Location, Accommodation, & Travel Info
Welcome to the Jungle!
Bocas del Toro is a popular and charming, family-friendly Caribbean tourist destination with many great restaurants and activities for CME participants or their families to enjoy, but it is surrounded by vast areas of mangrove mazes and jungle-covered mountains inhabited by almost 200,000 indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé living in isolated rural communities without power, sanitation or access to clean water.
This extremely underserved population has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in Panama, and people suffer many tropical health conditions and advanced presentations, and still regularly die from preventable diseases. The region is breathtakingly beautiful but many Ngäbe suffer catastrophic outcomes from their remoteness of their communities. Floating Doctors works with the Ministry of Health to attend more than 10,000 indigenous patients annually, and provide capacity/community development assistance.
Floating Doctors offers a unique opportunity to satisfy your annual CME requirements while helping to provide much-needed assistance to a marginalized, elusive population. Floating Doctors’ relationship with the Ngäbe provides a unique opportunity not only to learn how to think like a mission doctor when practicing in remote, unfamiliar environments but also to interact with a fascinating indigenous culture in a open and trusting context.
Accommodation & Meals
This CME will not be taking place in an airport hotel conference room. The Floating Doctors facility is located on a small jungle island about 5 miles south of Bocas del Toro town. It is here that Floating Doctors staff and volunteers live while deploying every week to remote communities to provide services. The facility is just a 10-minute water taxi ride from Bocas Town, but is secluded enough to feel like another world. The facility provides a bunkhouse with dorm-style accommodations, with two participants sharing each room and a separate bathhouse and communal building. Lectures take place in a large, covered open air space in the communal tower building with the jungle as a backdrop.
The facility is completely off the grid, powered by a solar system and utilizing rainwater catchment; air conditioning is not available, but electricity and fans are provided, as well as wireless internet. Temperatures average 80 degrees during the day and at night a balmy 70 degrees, and with the trade winds off the ocean it is very comfortable without air conditioning. A swim off the dock before sunset is a great way to wind down after a busy clinic day.
Meals are provided by the Floating Doctors kitchen. The menu for the week will be provided on request. There is a stove and refrigerator available for participants with special dietary requirements or for making a late-night snack; please contact RemoteCare with any special dietary needs since not all may be accommodated in this more limited location. Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners will be provided, including pack lunches on clinic deployments. Additionally, a wide variety of snacks and special items are available at the markets in Bocas town.
Travel costs to and from Bocas del Toro, Panama are paid for by the participant and are not included in the registration fee. RemoteCare Education will, however, advise on the coordination of transportation plans to ensure the participant travels with others enrolled in the program if possible and provide information to help make sure all flights are booked and completed in the most efficient manner possible. Visitors from the US normally fly into Panama City (Tocumen Airport-PTY), and then fly on Air Panama or Bocas Air from Albrook Airport in Panama City to Bocas del Toro airport (BOC), where they are met by Floating Doctors representatives. Arriving earlier in the day to Panama City often allows same-day travel to Bocas del Toro, but overnight stays in Panama city may be needed.
Once in Bocas del Toro all travel to program-related activities is provided free of charge by RemoteCare Education.
You will travel in the Floating Doctors 47′ traditional dugout canoe, or “cayuco.”
For more information about Bocas del Toro’s tourist life, please visit http://www.bocasdeltoro.com/