East Panama Province

Embera Puru is a small indigenous community located in the biodiverse region of Darien. The Embera culture can be seen in the traditional housing and dress of the community members. People in Embera Puru are primarily dedicated to agriculture which includes the cultivation of rice, yucca, yams, and otoe, a root vegetable. 

Additionally, some community members partake in the sale of artisanal crafts or small businesses within the community. Through Squads Abroad, members have access to credit through the thriving Community Bank which will support continued investment in local businesses and home improvement projects for families within the community. Although the community sits along the Panamerican highway access to healthcare and legal services is still difficult and expensive for the majority of residents.

The Home-Base

Located in a safe, residential community, your Home-Base in Panama offers beautiful views and your very own pool! Common areas are furnished with plenty of chairs and couches. Enjoy the evening breeze on the patio with fellow volunteers or bring out a book for some quiet time. Living areas are communal with plenty of space to keep your belongings.

During your stay, you’ll feast on a blend of healthy Panamanian cuisine. Typical meals include plenty of starches like pasta, potatoes, while also having plenty of vegetables to balance out your plate.

In-Country Staff 

Juan David Villegas

Juan David was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia. From an early age, he has been an advocate of the power of financial inclusion and entrepreneurship in transforming people’s lives. At the age of 17, he moved to Bournemouth, UK, to study and received his Higher National Diploma degree in Business Studies at MLS Management College, England. In the last 7 years, Juan David has been to 25 countries investigating the impact of business, commerce, and entrepreneurship in economic development worldwide.

Juan David holds a certification of Development Project Management by the Interamerican Development Bank and Strategic Managerial Skills Certificate from the Interamerican University of Panama.


We partner with many under-served schools and social service organizations in the surrounding area.


The Cultural Activities

Each weekday afternoon our professional staff guide the group on Cultural & Learning Activities in the local area. Upon arrival you will explore the local community through a scavenger hunt. Learn about Panamanian Culture through Spanish lessons, professional development workshops. You will take a traditional dance workshop where you learn dance styles of the region while wearing the local dress. We provide cooking workshops where you can test your culinary skills and learn if they match up! Visit the Miraflores locks and see the Panama canal up close and personal. Explore the Biomuseo-Museum of Biodiversity. And enjoy an afternoon on gorgeous beaches.


The Weekend Excursions (optional add-on packages)

On the weekends your group may choose to explore other areas of the country through our guided overnight packages.  Spend one or two nights exploring beaches and incredible natural wildlife.

San Blas Islands

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