Located south east of Costa Rica and north west of Colombia,Panama is a narrow isthmus that united long ago North America with South America allowing migration of species in both directions. As a result, you will encounter in Panama more flora and fauna than in any other place in America.
To protect its local resources, Panama has created 14 National Parks with a total area of 1,391,833 hectares representing approximately 22% of the surface area of the country. About 30% of the country is still covered with jungle. Besides its diverse ecosystem, Panama has three distinct native cultures: Kuna Indians from San Blas islands, Chocoe- Embera from Darien jungles and Guaymies from Chiriqui high lands. All of them have their own land reserve. Panama's dominant ethnicity is a mixture of immigrants from Spain, blacks, and natives. However, you will find many Arabs, Jews, Orientals, Indians, North Americans, Italians, Colombians, Spaniards and other Europeans that contribute to make Panama one of the richest countries in the region. Panama was used by the Spaniard Conquistadors to launch their take over of the New World due to its strategic geographical location between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. You will find ruins of fortresses, cities and other jewels of the past that will allow your mind to explore a time when pirates were the rulers of the oceans.
Since these times,Panama has been a keystone of world commerce. Spain developed it as a land commerce route to unite both oceans. France conceived and started to build a water canal, but it was USA that made it a reality.
After the USA handed back the Panama Canal to Panamanians, Panama became a sovereign country, fully democratic, responsible for its own economy, and more open to the world than ever before.
Panama, unlike any other Central American countries, has permission to use US dollar as its currency.
Beautiful beaches, 1,000 islands, two oceans, valleys, mountains, jungles, tropical rainforests, lakes, rivers, and a bustling capital city in one tropically warm country. Where else can you find all of that in one place?
World class sports fishing, golfing, diving, snorkelling, surfing, horseback riding, sunbathing on a beach or relaxing in your own backyard or balcony can all be found in Panama.
Historical. Seven living Indian cultures, Spanish colonial historical sites, exotic birds and animals, historic museums, and a history dating back to the Spanish conquistadors and English pirates, French and Spanish colonial architecture and even a golden altar in an antiquated church or a unique statue of a Black Christ near colonial fortress beckon you to explore Panama.
Where in the world can you see and experience so much in a country no bigger than the state of South Carolina.
Low crime compared to the United States and Latin America. Panama is one of the safest countries to travel throughout Central and South America.
Infrastructure considered the best in Central America with paved highways, airports, high speed internet, and its Canal.
Commerce with a growing economy infused by its world class banking, the second largest Free Trade Zone in the world, first rate hotels & restaurants, and the best shopping malls in Latin America.
Close proximity to the United States with daily flights from all over the western hemisphere and Europe.
Tourism and related businesses are increasing every year as more people from around the world discover Panama.
US Dollar conveniently has been its official currency since 1903 when Panama became an independent nation. If you are a U.S. citizen there is no need to exchange currencies.
Medical care is excellent as world renowned hospitals have trained
Panama doctors and established hospitals and medical clinics in Panama. Prices are so low for first class surgery and dentistry Panama has a booming “medical tourism” industry where Americans and Europeans fly into Panama for low cost treatment.
Healthy environment as the sanitary conditions are excellent in Panama. You can drink the tap water and never get the tourist “Montezuma’s Revenge” as you can in then rest of Latin America.
Ecotourism and nature tours from bird watching to discovering unusual and colourful frogs, reptiles and sea life in Panama. Over 5 million acres of national parks including bio diverse tropical rainforests invite tourists to join canopy tours, jungle and mountain hiking, rappelling, sea kayaking, and observing colourful tropical birds and listening to the famous howling monkeys. Panama has 944 recorded species of birds which is more than all of the United States and Canada combined. All of these wonderful nature sensations are located less than an hour from Panama City.
Beaches on the Pacific Ocean and only 50 miles to the Caribbean coast beaches offer an unusual opportunity to enjoy two oceans in one country.
Affordable visiting, shopping, and living in Panama. Lower priced than the Caribbean islands offering year long tropical warm climates.
Hurricane proof with no destructive earthquakes makes Panama the safest natural environment in Central America.
Retire in Panama! Panama has consistently rated as one of the best places in the world to retire by International Living magazine, Modern Maturity magazine, Forbes magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The high ratings are based on cost of living, beauty & climate, safety, and infrastructure. Panama even offers a Pension/Retired person immigration visa so you can permanently live and enjoy a Pensioners law allowing 25% - 50% discounts at hotels, restaurants, movie theatres, local airfare, electrical/phone/water bills, and cultural activities. They even have special lines for pensioners at all banks for faster service.
Panama Expat Associations
An important attraction of Panama is one of the products of the country's popularity - a growing population of newcomers, blending in but also forming a social pool of potential friends and contacts. This is most important to the North Americans and Europeans for whom the language and culture barrier can be a problem. The expat social scene is lively both in Panama City and in other areas popular with the new settlers, such as Boquete, Bocas del Toro and the mountain and beach areas to the west of
Panama City. Regular meetings and events are a great way to make new friends, share experiences and learn more about living in Panama.
Panama City contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In the west of
Panama contact email@example.com
In Boquete visit Boquete.org
Americans may also want to contact the American Society of Panama amsoc.org.
Capital: Panama City
Population (2005) : est.pop. 3,039,000
Size: 29,760 sq mi (77,081 sq km)
Land and People
The terrain in the west are rugged mountains of volcanic origin. In the middle of the country are low hills and in the east is a low mountain range. Lowlands line both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and there are many offshore islands. The climate is tropical with abundant rainfall. Over half the population is urban. Spanish is the official language, and many Panamanians also speak English.
The economy in Panama has become largely service based, with banking, tourism, and commerce all playing important roles. Only about a quarter of the land is used for agriculture. On the upland savannas cattle are grazed and subsistence crops such as rice, sugarcane, cocoa, and coffee are grown. Bananas are grown on the Pacific coast. The country has various light industries. The Colón Free Zone, established in 1953, is a center for foreign investment in manufacturing.Banana are the leading export, followed by shrimp and fish products, sugar, clothing, and coffee.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2006.