Our 8th year of Educational and Cultural Exchange
Central America, Panama
August 2-10, 2013
International Travel Wellness Adventure open to Youth and Adults
Panama City, Chagres National Park, Embera Nation,
Guna Yala (San Blas), Coiba National Park
As Indigenous people traditionally did, we travel to exchange and gather knowledge at the center of
"The Americas." Winged creatures and mammals of the sea continue to gather at the center of
the continent - also known as "Turtle Island."
On our eighth Tribal Exchange trip to Panama, YNS and InterTribalYouth.org will visit three sovereign
Tribal Reservations. We will touch two of the largest oceans on the planet, in one day!
The Caribbean/Atlantic and Pacific.
We'll arrive along ridges of volcanoes, over Costa Rica and
above the fertile land known as Turtle Island arriving in Panama - the "Bridge of the Americas."
We take time to rest our wings. Known as the "safest city" in Latin America, Panama's friendly
city people welcome you in Spanish, English, Creole, Island English, Chinese and Indigenous Dialects. This is
where World Trade Routes were realized and where Balboa Vasquez Nuñez / Panama American World Fair, inspired
San Diego's Balboa Park on the grounds of the Kumeyaay Villages to the North.
Day 1, 2: Cerro Azul, Chagres National Forest
We will be waiting to greet you at the airport in Panama. We spend our first two nights in local mountains,
20 minutes from the airport at a small bed and breakfast in El
Cerro Azul (Blue Mountains), Chagres National Forest. We are given time to rest and unwind, before embarking
upon hikes in the mountains where rainforests, waterfalls, monkeys, sloths, and toucans abound. The world’s
largest list of birds is documented in Panama, and it continues to grow. Like many Panamanians around the canal
area, our hosts are Panamanian of Jamaican and Mestizo decent. The Afro-Caribbean Culture is dominant in the
heavily populated areas of Panama City and Colon. The Chagres National Park is the natural water shed that
fills the Canal, its nature and beauty as a "cloud forest" is inspiring
Day 3: Wounaan/Embera “Healing People” Chagres National Park or Bayano
Exploring the waterways and most pristine rainforests in the world, our group will meet Native relations on the
isthmus bridge of the Americas. A healing people, Wounann/Embera, also known as Choco, have survived and maintained
their culture and traditions despite the colonialism. Life will unfold in its most natural state and purest form
in these sacred lands. After a short bus ride, we will travel by dugout boats through the rivers and rainforest
to exchange cultural presentations and engage in discussions with three Embera Communities. The community is
looking to make connections in sustainable tourism and trade, and together we can explore possible avenues toward
Day 4, 5: Guna Yala, aka Archipelago of San Blas, Caribbean Sea
A model of Sovereignty and Autonomy, Guna Yala People hold it down on the colors of the Caribbean, which are
highlighted in the traditional textiles of las molas. This is the safe zone of the Caribbean; Panama’s coast
is hurricane free. San Blas / Guna Yala is a sacred paradise, as visitors must receive permission to enter
this territory. We have built a good relationship with the Native people of this community, and they open their
houses, tribal councils and traditional ways to us. We share with them the calm, comforting blue waters of the
Caribbean Sea—Earth’s nourishing swimming pool—and trade stories about our ancestral roots. Cultural Presentation
and discourse are shared here at this UNESCO “World Heritage” Site.
Day, 6, 7: Cebaco Island and Coiba National Park, Pacific Ocean
Island of Cebaco and Montijo Bay is life as we know it, or should know it and was the home to pre-colombian
indigenous king and anti-colonial warrior. Today, this area is of global importance and recognized for its
infinite biodiversity. On both the list of the United Nations World Heritage and Ramsy World Report on protected
areas, Montijo Bay and the islands give all and ask only for kindness in return. We are blessed to co-exist
within this sacred life force and remain in awe, humility at nature’s perfect state.
By small boat, we explore
deep inlets of mangroves and bare witness to rare birds, reptiles and monkeys in abundance. Montijo Bay or “Gulfo”
is the conversion of sweet water (agua dulce) and the open sea, the transition between land and ocean life.
A cradle of life. Dolphins, sea turtles, and whales are often seen and birds circling the grounds under light blue skies. Water
instills a deeper sense and meditation. Like everything, fine food is served, pure and fresh. The options of
snorkeling, horseback riding, surfing, kayaking, fishing, island hoping, and exploration of the greatest and
newest biological find in the world- Coiba National Park - and more are at your leisure. One is immersed in the
rhythm of nature: one vibe.
Day 8, 9: Panama City and Departure
We arrive to the City the night before from our cultural and eco-adventure. Here we have time to tour around
Panama City, and see the famous Panama Canal. There is also an option to visit the Smithsonian or to visit any
of the wonderful world-class restaurants or shopping malls.
Program cost of $1200. All lodging, meals, and in-country transportation, flights, water tours, etc is included in
the program cost. Airfare to Panama is not included.
Application Deadline and Eligibility
Applications must be received before July 1, 2013 for the August Trip. Late Registrations will be accepted with a $100 extra fee.
Space is limited, so please register early.
If an invitation letter is needed to assist you with your fundraising or you have questions about late registration,
please call: 858-764-3900.
Participation is open to any individual 9th grade and up including students, family, siblings, teachers, or community
members with a desire to learn and enthusiasm for adventure.
To learn more about Panama and its people before arriving, the links below will provide some starting points:
Caribbean Island Boat Tours
Coiba Island National Park, E. Pacific Ocean's Largest Biodiversity
Cloud Forest 2-night stay
Panama Canal and City Tour
Nature and Wildlife Observation
Cultural Education with Tribal People of: Embera Wounaan, Guna-Yala, Nobe Bugle