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  • Photography & Multimedia
  • Central America
  • MS HS

Panama Photography Adventure

7 Reviews

Dig into your passion for photography as you master techniques and find inspiration on Panama's cobblestone streets, on its thrilling rapids, or among its indigenous Gnobe community.

It could be as simple as a dusty road or as dramatic as a poison dart frog. A little boy from the indigenous Gnobe tribe just hanging out by a tree or the way the sun bounces off a dewy orchid. Panama is destined to pull you in with its blend of Spanish Colonialism, modern architecture, coffee plantations and stunning diversity. Venture from islands, beaches and reefs over the continental divide past volcanoes, waterfalls and cloud forests. Draw from a lifetime's worth of inspiration and ultimately create a vivid portfolio filled with images that play with lighting, action and color.

June 24 - July 10 HS17 days$5,280Available
July 13 - July 29 MS17 days$5,280Available
Earn & Learn
Panama Photography Adventure Earn & Learn

Earn & Learn

Broadreach combines your thirst for fun and adventure with tangible skill development, real-world educational opportunities and a genuine commitment to service. While on program, you’ll earn documented community service hours and even college credits. It’s what we call “Earn & Learn,” and it’s what you’ll take home as evidence of your many accomplishments.

Panama Photography Adventure offers 3 fine arts college credits through Lesley University (college credit is not available for middle school students). Additionally, students earn 8 hours of documented community service.


Course Description

This course is an introduction to digital photography and the art of taking pictures. During the initial phase of the course students will learn the fundamentals of camera operation, manipulation of camera settings and composition techniques. By the end of the course, students will be expected to present a high-quality image that demonstrates creative advancement and an understanding of composition to the group.

Course Objectives
  • A basic history of photography
  • The ethics of picture taking and safe travel habits
  • Technical aspects of how to operate a digital still camera
  • Exposure, f-stop and depth of field, shutter speed, white-balance
  • Composition, lighting, and exposure techniques
  • Evaluation of photographs based on professional standards


Through service, gain a more meaningful connection to the cultures and communities you explore while taking an active role to address important global issues at the local level. In Panama, work closely with an indigenous community on a remote tropical island to do infrastructure projects. The outfitters are in constant contact with the local communities and work on ongoing projects. As the time gets closer, outfitters will help choose a project for your group that will best serve the community at that particular time. Projects might include:

  • Working with a local school to teach English or Photography lessons
  • Creating educational materials for summer school programs
  • Planting gardens for locals, schools or communities
  • Installing solar-panels and bringing internet connectivity to a remote village
  • Working alongside a community to build infrastructure and healthy, clean play areas for children
  • Volunteer at a dog rescue center in Bocas del Toro

8 Service Hours

3 College Credits

Panama Photography Adventure Itinerary


summer programs for high school students

Arrive in Panama to discover a dichotomy of old and new. Explore the stark contrast between the colonial architecture of the old city of Casco Viejo and the looming steel and glass towers of modern Panama City. This vibrant capital has countless stories to tell and offers a great introduction to travel photography. Fly to David and take a short transfer to Boquete, an adventurous and hip town in the mountains of the Jaramillo range. Settle into the Boquete Valley high in the mountains and get ready for new adventures and photo challenges. Hike through the cloud forest to dramatic waterfalls. Pick up the pace as you whitewater raft down Rio Chiriqui. Each experience provides endless potential for creative compositions. Take action shots of friends while they learn to rock climb on beautiful volcanic basalt rock faces, or explore the surrounding area for poison dart frogs or scenic mountain overlooks. Check out a coffee plantation and investigate town while continuing to refine the art of using a camera.

summer photography programs for high school students

Our next destination is Isla Bastimentos, an island paradise off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Here we find an indigenous Gnobe community and a stunning national park dotted with coral cayes and rainforest lined beaches. Learn the basics of photography while sharing this island home with tropical frogs, monkeys, orchids and people from small fishing communities nearby. Classes are fast-paced and fun, and initially focused on understanding the technical abilities of your camera. Investigate the island and practice manipulating aperture and shutter speed. The rainforest shadows, summer sun and gorgeous sunsets provide ample opportunity to adjust to different lighting environments. Constant practice and evaluation are key to learning the art of composition. Gather under thatch palapas and relax in hammocks while sharing feedback and learning how to improve your photos, and take a break from you photographic activities to participate in ongoing service projects in the community.

