Panama, a tropical paradise with a modern infrastructure, has also become an important tourist destination as flights from the United States have become increasingly cheap and more US seniors start to retire here.
Here are 30 interesting facts about Panama:
#1 It has a total area of 74,177.3 km2.
#2 It is located in Central America and bordered by Colombia to the southeast, Costa Rica to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the south, and the Caribbean Sea to the north. This country is known as the “Crossroads of the Americas” because of its advantageous position between South and North America.
#3 The Panama Canal opened in 1914, is 48 miles long and until 1979 it was controlled solely by the U.S. However, they ceded jurisdiction of the canal on December 31, 1999.
#4 Revenue from canal tolls represent an important portion of this country GDP, as it generates 1/3 of the entire economy. For example, during the month of January 2017, the canal registered the transit of 1,260 ships through both the original and expanded locks.
#5 This country became the first Spanish colony on the Pacific. Moreover, on November 3, 1903 (it is also the National holiday), it concluded the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty with the U.S and affirmed its independence.
#6 It was under Spanish rule between 1538–1821 and became part of the colonial Spanish administrative district, along with all many other Spanish dominated countries in South America.
#7 The capital, Panama City, has three districts of interest: the old city, the new city, and the ruins of the original colonial city. It has a population of 880,691 and is the largest urban area in the country.
#8 While in the capital, don´t miss the 4 “must do’s”: Viejo, the canal, the jungles surrounding the Canal area, and Casco Antiguo (also known as Casco Viejo) – a UNESCO World Heritage site.
#9 Spanish is the official and dominant language with English coming in second.
#10 The country has a population of 4,058,374 in 2016.
#11 In 2010, the population was 65 percent Mestizo (mixed native American, white), 9.2 percent mulattoes/black, 12.3 percent native Americans, and 6.7 percent white.
#12 Average annual growth was 7.2% between 2001 and 2013, and according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, it is the 2nd most competitive economy in Latin America.
#13 This country has the United States dollar as the banknote currency – albeit Panamanians usually refer to it as balboa.
#14 The dialing code is +507.
#15 The main and official religion is Roman Catholic (75 percent), evangelical Christian (around 20 percent) and the Bahá’í community is estimated at 2.00 percent.
#16 This beautiful country has 11,000 km (7,000 miles) of roads and 1/3 are paved.
#17 It has a tropical climate with a prolonged rainy season. Temperatures are uniformly high and there is little seasonal variation. Summer starts in December and ends roughly in April.
#18 The highest point in the country is the Volcan Baru, an active stratovolcano, that rises to 11,401 feet (3,475 meters). This marvelous active volcano is located in Chiriquí Province and is one of the few places in the world where you have the chance to see both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean at the same time. Furthermore, it is a true adventure for mountain climbers and experienced hikers.
#19 The flag was officially adopted on November 3, 1903, and its colors represent the 2 main political parties – the Conservatives (blue) and the Liberals (red).
#20 The national flag was designed by the revolutionary leader and first President, Manuel Amador Guerrero.
#21 In this country, the wildlife holds an amazing diversity of all the countries in the world and is home to 226 species of reptiles, 218 mammal species, and 125 animal species found nowhere else in the South America.
#22 It is estimated that 9/10 of the adult population is literate.
#23 A typical traditional meal commonly includes coconut rice, meat, and beans accompanied by local vegetables and tropical fruits like squash, yucca (a starchy root vegetable with many health benefits), and plantains.
#24 The music in this region is a combination of many styles, including Cuban son, salsa, Argentine tango, or Colombian cumbia.
#25 In 1928, American travel writer Richard Halliburton paid 36 US cents to swim through the Canal.
#26 El Desfile de Navidad is the annual Christmas parade and is ceșebrated in many towns around the country, including the capital.
#27 The annual jazz festival was founded in September 2003 by Danilo Pérez, a Grammy-winning pianist.
#28 The Pensionado Visa program allows retirees with a minimum of 1,000 US dollars of lifetime monthly pension payments to get resident status in this country.
#29 Probably one of the most famous people is Manuel Antonio Noriega, an ex-military dictator, who rule from 1983 to 1989. However, in 1989, under the name of “Operation Just Cause” the U.S. invaded this country (especially the Canal area and the capital) to oust General Noriega. Furthermore, in 1992, in a United States federal court, he was convicted of racketeering, cocaine trafficking, and money laundering.
#30 In this country, there are 500 rivers with some emptying into the Caribbean Ocean but the majority of them empty into the Pacific Ocean.