As one of countries starting with P, the Republic of Panama is located in the southern part of Central America. it borders Colombia and Costa Rica and both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The country is mainly known for the canal that connects these two seas, the Panama Canal.
Before Europeans arrived in Panama, the country was home to several pre-Columbian civilizations. The most famous of these was the Coclé culture. Shortly after the discovery of Panama by Columbus, the country was added to Spain as an overseas province. Not long after independence from Spain, the country was added to Greater Columbia. This would remain until the Americans wanted to dig a connection between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Colombia did not want to cooperate and because of this the Americans started to support the independence fighters for an independent Panama. Which with this help quite easily seized power. In 1904, the country’s first president was installed. Construction of the Panama Canal immediately started and was completed in 1914. The Panama Canal became the property of the United States of America in a treaty. For a one-time purchase price and an annual fee. This will eventually lead to a lot of tension and even a declaration of war by Panama on the United States. Ultimately, in 1999, the Americans would return full control of the canal to the Panamanian authorities.
Panama is still a fairly unknown holiday destination, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years. This has in the first place to do with the beauty of the country and in the second place with the Free Trade Zone that is located in Panama. Panama is known as the land of a thousand islands. The Bocas del Torro and the San Blas islands are the most popular with tourists. Whether you want to stay wild for a week in a super-deluxe holiday resort, spend the night among the Indians on the San Blas Islands or take a hike through the various natural parks, it’s all possible here.
Panama’s most famous landmark is of course the Panama Canal. This 81-kilometer-long canal runs right through the country and connects the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean. It is mainly cruise boats and container ships that use the canal. The Miraflores Locks are located in the Panama Canal. These locks accommodate the difference in ebb and flow between the two seas. Another special attraction are the San Blas Islands. These islands are still inhabited by the original inhabitants of Panama. In many cases the Indians who live here still live as they have for many hundreds of years. There are virtually no tourist accommodations on the islands, but you can make an excursion to the islands. The capital Panama City is definitely not to be missed during a visit to Panama. If only because the city is located in a free trade zone and therefore the motto “Shop till you drop” certainly applies here. In addition, it is a particularly beautiful and partly old town. Panama City is one of the oldest cities founded by Europeans in America. If you prefer to enjoy the special flora and fauna that the country has to offer, you can do this in one of the national parks. Panama is known as a bird watcher’s paradise. Other places of interest in Panama include Fort San Lorenzo, Mi Pueblito and the Portobelo National Park.
There are a total of five inscriptions on the World Heritage List in Panama. It must share one of these with neighboring Costa Rica. The oldest registration dates from 1980. This concerns the fortifications on the Caribbean side of Panama. The Portobelo and San Lorenzo fortresses are both in poor condition and are therefore considered an endangered world heritage site. The second entry is the Darién National Park. This park is located on the border with Bolivia. The park is on the World Heritage List for its enormous variety of habitats and the accompanying animals. Two other inscriptions are also of natural origin. These are Coiba National Park and the La Amistad National Park on the border with Costa Rica. Last on the list is Panama City’s Historic District. This part of the city is also known as Panama Viejo. This city was founded by the Spaniards as early as 1519 and was the first permanent settlement on the Pacific Ocean.
Panama has several tropical climates. Along the border areas with both Costa Rica and Colombia there is a tropical rainforest climate. Precipitation here is much higher throughout the year than in other parts of the country. Most precipitation falls in these parts from April to December. The other three months of the year are on the dry side. The western part of Panama has a tropical monsoon climate where there is a clear difference between the dry and the wet period but the annual average remains below a certain number of millimeters. The Central part of Panama has a tropical Savannah climate. Precipitation figures here are much lower than in other parts of the country.
Daytime temperatures in Panama are around thirty degrees Celsius all year round. This, together with the large amount of precipitation, ensures that the average humidity is very high for most of the year. Frost or extreme cold never occurs in most parts of the country except in the east of the country near the San Blas Mountains where frost can occur above two thousand meters in the evening.