summer adventure trips for teens

Follow the path of explorers over the mountains and down to the Pacific coast of Panama. Enjoy beautiful beaches, relax under palm trees or try your hand at surfing on some of the best waves in Central America. Keep your cameras ready while watching for wildlife or cheering on friends as they learn to surf. Make an expedition to Isla de Coiba, the largest island in Panama and a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts an astounding biodiversity. Howler monkeys, macaws and over 20 species of whales and dolphins thrive in this protected environment. Around every bend lies another spectacular photo opportunity and chance to hone your skills. Refine the delicate balance between light and lens, and begin to use your camera to share stories with photo assignments that challenge your technical and artistic abilities. Head back to Panama City to reflect on all that you have achieved and learned. The adventure will soon come to an end, but the photos you create will allow you to carry your memories and experiences with you forever.

photography teen tour in panama
  • Trip Highlights

  • Explore and photograph the captivating culture and landscapes of Panama
  • Learn the technical and artistic aspects of digital photography
  • Practice ethical travel photography
  • Participate in a community service project in the Gnobe Village
  • Visit an island and explore the incredible biodiversity
  • Try out your adventure photography skills while surfing, rock climbing and whitewater rafting
Panama Photography Adventure Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews & Testimonials

Charles Hinsdale

This trip has made a huge impact on my life. Being able to visit foreign countries and seeing how the natives live really changes a person. I loved learning more about photography, as well as participating in all of the activities such as snorkeling, surfing, and white water rafting. I’ll never forget the friendships and memories I’ve made on this trip. I highly recommend this trip to anyone looking to learn more about photography and have an amazing time doing so.

Maggie Herdeg

A note to Carlton Goldthwaite, Broadreach founder:

Thank you for creating Broadreach. Our daughter, Cecilia, is on your Panama Photography Expedition, and tracking her adventures has been one of the highlights of our summer. You and your team do a beautiful job of creating varied experiences for exploration, coupled with intense instruction and opportunities for leadership. My only wish is that there were an adult program equivalent!

A million thanks and congratulations on a job well done!

Adelaide Conway

This trip was one I will never forget. I loved every place we visited in Panama, especially Boquette and Santa Catalina. My favorite activity was rock climbing in Boquette because I got out of my comfort zone and this ended up paying off because I reached the top. I learned many important photography skills that I will implement in my future career. I made a lot of new friends from all over the country and Im excited to stay in touch with them. This experience changed my life because I gained a new sense of fearlessness that I want to implement in my life.

Testimonial - Autumn W. from Mount Juliet, TN

I definitely recommend this trip for anyone who wants to learn about photography and culture, get close to the Panamanian people and try new activities. Casa Cayuco was my favorite place because of the community and the wildlife there. I also loved surfing and the hikes. I learned a lot about photography and the culture here. It was the most memorable thing I’ve experienced and I’ll never forget the friends I made and the impact the service work had in my life.

Abby K. from Short Hills, NJ

I am so incredibly happy I chose to do this program this summer. I have made amazing friends and memories that will last me my whole life. Panama was absolutely gorgeous and I especially loved Boquete and Bocas del Torro. From snorkeling, surfing and rafting to trying new fruits, I was always surprised with how amazing everything was. Along with fun memories I have also gained a lot of knowledge I am 100 times better at photography, and I know more about global footprints and life. From animals to different cultures, I will miss this trip dearly.

Allison Knudsen

I loved everything about this trip. I enjoyed being able to learn so much about photography, and still be able to do activities such as surf, hike, rock climb, raft, and have such amazing adventures. I became so close with the people over these three weeks. I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

Emma Morrissey

The whole trip was amazing. Perfect amount of action time and chill out time. I love Boquette the most, the mountains were beautiful, and white water rafting was incredible. I learned so much about photography. I went from using my camera all on auto to using it completely manually in a couple of days. The people on my trip really improved the experience!

Isabella Herman

I made new amazing friends and honestly, loved every moment of this trip. From working in Salt Creek to rock climbing, it was all worth it. I came into this program knowing nothing and will be leaving knowing how to really use my camera. It was so worth it!

Testimonial - Rena Meisler from Montclair, NJ

My favorite places from the trip were Bocas del Toro, Boqeute and Santa Fe. The community service, white water rafting, and hikes were definitely a highlight. I learned everything I need to take a great picture, so memorable and worthwhile and I made new friends that will last a lifetime.

