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What we do


The Floating Doctors (FD) Immersion Program is a week-long program designed for small groups who are interested in learning about the remote healthcare setting, experiencing a unique culture, and challenging themselves in ways that will transform them for life. A primary goal of the Immersion Program is encouraging global thinking, international cultural and travel competence, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures and environments. Time will be divided between medical volunteering and cultural activities.
During the program, Immersion participants will spend 1-2 days learning firsthand what goes into running a remote medical operation, including the many challenges that come with working in a tropical island community. When possible, Immersion Participants will join our ongoing mobile medical clinics. Participants will also engage with the children in the communities, sharing information on hygiene and handing out supplies, or playing sports (soccer and volleyball are very popular in the Ngäbe communities.)
While Immersion Program participants assist the regular volunteers with running the medical clinics; they also partake in several additional activities intended to introduce them to aspects of the local culture and environment. This may include guided tours, working with the local Sea Turtle Conservatory, visiting a neighboring active farm, and working with the local reef restoration.  Participants will also have the opportunity to go on a few relaxing excursions, such as a snorkeling or a guided chocolate farm tour.
Although Floating Doctors is primarily a healthcare organization operating in a Spanish-speaking country, they don’t require their immersion participants to have any working experience or language ability. Just bring a can-do attitude, an adventurous spirit, and a desire to help out where needed. They’re careful to ensure that no one is matched with an activity that falls outside their skill level, though we invite everyone to challenge themselves, and we provide ample learning opportunities along the way.


FD also offers week-long volunteering opportunities with a focus on participation in daily medical clinics. For more information:

Medical Program

Floating Doctors (FD) provides ongoing medical care to the Ngabe communities in and around Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Utilizing an international cadre of volunteer doctors, medical students and general public volunteers, they travel by canoe in open waters to more than 25 different communities throughout. 

They maintain detailed records of our patients’ health and treatment in more than 25 remote communities. The impact of a single brigade clinic in a remote region can be very high even if they don’t return…but it is nothing compared to the impact of a permanent presence. Every week, our teams deploy and treat between 30 and 200 patients a day. We visit the communities at least every three months to ensure our chronic patients receive appropriate care and to prevent new issues from developing while we are away.
Some of our principal areas of focus include family planning, mother and child care,  pre and postnatal care, nutrition, dentistry and veterinary care.

Veterinarian Program

Animals suffer when healthcare for people is scarce or absent. The line to see the vet can sometimes be longer than the line to see the doctor! Many of our patients keep several dogs and cats, as well as the occasional jungle animal as pets. Also, a family may depend on their horse for income, or they may invest their entire annual wealth in cows or pigs. In many of the communities we visit, animals are important resources for families.

Dental Program

It is difficult to obtain dental care for many of the patients they treat in the Bocas Archipelago. Due to remoteness and expensive treatment fees, visiting a local clinic or practitioner is nearly impossible. For most people, the dental care provided by Floating Doctors is their only chance to resolve their dental problems.

Help Us make a difference


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Volunteer with the Floating Doctors

We continually experiment. We fail quickly and productively. We use data and feedback to guide our course.