For students currently in grades 9–12
Alaska
Baja & the Gulf of California
Barcelona
Belize
Chile & Peru
Germany & Sweden
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Montana
Peru
Switzerland
Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji
Croatia & Slovenia
Cuba
Faroe Islands & Iceland
Italy & Greece
Japan
Kilimanjaro
Panama & Colombia
Patagonia: Skiing
Spain, France, & Portugal
Switzerland, Italy, France, & Holland
Ecuador & the Galápagos
France
Spain
Barcelona
Tokyo
Tuscany
Argentina
Costa Rica
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Fiji
Hawai'i
Morocco
Nepal
Peru
Puerto Rico
Tanzania
Thailand
Vietnam
France & Holland
Iceland
Italy & Greece
France
Spain
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Hawai'i
Need help choosing the program right for you? Call us! 802.387.5000

Hands-On Experiences to Inspire Your Future

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Adventure Travel & Cultural Immersion

Community Engagement & Global Awareness

Active Immersion in Language & Culture

Our Programs

High School
For students currently in grades 9–12

Panama & Colombia

Indigenous Cultures, Island Adventures, & Trekking to the Lost City

July 1 — July 20
$6,990 + airfare

Panama & Colombia

Indigenous Cultures, Island Adventures, & Trekking to the Lost City

July 1 — July 20
$6,990 + airfare

Journey through the cultural and geographic diversity of Central and South America. Explore Panama City and witness its iconic canal, and spend several days sailing between Caribbean islands in the San Blas archipelago. Travel to Colombia and head into the mountains for a multi-day trek to the ancient structures of the Lost City, designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, connecting with local Indigenous communities along the way. End your program by delving into the colonial history of Cartagena and celebrating your adventures.

• Discover stunning beaches and turquoise waters on a sailboat
• Explore iconic Caribbean cities and delve into their myriad cultural influences
• Meet with and learn from indigenous communities in both countries
• Trek through Colombia’s lush mountains, scouting for monkeys and toucans
“I gained deep friendships with the other students and leaders on the trip and now have a tight group of friends with whom I will stay in touch.”
—Mike H., St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your program leaders in Miami, and fly together to Panama City. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Panama City, Panama — 2 days

Begin your program in Panama City and experience the contrasts between its modern urban side and the historic Casco Viejo, or Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Get to know your group and leaders in this bustling city surrounded by incredibly biodiverse tropical forest and marine ecosystems. Consider the engineering feat of the Panama Canal—visit the museum and learn about the history of its construction and the conservation of lands surrounding it.

Embera Community, Panama — 1 day

Travel by boat up the Chagres River and into the jungle until you reach an Indigenous Embera community. Enjoy a dip in the clear cold waters in the afternoon and spend the night in their community, learning about challenges they have faced and how they continue to preserve customs and ancestral knowledge.

San Blas Islands, Panama — 3 days

Head to the eastern coast and prepare to board your sailboat, while you explore stunning San Blas, an archipelago with more than 300 islands and cays. Get to know the crew as you start your adventure by hopping through some of the islands, snorkeling and swimming in the clear turquoise waters, playing volleyball on white sand beaches, and visiting some of the communities that live on these islands and learn about their handmade crafts.

Panama City, Panama — 1 day

Return to Panama City to celebrate all you’ve accomplished so far, and get ready for the adventures to come.

Santa Marta, Colombia — 1 day

Fly to Colombia and start your Colombian experience in Santa Marta, a historically important port city on the northern coast. Take advantage of this day to prepare for your upcoming trek.

Trek to Ciudad Perdida, Colombia — 5 days

Hike up into the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, one of the highest coastal ranges in the tropics. Make your way up to Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City, one of the best-preserved Mesoamerican archaeological sites. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site accessible only by foot, Ciudad Perdida was built by the Tayrona peoples and dates to around the 9th century, making it older even than Peru’s Machu Picchu. On your trek, experience the jungle flora and keep an eye out for monkeys, iguanas, and toucans. Swim in crystalline river waters and share some time with the Tayrona communities that still inhabit and take care of the Sierra.

Palomino, Colombia — 2 days

After your trek, head to the small coastal town of Palomino. Take some time to relax, reflect on your adventures, and enjoy the beach. Celebrate your achievements with a sunset dinner by the beach.

