8 Nights (In-country)
Tropical Island Survival, Coastal Foraging
8-12 (Average 9) Places

Based on an uninhabited island in the Pacific, you will be guided through the skills need to make this island your home. Your base camp will be situated in a crescent shaped cove lined with coconut palms and you will fall asleep listening to the sound of the Pacific waves gently lapping on the fine white sand and the rustle of palm leaves. You will learn to use the tools of the environment to make shelters, open coconuts, set gill nets and start fires to cook delicious tropical meals.




  • Category: Tropical Island
  • Tags:
  • SKU:


Expedition Dates: TBC

  • Depart home country on the Fri 24th Jan. to arrive in Panama city that evening
  • Departing Panama city on the evening of Sat. 1st Feb. to arrive in home country on the morning of Sunday 2nd Feb.)

Duration: 8 Nights (in country)

Group Size: 9-12 Max (+ 2 Leaders / Medics)


  • 2 nights in hostel in Panama City
  • 6 nights in hammocks or natural shelters


Climate:Panama has an equatorial climate, typically hot and humid.

  • Day-time temperature approximately – 32° C
  • Night-time temperature approximately – 23° C
  • Total Cost: £1,895 (exc. Flights)
  • Deposit: £500


What is it about?

Watching the sun dip into the Pacific eating a meal of freshly caught Red Snapper, then retiring into your hammock to gently swing to sleep listening to the sound of the palm fronds rustling in the breeze and the gently lapping waves on a sand beach. Join the Wild Human team to learn the essential skills to make this environment your home.

Humans are tropical creatures and the warm environment is a perfect match for our physiology, the sea and jungle can provide unlimited meals and materials and with some basic knowledge and equipment it is possible not only to survive in this environment, but to thrive.

This is the archetypal survival location and stories have been intwined in our popular culture for hundreds of years; from Alexander Selkirk (the real Robinson Crusoe), to Tom Hanks in Castaway and Desert Island Disks on BBC Radio 4.

Ross has spent over four years working on these remote Islands, learning from locals, employing traditional survival techniques and finding out what looks good in a book and what actually works.

Consistent with the ethos of Wild Human, this expedition aims to provide you with the knowledge and skills required to plan and undertake your own adventures in a Tropical Island environment. This is a hands-on experience and you will be expected to participate in all practical activities relating to desert island travel and living. This means collecting firewood, helping with cooking, looking after your own sleeping arrangements, using cutting tools etc.

The Wild Human team will teach you the practical routines of island bushcraft to feel comfortable and at ease in this environment and the team will impart a myriad of techniques used to sustain life, from fishing to foraging. So, be prepared to feel overwhelmed as you first explore this classic survival setting. This expedition is not simply to sample the culture or environment as a passing tourist, but to become absorbed by the spirit of the place itself.

From the outset it’s important that you understand that the expedition is NOT a cultural tour – you will NOT be fully catered for. This is a practical experience in a remote location where you will be required to help with the tasks required to live and travel in such a place.

A video of last years Expeditions, by one of our students:


  • Water; importance, collection and disinfection
  • Shelter; requirements and importance.
  • Tarps and hammocks, natural shelters.
  • Fire; selection and preparation of materials and ignition methods.
  • Physiological requirements; acclimatisation and common medical issues associated with 
a jungle environment.
  • Natural Hazards
  • Clothing and equipment selection
  • Safe and effective use of cutting tools. Sharpening techniques.
  • Jungle living, crafts and techniques
  • Natural bindings and construction methods.
  • Identification of plants, trees and fungi used for food, medicine, fire and other utilities
  • Animal tracks and signs
  • Fishing techniques; making and using traps and nets. Preparing and cooking fish.
  • Traditional cooking methods; using leaf and bark containers.
  • Craftwork; selection and collection of materials for containers, cordage, traps and hunting 
  • Jungle sanitation and hygiene
  • Suitable equipment and how to carry it



  • Two Wild Human Expedition Leaders.
  • All food (snacks and meals) and soft drinks.
  • Internal transport as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special in-country permits and permissions.

Not included

  • International flights/ travel.
  • Travel insurance (obligatory).
  • Alcohol (Due to the remote nature of this Expedition no Alcohol will be taken to the Island)
  • Personal equipment (full kit list in the Notes Section).

General Information

We will aim to cover the following (but please bear in mind we are at the mercy of weather and factors out of our control):

Please click on the + symbols opposite to read about what you will learn each day.

The Physical Environment

Desert Islands


“After a time my confidence grew and armed with a parang, a box of matches and a piece of rubber to start a fire going and a rifle I would be perfectly happy in the knowledge that if I was benighted I could build a fire, make a small shelter of ataps or wild banana leaves, and with the unlimited fresh water that the jungle provides, could last a week if necessary until I found my way back to camp.” – The Jungle is Neutral – Spencer Chapman

Wet Clothes (day wear)

One pair of Walking trousers (no zip off legs) ‘Craghoppers Kiwi classic’ are proven and good value for money
Long sleeve shirt (Loose fitting, long enough to tuck into trousers) Most poly/cotton adventure shirts will suffice, a light but dense weave helps keep mosquitos from biting through. ‘Craghoppers Kiwi long-sleeved shirt’ is proven and good value for money
Two pairs of summer weight walking socks Bridgedale ‘CoolFusion Trailblaze’ and ‘woolfusion ultra lightweight’ are very popular, choice between the two depends on which fits in your boots better, the former is thicker than the latter.


Lycra running/cycling shorts (Plain without reinforced gusset and padding)


Ultralight running shorts

‘Under armour heat gear compression shorts’ are very popular
Lycra Sports Bra
(no metal underwire) ‘Shock absorbers’ brand are popular
Waterproof Jacket Useful for wearing on boats in the rain.
Swim wear A light-weight rash vest can also be useful.
Beach wear T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops
Boonie hat Lots of available choices but all much the same, the fashion is for a short stubby brim but we recommend a full brim to protect from sunburn when on boats.
Nylon belt Any type so long as it’s comfortable under your pack waist strap and doesn’t rub anywhere


Dedicated Jungle boots are not essential. You will be able to manage with a good pair of ‘Approach shoes’ as long as they have an aggressive grip. Or a pair of fell running shoes.

Please avoid Gore-tex/Waterproof boots or shoes. Wet feet are par for the course in the tropics and we focus more on draining and drying than keeping feet dry.

If you do fancy buying another pair of boots (who doesn’t?!), then the below are good options.

The Altberg Panama Jungle Classic is a superb boot manufactured in the UK and our recommendation. Especially without the Panama sole (which is very slippery on coastal rocks).

The Lowa elite jungle boot is also a very good option.

Both Altama and Wellco in the US also make a good jungle boot but the regular fit is long and narrow, available in wide and extra wide, be sure to try these on as it can take a few pairs to figure out what size you take (also note these are sized on the American system)

Hydrophobic insoles Replace the innersoles that came with your boots with ones that won’t absorb water, it really helps keep your feet from rotting, Superfeet are good, but avoid Sorbothane. The ‘LOWA Summer Footbed’ is a very good option

Dry ‘night time’ Clothing

One pair Light weight cotton trousers Any lightweight small pack size cotton trousers will suffice, something comfortable with a drawstring waist, cotton pyjamas are perfect, but try to pick a style that you will be happy wearing as day clothes for relaxing in
One Light weight cotton shirt Any lightweight small pack size cotton shirt will suffice, something comfortable with chest pockets for your earplugs etc, cotton pyjamas are perfect, but try to pick a style that you will be happy wearing as day clothes for relaxing in


Comfortable socks We like to carry the same type as our walking socks for no other reason than it means we can use them as walking socks if we have to, these night socks are filled with antifungal powder for sleeping in.
Light weight non water absorbing camp shoes The Vivo ‘trail freak’ or ‘Ultra’ are perfect, but expensive. Any Croc type water shoe will do



Equipment you need to bring

Rucksack 50-70ltr A comfortable and robust pack that will comfortably carry in excess of 15kgs. Avoid excessive padding that holds water.

The ‘Berghaus Centurio 45’ or ‘karrimor sabre 45’ in combination with two 10lt removable PLCE side pouches are popular choices.

Large waterproof dry bag, A single dry bag that is moderately lightweight and a little larger (especially in width) than the inside of your pack. You do not want a heavyweight canoe sack but also consider avoiding some ultralight drybags that are prone to being punctured easily. A valve or other method of removing excess air from inside is often convenient provided it is not prone to failure. ‘Bergans Dry bag compression 50lt’ is our favourite
Sleeping bag A lightweight warm weather, synthetic fill, rectangular cut sleeping bag or over quilt with foot pocket. A snugpak jungle bag works well, also make a great jungle bag


Hammock Please give a lot of consideration to your choice hammock; it will become the sanctuary of your sanity. This is not the place to skimp and we assure you that you’ll appreciate the comfortable, dry night of rest safe from incessant insects long after you’ve forgotten the initial price.

Anything from Hennessy Hammocks, Clarkes and Warbonnet outdoors or will be perfect.

Tarp A large silnylon tarp is recommended, you’ll need space to both hang your hammock and conduct your personal admin beneath it during torrential downpours. Make sure your hammock fits with ample space beneath the tarp before you leave.
Water containers Aim to carry 3lt minimum, split over two containers or more.
For hydration bladders I highly recommend the following arrangement: ‘Source Hydration WLPS 3L’ in combination with a separate ‘Source Hydration Liquitainer 2lt’ and ‘Source Universal Tube Adapter’. This will allow you to collect and treat your water in a separate 2lt bag and transfer it to the bladder in your pack without having to open the pack and remove it, very convenient and bombproof.
Water disinfection (Essential that you get this right) Purchase a box of OASIS Water Purification Tablets (50)You may also bring alternative water purification methods if you like but be aware that filters are prone to clogging, if you use one be sure it is capable of removing viruses, not just bacteria and protozoa. Don’t bring a UV treatment system; they are not reliable in the jungle.
Metal Spoon and mug I’m sure you have a favourite
Parang It’s hard to find decent parangs in panama so please arrive with one. Visit hennie knives and we recommend something like the Condor Mini Duku Parang Machete


Pocket Knife or multitool Stainless steel folding knives, with a reliable locking mechanism, avoid wooden handles they will swell and warp.
A ‘Leatherman wave’ is ideal
A small cheap bushcraft knife The stainless steel ‘Mora Companion’ is perfect. Please don’t bring your expensive handmade carbon steel knife!
Sharpening stone Small sharpening stone, the ‘Fällkniven DC4’ is ideal.


Sand Brush Small shoe-shine brush to get the sand off you and your feet at night before getting in the hammock
Whistle To hang around your neck, the ‘Acme Tornado 636 Whistle’ is a long standing favourite


X3 Lighters At least three ‘Bic Maxi J38’ or ‘Bic mini J39’ electronic lighters, the only lighters we have found to work reliably in the jungle, cheap too
Waterproof note book and pencil Anything by ‘Rite in the rain’ is ideal
10 meters of paracord 550 paracord comes in many colours


LED Head torch Petzl tikka or zipka are perfect, make sure you have a set of spare batteries
Admin bag A small bum bag or similar to organise your small items and keep essentials such as medical kit, head torch to hand when in your hammock or away from your rucksack. The Maxpedition proteus is popular, I like the ‘Hill People Gear kit bag’ or the ‘Kifaru admin pouch’ but they are pricey.
Quick drying Towel A small beach towel


Camera Bring something totally waterproof or bring a Pelicase to keep it in and plenty of silica desiccants to keep it from fogging up; even then it may still die, the jungle spirits hate cameras.
Bring plenty of spare batteries and a spare memory card.
MP3 player / iPod / Kindle The nights are long, bring music and consider a couple of audio books or e-readers
Work gloves Light synthetic work gloves, something like the ‘Contour Avenger work glove’ is perfect


Small dry bag half filled with antifungal powder A small roll top dry bag large enough to insert your foot into massage with the powder contained therein.
Fill with an antifungal powder like mycil
Soap Cut down to fit in a film container or a concentrated liquid soap (Dr Bronners is good)
Exfoliating glove Great for washing in rivers and ensuring you don’t lose your soap, available in boots and most supermarkets
Alcohol gel Alcohol hand sanitising gel, get one with a cap that won’t leak
Sun Tan Cream At least factor 30
Earplugs The industrial type attached by a cord
Sun Glasses Polarized are ideal
Needle and thread For repairing torn clothing
Duct tape Wrap duct tape around your water bottle or some other item so it’s available when you need it.
Fire Lighters For strips of rubber inner tube go to your local bike shop and ask for all his scraps!
Admin mat Thin foam sit mat or cut down camp mat to stand on outside your hammock to avoid muddy feet whilst changing. Some packs have a removable foam pad inside that can be used for this purpose.
Mask, Snorkel and fins Optional but recommended – we will have a few sets available in-country

DO I NEED PRIOR EXPERIENCE? Not at all! If you enjoy being outdoors and are keen to learn – we will welcome your company. Although previous camping experience can be an advantage on the Expeditions, it is not essential. Some of our more advanced courses do have pre-requisites; please see course details.

