30 Interesting Facts about Panama

Panama is famous for its Colón Free Zone and the Panama Canal but these are just two interesting facts about Panama. Let’s add 28 other Panama important facts. You’re about to learn more about this Latin American country’s rich culture, fast paced economy and lush tropical escapes. If you’re here for some knowledge or have an upcoming trip, Panama will not disappoint. Here are some fascinating facts about Panama.

1. Biggest Free Zone in the Americas

Panama is home to the world’s second biggest tax free zone with the trophy for the world’s largest tax free zone going to Hong Kong in China. The combined revenue of the businesses in this Free Trade Zone totals over US$5 billion annually and represents over 525 million customers.

This free zone is known as the Colón Free Zone and has over 68 years of world trade impact along with the biggest container hub in the Americas. The Colón Free Zone was established as an independent entity in June 1948. This area provides a logistics network consisting of world-class ports, railways, motorways and airports. As a regional distribution hub, it maintains an ideal link with Central America, the Caribbean and the Andean Pact which allows import and export related companies to be developed and promoted in the region. Only tourists and business owners are allowed to shop in the Colón Free Zone, talk about exclusivity!

There are a wide selection of services in this area, including import, export, storage, sales, marketing, distribution and logistics services with added value, storage, packaging, labeling, classification, display, among others that are attractive to entrepreneurs, investors and tourists.

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2. Free Medical Insurance

What’s worse than getting sick while on vacation? Unfortunately, illnesses are a reality and the Panama government ensured tourists had one less thing to worry about. As recent as June 2014 visitors were entitled to free medical insurance for 30 days in the event of accidents and unforeseen illnesses allowing up to USD 7000 for hospitalization and medical expenses. Tourists that unfortunately fall ill could do so for free. This was offered as an incentive to boost the tourism industry, however due to rising costs and abuse of the program it was discontinued. Such a shame!

3. Bird Watching Paradise

Panama has more birds than the United States and Canada combined, here you will find birds together with nature as they fill the forests and skies with their beautiful songs. This happens to be one of the most interesting facts about Panama and it’s unparalleled biodiversity. This country is a paradise for birdwatchers, given its relatively small size. In contrast to the entire US and Canada, both indigenous and migratory birds can be seen in Panama. According to Bird Checklists of the World, Panama’s avifauna includes a total of 1006 species as of December 2019. Of the 1006 bird types, 31 are globally threatened species, 4 are introduced species and 7 are endemic.

Panama’s national bird is the harpy eagle. It is difficult to spot but most likely to be seen in the mountains in the Darién province. You can also find a harpy eagle in The City of Knowledge in Clayton and at the Summit Zoo in Gamboa.

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4. Volcanic Mountains

Panama is the location of three volcanoes named Barú, El Valle and La Yeguada. Before you decide not to buy that flight you should know these volcanoes have not erupted in the last 500 years.

Barú volcano (also known as Volcán de Chiriqui) is an active volcano measuring 3,475 metres (11,401 ft) that lies 35 km east of the border to Costa Rica. This stratovolcano is the highest peak in Panama and the 12th highest peak in Central America. Because of its height and the narrowness of the isthmus of Panama, though quite rare, both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea can be seen on a clear day from the top of Volcán Barú.The last volcanic activity was recorded in 1550, less than 500 years ago. Volcán Barú is the youngest major volcano in Panamá.

El Valle volcano is a (perhaps still active) stratovolcano located in central Panama (80 km southwest of Panama City) and is the most eastern volcano along the Central American Volcanic Arc. Radioactivity dates indicate that the last volcano erupted 200,000 years ago.

La Yeguada volcano (sometimes called Chitra-Calobre) is a stratovolcano rising to 1,297 m (4,255 ft) in west-central Panama east of Laguna La Yeguada and north of the Azuero Peninsula. The last volcanic activity was about 45,000 years ago even though it is widely said that the volcano last erupted in 1650.

