sea turtle conservancy – Panama


Sea Turtle Conservancy

Since 2003, the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) has conducted research, conservation, training and community education in the region of Bocas del Toro, Panama, specifically on seven associated sea turtle nesting sites spread around the Bocas archipelago. 

The STC’s efforts in Panama are focused on two main sea turtle species: leatherbacks and hawksbills, both of which are endangered globally but still nest in significant numbers on STC project beaches. 

The STC’s work is carried out under the direction of Scientific Director Dr. Roldan Valverde, and three on site staff biologists, Cristina Ordonez, Raul Garcia and Xavier Young, along with volunteer biology students (research assistants), and trained beach monitors, many of which are members of the local Ngobe community. 

Terra Explore Expedition members will visit remote project sites to observe nesting turtles, participate in research, experience the local indigenous culture and see the unspoiled beauty of the remote Caribbean coast of Panama.


May/Early June 2023 (customized dates for group) 


$4000 (not including international airfare) 


  • High School Age Students (or Older) Traveling with Parents or Guardians
  • Adults Traveling without Children
  • Maximum of 10 Participants


Personalized movie, created by Terra partner, URLIFE Media, and their team of Hollywood Producers and Editors, using content captured by participant.


Day 1 

Terra members will fly to Panama City, Panama in the morning and transfer to a nearby municipal airport to take a late afternoon flight via Air Panama to the coastal community of Bocas del Toro.  

The first night will be spent at a comfortable water-front hotel in Bocas with a group dinner and orientation hosted by STC staff. 

Day 2

Terra members will travel via boat to the STC research station at Soropta Beach.  The STC has two comfortable project boats that are able to carry up to 10 guests and their luggage and supplies.  The boat ride takes approximately one hour, traveling through the beautiful bay and a canopied tropical river to the dock at the STC’s remote station, which is located miles from the nearest neighbor.

Importantly, the STC’s station does not have traditional grid-tied electricity, but solar panels provide lighting at night, and food and beverages are shipped in with guests, stored in heavy-duty coolers and prepared by an indigenous cook in the station’s modest gas-equipped kitchen and dining hall. 

Sleeping arrangements are dorm-style with bunkbeds in a newly constructed guest building.  Water at the station is collected from rainwater and stored in elevated cisterns, which gravity-feed the restrooms and showers.  Note: The water is not heated.

Night 2 – 4

Terra members will participate in the STC’s nightly beach monitoring and tagging project focused on leatherback turtles, including the potential to apply satellite transmitters to the turtles at night (dependent on the dates of each expedition).

Note: The STC monitors the migratory movements of leatherbacks as part of its work, and the tracks of the turtles are posted online for participants to follow. 

Terra members will also view a plethora of birds, monkeys, sloths and manatees that are commonly spotted via the STC boat tours on the river, and a portion of each day will also be spent relaxing or hiking the beach.  


Morning Day 5 

Terra members will travel back to Bocas del Toro by boat and then on to Tranquillo Bay, an upscale eco-lodge where the STC monitors hawksbill nesting.  Members will then go to nearby Zapatilla Cay to observe the camp, walk around the small island and snorkel around the nearshore reefs.  

Night 5 (and 6) 

Terra members will have a group dinner at either Bocas or Tranquillo Bay and may stay another night and day at Tranquillo Bay to further explore, kayak, surf (dependant on conditions), hike and / or snorkel. 

Departure on Day 6 or 7 

Terra members will depart Bocas via Air Panama Air for Panama City to catch a late afternoon international flight back to the States.  Note: Any delay could jeopardize this itinerary, and Air Panama does not fly to the international airport from Bocas.  There is an up to one-hour transfer, depending on traffic, to get from the municipal airport to the international airport.  For this reason, flying back to Panama City on one day, spending the night in Panama City, and departing back to the U.S. on the following day is recommended. 

Terms of Payment

Contact us to speak to a Terra representative to schedule a Zoom call.

We will assist you in answering questions regarding the expedition including insurance, medical, and visa requirements, as well as in finalizing room and additional activity reservations. A deposit is required to secure your reservation.


Note that a portion of your payment is tax deductible as a donation through Terra Conservation Initiative, a sponsored program of Ngaren Inc.


Cancellation Policy

Cancellation 31 days or more before the arrival date: deposit not refunded.

Cancellation 30 days or less before the start of services: 0% refunded. Can be rescheduled if COvid-related disruptions occur.



Placement of an order with Terra on the Givvor fundraising platform for this trip is taken as acceptance by the customer of these terms and conditions.



