Who We Are
After completing two years as a development consultant in Panama and having the most amazing travel experience of our lives, we were consumed with the idea of making that which was the best of our experience, accessible to anyone else willing to venture off of the beaten path.
Sometimes the best experiences are the ones you’ve never heard of. The cacao tour run by an indigenous cooperative. The homestay in the Sacred Valley. The Afro-Panamanian food tour in Panama City, run by a local chef.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of “responsible travel.” A traveler is looking for an authentic experience in the country they visit, and is scammed into volunteering at a fake orphanage in Thailand, or is tricked into taking the “authentic” bus tour through a historic destination. The majority of the money from that tour goes to a large, sometimes foreign corporation, and the local community gains very little.
At Keteka, we leverage the global Peace Corps network in order to FIND, VALIDATE, & CONNECT unbelievable, unique and authentic experiences with travelers who are looking for something that is off of the beaten path, and goes beyond the conventional tourist experience.
Peace Corps Connection
Our founders are former Peace Corps Volunteers, that spent two years living in rural, developing communities, building sustainable tourism operations on the grassroots level. This, combined with a global network of local experts enables us to make unique, off the beaten path experiences that have been historically difficult to access, accessible.
We all seek a high level of authenticity when we travel. And still, when we are faced with the option of taking the road less traveled, we shy away from the inherent uncertainty regarding safety and authenticity. At Keteka, we aim to remove the ambiguity around safety and authenticity surrounding your activity options in destination.
What we believe
We believe in creating a better world through meaningful travel. This is possible when travelers have access to the amazing authentic travel experiences, that allow them to truly immerse themselves in a foreign environment, and see things from a unique perspective.
We believe in creating better travelers, by giving them access to adventurous and meaningful travel experiences. When people travel to a new destination, they have a plethora of activities to choose from. These experiences fall under two categories: things that are familiar, and experiences that are truly unique and authentic to the place that you are visiting. We’re committed to the latter. Our primary aim is to get every traveler closer to a destination through a unique and authentic experience. We believe that such immersive experiences create a lasting impact on both the travelers, and the communities they visit.
Our company is founded on the reality that travel should, and can greatly benefit both the traveler and the community they visit. We make sure that this is evident, not only in the experiences we offer, but also in our business model and company culture. When you book with Keteka, you are signing on to create lasting memories that you will share for the rest of your life.
Our social purpose is the foundation upon which our company is built, the core of our business model, and the reflection of each and every single one of our company values.
What’s With the Name?
The word “keteka” means “to get close to” in Ngäberre (pronounced “naw-berry”), an indigenous Panamanian language. One of our founders lived and worked in a Ngäbe community for two years, developing a community-based tourism program there. We feel the name reflects exactly what we aim to do – bring you closer to the people, culture, and history of the country to which you are traveling.
A Humble Beginning
One day, we’d like to offer experiences in all of the over 60 of the countries in which the Peace Corps serves. For now, we’re starting small by connecting you with the communities and tour operators that we feel give you the most authentic look at Latin America. So book a tour, and discover Latin America like a local.