Casa Cayuco Eco-Adventure Lodge is located on the leeward side of Panama’s protected Isla Bastimentos, in the archipelago of Bocas Del Toro. The lodge is only accessed by boat and is a 35 minute ride from Bocas Town. At Casa Cayuco, we believe the most important tenet of ecotourism is having a positive impact on local communities. Casa Cayuco has an 18-year history of dedicating itself to the ongoing infrastructure improvements in our neighboring community, Salt Creek. A portion of every guest stay helps the lodge fund several service projects in the community, throughout the year.
Pictured above is a map of the world, on a school building in Salt Creek, painted by school children from Salt Creek and a middle-school Casa Cayuco hosted from the United States.
Quebrada de Sal “Salt Creek” is a Ngäbe-Buglé indigenous village located 30 minutes by foot from Casa Cayuco. Salt Creek is one of the largest and most remote Ngäbe villages in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Salt Creek has the only high school outside of Isla Colon, thanks to numerous rotary clubs and a Casa Cayuco guest funded project.
Salt Creek is reached by a 45 minute speedboat ride from Isla Colon. Roughly 900 people live in Salt Creek. Casa Cayuco employs 22 people from Salt Creek, who in turn support over 150 people in the village. Salt Creek does not have plumbing, electricity or other basic services. There is no hospital and no internet available for the general community. The school system has been the primary form of organization and centralized structure for the community. This dedication around education is why Casa Cayuco is so closely aligned with the school.
Pictured above is the Casa Cayuco team taking a break from a service project at the school.
In 2019, Salt Creek issued diplomas for the first time in their 80 year history. In Panama, a high school diploma is a ticket to a stable career and a world of opportunity. The new highschool has instantly opened the door for every child to graduate and in almost every case, be the first in their family to earn a diploma. As of 2023, Salt Creek has 260 students, 15 professors, and a school-Director.
Pictured above is our head Carpenter Ernesto, his wife Alma, children and eldest son, Nestor, at their graduation ceremony, this past January. Nestor is an honors student and the first person in his family to receive a highschool diploma.
Many of the guests who stay at Casa Cayuco choose to Pack-For-A-Purpose, bringing school supplies to stock the school. Pack-For-A-Purpose donations are brought to the School Director, and the most tenured professor, to distribute within the school and throughout the community.
Pictured above is a generous Pack-For-A-Purpose donation from one of our past guests.
Our team enjoys bringing our guests to their community, so they get the opportunity to see the school, and first-hand experience how such a small gesture can make such a big impact. Salt Creek is a magical place, and we are very thankful to have organizations like Pack for a Purpose help engage tourists and spread the word on how simple it can be to make an impact; just by tossing a few extra items in your suitcase!
Pictured below is a group of students and their professor, posing with their Pack-For-A-Purpose goodies.
Casa Cayuco’s next project is in partnership with Floating Doctors. We are in the beginning stages of opening up a 2-story medical clinic in Salt Creek. Ernesto, our head carpenter who was shown with his son above, will lead the construction endeavor. There is a great need for a medical facility in the community, as there currently is zero access to healthcare. This space will serve not only for emergencies, but for routine & preventive healthcare, and probably most importantly, a space for health-care education and empowerment.
Thanks again to Pack for a Purpose for all your efforts, and to each guest that participates in this great initiative.