Testimonial - Cameron Barner

Panama Photography Expedition provided a totally worthwhile experience. I learned so much about my camera and the art of photography. All the places we went were totally different and completely awesome.

Testimonial - Will Gordon

The trip was awesome. So much fun rafting and with every activity we did. Perfect balance of fun and academics. Learned a ton about photography, couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Panama Photography Adventure FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in the tuition cost and what additional expenses should I expect?

Tuition is all inclusive for instruction, food, accommodations, and activities from the time you arrive in country. However, you are responsible for your airfare, spending money (we suggest about $150-200 depending on the program), any required textbooks, and student expenses such as medical fees. Some trips require scuba gear which can be rented, purchased or in some cases borrowed from Broadreach. Finally, for our high school trips that offer college credit, you can elect to receive an official Lesley University credit transcript for approximately $180 per credit hour. For more information about expenses that might apply to your program, click here.

How does travel work?

For most programs, we have a few recommended flights and an arrival time range, and we usually give you the option to book flights on your own or through our travel agency partner. A few programs have required group flights, which we set up in advance. Students travel independently, but often meet up along the way, and we collect student itinerary details. Broadreach instructors will be waiting in the arrivals hall of the destination airport to greet each student, and they’ll be wearing special shirts and holding a Broadreach sign. We also mail students Broadreach shirts to wear while traveling which makes it easy for them to identify each other. Typically, making travel arrangements and the actual travel days go very smoothly.

How does Broadreach address safety?

Safety is our top priority, and it is something we evaluate from every angle throughout the year. We’re very proud of our safety record over the past 26 years of running international programs for students. There are so many ways to address how we handle safety, including the extensive experience and training of our instructors, the specific locations we choose to visit, the relationships we have established with our local partners, and the 24/7 support we provide our groups. We have extensive program-specific risk management plans and safety standards that we adhere to. We’d be happy to talk about safety in more detail for the program you’re considering if you’d like to call our office.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance?

We require that students have at least $100,000 of emergency evacuation coverage and some kind of international medical coverage, as well as coverage for scuba diving for programs that include diving. We offer two different policy options, or if you already have a policy that meets this criteria, we would just collect those policy details after enrollment.

Our Tuition Protection policy covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state). It’s also a great comprehensive travel insurance policy, including medical coverage, emergency evacuation, travel delay, baggage (loss or delay), etc. The cost of the policy ranges from $319-379 based on the program duration. For more specific coverage details, please call our office.

Who will my instructors be?

Broadreach instructors are highly experienced, passionate, energetic and supportive. The average age of our instructors is 28 years old, and depending on the program, they meet specific qualifications (a Master’s degree in the subject area, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certification, foreign language fluency, Wilderness First Responder certification, etc).

Do your programs accommodate food preferences or food allergies?

We do our best to accommodate allergies and food preferences but we consider the situation, country and the program to determine whether it will be a good fit for the specific dietary restriction. It’s important that you let Broadreach know well in advance of any food preferences or allergies so we can determine whether your restrictions will work on your program.

Can I contact Broadreach alumni families for more information?

Absolutely! Just call our office and we can put you in touch with past participants who have joined the programs that interest you. Our alumni families are happy to share their first-person experiences.

How does payment work? Is the deposit or tuition refundable?

We require a non-refundable deposit of $1000 to lock in your spot, and then the final balance can be spread out and paid in a few different ways. The final payment is requested by about 3 months before departure. Our optional tuition protection plan covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and cancellations for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state).

What do the academics involve? How do college credits work? What if I don’t take the program for credit?

Academics will vary by program but usually include journals, discussions, lectures, research projects, and a midterm and final exam. We expect all of our students to participate fully in the academic course work on our programs, regardless of whether they have chosen to take it for official college credit.

We partner with Lesley University in Cambridge, MA to offer college credit for our academic high school and college programs. Those credits are widely accepted at colleges and universities all over North America, and we can often let you know if an alumni student has transferred those credits to a specific school in the past. For more details, click here.

Do you offer any discounts or scholarships?

In the fall, we have a few different early enrollment discounts– please call our office for more information. We also offer a 5% discount on the second enrollment from the same immediate family in a summer. This offer is available to an individual student or siblings. The 5% discount will be applied to the program of lesser cost, and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

We do offer some scholarships through the Broadreach Foundation. Please visit for more information and to apply online for scholarships.

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