Panama Through the Lens, a Journey Unveiled

  • Enjoy daily lessons on all things photography from 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 while we make a bird-photography stopover. 
  • Experience a meal in one of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants: Fonda Lo que Hay in the the heart of the Casco Antiguo area of Panama City. 
  • Special access as we visit the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center located in the Pacific side of the canal as you catch your first glimpse of this world-renowned waterway. 
  • Stay at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort along the shores of the Panama Canal and enjoy its many attractions while you  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. Climb the  44-meter Discovery Center Observation Tower for a bird’s eye view of the area.
  • Take a canoe ride to visit the Embera indigenous tribe living along the shores of the Panama Canal where you’ll learn about their history, their culture and their arts and crafts. 
  • 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 and experience up close and personal the secret life of bees. 
  • Discover the colorful town of Boquete as we explore the heart of it during a photo walk. 
  • Prepare for an exciting visit to the area of Volcan and visit Tamandua Reserve, where you’ll get to photograph a whole new array of birds and in the most comfortable of settings. Who knows, we might just get lucky enough to see a quetzal! 
  • Visit and photograph one of the top-champion-producing thoroughbred farms in Latin America, Haras Cerro Punta. 
  • Fly back to Panama City for an exciting last look at the other entrance of the Panama Canal on the Atlantic side at the Agua Clara Visitor Center where you’ll get a different perspective on this maritime engineering marvel. 
  • Farewell dinner at another one of Panama’s top restaurants and experience world-class culinary delights. 

Participants:      Min 8 / Max 12

Dates:                    Oct 17-25th, 2024

Length:                  8 days

Double:  $4,990 / Single: $5,690

Save your spot: $500

Initial deposit: $1,290 by July 15th. 

Final Payment:   Aug. 15th

(Save your spot fee is non-refundable yet fully transferable to another EMS PA program or service for a period of 364 calendar days from Oct 17th, 2024)

Visit two completely and distinctive areas of this picturesque country.

  1. The City of Panama, located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, and the Panama Canal watershed area with its luscious rain forest.
  2. The cloud forests of Chiriqui Highlands, the quaint towns of Boquete, and Volcan while experiencing a temperate rain forest and all it has to offer.


City of Panama and its surroundings

  • Panama Canal special behind-the-scenes access to the inner workings as we tour the Miraflores and Agua Clara sets of locks and their visitor centers, where you’ll learn about the history and engineering of one of the original Seven Wonders of the Modern World. You’ll also photograph massive container ships filled sky-high, the electric tug boats, known as “mulas,” that pull these behemoths through the lock, and sleek sailboats crossing this famous waterway.
  • Stay at the world-renowned Gamboa Rainforest Resort Lodge with is warm breezes and tropical birds singing over your room’s private balcony and hammock on the Panama Canal and Chagres River waterways.
  • Ride a jungle gondola over the canopy forest offering a unique perspective of wildlife at a height almost touching the treetops where you might see bird nests, monkeys, and even sloths.
  • From there hike up an observation tower that gives you a bird’s eye view of the Canal’s narrowest point, Gillard’s Cut or Corte de Culebra, where you’ll get a full sense of the amount of traffic crossing this waterway.
  • Go on a guided bird-watching tour on the world- renowned Gamboa Pipeline Road, known for having one of the highest concentrations of bird species in Central America. According to experts, the number of species that can be seen during a couple of hours of walking down Pipeline Road could be anywhere between 65 and 85 species seen and around 35-40 heard but not seen. Also, Panama counts with more than 400 local species but the total count of species including migratory birds brings the count upwards of a 1,000 different species!
  • 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
  • Local 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 3 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 hotel
  • Honey Bee guided tour
  • Coffee Plantation guided tour
  • Rum-tasting tour. 
  • Bus and driver for tour of Boquete, Cerro Punta, and Volcan areas, which are famous for their mountainside produce fields. 
  • Visit to Haras Cerro Punta, where some of the most famous Latin American champion horses have come from.
  • 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 snacksTips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
  • Tip recommendations:
    • USD $4-6 per person per day to the driver
    • USD $6-10 per person per day to local guides

Note: The full itinerary will be available upon registration.

Panama Through the Lens a Photographic Journey
Panama Through the Lens, a Photographic Journey Unveiled (double

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