Click on the picture to see more photos.
AN ENCOUNTER WITH WHALES IN PANAMA
The melodious songs and graceful yet acrobatic leaps in the middle of the ocean are part of the male whale's courtship gestures to draw attention and impress the female, who chooses the male with the best display as part of their mating ceremony.
Every year, from early July until mid September, dozens of visitors, among them scientists and environmentalists, gather to enjoy this dazzling show that is part of whale watching in Panama.
Fundación Albatros Media invites the public to watch whales during their one- to two-day "photographic safaris". The foundation encourages respectful observance of the cetaceans and inspires visitors to continue to build public awareness on this issue.
The 2,210 km² of territorial waters surrounding the "heart of the universe", as Panama is known, provide the perfect habitat for a large variety of marine species that migrate unimaginable distances to reach the Central American island, seeking to reproduce in its warm seas and coastal shelters for most of the year.
The tropical temperatures in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean bathing Panama's coasts are the ideal conditions for humpback whales, who will journey from the southern hemisphere to Costa Rica, crossing the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. Once they have left, humpbacks from the northern hemisphere will arrive, after having swum from Alaska, along the coast of North America and Mexico, and finally down to Panama.
Whales can be found all season long in the Gulf of Chiriquí and the beaches in the province of Herrera and Los Santos, thanks to the various ocean currents present in these areas. Contadora, Saboga and Coiba islands, Panama Bay, and the majestic archipelago of Pearl Islands, just a few hours from the capital city, are the top spots to witness the most showy marine spectacle that Mother Nature offers.
The whale specialist and general director of Fundación Albatros Media, Alejandro Balaguer, affirms that, "Panama could become the best place in the world for whale watching, since sites are just an hour away from the city. If these tours could be better promoted, both nationally and internationally, it would enrich the country's natural marine resources." Whale watching attracts over 15 million visitors and generates over a billion dollars annually from the tours and complementary tourist services it generates.
Thanks to the lobbyingefforts of Fundación Albatros Media during the administration of former President Martín Torrijos (2004-2009), Panama passed a law in 2004 to create sanctuaries for whales and other marine species.
"The sanctuary is known as "the corridor of aquatic mammals" and is found in both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean," said Alejandro Balaguer.
"If we as the human species are able to safeguard the greatest being that has existed in the oceans for all time, what could we be able to conserve next?", reflects Balaguer.
Tourists are advised to follow these rules:
- Stay further than 200 meters from a whale with her calf.
- Turn off the engine if a whale spontaneously approaches the boat.
- Do not pursue these mammals nor try to swim or dive with them.
OVER 35,000 SEA TURTLES BORN ON CAMBUTAL COAST.
CAMBUTAL, Los Santos. Some 35,687 sea turtles have successfully been born on the beaches of Cambutal in the province of Los Santos, according to official figures of the regional environmental group Tortu-Agro.
Such a successful 100% birth rate of these animals over the past four years has been achieved through efforts to inspect, protect, and conserve natural resources on the beaches of La Cuchilla and Horcones on the Pacific coast of the Azuero peninsula.
Tortu-Agro's treasurer Yaquielin Vásquez noted that the contribution of $23,950 dollars from the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP) allowed the sea turtle monitoring centers to be constructed.
One of the centers is located on La Cuchilla beach and the other on Horcones beach, which also has two turtle nurseries. The resources provided were also used to remodel the Cambutal Center for Environmental Communication, Vásquez added.
Vásquez pointed out that the two new monitoring centers allow for daily, round-the-clock surveillance of the sea turtles, whereas before they could only patrol the beaches three times a week.
According to the environmental group's statistics, in 2010 they collected 20 nests and had 1,321 hatchlings; in 2011, from the same number of nests, 8,620 turtles were born; in 2012 the number of nests increased to 150 and produced 14,856 turtles; and in 2013 they had 10,890 baby turtles from 110 nests.
FERRY WILL SET SAIL IN OCTOBER
A new attempt to unite Panama and Colombia through a sea route is in the works for October, and its organizers say that this time the project is steaming full speed ahead.
