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Panorama of Remedios and Tolé Districts in Chiriquí Province
Panoramic view of the mangroves of Remedios and Tolé Districts in Chiriquí Province.
Image: Dr. Ariel Rodríguez-Vargas

___ Panama

Panama Flag
Flag of Panama
Location map of Panema. Where in Central America is Panama?
Location map of Panema

A virtual guide to Panama, a country in Central America on the Isthmus of Panama, the landbridge between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean that connects North and South America. Panama is bordered by Colombia and Costa Rica.

The country is best known for the Panama Canal, a man-made waterway, opened in 1914. The canal cuts through the country, linking the Caribbean Sea (Atlantic) with the Pacific Ocean. The canal is owned and administered by the Republic of Panama, it is one of the two most-strategic artificial waterways in the world (the other is the Suez Canal in Egypt). Until 1999 the Panama Canal was controlled by the United States.

Panama occupies an area of 74,177 km², making it slightly larger than the Republic of Ireland or slightly smaller than the U.S. state of South Carolina.

Panama's landscape is mostly montainous, covered by rainforest and jungle. The highest point in Panama is Volcán Barú, an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,475 m (11,460 feet) is located in west, close to the border with Costa Rica.

Panama has a population of about 4 million people (in 2017); capital and largest city is Panama City; official language is Spanish.

Republic of Panama | República de Panamá

Country Profile

With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914.

On 7 September 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of 1999. Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over in the intervening years. With US help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989. The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were turned over to Panama by or on 31 December 1999.
(Source: CIA - The World Factbook)

related countries: United States, Spain

Official Name:
República de Panamá
short form: Panamá
int'l long form: Republic of Panama
int'l short form: Panama

ISO Country Code: pa, PAN

Local Time = UTC -5h
Actual Time: Sun-May-26  14:44

Country Calling Code: +507

Capital City: Panama City (830 000)

Other Cities:
Colon (140 000), David (100 000).

Type: Constitutional democracy.
Independence: 3 November 1903 (from Colombia).
Constitution: 11 October 1972; amended 1983 and 1994 and reformed in 2004.

Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. Panama occupies the southeastern end of the isthmus forming the land bridge between North and South America.
Area: 74,177 km² (28,640 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Mountainous (highest elevation Cerro Volcan, 3,475 m.--11,468 ft.), upland plains; coastal areas.

Climate: tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season, short dry season (January to May)

Nationality: Panamanian(s).
Population: 3.97 million (2015)
Annual growth rate: 1.31%.
Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European ancestry) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, Caucasian 10%, Amerindian 6%.
Religions: Roman Catholic 84%, Protestant 15%, other.
Languages: Spanish (official); 14% speak English as their native tongue; various indigenous languages. Many Panamanians are bilingual.
Literacy: 93%

Natural resources: Copper, mahogany forests, shrimp, hydropower.

Agriculture products: Bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables; livestock; shrimp.

Industries: Construction, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling

Exports - commodities: copper, gold, lead, zinc, tin, iron ore, molybdenum, silver; crude petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas; coffee, asparagus and other vegetables, fruit, apparel and textiles, fishmeal, fish, chemicals, fabricated metal products and machinery, alloys

Exports partners: China 22.1%, USA 15.2%, Switzerland 8.1%, Canada 7% (2015)

Imports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, plastics, machinery, vehicles, TV sets, power shovels, front-end loaders, telephones and telecommunication equipment, iron and steel, wheat, corn, soybean products, paper, cotton, vaccines and medicines

Imports partners: China 22.7%, USA 20.7%, Brazil 5.1%, Mexico 4.5% (2015)

Currency: Balboa (PAB); US Dollar (USD)

Panama City skyline
Panama City skyline.
Image: Ron Reiring

Political system
Panama is a constitutional democracy and a presidential representative republic with a multi-party system. Head of state and head of government is the president.
Executive power is exercised by the government. The National Assembly is main legislative body of Panama. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature, the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice are appointed by the president.

To understand the politics of Panama one may consider the fact that elite families of European descent control most of Panama's wealth and power, while about 33% of the population live below the poverty line.

Official Sites of Panama

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Presidencia de la República de Panamá
Presidency of the Republic Panama (in Spanish).

Asamblea Legislativa de Panamá
Legislative Assembly of Panama (in Spanish).

Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Ministry of External Relations (in Spanish).

Diplomatic Missions
Embajada de Panamá
Panama Embassy at Peru (in Spanish).
Panama's Diplomatic Missions Abroad
Address list of Panama's Diplomatic Missions Abroad.


