Panama Through the Lens, a Journey Unveiled

  • Enjoy daily lessons on all things photography from your 2-time Pulitzer Prize winner instructor Essdras M Suarez, as you learn how to see better and become a better photographer while photographing big and small things alike in this wonderful corner of the world dubbed the “Bridge of the World… Heart of the Universe”.
  • Our adventure begins in Panama City with a city tour, where we’ll explore this exciting metropolis and photograph some of its most iconic historical sites such as Panama Viejo.
  • Stay at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort along the shores of the Panama Canal and enjoy its many attractions, including a canopy ride, orchid greenhouse and poison-dart frog habitats, sloth-rescue center, and more.
  • Take a canoe ride to visit the Embera indigenous tribe living along the shores of the Panama Canal. Train your lenses on a myriad of bird species on the world-renowned Gamboa Pipeline Road as we photograph one of the Audubon Society’s favorite spots.
  • Special behind-the-scene access as you photograph the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks and Gillard’s Cut, and explore Panama’s Casco Antiguo.  Visit unique marketplaces and walk along the colorful Amador Causeway.
  • We’ve added an extra to allow you to fully experience and photograph the Panama Canal while visiting the Pacific and Atlantic locks.
  • Spend 3 days in the highlands of Panama’s cloud forest, learn and photograph about the business of coffee growing, and imbibe some unique concoctions. Visit an apiary for a specialty honey taste extravaganza.
  • Prepare for an exciting visit to the area of Volcan and visit Finca Ceriana, where you’ll get to photograph a whole new different palette of avians while you learn about sustainability and crop growing in this pristine environment.
  • Fly back to Panama City for an exciting last look at the other entrance of the Panama Canal on the Atlantic side, where we’ll visit the Aguas Clara Locks and visitor center and learn and photograph some of the biggest ships in the world.

Participants: Min 8 / Max 12

Dates: Feb 29th-March 8th, 2024

Length: 9 days/ 8 nights

Double: $4,790 / Single: $5,490

Save your spot: $500

Initial dep. by 9/3/23: $1,290

Final Payment: Dec. 1, 2023

(Save your spot fee is non-refundable, yet fully transferable to another EMS PA program,  service, or product for a period of 364 calendar days from Feb 29, 2024)

Visit to distinct areas of the Isthmus


Explore Panama City and its surroundings with special behind-the-scenes access to the inner workings of the Panama Canal. Tour the Miraflores and Agua Clara lock systems and their visitor centers to learn about the history and engineering of one of the Original Seven Wonders of the Modern World. You’ll also have the opportunity to photograph massive container ships stacked sky-high, electric tugboats known as “mules” that pull these giants through the locks, and elegant sailboats crossing this famous waterway. Stay at the world-renowned Gamboa Rainforest Resort Lodge, where you’ll enjoy a warm breeze and tropical birds singing on your private balcony, overlooking the Panama Canal and the Chagres River. Take a gondola ride over the forest canopy for a unique perspective on wildlife at a height that nearly touches the treetops. Here, you can spot bird nests, monkeys, and even sloths. From there, climb an observation tower for a panoramic view of the Canal’s narrowest point, Gillard’s Cut or Corte de Culebra. This vantage point provides a comprehensive look at the amount of traffic that crosses this waterway. Embark on a guided bird-watching tour along the world-famous Gamboa Pipeline Road, known for having one of the highest concentrations of bird species in Central America. According to experts, the number of species you can spot during just a couple hours’ walk on Pipeline Road ranges from 65 to 85 species seen and around 35 to 40 heard but not seen. Furthermore, Panama is home to over 400 local species, and the total count, including migratory birds, exceeds 1,000 different species!

  1. La Ciudad de Panamá, ubicada en la entrada del Pacífico del Canal de Panamá, y el área de la cuenca del Canal de Panamá con su exuberante selva tropical.
  2. Los bosques nubosos de las Tierras Altas de Chiriquí, los pintorescos pueblos de Boquete y Volcán mientras experimenta un bosque lluvioso templado y todo lo que tiene para ofrecer.
  • Take a dugout canoe ride to visit an Embera Indigenous tribe’s village located in the waters of Rio Chagres and along the shores of the Panama Canal and step back in time, where you will witness the way this gentle tribe has lived for centuries. And share with them a traditional meal of fish or other protein accompanied by fried plantains, all wrapped in banana leaves while they regale our groups with stories and dances. The Embera are some of the friendliest and most photogenic people in Panama.