Although Panama is located in a hurricane area, tropical storms or hurricanes rarely or never occur in the country. This is mainly because Panama is far away from the danger zone. The solar power is very high here all year round, so it is wise to rub yourself well with a sunscreen with a high protection factor.
Panama is the southernmost country in Central America. Panama borders Colombia to the south and Costa Rica to the north. In the west, the country lies on the Pacific Ocean and in the east on the Caribbean Sea. These two seas are connected at the narrowest part of Panama by the Panama Canal. This channel is 81 kilometers long and ensures that the northern and southern parts of America are separated from each other. In addition to the Panama Canal, there are about five hundred rivers in Panama. The vast majority of this flows into the Pacific Ocean. Only a few of these rivers are navigable. The most important are the Charges, the Tuiro and the Chepo. Dams have been built on some of these rivers to serve as hydroelectric power stations. A large ridge runs across the axis of the country. The largest mountain ranges in Panama are the San Blas Mountains and the Cordillera de Talamaca Mountains. The highest mountain in Panama is Volcán Barú at 3,474 meters.
There are many hundreds of islands off the coast of Panama. The most famous are the San Blas Islands. This archipelago consists of more than three hundred and fifty tropical islands in the Caribbean Sea. Several hundred thousand original inhabitants of Panama still live on these islands. Another well-known island group are the Pearl Islands. This archipelago is located in the Pacific Ocean and consists of twenty-two large and many small islands. The most famous islands belonging to this group are Isla Contadora and Isla Viveros. Other well-known archipelagos and islands in Panama are Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Coiba, Gulf of Chiriqui Islands, Panama Bay Islands, Gatunmeereilnden, Isla Escudo de Veraguas and the city island of Colón.
Panama City is the largest city and capital of the country. Other major cities in Panama include San Miguelito, Tucoman, David, Arraiján, and Colón.
For Panama, all non-essential travel to certain areas is discouraged. This applies in particular to the border area with Bolivia and parts of the border area with Costa Rica. There are regular irregularities here. It is mainly Colombian guerrillas and drug smugglers who make the inhospitable border area with Bolivia unsafe. There have been several major protests in Panama in recent years. This is expected to continue to be the case in the coming years. While visiting the country, keep a close eye on the news and local authorities. In Panama City there is a curfew for young people due to these riots and other disturbances. Young people under the age of 17 are not allowed to be on the street after 9:00 PM. As in most countries, pickpockets and pickpockets are active in the larger cities and major tourist attractions. Therefore, take as few valuables with you as possible and always be on your guard.
You also have to deal with natural hazards. Tropical storms and hurricanes can occur in the country from June to November. If you visit the country during this period, keep a close eye on the weather forecast.
Because you can run into high medical costs when traveling to or through Panama, it is advisable to take good travel insurance when you travel to Panama. This prevents a financial loss in the event of an accident or illness.
All travelers to Panama must be in possession of a valid passport that is valid for at least six months on the date of departure from the country. You do not need to apply for a visa in advance. You will receive this as a stamp in your passport at the airport. However, if you want to stay in the country for more than 90 days, you must apply for a visa at the embassy of Panama in the Netherlands. This applies to all travelers, including children under the age of twelve. If your flight is via a layover via the United States of America, you must request an ESTA (Electronic System of Travel Authority) permission. It is also officially mandatory that you can hand over a plane ticket before your departure from Panama, and a minimum amount of money or a credit card
In addition, it is wise to take a digital copy of your passport with you in case something happens to your passport.
|Capital city||Panama City|
|Phone (country code)||506|
|Language(s) (colloquial)||Spanish and a small part English|
|Time difference summer||In Panama it is 7 hours earlier than in the Netherlands|
|Time difference winter||In Panama it is 6 hours earlier than in the Netherlands|
|Daylight Saving Time Control||nee|