Our Mission
Unexpected Moments of Magic Panama is dedicated to empowering individuals worldwide through the encouragement of self-exploration through social entrepreneurship, volunteerism, philanthropy and education as powerful forces for worldwide change. Be the change!

What to take with you
When packing your bag consider the security regulations that have been put in place in the last few years when traveling on airlines. Ensure items that may be considered dangerous such as pocket knifes or items in a medical kit are not packed in carry-on luggage.

Some suggestions for what you may need in Panama:

  • Duplicate copies of papers, e.g. passport, visa, spare passport photos
  • Original copy of your police check
  • The program guide: as it has information that you may want while in Panama
  • Credit card, traveler's checks or cash for program and additional spending you may require funds for (there are many atm's, so try not to travel with more than $200)
  • Journal & pens to keep a diary (highly recommended and used during orientation)
  • Guide to sightseeing and traveling in Panama
  • Flashlight/head lamp with spare batteries
  • Books to read, playing cards or other activities for quiet times
  • If staying with a host family, it is appropriate if house guests bring a small gift for the family they are staying with. Simple souvenir items from your home country are suggested, such as a t-shirt, cap, key ring, tea towel, coffee mug, candies or chocolate bars.

  • Towel
  • Sleeping bag (for traveling)
  • Clothing - Consider the temperature and environment you will be working in and activities you plan to do
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Sturdy comfortable footwear as well as a pair of sandals for light walking
  • A day pack (smaller pack for carrying items you need for the day)

  • Sunscreen, insect repellent & hand sanitizer
  • Camera/I-pod/Laptop
  • Adapter
  • A small padlock for locking luggage (for traveling)
  • A Personalized Medical Kit. Here are some items you may like to include: aspirin, antihistamine for allergies & relief for bites,'blockers' & re-hydration salt sachets for diarrhea, antibiotic & antiseptic cream, antibacterial wipes, band aids/plasters and bandages, Calamine lotion or aloe vera to ease sunburn & bites, gauze pads, plastic gloves, lip balm, scissors and tweezers(many of these items are also available in the Volunteer House).

If you are bringing prescription medication into Panama, it is advisable that the label which identifies it as belonging to you accompanies the medication or you get a note from your doctor. Common medicines are easy to procure in Panama due to the number of pharmacies throughout the country. 

When packing your luggage remember not to put your fist aid kit in hand luggage.

What to Wear
Boquete is a fairly conservative town, so modest clothing is best. With certain placements professional attire is required. For example, women working at Hogar Trisker need to wear pants & sleeved tops. At the medical placement, more professional attire is also needed. So to be safe, come prepared to be professional.

Generally speaking on your off time, what you wear at home, you can wear in Panama. With that being said, as many variations of style differ, volunteers should dress appropriately at all times, according to the customs in Panama. Volunteers need warmer clothing for the nights (light long-sleeved shirts/sweaters and pants/jeans), and light/loose clothing for the day (t-shirts, shorts, skirts).

The valley of Boquete is located in the western highlands of Panama at 1,200 meters above the sea. Boquete enjoys a sunny, cool mountain climate, comfortable year round, with temperatures ranging between 16° - 28°C (60° - 80°F). Rain showers are typical and frequent so a light jacket is or an umbrella is very useful.

With this in mind, comfort and climate should be key motivations for what to wear. Also take into consideration what you would like to do on your free time. For example, if you plan to hike the volcano, much warmer clothing will be needed, where as if you plan to spend time at the beach, lighter clothing will be needed. There are several places in Panama where you may also want something more formal to wear, such a restaurants and for going out.

Take note of the time of year you are volunteering and bring appropriate clothing. For more information on Panama's climate take a look at http://www.worldclimate.com.

Money Exchange
The Panamanian currency has recently changed from the Balboa to the US dollar. The US dollar is now the official currency, but there exist a dual system and both the Balboa and the US dollar are accepted in most places:

The Panamanian balboa (B) = 100 centesimos. The official paper currency is the U.S. dollar, which is accepted everywhere at the rate of B1 = US$1.

Coins: B1 and B10; 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 centesimos.
The centesimos coins are of identical size, denomination, and metal as U.S. coins, and the coins of both nations are used here interchangeably.

To perform a currency conversion visit: http://www.xe.com/ucc/

You can exchange hard currencies in cash or travelers' checks at banks and foreign exchange bureaus all over the country, and at most large hotels for a poorer rate. Be sure to ask first what commission and what charges will be deducted, as they vary. When visiting foreign exchange bureaus and banks you will most likely be asked for proof of your identity, so take your passport with you. Many hotels and mid-range shops accept Credit Cards (MasterCard, Visa, Amex, Access, Diners Club). However, an additional fee may apply. At some banks, you can get cash advances against Visa or MasterCard, however ATM machines are best for this method of getting cash. You will need to check with your bank to see if your card can be used in Panama and to find out what their international transaction chargers are. You may also want to inform your bank of your plans to travel, as they can freeze your accounts on suspicion of fraud.

Banking hours are: Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm, with some open on Saturdays.