Chiriqui Highlands and the Town of Boquete

  • Be ready to photograph an explosion of colors on the rainbow-colored wings of dozens of butterfly species as we visit a Butterfly Haven. The background of luscious green forest slick with perennial dew shine. And while being serenaded by calls and sounds of a myriad bird and a variety of tropical fauna.
  • Tour a coffee plantation and photograph the workers of this traditional highland crop as you learn what it means from “cherry to cup.” Taste a variety of different grains and even bag your own coffee to bring home with you.
  • Photograph the archetypal race equine, one bred generation after generation for the sole purpose of speed. The vibrant-colored green mountains in this part of Panama are well known for their thoroughbred racehorses. According to the experts, the high altitude, the area’s natural beauty yields some of the fastest horses in Latin America.
  • Visit Finca Ceriana Nature Reserve, which finds itself strategically located between the highlands and lowlands of Chiriqui and it is  part of a privately protected area for the conservation of flora and fauna in the region. It possesses a staggering number of bird species with overlapping environs, which allows for the sightings of bird species from the lowlands and highlands.

Panama City

  • Finish the adventure by returning to Panama and visiting the Casco Antiguo and doing some more Street Photography in one of Panama’s oldest neighborhoods. One, where the architecture has more similarities with New Orleans French Quarter than with anything else in the country.
  • Photograph the Balboa Artisan’s market, where you might catch a glimpse of the colorful Guna Yala indigenous women dressed in their traditional outfits made out of molas, hand-made textiles with intricate designs depicting daily life. The Guna Yala women’s full costume includes a patterned wrapped skirt; a red and yellow headscarf; beaded bracelets worn on wrists and ankles; gold nose rings, and earrings, along with delicate and subtle tattoo work on their faces.
  • We will finish our adventure by visiting the Agua Clara Locks in the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.
As We Tour Panama Together:

You’ll earn about Panama’s culture, expand our photographic knowledge and continuously put to practice what you’ve learned.  Photo instruction will cover not only technical aspects such as the proper camera settings, the quality of light including assessing and best approach to a scene based on sources of light, its origination, its angle of incidence and its effects on the resulting images, proper exposure, and metering for specific results. We will continuously discuss and practice different kinds of focusing modes, and other technical aspects of photography.

While in the field, we will discuss perspective, composition, and techniques such as panning, freezing, motion blurs, and the ways to predict action and how best to capture those moments.

Tour includes:
  • All transportation in Panama, all lodging, all but two meals
  • Instruction and photo mentoring
  • Photo sharing and critique
  • Airport passenger assistance and taxes
  • Transfer to hotel in Panama City for one night and then transfer next day to Gamboa Rainforest Reserve
  • Transfer from airport to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Nestled deep in the heart of the Panama rainforest overlooking the Chagres River and Panama Canal, the Resort boasts one of the most unique settings in the world.
  • Lodging 4 nights at Gamboa Rainforest Resort
  • Breakfasts included
  • Two dinners at Gamboa Rainforest Resort
  • Visit to Miraflores Lock and Visitors’ Center
  • Panama Sightseeing 4-hour tour with plenty of stops for photography.
  • Dinner and a show at a restaurant with typical Panamanian cuisine and show.  This is a traditional folkloric dance show with dancers wearing the famous Panama “polleras”
  • Bird watching guided tour and canopy ride.
  • Visit to Embera Indigenous tribe along the Panama Canal waters
  • Transfer from Gamboa to airport to fly to David, Chiriqui.
  • Airfare from to and from Panama City/ David, Chiriqui (Highlands)
  • Flight from Panama City to David, Chiriqui (highlands of Panama)
  • Lodging 4 nights, and five days at a local hotel in Boquete.
  • Two dinners at the hotel
  • Honey Bee guided tour
  • Butterfly Haven guided tour
  • Coffee Plantation guided tour
  • Bus and driver for tour of Boquete, Cerro Punta, and Volcan areas, which are famous for their mountainside produce fields and for their thoroughbred horse farms.
  • Visit to Finca Ceriana
  • Transfer back to David airport to fly back to Panama.
  • Visit a Mola market. Molas are hand-made textiles that form part of the traditional women’s clothing of the Guna Yala indigenous people of Panama.
  • A visit to the Panama Causeway where you will see the ships waiting to enter the Canal
  • Street photography in the Casco Antiguo part of Panama City
  • Transfer to hotel in the Casco Antiguo area
  • Lodging 2 days, 1 night
  • Farewell dinner
  • Transfer back to Tocumen International Airport

Tour does not include:

  • International flight
  • Personal expenses such as room service, internet, laundry, alcoholic and soft drinks, phone calls, extra water, and snacks
  • Tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc. – recommendations:
    • USD $4-6 por persona por día al conductor
    • USD $6-10 por persona por día para guías locales

Nota: El itinerario completo estará disponible al registrarse.

Panama, a Photographic Journey Unveiled (single)
Panama, a Photographic Journey Unveiled (double)

Contact us for inquiries