• Panama
    • Bocas del Toro
Fall, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Agriculture American Studies Animal Science Biology Botany Conservation and Preservation Cultural Studies Earth Sciences Ecology Environmental Studies Field Studies Geography Global Studies Hispanic Studies Humanities Indigenous Cultures Latin American Studies Life Sciences Marine Biology Natural Sciences Oceanography Public Policy Social Sciences Statistics Sustainable Development Tourism Wildlife Sciences +17

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Associates Bachelors


Price Details
Program fees include tuition, housing, daily meals, field excursions, entrance fees, cultural activities, advising services, airport transfers, 24/7 mental health and well-being support, official transcript processing and more – check out our website. Need-based scholarships available.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Classes Meals Transportation Wifi
What's Included (Extra)

No Application Fee!

What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Aug 03, 2023
Oct 14, 2022
18 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Students spend a semester in the dynamic community of Bocas del Toro, where they study the complexities of this rich biodiverse region from rainforests to underwater ecosystems to mangrove islands. Study the impacts of tourism and development on the island system’s unique habitats, evaluate local environmental policies, and apply the principles of resource management and conservation to your research project.

The SFS Panama campus, once a beachfront hotel, sits among the slender palms and warm sands of Isla Colón. Lush rainforests, hundreds of mangrove islands, and coral reefs teeming with diverse marine life, the Bocas del Toro archipelago is a vibrant living laboratory for studying tropical biodiversity. The laidback tourist hub of Bocas Town is a short taxi ride away, with access to shops, restaurants, and a vibrant culture that is as unique as the mix of people who live here.

Click on Visit Site above to learn more about studying abroad in Panama with SFS!

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Earn academic credit: 18 credits for semester programs and 4 credits for summer programs. Conduct a 4-credit research project during the semester program.
  • Enjoy the Caribbean Sea as your backyard – work, study, snorkel, and live at our island campus.
  • Visit the Caribbean Coral Restoration Center to learn the methods used in creating artificial reefs; snorkel nearby artificial reefs and coral nurseries to observe restoration work firsthand.
  • Sample medicinal plants and hand-ground cacao on visits to various chocolate farms as part of a semester-long exploration of the intricacies of contemporary and Indigenous tourism.
  • Travel extensively around the islands of Bocas del Toro - above and below the water -encountering mangroves, rainforests, coral reefs, seagrass beds, and agroforestry fincas.

Popular Programs

SFS Panama Semester

Spend a semester in the dynamic community of Bocas del Toro, where you will spend your days exploring coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds studying sea stars, turtles, rays, dolphins, and schools of tropical fish. Go behind the scenes of this “paradise” and study the impacts of tourism and development on the archipelago’s unique habitats. Design and conduct a field research project.
5 classes | 18 credits | One life-changing study abroad experience.

SFS Summer Program

Snorkel and hike through the diverse environments of Bocas – from coral reefs and mangroves to beaches and rainforests – and study human impacts, such as tourism, on the island’s ecosystems and communities. Meet with area residents who depend on both tourism and natural resources and learn about current approaches to sustainable development in the archipelago.
1 class | 4 credits | One life-changing study abroad experience.

Program Reviews

4.67 Rating
based on 3 reviews
  • 5 rating 66.67%
  • 4 rating 33.33%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4
  • Support 4.35
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 4.7
  • Safety 4.7
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Loved it!

I loved this program! I did the summer one in 2019, it was so so fun. It was a great way to experience Panama on both the Pacific Coast and in the Bocas del Toro region. Because it is focusing on sustainable tourism we got to visit a cloud forest, coffee plantation, cacao plantation, and green resorts, go surfing and spend many days snorkeling in the archipelago.
The program wasn't that academically challenging in terms of rigorous course work, but the life skills and the adventures had make it well worth while!

56 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying Abroad in Panama: A Catalyst to Realizing Your Future Professional Career

SFS Panama is a study abroad program unlike any other - it is so interdisciplinary, which invites students from a wide range of majors to apply and find what interests them in the program. I went into this program thinking that I would be majoring in Biology with a focus in Marine Science, but the interviews with local people, listening to guest lecturers, and reading so many articles about the social factors amidst ecosystem degradation, I understand my true passion lies in Psychology. I'm not convinced my passion for Psychology would have reemerged unless I went on this program with SFS and for that I am truly grateful.

69 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


my semester with TIBS was awesome! It was so cool to have the ocean, rainforest, and archipelago as a whole as a classroom. All of the professors and staff at SFS are amazing people who truly make the program as awesome as it is. They're all super talented and passionate about what they do and for sure people I'm coming away super lucky to have gotten to know. The classes were all super engaging and interesting. The center is right on the water and they have paddle boards and kayaks to use which was awesome. The town is super close and most of the activities there are to do on your free time are diving, surfing, snorkeling, and hanging out on the beach. There is not much free time during the first two months but there is more once directed research starts. I didn't mind at all being so busy the first two months though because classes were so cool and we got to go to so many different places with class.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I wish I knew that there would be limited access to hiking/backpacking/camping so don't bring your backpacking gear to this program because you won't use it. Also, READ THE WELCOME LETTER AND THE WHOLE FIELD GUIDE when they send it out!!!
84 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers