Panama (República de Panamá) is a Central American country bordered by Costa Rica and Colombia, and bisected by the famous Panama Canal. Panama has the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south, and the canal connects these two seas.
A significant portion of Panama’s GDP comes from canal tolls. Other important sectors are commerce, banking and tourism.
Short facts about Panama
|Name||República de Panamá
(Republic of Panama)
|Motto||Pro Mundi Beneficia
(For the benefit of the world)
(Hymn of the Isthmus)
|Area||74,177 square kilometres
28,640 square miles
Of which 2.9 % is water.
|Population||4+ million (Estimate for 2016)|
United States Dollar (USD)
|Time zone||EST (UTC -5)|
|Calling code||(+) 507|
|Traffic||Drives on the right|
|Capital||Ciudad de Panamá
Coordinates: 8°58′N 79°32′W
Many tourists visit Panama each year to enjoy the warm climate and explore the tropical landscape. Some of the plants and animals that live in Panama’s jungle are endemic to Panama and found nowhere else.
The interior of the land consists chiefly of steep, rugged mountains and dissected upland plains. Along both coasts, gently rolling hills and flat plains are common.
Roughly 40% of Panama’s land area is forested, but this number used to be considerably higher in the past – before widespread logging and farming. Still, there are many parts of the country were the rainforest goes all the way from the seaside mangrove swamps of one side to the lower reaches of the slopes of the other side.
The highest spot
Panama’s highest point is a volcano named Barú, which towers at 3,475 meters above sea level. (This is roughly equivalent to 11,400 feet.)
The Panama – Colombia border region
The infamous Darién Gap is a gap in the Pan American highway, a highway that except for this gap stretches from Alaska to Patagonia. The gap is located in the Panama – Colombia border region, where undeveloped swampland has made it practically and politically difficult to create a highway. On the Panamanian side, this region is dominated by mountains covered in thick rainforest. On the Colombian side, you’ll find the flat and marshy river delta of the Atrato River.
Located mostly between latitudes 7° and 10°N, Panama enjoys a tropical climate with high temperatures year round. Elevation will of course have an impact on the temperatures, and frosts do occur on the higher peaks of the Cordillera de Talamanca.
There is a dry season and a rainy season, but the likelihood for rainfall also varies between the different regions. Generally speaking, you can expect heavier rainfall on the Caribbean side of the country compared to the Pacific side. In some parts of the country, the rainy season is nine months long. In others, it will rarely last longer than six months.
Panama lies outside the main Caribbean hurricane belt.
Notable cities, towns and villages
|Almirante||Caribbean West||Located on the Caribbean coast, Almirante is a departure point for water taxis going to Isla Colón.|
|Bocas del Toro
|Caribbean West||Located on Isla Colon in the Caribbean.|
|Balboa||Central Panama||Located between Panama City and the canal. Separated from Panama City by the Cerro Ancon (Ancon Hill).|
|Boquete||Pacific West||Located in the Chiriquí highlands
Home to the volcano Baru
Important hub in the coffee district
Tourists come here for rock climbing, whitewater rafting, zip lining and similar mountain adventures.
|Boca Chica||Pacific West||Village located at the Pacific coast
Tourists come here for swimming, snorkelling deep sea sport fishing, and visits to nearby islands.
|Colón||Central Panama||Port town on the Caribbean coast.
Several international cruise ships dock in Colón.
La Zona Libre is the second largest free trade zone in the world.
Violent crimes are more common in Colón than in the rest of the country.
|Coronado||Central Panama||Coastal town near Panama City.
The first resort community in Panama was created here.
|David||Pacific West||Located along the Pan American highway and has an airport.|
|Panama City||Central Panama||The capital city of Panama|
|Pedasi||Pacific West||On the Gulf of Panama.
Tourists visit for fishing trips, snorkelling and diving.
Close to Isla Iguana and Isla Cana.
|Portobelo||Central Panama||Located on the Caribbean coast, boats to Colombia leave from Portobelo.
Tourists also come for the diving and to visit old Spanish forts.