Cartagena, Colombia — 3 days

Arrive in Cartagena and explore this colorful colonial town with centuries-old stone walls, terraces, and preserved architecture. Learn about its historical significance as a major port city and Spanish stronghold, experience its plazas, street life, shops, and cafes, and enjoy traditional food like arepa de huevo, patacón, and arroz con coco.

Return — Travel Day

Fly to Miami with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your program leaders in Miami, and fly together to Panama City. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Panama City, Panama — 2 days

Begin your program in Panama City and experience the contrasts between its modern urban side and the historic Casco Viejo, or Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Get to know your group and leaders in this bustling city surrounded by incredibly biodiverse tropical forest and marine ecosystems. Consider the engineering feat of the Panama Canal—visit the museum and learn about the history of its construction and the conservation of lands surrounding it.

Embera Community, Panama — 1 day

Travel by boat up the Chagres River and into the jungle until you reach an Indigenous Embera community. Enjoy a dip in the clear cold waters in the afternoon and spend the night in their community, learning about challenges they have faced and how they continue to preserve customs and ancestral knowledge.

San Blas Islands, Panama — 3 days

Head to the eastern coast and prepare to board your sailboat, while you explore stunning San Blas, an archipelago with more than 300 islands and cays. Get to know the crew as you start your adventure by hopping through some of the islands, snorkeling and swimming in the clear turquoise waters, playing volleyball on white sand beaches, and visiting some of the communities that live on these islands and learn about their handmade crafts.

Panama City, Panama — 1 day

Return to Panama City to celebrate all you’ve accomplished so far, and get ready for the adventures to come.

Santa Marta, Colombia — 1 day

Fly to Colombia and start your Colombian experience in Santa Marta, a historically important port city on the northern coast. Take advantage of this day to prepare for your upcoming trek.

Trek to Ciudad Perdida, Colombia — 5 days

Hike up into the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, one of the highest coastal ranges in the tropics. Make your way up to Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City, one of the best-preserved Mesoamerican archaeological sites. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site accessible only by foot, Ciudad Perdida was built by the Tayrona peoples and dates to around the 9th century, making it older even than Peru’s Machu Picchu. On your trek, experience the jungle flora and keep an eye out for monkeys, iguanas, and toucans. Swim in crystalline river waters and share some time with the Tayrona communities that still inhabit and take care of the Sierra.

Palomino, Colombia — 2 days

After your trek, head to the small coastal town of Palomino. Take some time to relax, reflect on your adventures, and enjoy the beach. Celebrate your achievements with a sunset dinner by the beach.

Cartagena, Colombia — 3 days

Arrive in Cartagena and explore this colorful colonial town with centuries-old stone walls, terraces, and preserved architecture. Learn about its historical significance as a major port city and Spanish stronghold, experience its plazas, street life, shops, and cafes, and enjoy traditional food like arepa de huevo, patacón, and arroz con coco.

Return — Travel Day

Fly to Miami with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_MSSECA_Mark Gonzalez
2023_MSSDRA_Angeliz Batista
Angeliz Batista
View Bio
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Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_MSSECA_Mark Gonzalez
2023_MSSDRA_Angeliz Batista
Angeliz Batista
View Bio
Loading...
About the Destination

Both Panama and Colombia boast rich histories and diverse cultures. Panama's past is marked by Indigenous influences, Spanish colonization, and its iconic canal. Today, Panama's cosmopolitan cities blend with lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and flourishing biodiversity. Colombia's history features ancient civilizations, Spanish rule, and a dynamic post-colonial era. The country showcases its vibrant cultural heritage through music, dance, and colorful festivals. Colombia's breathtaking geography encompasses towering Andean mountains, dense jungles of the Amazon, beautiful Caribbean coastlines, and the Pacific Ocean, creating a stunning tapestry that complements its warm hospitality and modern cities.

Language

Spanish is the official language of both Panama and Colombia. Colombia also has 65 Indigenous languages still spoken today.

Climate

Panama is a tropical country with two seasons: wet and dry. We visit during the wet season. It typically rains in brief, heavy showers rather than all-day storms. Daytime temperatures range from 75–85°F (22–29°C), while nighttime temperatures drop to the low 70s. The climate of Colombia varies from the Andes Mountains to the coast. Temperatures in Cartagena remain around ​​88–91°F (31–33°C) during the day, dropping into the high 70s at night. Temperatures in the mountains are several degrees cooler.

