Kalu Yala: Building a New World in the Panamanian Jungle

I have decided to add a new page to my website and dedicate it to some noteworthy places I want to visit in certain parts of the world. Obviously there are numerous locations I wish to see, but there’s a special quality about these sites that totally intrigued me and peaked my interest to find out more.

The first post I will be adding to my “Curiosities” hit list is quite a remarkable destination hidden in the jungle of Panama. It is located in a valley just 50 minutes from downtown Panama city and can only be accessed at the moment by following two miles of rough terrain. It’s story has really touched me and as soon as I found out about it I knew I wanted to create a post and share it with you all.

A Panamanian Paradise.

In 2006 a group of people came up with the idea of creating a completely sustainable community. To thrive and disrupt the modern way of living. Panama was where they chose to start the settlement that is now known as Kalu Yala. They spent several months deciding the exact location in which they wanted to commence a new way of life, collecting all the data and the contacts necessary to get it off the ground. Now we are fresh into 2016 and the world is starting to hear about this hidden gem in the middle of the jungle. – There is a more in depth timeline of the birth of this town all leading up to current day, which you can find here.

The idea behind this wonderful notion was to build a community where people could come together and live in a town built to “deliver a 21st century way of life in the new global economy” with a “key concept of localised ownership” for each of it’s residents.

On their website they described four crucial components that make up their community:

Design + Economics + Community + Adventure

Designed to be whole from the time the first house is built, interconnected to make sustainable living possible, free to develop organically over time and so beautiful you will never forget. • Minimise imports, maximise exports. Create an incubator for entrepreneurs to develop world changing ideas. Kale Yala is tilting the tables in favour of local businesses over global ones. • We didn’t create the movement. We didn’t make you part of it. We’re just building one of the places where all of us can come together. This isn’t a project. It’s a way of life. • We were born with explorers souls at a time were great work want’s doing. Kalu Yala is our base camp for launching this century’s expeditions into human potential.

– Don’t you just love that last point? What a wonderful ambition. This is something I really want to be a part of and sink my teeth into on our travels on this part of the globe. I want to help make a difference and raise awareness for the cause. – And you can too!

Kalu Yala is a developing new town. They have an Institute to do research for it, an events and hospitality company to host guests, a new business incubator to start companies, and a real estate company to build all the spaces that it needs.

On their website they offer you a chance to visit and use their base camp as a place to call home. You may be travelling, passing through Panama or perhaps you want to explore what it would be like to live off the grid. Kalu Yala are allowing you the chance to do just that, and at very reasonable prices. – I imagine all of the profits they make go straight back into helping Kalu Yala grow into a bigger, better place. Sweet! 

Real estate makes up less than ⅓ of their business model, and so they have set a limit of only building 20 houses per year starting this year [2016] and to do so they have partnered with several companies and local firms to help coordinate and lead the design efforts. In fact the owner of Panama’s most prestigious design firm, George Moreno & Partners is an investor and homeowner!

If you are a student and wanting to apply your passions into something great I would recommend looking into the education programs that are available at Kalu Yala. There is a huge range or programs depending on your chosen career path from Sustainable Agriculture, Design, Culinary Arts, Health & Wellness, Biology and more. See for yourself here. There’s even a student blog where you can hear from the people that are at heart of the movement and stay up to date on everything happening around the village.


Some idea sketches of a future Kalu Yala.

We received some very exciting news today. Meaning a new adventure is about to commence and now the hard work begins to save up for our next trip. The most exciting part being that the time we will be away is indefinite!

And I’m sure you can guess where we will be visiting? I will be sure to update you with our experience there, when the time comes. After all, it is on my hit list.

I. Can’t. Wait.




  1. June 1, 2016 / 6:29 AM

    After study a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I
    actually enjoy your manner of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Pls check
    out my site too and allow me to know what you think.

    • wanderlustayne@gmail.com
      September 25, 2016 / 10:54 PM

      Thank you so much and I’m glad you enjoyed the read!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *