Panama is located on the isthmus that joins Central America with South America, in the extreme south of Central America. It borders Costa Rica and Colombia, with coasts facing the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Panama is a country that became a historic landmark of human engineering after the construction of the Panama Canal, which crosses through the country and joins the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, creating a major commercial route.
The official name of the country is Republic of Panama. There are several versions of its meaning and references attributed to the name Panama; however, the meanings “abundance of fish” or “abundance of butterflies” are commonly accepted. Some historians say the name is a reference to the majestic tree locally called panama, known in other countries as camoruco.
The country has a tropical climate and its territory is divided into ten provinces and five indigenous regions. The capital, located in the Province of Panama, is Panama City, and is the main starting point for any other destination inside and outside the country. It has a population of more than 3.9 million and the official language is Spanish, but English is understood and spoken by a large part of the population.
Catholicism is the most widely practiced religion, although we are proud to say we are historically known for our tolerance towards different religions, races and ethnicities. In Panama, mainly Hispanic and African-Antillean descendants live together, but there are very prosperous and beloved colonies of Hebrews, Hindus, Arabs, Greeks, Italians and, of course, Spanish peoples.
1. Its geographical location is quite curious: Panama has access to the Atlantic Ocean in the north and the Pacific Ocean in the south – unlike other countries that, in the case of the Americas, have the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
2. From the top of the Baru Volcano it is possible to see the two oceans. Due to the narrowness of the isthmus, sunrise on the Pacific side and sunset on the Atlantic can be enjoyed on the same day.
3. Panama has more birds species than the United States and Canada combined.
4. In Guna Yala (an indigenous region), also known as San Blas, it is said that there are 365 islands, one for each day of the year.
5. Panama is a multicultural city, full of contrasts and skyscrapers, framed by the Pacific Ocean. The historic center of the city is a colorful mix of churches, colonial houses and squares.
6. Panama was the first country in the world to have an Interoceanic Railroad due to the gold rush and the movement of settlers, who were looking for a quick and safe route from New York to California. It was built in 1855.
7. The Panamanian skirt is considered one of the most beautiful and expensive typical costumes in the world, regarded as a symbol of culture and tradition. The full dress, accessories and jewelry can be priced over USD 25,000.
8. Panamanian cuisine is one of the most varied in the region. Due to the history of the country, it has been influenced by many different cultures: African, American, African-Antillean, Amerindian, Chinese and Hispanic cuisines. These have influenced typical dishes, creating varied and exotic flavor combinations, such as pork feet sauce (from African culture), corn snacks, Yucca and flour (puffs, carimañolas, corn cakes), the famous chicken Sancocho and the Chinese breakfast “Dim Sum”, which we already adopted as our own, are some classics of our cuisine.
By Zayra Ballestero
SI Product Manager – Brazil