The Republic of Panama is a Central American country that is located in both North and South America. It shares borders with several countries including Costa Rica and Colombia. Panama City, the capital, is the largest city in the country with a population of over 3.6 million. Travel to Panama to explore the wonderful attractions home to this country.
The Spaniards colonized Panama in the 16th century, which was once ruled by the indigenous settlers. Today, Panama has one of the largest economies in Central America. A huge part of its economy is produced from the revenues at the canal tolls. Other important industries in the economy are banking, commerce, and tourism. The country has also earned a high ranking in terms of Human Development Index in comparison to other Latin American countries (it ranked 5th).
The geographical landscape of Panama is either made up of hills or mountain ranges. In fact, the Cordillera de Talamanca or Talamanca Mountain Range (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) forms the continental divide. Panama has a tropical climate. Therefore, the annual average temperature is at no more than 32 degree Celsius.
Currency: Balboa and United States Dollar
Official Language: Spanish is the official language of Panama.
Wi-Fi Availability: The access to wireless internet is quite prevalent but it is quite expensive. Wi-Fi might also be limited to parts frequented by tourists.
Airport/s: The Tocumen International Airport in Avenida Domingo Diaz is the main international airport for flights that travel to Panama.
Visa Required: Citizens from US, Canada, Australia, and UK do not require a visa to travel to Panama.
Driving: In Panama, you must drive on the right side of the road.
International Driver’s License Accepted? Foreign tourists can use their national driver’s license to drive in Panama for 90 days. Beyond that, you need to apply for a Panamanian driver’s license.
Crime: When compared to other Central American countries, Panama is a relatively safe country to visit. Still, serious crimes like murder are prevalent.
Electrical Adapters: In Panama, they use electrical voltage of 120 volts at a frequency of 60 Hertz.
Trivia: DID YOU KNOW that Panama is the only spot in the world where you can see the sunrise on the Pacific with the sun setting on the Atlantic?
About Panamanian Cuisine
The cuisine of Panama is a mixture of Spanish, African and Native American cuisine influences. The reason for the diversity in the cuisine and culture of Panama is due to the fact that it serves as a land bridge that connects two continents. The most distinctive quality of native cooking is its use of tropical fruits and vegetables as an ingredient. Despite the abundance of herbs and spices in Panama, their dishes are mildly flavored and not as pungent in the aroma as dishes prepared in neighboring countries in Latin and Central America.
Majority of the dishes in Panama use corn as an ingredient. The way they cook corn is they cook the kernel in the water first before grinding it to produce dough. In some cases, they also use fresh corn for cooking. The most famous dishes to sample during your travel to Panama include any of the following: empanadas, tortillas, arroz verde, arroz con pollo, sancocho, lengua guisada, and tamales.
Travel to Panama: Attractions
Panama Canal – This 77-kilometer ship canal is one of the most famous landmarks in Panama. It serves to connect the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean. This is a crucial conduit for maritime trade. There is a proposed project for the canal’s expansion in 2016.
Panama Viejo – This is a remnant of the old Panama City, which used to be the capital of the country. It was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1997. It was founded in 1519.
Bridge of the Americas – This historic road bridge stretches up to 1,654 meters in length, which starts from the Pacific entrance all the way to the Panama Canal. It is a tied-arch bridge located in Balboa, Panama. The bridge was constructed in 1959.
Mi Pueblito – This is a mock village created to depict the three different types of culture that make up Panama. It is located at the foot of Cerro Ancon. There are also shows held at the village to showcase other aspects of the culture and folklore in Panama. You should try to catch one of these shows when you travel to Panama.
Biomuseo – This museum is also known as the Biodiversity Museum: Panama Bridge of Life. It is located in Amador Causeway and is a creation of famous architect Frank Gehry. The museum was first constructed in 1999 but wasn’t opened to the public until 2014.