5. Highest Building in Central America

The highest building in Central America is the JW Marriot Hotel. This building is no stranger to name changes. Since its opening in 2011 it has been named four times. It was formerly The Bahia Grand Panama, before that Trump International Hotel & Tower Panama, and before that Trump Ocean Club. The 70-storey building located in the area of Punta Pacifica, Panama City, sores to 932 feet (284 meters) into the skies of Central America. Panama ranks among the highest skyscrapers in Latin America, with 12 of the 15 tallest buildings in the region, all over 200 meters in height.

6. Population Diversity

In July 2018 the population in Panama was estimated at 3,800,644. Almost 1.5 million of this figure is concentrated towards the center of the country, particularly around the Panama Canal and Panama City but a sizable segment of the populace also lives in the far west around David. The eastern third of the country is sparsely inhabited, however this diversity also makes up Panama facts and figures when describing the country’s people.

It is very easy for people of different races to call Panama home, the population is made up of mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Native American 12.3% (Ngabe 7.6%, Kuna 2.4%, Embera 0.9%, Bugle 0.8%, other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2%), black or African descent 9.2%, mulatto 6.8% and white 6.7%.

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7. Panama Canal Railway

In 1520, the Spanish Crown explored the possibility to create a canal through the Isthmus of Panama and join the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Had they accomplished this feat many wary seamen could have avoided a trip around the tip of South America. This abandoned idea was later brought to life by the United States. In the 19th century, the US made good on the opportunity to join the two seas but instead of a canal, they had in mind a railroad. In January 1855 a train made its way from the Atlantic Ocean across the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean for the first time making the Panama railway, the world’s first transcontinental railway. The Panama Canal Railway connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in Central America

The railway covers 47.6 miles (76.6 km) across the Isthmus of Panama from Colón (Atlantic) to Panama City (Pacific). To this day, the building of the railway is an engineering achievement admired globally due to the impossible conditions of the route and the technology required. The cost of constructing each mile is another of the many interesting facts about Panama railroad as it’s the most expensive railroad ever constructed. Price tag to build this railway was a whopping US$8 million and sadly the lost lives of an estimated 12,000 workmen over a 5 year period. Colón city was born out of the Panama railway construction and was formerly named Aspinwall after one of the first men involved in the project. Fifty years later, the Panama Railway proved to be crucial in the construction of the Panama Canal.

8. Coiba Island – Panama’s Most Dangerous Prison

Ever heard of Devil’s Island? Maybe not, prison islands are not usually raved about. In the form of Coiba Island, Panama had its own prison island from 1919 to 2004. Not many persons know this is one of the most interesting facts about Panama. The penal colony located on Coiba Island housed the country’s most dangerous criminals alongside those who found themselves in troubled waters with prominent politicians. At the height of its operation, Coiba Island Prison was home to 3000 detainees in some 30 camps scattered over the islands. The thousands who went missing in Panama under dictators Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega were called “Los Desaparecidos”. Los Desaparecidos is Spanish for “the missing” and describes what happened to many unfortunate individuals who supported the opposite side of the political struggle

The prison continued its role as a criminal prison camp after the fall of the dictatorship and was no more a political prison. In its last days, prisoners were typically thieves, murders and rapists who were expected to pay their debt to society and cultivate the land in order to survive. The prison was closed in 2004 after relocating prisoners to other detainment centers.

Today the island exists as the largest untouched rainforest preservation in the Americas. This is mostly due to it’s reputation of imprisonment, torture and death.

9. Casco Viejo (The Old Quarter)

After sacking the original Panama City settlement (now known as Panamá Viejo) in 1671, Captain Henry Morgan burnt the settlement to the ground, massacred most of its inhabitants and made off with the richest booty in the Americas. Did someone say pirates of the Caribbean? The inhabitants of the plundered and devastated the Old City needed to defend themselves from future siege in a safe and convenient location, this gave birth to what is now Casco Viejo (The Old Quarter).

The rare walled town, incorporates 16th and 17th century Spanish and French colonial architecture creating a jewel unknown to most of the outside world until 1997 when UNESCO declared Casco Viejo a World Heritage Site. Thanks to local and overseas investments, a decaying slum most Panamanians didn’t dare to visit was transformed into one of the best and most rapidly growing urban restoration of Latin America. Historical authenticity is maintained in the renovation of buildings and the numerous colonial buildings set the scene for quaint boutiques, restaurants, shops and cafes in an idyllic surrounding.