Map of Panama
Political Map of Panama.
Administrative Map of Panama
Detailed map showing also the administrative divisions of Panama.

Google Earth Google Earth Panama
Searchable map and satellite view of Panama.
Google Earth Google Earth Panama City
Searchable map and satellite view of Panama's capital city.
Google Earth Google Earth Panama Canal
Searchable map and satellite view of the Panama Canal.

Map of Central America and the Caribbean
Reference Map of Central America and the Caribbean. 


El Panamá América
National and international news (Spanish)

El Siglo
National news (Spanish)

La Prensa
National news (Spanish)


Bookmark/share this page

Arts & Culture

Arte y Cultura en Panamá
About Panama's art and culture (in Spanish).

Biblioteca Nacional de Panamá
The National Library of Panama (in Spanish).
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo - Panamá
Modern Art Museum (in Spanish).
Patronato Panamá Viejo
Old Panama City Museum (in Spanish).

Carlos Fuentes
Wikipedia article about the Panama born writer, famous for novels like: 'Terra Nostra ' and 'The Crystal Frontier'.

Pacific Side Entrance of the Panama Canal with the Bridge of the Americas
Pacific Side Entrance of the Panama Canal. In the foreground part of Panama city is visible together with the Bridge of the Americas. In the background (right) the Miraflores Locks. 
Image: camilo molina

Business & Economy

Bolsa de Valores de Panamá
The Panama Stock Exchange.

American Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Panama
The official site of the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Camara de Comercio e Industrias
Panama Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Conventions & Visitors Bureau
Conventions & Visitors Bureau of Panama.

Fundación Libertad Panama
Non-profit organisation promoting classical economic liberalism.

Domestic carrier.
Copa Air
Copa Airlines offers flights throughout the United States and Central America.

Panama Canal
The Panama Canal Website.
Isla las Perlas, Pearl Islands, Panama
Isla las Perlas, the Pearl Islands are an archipelago of about 200 or more islands and islets about 30 miles off the Pacific coast of Panama.
Image: Gaspar Serrano

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Panama - Travel and Tour Guidbes

Discover Panama: Provinces, Islands and Beaches, The Panama Canal, The Rainforest, Bocas del Toro, Costa Arriba, Colón and the Free Zone, Chiriquí, El Valle, Panama City, Perlas Islands, San Blas, Taboga.

Find accommodation, hotels, attractions, festivals, events, tourist boards, biking, hiking, climbing, cruising, diving, tours and much more.

Instituto Panameño de Turismo
Panama Tourist Board official site about tourism in Panama (in Spanish).

Visit Panama
Extensive travel and tourism information on Panama by the Panama Tourims Bureau.

Panama Tours
A Virtual Tourism Center.

Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal Website.
Panama Canal Museum
Preserving the American Era of the Panama Canal.

Panama (City)
The Municipality of Panama.

Volcán Barú and the mountain city of Boquete
Volcán Barú and the mountain city of Boquete. The active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,475 m (11,460 feet) is Panama's highest mountain.
Image: Alex Proimos


Universidad del Istmo
The university was founded in 1987 in Panama City, it has its main headquarters in Panama City and regional headquarters in David, La Chorrera, Los Pueblos, Santiago, Colón, Chitré, Penonomé, and Changuinola.
Universidad Latina
The Latin University of Panama is a private university in Panama City.
Universidad de Panamá
The University of Panama, popularly known as 'La Nacional', is a state university and one of the main universities in Panama with institutions all over the country.
Universidad Santa Maria La Antigua
Private university in Panama City.

Environment & Nature

Bocas del Toro Biological Station
Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation
Fundación Albatros
Marine life documentation.
Herps of Panama
An attempt to create a species list of the herpetofauna of Panama.


Panamá 500 años de Historia
500 years of Panama's history (in Spanish).

History of Panama
Wikipedia: History of Panama.

Sources and additional Information on Panama

Amnesty International: Panama

BBC News Country Profile: Panama

FAO: Panama

GlobalEDGE: Panama

The Heritage Foundation: Panama

Human Rights Watch: Panama

OEC: Panama

Reporters Without Borders: Panama

Wikipedia: Panama

The World Factbook --Panama
 Support UNICEF

Other countries of Middle and Central America:
Belize | Costa Rica | El Salvador | Guatemala | Honduras | Mexico | Nicaragua

Major Cities in Middle and Central America:
Belmopan, Guatemala City, Managua, Mexico City, Panama City, San José, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa

Countries of South America:
Argentina | Bolivia | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Ecuador | French Guiana
Guyana | Paraguay | Peru | Uruguay | Suriname | Venezuela