How I Got A Free Trip to Panama

EF Tours is a company that I had traveled with before when I went to Europe for the first time in 2015. However, this year, I applied to a video contest in order to win a free trip to film a company promotion with 6 other students. I applied for the contest a total of three times (Greece, Iceland, and Panama). When I found out where our destination was, I did not know much about Panama, however, I would never pass up the opportunity to travel. I did some research and before I knew it I was on the plane on July 25, 2016, on the way to Panama city with a film crew and other high school students I had never met before.

1 On day one we visited the ruins of a castle, the BioMuseo (Biomuseum), and Casco Viejo (Old City). 

2 On day two we went into the rainforest and went zip lining across the canopy and the huge lake. I had never seen zip lines this long in my life--the experience was super fun and it is a must do if you ever get the chance to go to Panama.

3 This day we went to the Panama Canal and got to watch a few ships go through the canal and learn about the process. There was also a museum inside where the history of the canal was laid out with artifacts and stories. We also visited the Smithsonian Institute which had a nature museum and many animals like fish, frogs, and sea turtles.

4 This day we visited artisans and got to see drum making, pottery making, and traditional mask making. We also saw a demonstration of the traditional dress for men and woman, a process that can take years.

5 This day we traveled to Chitre and visited a local organic farm. Here they raise chicken, cattle, and farm vegetables. We got to milk cows and some even tasted the milk straight from the cow (not me) because it is one of the only places in the world where that is safe.

6 Our final day we went to the Embara village, which is an indigenous village. There they performed a traditional dance for us and also prepared us a meal of fried fish and plantains that were SO GOOD. They were served in a plantain leaf.

We also hiked through the rainforest and through streams of flowing water to get a view of the waterfall.

The trip was amazing and I never thought I would have found myself in South America this summer. Panama is a country filled with amazing, friendly people and is full of many contrasts (rainforest, downtown, old city). There are tons of SPIDERS and lots of humidity, but I would not have passed up this trip for anything.

Watch my travel video here: