Tourism and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices
Get into the field!
This summer, immerse yourself in the incredible tropical ecosystems of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago while examining the human dimensions and challenges of tourism in Bocas. Explore both marine and terrestrial environments—including coral reefs, mangroves, lowland rainforest—and study the impacts of tourism and development on natural and human communities. Students on this program earn 4 academic credits.
Combine this program with the Summer II session in Costa Rica to gain a comparative perspective on environmental management techniques, tourism impacts, and sustainable development strategies in two countries. Students participating in both sessions earn 8 credits and receive a $1,000 discount.
Students attending this program will be based at the SFS Center for Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Click here to find out more about the Center and life at the field station.
Week 1: Introductions and orientation, Class begins in Panama City with traveling lectures and excursions from Panama City to Bocas del Toro via Rio Hato, Las Lajas, and Boquete
Week 2: Field trips to Hospital Point, Red Frog Beach, Solarte and Zapatillas Cays, weekend away
Week 3: Classes, lectures, local interviews and group assignments
Week 4: Research projects and presentations, closing activities
Itinerary subject to change.
A Note about Program Costs
Includes all pre-program advising services, room and board at the field station and on excursions, park entrance and research fees, program-related transportation, emergency evacuation insurance, and official transcript processing.
Does not include international airfare, international medical insurance, medical costs, and personal non-program related expenses.
SFS 3000 Tourism and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices (4 credits)
This course introduces students to the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Bocas del Toro and the challenges presented by a growing reliance on tourism for economic development in this part of the Caribbean. Students evaluate the impact of tourism on the natural environment and engage with local stakeholders to determine how the tourist industry affects—positively or negatively—social, cultural, and political dynamics within the archipelago. Sustainable practice is a major lens of inquiry during this course. Students will assess the balance between the conservation of the region’s natural resources and economic opportunities for local communities.