In Panama, in early 2019, the fieldwork mainly focused on the town of Metetí and the indigenous village of La Peñita in the Darién province (which borders Colombia). It involved the representatives of different NGOs, churches, and state entities concerned with migrant care and control, including the Panamanian border police. Interviews and observations enabled insight into Panama’s attempt to coordinate a diversity of migrant populations by making use of the Darién jungle and its inhabitants. Before migrants gain access to the flujo controlado or ‘controlled flow’ agreement that enables their transport between Panama and Costa Rica, they first have to face a dangerous trek through the jungle. Along the way, they are both formally and informally hosted in often marginalized indigenous communities, where it is difficult for humanitarian actors to attend to their needs. Despite their isolation and invisibilization, migrants’ temporary presence affects Panama in economic, political and sociocultural terms. In this sense, the fieldwork not only exposed an evolving transit regime but also raised questions about the involvement and ongoing exploitation of the country’s indigenous communities.