Volunteer in Panama


Get involved in a variety of community aid projects in beautiful Panama. With such a range of interesting projects there's one to suit everyone. You have the opportunity to contribute to orphanage, school, wildlife, and environmental projects, working with the elderly or handicapped, literacy projects, jewellery making, and much more! The Panama projects are based in the small mountain village of Boquete. It is a picturesque tropical rainforest tucked away on the eastern slopes of Volcan Baru.

People can spend a lifetime searching for their passion and a sense of purpose. I am thankful for the GVN Panama Volunteer Coordinators, two people who have found their passion and dedicate their being to service for others. Through them I have realized that I can make an impact. Boquete was my first true service experience, and thanks to Kaytee & Oscar, I will continue to pursue this newfound passion!

Jen | Panama Volunteer


Such a great organization!!! This was the best volunteer experience of my life. GVN's partner organisation is doing such great things for the community. I think that everyone should be given the same opportunity that I had because it was life-changing. Keep up the good work!

Meg | Panama Volunteer


Just Choose a Project and Apply!


Volunteers are accommodated in either a volunteer house or a home stay. For volunteers staying in the volunteer house, it is conveniently located in the center of town on the main street; the home has a peaceful atmosphere that will  make you feel just at home. The home has hot water and you will be able to share an equipped kitchen, a comfortable living room lounge to chill out and free internet access is available. Volunteers need to bring their own towels and laundry services are available within a block of the home. Volunteers should expect to share a room with a fellow volunteer of the same gender, the house can accommodate up to 13 people at one time.

For volunteers living in home stays conditions may be more rustic than for those in the volunteer house and an extra charge will apply. However, living with a Panamanian family during your volunteer time is an incredible cultural experience. A homestay offers you an amazing opportunity to practice Spanish in a natural, relaxed and authentic atmosphere as well as being in a unique position to be immersed in the Latin American culture, cuisine, customs and daily way of life.

Your program fee provides for your breakfast from the start date of your placement. Breakfast foods may include: cereal, bread with jam/peanut butter, fruit, yogurt, granola, pancakes, eggs, juice, tea and coffee. Please note that meals will differ between different accommodation. For all other meals - lunch, dinner and snacks - volunteers are responsible for purchasing at your own cost and preparing food for yourself.

GVN Projects: Only US $250 application fee + US $500 per week (for the first four weeks of placement), and $200 per week of placement after this. This includes accommodation, meals (as specified below), coordination, supervision, training, airport pick up and it is due at least 10 weeks prior to your arrival.

Registration Form


Unfortunately this program is not currently taking on more volunteers. Why not register your interest in this program? Then you will be first to know if places become available again.


Stay Informed about GVN's Programs


Why GVN?


Our vision is to connect people with communities in need, with a particular focus on vulnerable women and children. We do this by supporting the work of local community organizations in countries through the placement of international volunteers.

We are excited to get your placement under way where you will:

  • Be a part of GVN's efforts to inspire learning, innovation and action to unlock the potential of vulnerable communities around the world. Work with exceptional grassroots projects in community development, conservation and wildlife, personal development, fundraising and physical challenges.
  • Have the 24/7 support of a non profit with 14 years experience in placing 19950 volunteers that will provide you with an affordable and rewarding placement.
  • Volunteer with a world-class organization which is recommended by Bill Gates and CNN.
  • Be a part of progressive non profit that has raised over $2 million to help women and children in need.
  • Have the comfort of knowing that GVN staff have collectively flown over 1 million miles to ensure you get a quality placement.
  • Make a long-term impact in your community of choice - it's not just a vacation.




How GVN works...


The first step is to fill out an application to see if we have a place for you. Then if your application is successful you will be accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement.

GVN is a registered Charitable Trust, so volunteers finance themselves, or can fundraise online with our unique GVN platform, with US donors receiving tax receipts. The Program Package provides you with all that is listed below, along with personalized support from our expert staff and the knowledge that you'll be working with a reputable and registered charity with over 14 years experience in the field.

At the heart of our work is the communities our volunteers work to support - we ensure that these communities truly benefit from your time in Panama and that the Program Package fully supports you financially while you're volunteering.

Program Package

GVN Projects: Only US $250 application fee + US $500 per week (for the first four weeks of placement), and $200 per week of placement after this. This includes accommodation, meals (as specified below), coordination, supervision, training, airport pick up and it is due at least 10 weeks prior to your arrival. If signing up closer to the time, special arrangements can be made for the due date.

The Program Package also includes a project donation, which supports the work the GVN Foundation does in addressing nutrition, education and healthcare needs, as well as supporting longer-term development approaches, including income generation activities and microfinance.

Your program package includes:


  • Personal support from your Program Specialist throughout the preparation process.
  • Your Program Guide, with all the details on Panama and your placement.
  • Fundraising strategies and access to our crowd funding platform where you can raise up to 100% of the cost your trip, with tax receipts for your US based donors.
  • Access to Your Own Online Journal: which helps you to communicate effectively and easily with your family and friends back home.
  • Opportunities for Preferred Pricing and Personalized Service when booking Airfares: through our travel partner GYT Flight Centre who go the extra mile to support GVN volunteers.


