There’s so much more to this isthmus nation than its eponymous canal.
Panama, at its heart, is a mesmerizing mix of past, present, and what could be. And there’s no experience that embodies that idea like waking up in modern, metropolitan Panama City, hopping on a bus to a boat launch on the banks of the Rio Chagres, and boarding a dugout canoe that might as well be a time machine.
So check out these Panama pictures and follow along as we take a group of teachers and students to visit a village still inhabited by the country’s indigenous Emberá tribe.
Fun fact: If you squint, you can maybe-kinda-sorta see EF’s Panama office in this picture. (Yep, we’re locals here, too.) Our destination, an Emberá village, is only accessible by boat, so our group is ferried on a piragua, made from hollowed-out tree trunks.
We pull off into a small inlet, disembark, then hike in the shallows until we reach a jungle waterfall that makes for the perfect Panama picture. Our guide surprises us with an effortless dive into the swirling water moments after we snap this photo. We return to the boat and, a short ride later, pull up to the docks in the village.
Our time in the village is unstructured, giving us the chance to explore, interact, and observe.
Students are offered traditional (temporary) tattoos using a dye made from the jagua fruit.
This experience has been as different from my own life as it could possibly be, and, even though it’s so out of my comfort zone, I’m so comfortable here.
—Parting words from a student in our group
This is just one day on EF’s Discover Panama tour.
Heather is a writer and associate creative director at EF. She drinks an excessive amount of seltzer, she’s happiest when she’s at the beach, and, if she wasn’t a writer, she’d probably be a professional organizer. Her favorite place to visit is Italy.
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