Today, Casco Viejo (also called Casco Antiguo) is a vibrant community. Emerging from a melting pot of various cultures, the town holds a stark but charming contrast to the hustle and bustle of Panama City which is only a few minutes away. This old town is certainly worthy of making the list of interesting facts about Panama.

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10. The Panama Canal

Did you know the Panama Canal is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World? The Panama Canal is a 82 kilometers man-made waterway. The canal was cut through one of the narrowest parts of the Isthmus of Panama joining the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. Being one of Panama’s greatest assets means the canal is a significant portion of Panama’s GDP and major contributor to seamless trade in the region as well as the most popular of all the interesting facts about Panama.

In 1881, France began work on the canal but stopped because of engineering difficulties and high worker death rate. Similar to the Panama Canal Railway, the United States took over the initiative in 1904 and in August 1914 the canal was completed. The canal utilizes a system of locks with entry and exit gates. The locks serve as water lifts as they bring ships up to the Gatun Lake, 26 meters above sea level. The Gatun Lake is an artificial lake created to lessen the total excavation work needed to build the canal. Upon entering the lake, the vessels then sail across the continental divide.

Each set of locks bears the name of the town-site where it was built: Gatun (on the Atlantic side), and Pedro Miguel and Miraflores (on the Pacific side). The expanded canal saw the Cocoli and Agua Clara Locks being added between 2009-2016. The expansion of the Panama canal introduced a third lane in June 2016 now enabling the passage of larger, neo-Panamax ships, capable of handling more cargo. The average ship pays $54,000 to go through the canal and many ships are built at a maximum size to fit through the canal.

The shortcut offered by the Panama Canal significantly reduces the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and eliminates the need to voyage around the southernmost tip of South America. In this Panama Canal facts and summary, we must note that the canal serves more than 144 maritime routes connecting 160 countries and reaching about 1,700 ports in the world. The canal has a workforce of approximately 10 thousand employees and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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11. Official Currency

The official currency of Panama was named after Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. He discovered the Pacific Ocean in 1513 thus these Panama currency facts combined is the reason the country’s money is called the Balboa. Since 1904 one Balboa equals one US Dollar. Interestingly 1904 is the same year Panama, with the support of the United States, gained independence from Columbia. The US Dollar is legally circulated due to Panama’s close relationship with the U.S even though there are no U.S. treasuries or mints in Panama. Panama is the second country in America to become a dollarized economy. Balboa currency exists only as coins and range from 1 cent to 1 dollar. While being one of the most interesting facts about Panama, the Balboa is also the name of one of the country’s most popular beers. Cheers!

12. The Darién Gap

The Darién Gap is a break across North and South America occurring in Central America. It stretches along the border between Panama and Colombia and is a virtually impenetrable jungle. Also referred to as the Darién Jungle, it has the distinction of being the only point across America where the Pan-American Highway, built from Alaska to Argentina, is interrupted. As one of the most interesting facts about Panama, the Darién Gap covers 60 miles (96 km) of dense vegetation, marshes, forests and mountains in the northern portion.

The Darién has a lingering magic to it and is full of exotic plants, rare wildlife, indigenous people and dangerous drug-toting paramilitary groups. Due to its remoteness, the Darién has received little interference from the developed world and is one of the least visited places on Earth.

Today, laws have been structured to protect the Darién Gap. Additionally, two National Parks exist to protect the jungle. In Spanish, the Darién National Park is called the Parque Nacional Darién and oversees the Panamanian side of the jungle. This is Central America’s largest national park with the most preserved forests in the region. The Colombian part of the jungle is preserved by the Katios National Park, referred to in Spanish as Parque Nacional de Los Katios.

13. Panama Independence

With U.S. backing, Panama gained independence from Colombia in 1904. This marks the second time in its history that Panama had to push for independence and the story is most deserving of being one of the more interesting facts about Panama. The country’s first independence was from Spain in November 1821 when activists sneakingly declared the country independent while the Spanish governor marched on the rebellious Ecuadorians. Fearing that Spain would retake the country, the revolutionists swiftly joined the Republic of Gran Colombia.

On November 3, 1903, Panama declared independence from Colombia with the assistance of the US government. The revolution was orchestrated by a Panamanian party, sponsored by the Panama Canal Company, a French-U.S. company that had intentions to build a waterway across the historically famous Isthmus of Panama.

November 3, 1903 was a busy day for Panama as the Hay-Herrán Treaty was signed by Colombia, allowing the United States the use of the Isthmus of Panama in exchange for financial compensation. However, fear of a loss of sovereignty loomed and Colombia declined to ratify the treaty. President Theodore Roosevelt, in retaliation, tacitly supported the Panama uprising of November 1903. To support the rebels, the Panamanian railway under U.S directive, withdrew its trains from the north terminal in Colón and left the Colombian forces sent to stop the uprising stranded. The arrival of the U.S. warship named Nashville prevented other Colombian troops from moving in on Panama.

U.S. Involvement

On November 6, 1903, the U.S. acknowledged the Republic of Panama and by November 18 the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed offering the United States absolute and perpetual rights to the Panama Canal Zone. Panama received 10 million dollars in exchange, and a 250,000 dollars annual payment, which started nine years later. Several Panamanians denounced the Treaty instantaneously as a breach of their recent national sovereignty. You must realize by now November is a very popular month in Panamanian history.

The Panama Canal was inaugurated on August 15, 1914. After years of protest and negotiations, the Panama Canal was passed from U.S. control to Panamanian control in December 1999. By supporting Panama’s move for independence, the United States will commonly be mentioned in some of the most interesting facts about Panama

14. National Sport

In Panama, U.S. influence is not uncommon and is evident in sports across the country. Baseball is the national sport of Panama with regional teams and a national team representing Panama in international events. The national team named Panama National Baseball team, are ranked among the top international baseball teams and are currently ranked 13th in the world. Roughly 140 Panamanian players played professional baseball in the U.S., more than any other Central American nation. Rod Carew, Carlos Lee, Bruce Chen, Sanguillén, Rivera and Carlos Ruiz are among notable players. There are many interesting facts about Panama, who thought baseball would be one?

15. Immigrant Visas

Panama has numerous types of immigrant visas and residency programs which provide permanent residence and, in several cases, full citizenship in addition to a passport. Read on for more interesting facts about Panama immigration visas.

Several Presidential Decrees were issued in 2012 creating new forms of immigration visas and permanent residency programs that can transition into citizenship. One of the most interesting decrees led to a Friendly Nations Visa program, which currently offers permanent residency in Panama for residents of 50 nations deemed to be friends. Panama is also aiming to acquire international college educated graduates and skilled professionals. This move should fill a void created by Panama’s recent economic development and at the same time assist businesses that cannot not find qualified workers.

Certain immigrant visas to Panama are meant for wealthy foreigners who are willing to invest in the economy through the creation of new businesses or investment in assets. The specific visas for these wealthy investors are:

  • Agricultural Investor Program
  • Reforestation Visa
  • Visa for Self-Economic Solvency
  • Tax Free Processing Zone Investor Programs

Panama also has a Middle Income Foreigners’ Immigration Visa Program for foreign retirees who intend to retire on a fixed income, pension or pension fund in Panama. It’s called the Retiree/Pensioner Visa Program.

If all else fails, a legal, valid marriage (not a sham) to a Panama citizen should do the trick.

16. Territorial Tax System

Panama’s tax system is centered on the concept of territorial income. Citizens and residents are taxed on net income earned from Panamanian sources only. Income derived from foreign sources outside the territory of Panama is 100% excluded. Non-residents are taxed solely on income from Panamanian sources, and the tax charged on any income paid to a non-resident should be retained by the payer. Tax breaks are given to citizens, residents, and non-residents on exempted sources of income for example Panama government securities interest, saving account dividends and term deposits held at banks founded in Panama. Many expats looking to save more and spend less have indeed found territorial taxes to be at the top of all interesting facts about Panama.

The proceeds obtained from the following activities are not deemed to have been created within Panama’s jurisdiction and are therefore tax exempt:

  • Operations carried out in another region from an office located in Panama
  • Transactions which are performed, finished or carried out outside Panama even if initiated by an office in Panama
  • Distribution of dividends generated from income not obtained within the jurisdiction of Panama, including income gained from operations in the points mentioned above

They say two things are certain in life, death and taxes. How about we skip the taxes?

17. Tourist Visas

Panama is one of the easiest countries to visit as a tourist. All visitors must have a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of entry. Tourists should be able to prove that they have access to a minimum US$500 via bank statement, travelers checks, or a credit card. Quite often these are not asked for, but it is a good idea to have them on hand. Additionally, to avoid being denied entry, it is recommended to have a return or onward ticket. Most airlines will not allow you to board without return or onward tickets.

One of the very interesting facts about Panama tourist visas to note is there are two main tourist categories, your country of citizenship will determine if you require a tourist visa or only your passport to enter the country. The Panama Embassy website offers details on the status of all passports exempted from a visa. Many travel websites state you may stay in Panama from 30 days to 90 days, however the maximum stay allowed is 180 days for citizens of visa free countries. That unassuming stamp in your passport, that’s your visa! It serves as your tourist visa and is valid for 180 days. Citizens of countries that require a visa may obtain a stamped visa or an authorized visa at a Panamanian embassy or consulate. The Panamanian authorities will choose to either approve to decline the visa application, and will determine the length of stay.

Overstaying in Panama

If you happen to overstay your tourist visa by even a couple of days, you will have to go to the immigration office in Santiago, Veraguas, or Panama City to explain your situation. The fine for overstaying your visa is US$50/month and must be paid before you will be allowed to leave the country. Once you have paid your fine, you have nine days to exit. Overstaying in any country ruins your credibility as a traveler, US$50 is cheap but your reputation is priceless.

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18. Property Tax Exemption

Panama is the gift that keeps on giving as its tax burden keeps getting lighter. Saving on taxes is always going to make the list of interesting facts about Panama. The country’s attractive property tax laws apply 5-20 year exemptions on residential properties. This exemption applies only to new construction, not to the land. Unfortunately, the 20 year property tax exemption ended Dec. 31, 2011. Properties currently under the old 20 year property tax exemption will continue to enjoy those benefits.

In order to qualify for the exemption, you must register your property with the Exonerations Department at the Ministry of Economy. If the residential building permit was issued after July 2009, the following new construction property tax exemptions apply.

  • 15 year exemption – $100,000 or less in value
  • 10 year exemption – $100,000 – $250,000 in value
  • 5 year exemption – $250,000 or more in value

19. Multicultural

Panama has a significant Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and Chinese community. In this great melting pot of cultures, most Panamanian immigrant groups share a great relationship. While Panama is predominantly Catholic, besides Catholic churches, you can also find mosques, synagogues and temples. The ethnic and religious groups in Panama have also settled in specific areas of the capital. Paitilla is predominantly a Jewish community, El Dorado has a significant Chinese population and many of Panama’s East Indians and Arabs have settled in Colón, north of Panama City. Thanks to its multicultural population being one of the most interesting facts about Panama, many immigrants feel at home here.

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20. Importing Pets

It’s not difficult to carry a pet to Panama, however, there are regulations to in place and you will need vaccination certificates. Normally, no quarantine is required. Remember, however, that government veterinary doctors operate at Tocumen Airport only during the week. If your pet’s flight arrives after hours or on a weekend, you will have to pay an extra fee for the vet to make a special trip to the airport to meet the flight and inspect your animal friend. Otherwise your pet will call the airport home for the weekend.

A complete list of conditions and other interesting facts about Panama pet entry rules can be found on the Embassy of Panama website.

21. Dry and Rainy Seasons

Panama has two prevailing seasons, a rainy season and a dry season. The seasons are sometimes referred to as summer and winter even though this tropical country experiences nothing remotely close to snow. for those who are used to seemingly endless winter, the weather here is a must on the list of interesting facts about Panama. The rainy season covers May to November, while the dry season is expected between December and April. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to accurately predict when the rainy season will end and the dry season will begin. In order to be prepared for the weather keep an umbrella close at hand a you go about your business. During the rainy season, certain parts of the country will experience rain for days at a time. Quite often, for most of the country, the downpours usually take place in the afternoon or evening, lasting a few hours at a time. The temperature remains consistent throughout the year, although the rainy season is more humid than the dry season. The Azuero Peninsula is considered to be one of the driest parts of the country. Even during the rainy season, days go by without a drop of rain. The districts of Bocas del Toro, Colón and Darién get the most rainfall. Panama City and the highlands of Chiriqui also receive regular rainfall during the rainy season.

22. Cheap Rent

It is generally recommended that before making a huge real estate investment in a new country you should consider spending some time in a rented space. Buying is way more permanent than renting.

Easily enough, rental regulations are pretty straightforward and happens to be one of the interesting facts about Panama. Your landlord and you, the tenant, have the right to negotiate whatever rental amount you like, and the landlord has the right to increase rent at any time. Upon renewing the contract, according to the law, the landlord cannot break the terms of the contract unless the contract has stipulated clause, for example, the property will sell eventually. Generally, a tenant can break the lease at any time with a month’s notice.

A rental in a new building with a waterfront can cost as much as US$1,500 a month and more. If you don’t mind an older building without the waterfront view it is possible to find rentals for as little as US$800 a month. The more rural the neighborhood, the cheaper the rent. A brand new three bedroom house could be rented for US$200 a month. The safest bets for finding rental deals are classified ads in the local papers, as well as online.

23. Health Care and Medical Tourism

Excellent and affordable medical and dental services are widely accessible in Panama. The treatment costs are typically cheaper compared to North America and Europe. There are many doctors and dentists in Panama who speak fluent English. You can fill a cavity from US$ 40 to US$ 60. The average medical specialist consultation is US$40. Punta Pacifica Hospital is the best hospital in Panama and is partnered with John’s Hopkins in the United States. It is home to the best specialists and surgeons in the country (most are trained in the U.S.).

Since Panama offers great medical and dental services at great prices, medical tourism is on the rise. Many companies organize entire treatment packages with the aim to advertise medical service,s as one of the most interesting facts about Panama. These packages often include airfare and hotel services, a nip or a tuck and post-op treatment.

24. Taxis

The first rule of taking a taxi and one of the most interesting facts about Panama City or almost anywhere in the world is to negotiate the price with the driver before entering the taxi. Taxis are common in Panama City but are sometimes hard to get. It’s not unusual for a taxi driver to say “No voy” or “Nope, don’t go there” when you give the driver your address. It is illegal for taxi drivers to refuse to take you to a destination, but that doesn’t stop them. The best way to get a taxi is by standing on a corner with traffic in many directions. There’s also a decent chance to find taxis at a hotel. Do not, however, ask for the help of the hotel staff or you will pay excessive fare. When you do find a driver willing to take you where you want to go, a trip within downtown Panama should not cost more than US$5. Trips outside downtown Panama may cost as much as US$10, with airport trips costing as much as US$30.

Taxis can be found easily in Panama’s inner towns and shouldn’t cost over $2 to ride anywhere within the town. Look out for unscrupulous taxi drivers as there’s no shortage of them. Once they realize you are unfamiliar with the city they will try to charge you as much as US$5 even if your destination is two blocks away. Have an idea of the distance to your destination from your current location before you set out to hail a cab and ask your hotel or host what fare you should expect.

25. Cinta Costera

In June 2009, Martin Torrijos, former President of Panama, opened one of his most ambitious projects. while in office; the coastal beltway known as Cinta Costera. This highway skirting the urban area is a fact on Panama city that’s worth seeing. The urban expansion project of the main thoroughfare pushes traffic through the city and includes green spaces and recreational areas. Playgrounds, jungle gyms, basketball and tennis courts, outdoor gym equipment, pavilions, art installations, koi ponds, fountains, a huge skate park, and much more have been added to this popular bay-front gathering spot. Pedestrians walking down the sidewalks along the water is a common sight along wit other interesting facts about Panama.