  • Accommodation: Volunteer House (Home stays & several other lodging options can be arranged for an additional fee).
  • Meals: Breakfast daily.
  • Project Donation: Included to empower local organizations.
  • Airport pickup: On arrival date.
  • Training: In-country Orientation & training covering placement logistics & also a very personal exploration into your life goals & aspirations.
  • Supervision: In-country staff supervision.
  • Support: Pre-departure personal support from your volunteer coordinator, 24/7 in-country support from partner, and 24hr emergency line.
  • Extras: Spanish crash course, weekly volunteer dinners & outings, free reliable wi-fi Internet at volunteer house with access to volunteer computer, weekly volunteer reflections, Certificate of Completion & reference letter upon request.


  • An opportunity to debrief and provide feedback
  • Free access to GVN Changemakers program which alerts you to future internship/job opportunities at GVN.
  • A Letter of Completion in Volunteer Service.
  • The opportunity to stay connected with your project.
  • Global advocacy and fundraising campaigns to continue your part of the movement for social change with an international non-profit that has granted over $2 million to our partner organizations.

The program package does not include: Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, project transportation, departure from the program.

We recommend you allow a weekly budget of US $35 for your other expenses such as bottled water, personal items, beverages, transportation and entertainment.




Tell me more about Boquete, Panama?

The valley of Boquete is located in the western highlands of Panama at 1,200 meters above the sea. Nestled amongst the country’s most mountainous region, this peaceful town is situated between the Caldera River and the Baru Volcano. Boquete is considered the ecotourism capital of Panama and is known as the best coffee producer in the world. Surrounded by untouched tropical rain forests it is just one hour away from unspoiled white sand beaches in the Pacific and 3 hours away from Bocas del Toro in the Caribbean. Boquete is home to 20,000 welcoming people whose cultural roots can be traced from Native Indians, Spaniards, Europeans and North Americans among other ethnicities. All give shape to the cultural melting pot that is Boquete today.

What is the climate like in Boquete, Panama?

Boquete enjoys a sunny, cool mountain climate, with temperatures ranging between 60° - 80°F (16° - 28°C).

Where will I be located?

The projects will be predominantly located in Boquete and surrounding areas. However, some volunteers will be based in David.

What kind of volunteer work is available?

The Global Volunteer Network offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities in Panama. Volunteers can work with a range of projects including: orphanages, literacy, animal refuge, working with the elderly or handicapped, jewelry making and recycling. Our partner will also work with the volunteer closely to place you were your knowledge, skills and talents will be best used.

Do I have to be from New Zealand?

No, volunteers are welcome from any country.

Read More




About Panama



Panama is bordered by the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, and met by Colombia and Costa Rica at each end of it's S shaped body.

The valley of Boquete is located in the western highlands of Panama at 1,200 meters above the sea level. Nestled amongst the country's most mountainous region, this peaceful town is situated between the Caldera River and Baru Volcano.

Boquete is safe, beautiful, inexpensive and exciting. It can be easily accessed by 1 hour daily flights from Panama City to David (the country's second largest city), and then a 30-40 minute car / 1 hour bus journey from here.

Development in Panama

Strong economic performance has reduced the national poverty level to 29% in 2008; however, Panama has the second most unequal income distribution in Latin America. Panama has extremes of wealth and poverty with the wealthiest 20 percent of Panamanians controlling more than 50 percent of the country's wealth, while the poorest 40 percent only control 12 percent.

Despite Panama's relatively high income per capita (US$3,080 in 1997), poverty remains pervasive. Over one million people (37 percent of the population) live below the poverty line. Of these, over half a million (19 percent) live in extreme poverty. One-half of all Panamanian children are poor.

Volunteer Impact

Volunteers provide assistance to disadvantaged socio-economic groups within Panamanian communities, focusing primarily on orphaned children, animals, environmental projects and school children.

As a volunteer in Panama you can provide love, affection, education and support to orphaned children.  You will help to improve education in schools ensuring children learn and flourish. Depending on your interests you can also contribute to recycling projects, working with the elderly, or handicapped and jewellery making.  You will also provide education, inter-cultural exchange and understanding in Panamanian communities.

What else can I do in Panama?

Free from large crowds of tourists, visitors to Panama will enjoy discovering this beautiful country.

Panama has no shortage of stunning beaches, mountains and rain forests to explore, along with it's smattering of colonial towns home to exquisite handicrafts and the country's friendliest people.

Those looking to get further out and explore will enjoy trekking in the Parque Nacional Volcán Barú, home to Panama's only volcano.

Spanish Lessons

All volunteers will have the option of adding Spanish classes to enhance their volunteer experience for an additional fee with our partner school.

Also, Global Volunteer Network has established a partnership with the Spanish school Instituto Exclusivo, which offers GVN volunteers a 5% discount off their online Spanish lessons. This is not like other courses which give you pages of web material or recordings of various phrases to repeat. You will speak to, and see your instructor as he/she is giving you a private lesson, tailored to your level of Spanish. Learn spanish before you go


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