Cuisine

Panamanian cuisine is a delightful fusion of diverse influences, blending indigenous, Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, and Latin American flavors. Seafood plays a prominent role, with dishes like ceviche and sancocho, a flavorful chicken soup. Colombian cuisine showcases regional diversity, each area contributing unique dishes. Empanadas and arepas are popular across the country, while the coastal regions offer delectable seafood dishes like bandeja paisa and arroz con coco (coconut rice). Both nations embrace tropical fruits and vibrant spices, creating culinary delights that reflect their rich cultural heritage.

About the Destination

Both Panama and Colombia boast rich histories and diverse cultures. Panama's past is marked by Indigenous influences, Spanish colonization, and its iconic canal. Today, Panama's cosmopolitan cities blend with lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and flourishing biodiversity. Colombia's history features ancient civilizations, Spanish rule, and a dynamic post-colonial era. The country showcases its vibrant cultural heritage through music, dance, and colorful festivals. Colombia's breathtaking geography encompasses towering Andean mountains, dense jungles of the Amazon, beautiful Caribbean coastlines, and the Pacific Ocean, creating a stunning tapestry that complements its warm hospitality and modern cities.

Language

Spanish is the official language of both Panama and Colombia. Colombia also has 65 Indigenous languages still spoken today.

Climate

Panama is a tropical country with two seasons: wet and dry. We visit during the wet season. It typically rains in brief, heavy showers rather than all-day storms. Daytime temperatures range from 75–85°F (22–29°C), while nighttime temperatures drop to the low 70s. The climate of Colombia varies from the Andes Mountains to the coast. Temperatures in Cartagena remain around ​​88–91°F (31–33°C) during the day, dropping into the high 70s at night. Temperatures in the mountains are several degrees cooler.

Cuisine

Panamanian cuisine is a delightful fusion of diverse influences, blending indigenous, Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, and Latin American flavors. Seafood plays a prominent role, with dishes like ceviche and sancocho, a flavorful chicken soup. Colombian cuisine showcases regional diversity, each area contributing unique dishes. Empanadas and arepas are popular across the country, while the coastal regions offer delectable seafood dishes like bandeja paisa and arroz con coco (coconut rice). Both nations embrace tropical fruits and vibrant spices, creating culinary delights that reflect their rich cultural heritage.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Exploration

To learn more about our Exploration programs click here.

Independent Project

Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—become an expert on one of these country’s ecosystems, create a recipe book with different types of arepa recipes, or learn a traditional Latin song.

Physical Activity

This is one of Putney’s more physically active programs—it includes a four-day trek with professional guides through jungle and mountainous terrain, as well as city walking and ocean activities such as snorkeling and swimming. On the trek, you hike with your daypack and all other gear is carried by porter staff. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Altitude

This program visits high altitude destinations—the trek to Ciudad Perdida rises to 4,300 feet (1,300 meters) above sea level.

Language Practice

Proficiency in Spanish is not required. However, if you speak or study Spanish in school you will have opportunities to use it. If you don’t speak Spanish you will have the opportunity to learn some basic language skills.

Accommodations

We stay in various types of accommodations throughout this program, including locally owned hotels and rustic accommodations in the jungle. Students have access to common and outside space at our accommodations for community meetings, working on projects, and socializing. Leaders stay together with students throughout the program.

Meals

While in Panama, we typically take meals at local restaurants and sometimes visit markets to get supplies for picnic lunches. While aboard the sailboat, meals are prepared by the crew and students have the opportunity to help and learn to prepare fresh seafood. In Colombia, we begin each day with amazing Colombian coffee and arepas, enjoy the occasional picnic lunch, and find small, family-run restaurants for lunches and dinners. You will find in both countries, families take time to gather with family and friends around the table, eat slowly, and enjoy their company.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Exploration

To learn more about our Exploration programs click here.

Independent Project

Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—become an expert on one of these country’s ecosystems, create a recipe book with different types of arepa recipes, or learn a traditional Latin song.