CAN I ATTEND ON MY OWN? Yes! Our bushcraft courses are aimed at private individuals who have a passion to learn. Although some people attend in pairs or small groups, the vast majority of our groups are made up of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds.

WHAT ABOUT BAD WEATHER? Courses will run in all but the most extreme weather conditions. Bad weather makes learning the skills more challenging and harder to master, but you will be rewarded with a higher level of ability and a greater sense of achievement.

SANITATION & HYGIENE – Courses are run from an expedition-style base camp, this means that our toilet facilities are screened, covered latrines. We have used this system for the past 16 years of our teaching experience and find it to be the cleanest, most environmentally friendly and hygienic system. It is an essential part of wilderness living and you will be given clear instruction about latrine construction, considerations for wilderness travel and base camp life, and a few simple protocols about hygienic use upon arrival to base camp.

CAN I ATTEND FROM CONTINENTAL EUROPE AND BEYOND? Yes! We would ask that you find out if you require any special Visas for the country you will be travelling to.

WHERE CAN I STAY BEFORE/AFTER MY COURSE? Please contact us and we will be able to give you some recommendations for places to stay and things to do

WHAT WILL I BE EATING? All meals are cooked on site. Food preparation and cooking will be a joint effort, involving both students and staff. All of our full time staff al hold ‘food handling and hygiene’ certificates. All our courses and expeditions are fully catered, however you may be required to cook for yourself or in groups on occasion, forming part of the educational aspects of the course (please see individual course page for further information).  Course participants are usually pleasantly surprised by the high standard of the food and meals we provide, however please remember that this is an expedition style base camp and therefore has inherent limitations with regards to producing meals to cater for individual tastes. Whilst we are proud of the tasty, nutritious meals we produce with basic amenities, but our focus is to educate, not to compete with restaurants. There will always be a brew pot on the go and a biscuit box available, so that students are free to make tea and coffee at any time.

We are happy to cater for medical intolerance’s, allergies and for vegetarian diets, but please let us know when you place your booking. However, we do not cater for preferences or mild intolerance’s.  If you are in doubt then do contact us to discuss options. If you have very specific requirements or very serious allergies then you may be asked to bring your own food and cooking equipment so please inquire about this before booking on-line.

ARE THE COURSES TOUGH? Our Expeditions should be viewed as being a wilderness education experience and not as an ordinary holiday. They are educational courses, but just as importantly, they are a ‘hands on’ experience and at times can be quite challenging. Due to the nature of the location and the course content, you will be expected to take short hikes over uneven terrain, therefore a good level of fitness is required – on occasion you will be wet, muddy, tired, too hot, too cold, frustrated and exhilarated!

IS IT SAFE? “Adventure is a romantic name for trouble…” At Wild Human the opposite is true, as you will get the opportunity to learn wilderness living skills in a safe and controlled environment, where making mistakes will not put you in danger. However you must come in the knowledge that no outdoor activity is entirely without risk, as you may be using sharp tools or walking across uneven terrain. Accidents can happen. We advise you take out adequate adventure travel insurance for the duration of your course or expedition.

ALCOHOL? – Alcohol is strictly forbidden on all our courses, due to the obvious health and safety risks. Alcohol and cutting tools don’t mix! However, it is not unusual for students to get together at the end of a course for a well-earned pint.


1 review for Panama

  1. Tony

    I did this expedition in 2017 and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

    From watching thunderstorms rolling by at night, to spear fishing underwater, to studying salt water crocodile tracks – Ben and the team are experts and excellent teachers. The course was really well structured and whilst we were completely alone on a desert island, all necessary safeguards were in place so we felt like we were in good hands the whole time.

    I heartily recommend this experience to anyone who spent their childhood dreaming of being Robinson Crusoe.

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