Please remember when reading through these terms and conditions that we would bend over backwards to try and solve any problems that could arise during your trip. We will do our utmost whenever necessary to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, and 99 times out of 100 it does. Customers are asked to remember that things don’t always go quite to plan in Africa, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea as they do elsewhere.



The company takes no responsibility for loss, damage or injury arising from any shortfall, error or omission in the information passed to the customer during the sale or subsequent delivery of the product. The company takes no responsibility nor can be held liable for loss, damage, or injury that occurs on a supplier’s or service provider’s premises or transport, or between two such premises.


Some of the elements sold by us inherently have a risk factor involved for the customer (e.g. diving, safari, walking safaris, trekking, flying, mountain climbing etc.) and we take no responsibility for the consequences of the customer taking on such risks.


It is the responsibility of the client to check the correctness of the services invoiced.



Customers are required to provide for themselves all necessary insurances against personal injury, loss, medical evacuation, medical assistance, hospitalization, damage, theft, cancellation, delay etc.

All customers are responsible for ensuring that they have full insurance cover that includes rescue and hyperbaric recompression (if diving) from the moment that they first place their order and covering the whole period before, during and after travel.


We strongly suggest that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of inability to commence travel due to health reasons and medical insurance whilst abroad. This should be taken out in accordance with the terms and conditions of most travel insurance policies with cancellation and curtailment benefits.



To place a booking with the company, the client will make a non-refundable deposit of $500 through the GIVVOR platform.

In the case of a last-minute booking (less than 60 days in most cases but occasionally 90 depending on the service providers used) the booking must be paid for immediately.




5.a Changes to a booking

Should you wish to make a change to your booking, then we may need to charge an amendment fee to cover additional administration costs. We will inform you of these before making any changes.

5.b If the changes involve the actual cancellation of any element of the booking, standard cancellation charges will apply. Changes which involve adding to an existing booking can usually be carried out without an amendment charge.



We often use charter dive boats, small establishments that book up months in advance, or lodges within national parks that have to pay their park fees in advance. We work with a range of service providers in different countries and they often have different cancellation policies. We inform you of the cancellation policy applicable on your invoice and this is the one applicable. We will do our best to work with our suppliers and you to ensure that you can make a claim for a full refund from your insurance company. 



If your journey starts in the EU, you must work within the EU denied boarding law. Your airline must cooperate with you. You are however, still liable for the costs of your booked

safari/diving/hotels/tours/services etc. The company will make every effort to help re-arrange your journey, but you will NOT be entitled to any refund due to your non-appearance for any sector or sectors or services of your journey.



The company is not liable for any knock-on effects arising from the failure of any one element of a sale, such as the non-departure of a boat or plane. Any cancellations arising thereof will be completely the responsibility of the customer. It remains the customer’s sole responsibility to arrive and depart and travel between all elements of a trip. The customer must check with local transport operators the exact times and schedules for transport. There are departures on which a failure can cause serious knock-on effects.



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In some cases suppliers feel the need to pass on surcharges to us for exchange rate fluctuations, fuel price increases, extra government park fees, or changes to VAT regulations.

The company reserves the right to pass on to customers any increase imposed on us by our suppliers.



If you have a problem during your holiday, please inform the relevant supplier (hotel, safari company, dive center) immediately who will endeavor to put things right. If your complaint is not resolved, please contact us as soon as you can, and email or text message is generally the most efficient.


11.a You must communicate any complaint in resort to the supplier of the services in question. If you fail to follow this simple procedure we will have been deprived of the opportunity to investigate and rectify your complaint whilst you were on holiday. Most issues can be dealt with straight away.

11.b Usually we can act quickly to resolve any such problem satisfactorily. Claims arising from problems through which the customer has suffered in silence and not given the provider or ourselves the chance to rectify, only to issue a complaint well after the event, will not be entertained.

11.c Transport complaints.

It is not uncommon for the transport methods employed on our trips to run with delays, or to run below operational standards that would be regarded as normal in Western Europe or North America. We cannot accept any claim of any nature which relates to any failure of transport operators to conform either to timetables supplied by us or to their own timetables or arising from deviations from operational standards by transport operators whose services form part of our itineraries (whether original or amended).

11.d Post service complaints procedure

In dealing with an unresolved complaint post trip, you must contact us within seven days of the end of our service. Please bear in mind that when determining whether a refund is due, we will need to negotiate with the supplier in question after your return.

Please also note that placing negative feedback on the internet usually negates any power that we have to negotiate on your behalf.



Your specific passport and visa requirements, and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements.



The placing of a deposit/booking with Terra for services implies that you accept these booking conditions.


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