Panama is the southernmost country in Central America. Colombia is the southern neighbor of Panama and the northernmost country of South America.
2. According to the United Nations, Panama is the 130th most populous country on earth. Panama’s total contribution to global population? .05%, or approximately 3,920,000.
3. Panama’s official language is Spanish. Many Panamanians, however, are bilingual resulting in large numbers of expats living in the country without learning to speak Spanish. This is possible, but not recommended. It’s always better to get out and experience a culture in its native tongue.
4. Panama is a democratic republic. Elections occur every five years to elect the country’s president and vice president.
5. Panama’s flag was designed by the son of Manuel Amador Guerrero, who went on to become Panama’s first president.
6. Panama’s official currency is the balboa, which is tied to the value of the US dollar. For a brief period in 1941, Panama produced bills for their currency, but have since only used American dollars. This makes travel between the US and Panama particularly easy.
7. Panama hats are originally from Ecuador.
8. Panama is known for its coffee. Many varieties grown here, particularly in the town of Boquete, have garnered international attention and awards.
9. The United States took over construction of the canal on May 4th, 1904 and completed it in 1914. From the start of construction to 1979, the Panama Canal and the Panama Canal Zone were under American control. Panama and the United States shared control of the area starting that year, and in 1999 full control was given to the Panamanian government.
10. In 2010, the Norweigan Pearl cruise ship paid a toll of $376,000 for passage through the Canal, the highest toll ever paid. The lowest toll was 36 cents and was paid by Richard Halliburton when he swam the canal in 1928.
11. Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic.
12. Panama has more than 3,500 miles of coastline, and more than 1,518 islands.
13. At its narrowest point, only about 80km (50 miles) separate the Atlantic from the Pacific.
14. Panama City is the only capital city that has a rain forest within the city limits.
15. Panama has more bird species than the United States and Canada combined. Needless to say, birdwatching is a pretty common reason to visit.
16. Panama houses over 10,000 different plants species, and more than 1,500 varieties of trees.
17. Panama rarely has issues with tropical storms due to its location, which falls just south of “Hurricane Alley”.
18. The oldest continually operating railroad is in Panama. It travels a daily circuit from Panama City to Colon carrying containers and passengers.
19. Roberto Durán, the world famous boxing champion, is from Panama.
20. The cargo ship Ancon was the first vessel to transit the Canal on August 15, 1914.
21. The Volcan de Chiriqui is the highest point in Panama, standing at 11,400 ft.
22. Mireya Moscoso was Panama’s first female President, elected in 1999.
23. The Canal generates one-third of Panama’s economic output.
24. Tourism is the fastest growing sector of the economy, currently.
25. “A man a plan a canal Panama” is a palindrome.
26. For a ship traveling from New York to San Francisco, the total mileage saved by going through the Canal instead of around the tip of South America is 7,872 miles.
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