Physical Activity

This is one of Putney’s more physically active programs—it includes a four-day trek with professional guides through jungle and mountainous terrain, as well as city walking and ocean activities such as snorkeling and swimming. On the trek, you hike with your daypack and all other gear is carried by porter staff. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Altitude

This program visits high altitude destinations—the trek to Ciudad Perdida rises to 4,300 feet (1,300 meters) above sea level.

Language Practice

Proficiency in Spanish is not required. However, if you speak or study Spanish in school you will have opportunities to use it. If you don’t speak Spanish you will have the opportunity to learn some basic language skills.

Accommodations

We stay in various types of accommodations throughout this program, including locally owned hotels and rustic accommodations in the jungle. Students have access to common and outside space at our accommodations for community meetings, working on projects, and socializing. Leaders stay together with students throughout the program.

Meals

While in Panama, we typically take meals at local restaurants and sometimes visit markets to get supplies for picnic lunches. While aboard the sailboat, meals are prepared by the crew and students have the opportunity to help and learn to prepare fresh seafood. In Colombia, we begin each day with amazing Colombian coffee and arepas, enjoy the occasional picnic lunch, and find small, family-run restaurants for lunches and dinners. You will find in both countries, families take time to gather with family and friends around the table, eat slowly, and enjoy their company.

A Day in the Life: Cartagena, Colombia​

Due to the traveling nature of this student program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Cartagena, Colombia.
9:00am
Enjoy a cup of Colombian coffee and delicious arepa de huevo
10:00am
Take a guided walk through the Old Town of Cartagena to learn about the city’s history
12:00pm
Break for lunch at a traditional Colombian restaurant
1:00pm
Explore the city’s museums to get insight into Colombia’s Indigenous cultures
3:00pm
Return to your accommodations for siesta and downtime
5:00pm
Participate in a salsa dancing workshop to experience this vibrant tradition
7:00pm
Enjoy dinner of fresh seafood dishes and taste some of the delicious local juices
10:00pm
Group meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule

A Day in the Life:
Cartagena, Colombia​

Due to the traveling nature of this student program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Cartagena, Colombia.
9:00am
Enjoy a cup of Colombian coffee and delicious arepa de huevo
10:00am
Take a guided walk through the Old Town of Cartagena to learn about the city’s history
12:00pm
Break for lunch at a traditional Colombian restaurant
1:00pm
Explore the city’s museums to get insight into Colombia’s Indigenous cultures
3:00pm
Return to your accommodations for siesta and downtime
5:00pm
Participate in a salsa dancing workshop to experience this vibrant tradition
7:00pm
Enjoy dinner of fresh seafood dishes and taste some of the delicious local juices
10:00pm
Group meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule
“The group experience really stood out to me. We worked well together and I believe that is the main reason I had such a good time. Everyone was super inclusive, which was so special.”
—Jordan B., Saint Andrew’s School, Boca Raton, FL

This Program is Directed by

Juliana Gutierrez & Gregorio Rojas

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

This Program is Directed by

Juliana Gutierrez & Gregorio Rojas

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

Enroll in two programs & save $1,000!

$800 tuition discount + no application fee

Panama & Colombia
Indigenous Cultures, Island Adventures, & Trekking to the Lost City

2024 Dates
July 1 — July 20

Duration
20 days

Tuition
$6,990 + airfare

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
14–16 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Miami


 

Additional Info

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

 

2024 Dates
July 1 — July 20

Duration
20 days

Tuition
$6,990 + airfare


 

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
14–16 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Miami

 

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

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Request More Info

Alaska
Baja & the Gulf of California
Barcelona
Belize
Chile & Peru
Germany & Sweden
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Montana
Peru
Switzerland
Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji
Croatia & Slovenia
Cuba
Faroe Islands & Iceland
Italy & Greece
Japan
Kilimanjaro
Panama & Colombia
Patagonia: Skiing
Spain, France, & Portugal
Switzerland, Italy, France, & Holland
Spain
France
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Tuscany
Barcelona
Tokyo
Argentina
Costa Rica
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Fiji
Hawai'i
Morocco
Nepal
Peru
Puerto Rico
Tanzania
Thailand
Vietnam
Iceland
France & Holland
Italy & Greece
Spain
France
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Hawai'i

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