Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Panama

Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Panama

We have a grassroots community organisation to investigate further but for the moment hostel work exchanges seem to be the way to go in Panama.

Hostel Work Exchanges

Many hostels use help exchange networks (see below) to find volunteer staff but the following either advertise on their websites or are particularly noted for taking on volunteers:

Bambu Hostel

Be a part of team Bambu and learn the inner workings of a popular international hostel. In exchange for desk, yard or bar work you get a bed in their AC dorm for volunteers.

More Hostel Work Exchanges

We had plenty of options for wannabe hostel volunteers on our original list put together in 2014 but almost each and every single one of them seems to have since gone by the wayside. We have strong doubts too about Purple House, originally opened by New Yorker Andrea.  She volunteered with the Peace Corps and travelled as a backpacker, including some time spent working in backpacker hostels before she started her business in David. She offered a free bed in exchange for helping out around the place. The hostel has now changed hands and we’re not sure if the volunteer tradition has continued, if the place is even open, closed due to current events, or closed for good. Drop us a line if anyone knows what’s happening here?

Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Panama

Help Exchange Networks in Panama

HelpStay Work Exchanges

Volunteer Latin America –
Workaway –
Hovos –

More Volunteering in Panama Resources

How to Cruise the Panama Canal for Free – Panamanian law dictates that every boat, no matter how small, must have four line handlers when it makes a crossing of the Panama Canal. Since professional line handlers can cost up to US$100 per transit, many captains are prepared to give fellow travellers a free passage in exchange for working aboard.

Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Panama

Stay for free in return for caring for local residents’ homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). You can also get a free Airbnb credit from us here..

Volunteer Experiences*

Sailing the Panama Canal – Kyle Mateo worked his passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean by taking a volunteer job on the sailboat of an 80 year old Frenchman. Previously he had subsidised his journey from Honduras by scrubbing the hull, sanding and staining wood and being the night watch while his boat sailed to Colon.
Working Aboard A Caribbean Sailing Yacht – The Runaway Guide writes from the sun deck of an 80 foot yacht plying its trade between Panama and Colombia.
Panamania – It’s a Surf Christmas! – Chelsea and Andrew volunteer in a small hotel in Santa Catalina.

* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations

Image courtesy FutureExpat


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