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26. Mail Service

Knowing there is no door-to-door mail delivery service is definitely on the list of interesting facts about Panama you should keep in mind. The best option for getting mail in this country is to open a Miami post office box with a company offering the service. The mail is delivered to Miami and then forward to Panama. This service is generally fast and reliable; however, if you are expecting a package, check in often with the mail service to ensure it doesn’t get lost in the warehouse. Well known companies offering this service include Mailboxes Etc, Airbox Express, and Air Facility, combined, these companies have several locations all over the city and country.

27. Potable Water

Tap water in Panama City and most of Panama is safe for consumption. The only exception is the Province of Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean coast of Panama, where bottled water is a necessity unless you have access to a water filter. Even if the water is perfectly safe to drink, everyone reacts differently to new foods and drinks, so if you are worried about your body’s reaction to the water, stick to bottled water as it is accessible and affordable. Bocas is an amazing place and another of the interesting facts about Panama that we’ll get into later.

28. Golfing

Golfing is becoming increasingly popular in Panama, there are roughly 12 golf courses in the country with more on the way which make this one of the interesting facts about Panama. You should have no difficulty in practicing this favorite retirement pastime in Panama City or Cocle Province, in addition, some smaller courses are spread around other parts of the country. Green fees are low enough to keep you playing all the time. For instance, on a nine-hole course within Azuero, a fee of US$ 10 per person is paid. Close by the Panama Canal is Summit Golf Club, a world class championship golf course with much higher prices. The cost for Panamanians and residents is around US$49.76 for morning golf (a little less in the evening) and US$65.81 on the weekend. Tourists can expect to pay around US$90 every day.

29. Tropical Islands

Panama is home to three archipelagos. On the Caribbean coast of Panama you will find the San Blas Islands that consist of 365 islands, feel free to pick an island for each day of the year. The Bocas Del Toro Province can also be found on the Caribbean coast of Panama and is made up of nine islands. On the Pacific Ocean is where you will find the Las Perlas Islands, home to 220 islands and islets, only 90 of these islands have been given a name. Taboga Island can be found near the coast of Panama City, it is also a popular weekend getaway for Panamanians and residents alike. For the avid scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, the islands off the Azuero Peninsula (Coiba, Iguana, and Cebaco) offer a great time. You can also find world-class fishing expeditions in the Azuero Peninsula. Additionally, close to Colón on Panama’s Caribbean coast is the famous island retreat known as Isla Grande. With so many tropical islands it’s easy to see why these Caribbean escapes are interesting facts about Panama.

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30. ¿Hablas Español?

If you know the meaning of “hola” you’re already one step closer than you think to speaking Spanish. People who choose to learn a new language usually have a reason for doing so. Whether you are a traveler looking to communicate with locals, a student or an immigrant, learning a new language is always a good thing. Many people have found that speaking a language comes easier when they immerse themselves in the culture and interact with native speakers. If you’re looking for formal teaching, There many interesting facts about Panama to learn and there’s no reason not learn them in Spanish. Panama has a host of highly ranked Spanish schools and courses available for every level of fluency, age and time availability. In most schools you can find classes lasting four hours or less, allowing you much flexibility. Many schools offer group lessons, private lessons or personalized courses, such as Business or Medical Spanish. In Panama, you will find many expats that speak English, however it is of great advantage to understand the country’s official language. If you came across the Spanish word “embarazada” one might think it means “embarrassed” but that’s incorrect, the word means “pregnant” in English. Just a tip, a little Spanish goes a long way!

Summary of Interesting Facts about Panama

For this article, 30 of the most interesting facts about Panama were highlighted to give insight into one of the most fascinating countries in Central America. There is rarely mention of Panama overseas without the Panama Canal being talked about, however this breathtaking country has so much to offer. From pristine beaches and a rich culture to investment and immigration opportunities, Panama is worth the exploration as there is no doubt you will be captivated by your experience of the many delightful surprises that await you.

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