and care for the nests in the nursery.
  • In case of birth, the hatchlings are released on the beach.
  • During the day all the volunteers as local staff carry out activities and maintenance tasks in the areas of the beach, the town and various jobs within the area where the project is developed.
  • Holding talks in schools and the town about caring for the environment and the importance of sea turtles.
  • Support classes at the village school. In case you indicate your interest.
  • During the day, environmental education and outreach activities are scheduled at the school in the community where the project is located. Additionally, activities are carried out with daily visitors to the beach where the volunteer must give their support to the project coordinating team.


It requires good physical condition since the routes are long distances and in places with loose sand.

In addition to having the following qualities: Volunteers must be respectful of nature, of the rules at the project (no smoking, no drinking), open to learning, and passionate about helping turtles. e.t.c


Street Arce, – 46190 Riba-Roja de Turia (Valencia) Spain

+34 633 876 857

[email protected]

Note: volunteers are expected to pay certain fees for lodging and food.

Read Also: 10 Best Retiree And Senior Volunteering Opportunities In 2023

#6. Ecofarms Panama Volunteers

ECOFARMS Panama is a Panamanian grassroots non-profit organization that strives to conserve and restore the tropical rainforest of the Mamoni River Valley.

Working together with the community, they attempt to improve the quality of life of local people and the environment’s overall health in the Mamoni River region by implementing sustainable land use management systems.

Their declared goals include:
• Promote tropical agriculture research;
• Sustainable land use management;
• Forest conservation and restoration;
• Environmental education.
 Areas of action include:
✓Forestry Management
✓Outdoor recreation
and also
✓Graphic Design

A voluntary work program is open for all students, professionals, and adventurers from all over the world that would like to donate their time, experience, and knowledge to help to reach our goals.

Applications are always open for the next quarter, fill out the application form on their website and send it together with a resume and a brief essay outlining your motivation at [email protected].

Gaspar Sabanas, Chepo District, Panama
+507 6929 2195
[email protected]

#7. Ancon animal shelter volunteer

At the Ancón Animal Shelter, a refuge for animals that need to recover from poaching or other human actions. Many of these animals are endangered, and really need the help given at the Shelter to be able to go back to nature and perpetuate their species.

The Shelter also has many rare and important plant species, many of which have great medicinal, ornamental, or nutritional value.

Many of these plants are also endangered native Panamanian plants that have lived for centuries, making this an extremely important area for both local flora and fauna.

Some of the animals that can be found at the center are jaguars, ocelots, cougars, red foxes, harpy eagles, white-tailed deer, peccaries, raccoons, macaws, great white egrets, tapirs, anteaters, black cats, white-faced capuchins, marmosets, spider monkeys, night monkeys, howler monkeys, American crocodiles, iguanas, ducks, and parrots. 

As a volunteer, you contribute in 4 ways
✓Environmental education

Volunteers work on weekdays (Monday through Friday) from 7:00 to 15:00. Weekends are free for volunteers to go explore and discover all the beautiful places Panama has to offer. 

If a volunteer has to be absent from the Shelter on a weekday, they have to inform their project coordinator beforehand.

Ancon asks their volunteers to be completely involved in the project and to be passionate about nature and helping plants and animals.


#8. Volunteer with the floating doctor

Several mountains, jungles, politics, economics, and bigotry separate our patients from their basic human right of ACCESS to care, so we come to our patients’ communities and to their homes, traveling by boat, by foot, by dugout canoe, horse, and rescue panga.

Volunteering with Floating Doctors provides experienced clinicians and medical students alike with the unique opportunity to see advanced and unusual disease cases, hone their clinical diagnostic skills, and challenge their ability to provide the best outcome possible for a patient, even with limited resources (and to practice their Medical Spanish!). 

Floating Doctors organize Day Long and Multi-Day Clinics. The Multi-Day Mobile Clinics function the same way as the Day Long Mobile Clinics but leave us in the community for 3 – 4 days living, working, and sleeping with the patients we serve.

This provides a unique opportunity to get to know the people you’re serving on a much deeper level than a day-long clinic provides.

You can be sure to treat a lot of patients, be introduced to amazing cultures, and make a lot of friends along the way! So if you are medical personnel, leggo!

All Volunteer information is at [email protected]

Read Also: San Antonio Volunteering Opportunities In 2023 | Full Guide

#9. Carribean coral restoration centre volunteer

At the heart of this organization is profound love and appreciation for the amazing world under the sea’s surface. In witnessing the systemic imbalance where we live, their love for the sea became an organization intent on taking action.

They are a team of indispensable volunteers, generous experts, astounding apprentices, a motivated board of directors, and an administrative support system that keeps pressing the organization ever forward.

At this center, they care about aquatic animals and their environs. Several opportunities are available at CCRC

✓Nursery Assistant
✓Social Good Influencer
✓Event & Nursery Photographer

✓Grant Writers
✓Social Media Assistance
✓Translation Services

CONTACT:[email protected]

#10. School reinforcement in indigenous communities (velacruz,Panama)

The children and youth in the Guna indigenous community of Veracruz are facing large barriers that prevent them from succeeding: poverty, reduced access to education, little investment in the area, and, as we’ve noticed, a loss of attachment to their roots.

These factors have incredibly affected their social, psychological, and personal development. 

As a volunteer in this community, you can help reduce the impacts of all of these problems in the lives of these indigenous children:

  • Through school review and reading/writing comprehension classes you can help them strengthen their academic skills;
  • While by having a cultural exchange and sharing your own culture with them;
  • You can help empower the children’s own unique culture, which in turn makes these children feel more interested and attached to it.

It’s important to let every child to know that their own culture and language is a valuable and beautiful part of their identity. 

At the center, you will work with approximately fifty children (but not all at once!), performing tasks such as school review (in subjects such as Math, Science, Spanish, Reading, English, or Singing), conducting cultural empowerment workshops, helping in Dülegaya (the Guna people’s language) e.t.c

General Requirements

Here are some general requirements that apply to most volunteer programs in Panama:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer work in Panama. When in doubt, contact the local project manager to be sure you are qualified.
  • You should have an intermediate level of English knowledge; most projects for volunteering also require basic to intermediate Spanish knowledge.
  • Depending on the project you’re interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.
  • Volunteers are expected to pay stipulated amounts for accommodation and feeding and other necessities.
  • If you would be volunteering short term:
  • Panama grants 180-day tourist visas to residents of most foreign countries without prior application. Residents of Canada, the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand or the European Union, and some other places are able to work as a volunteer on a tourist visa for up to 180 days.
  • Citizens from all other nationalities need a Tourist Card (US$5) that they either have to get from the embassy of Panama in their country or at the airport in Panama before going through immigration. Please contact the embassy in your country to find out which is the case for you.

For long-term volunteers: 
If you want to volunteer in Panama for more than 180-days and are a citizen from countries granted a 180-day tourist visa, you can apply for an extension for up to another 30, 60 or 90 days. Immigration recommends you apply at least a week before your time is up.

In case you do not want to apply for a visa extension or you would like to extend your stay for longer than 90 days you can always leave the country for 3 days. Upon return, a new 180-day visa will be granted to you.

For more information please consult the closest embassy or consulate of Panama.

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Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action.  These actions shape and mold the present into a future we can all be proud of.” – Helen Dyer.

When preparing to volunteer in Panama, ensure you learn their language, map out your schedule and cross-check if you match their requirements. Volunteer websites are always there to assist you.

Always remember that as much as you might enjoy Panama, you are there to volunteer for the greater good and so be passionate about it. You never can tell it might open doors to jaw-dropping opportunities for you.



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