The ferry connecting the province of Colón with the Colombian city of Cartagena will start operations on October 24th, but this time the voyage includes a new attraction: a trip to the island of Bocas del Toro.
The ship will pull out of port of Colón 2000 on Mondays and Wednesdays bound for Colombia, to return to Panama on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays it will depart for Colón Island in Bocas del Toro.
Augusto Terracina, director of Ferry Xpress, the Panamanian company behind this project, clarified that, unlike two years ago when they tried to launch a similar product, the tour operator now has a signed contract with the owners of the ship Adriatic, which has capacity to transport 1,320 thousand passengers and 500 vehicles.
"In 2012 the project was in conjunction with an intermediary who had a lease with the Italian company Snav, and due to financial issues between them the boat was unable to be brought to Panama," Terracina explained.
The ship has 379 cabins and 300 chairs similar to first-class airline seats.
The Adriatic is scheduled to arrive in the port of Colón 2000 on October 23rd, leave for Bocas del Toro on the night of Friday the 24th, and then return to Colón on Monday.
The voyage to Colón Island will take 12 hours. The most economic cabin for 4 people costs $276 per person, which includes three days aboard the vessel; whereas the chairs are priced at $75 for each leg of the trip.
While the current port terminal is under construction for expansion, passengers who wish to travel to Colón Island will be transferred in tenders (boats). Hotels in the area will remain open.
Unlike a cruise, on a ferry the meals and drinks are not included in the fare, and Terracina notes that this system allows them to offer the cheapest tickets possible.
The vessel, which currently covers the Italy-Croatia route, is equipped with three restaurants (buffet, a la carte, and sport bar), for passengers to select the dining option within their price range.
The 18-hour voyage to Cartagena will finally connect the north and south of the American continent, after 15 years of separation.
The price per person for one way of the trip is $115 in a four-passenger cabin, $99 in a chair, or $320 in a two-person cabin.
Terracina pointed out that passengers who decide to travel on the chairs will also have access to private bathrooms and changing rooms.
The businessman added that it is important to search for new ways to bring tourists to the country, especially now that hotel occupancy levels are at their lowest in the past five years.
In addition to 500 vehicles, the vessel will also be able to transport merchandise, which will increase trade between Panama and Colombia and supply products at more affordable prices to Colón Island, where its distance from the province of Panama makes the cost of living generally higher.
Regarding customs procedures, Ferry Xpress representatives will meet in early September with Colombian authorities to wrap up loose ends.
For passengers who will be traveling with their vehicles, the Panamanian and Colombian authorities also seek to streamline the process for their driver's licenses to be accepted in both countries.
THE BEST LINKS IN PANAMA
Bocas del Toro
Although this site appears to be an eye-sore, there is such an amount of interesting and practical information regarding this magical place in northern Panama that it is more than worth giving it a look!
Bocas del Toro Official
It is difficult to express in a few words what you can feel when you visit the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Only some places around the world keep this particular atmosphere, seductive, primitive and unforgettable. The website is full of ads but has some decent info.
Cerro Punta is a small and beautiful village located in the highlands of the Chiriquí Province, the newest tourism destination of Panama, with amazing landscapes, aboundance of natural resources and cool climate. At almost 2000 meters above sea level, in a pot-shaped valley surrounded by densely forested mountains, Cerro Punta is the highest village of the country, often bathed in clouds.
The province of Chiriqui is located at the west of the Republic of Panama having as limits, to the north, the province of Bocas del Toro and the Ngobe Bugle Reserve, to the west the Republic of Costa Rica, to the east the province of Veraguas and to the south the Pacific Ocean. Learn more here if you can navigate some weird angles...
Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean end of the Panama Canal. Colón was surrounded by, but not part of, the former Panama Canal Zone. Colón is an important port, commercial center, and tourist destination.
Comarca Ngobe Bugle
Welcome to the Community of Soloy website. We hope that you will enjoy browsing our site and learning more about the Comarca Ngobe-Bugle. The Comarca encompasses the vast Chiriquí mountain range, the Central Cordiella, and it is here that some of most remote and beautiful areas of Panama can be found. Throughout the central and southern parts of the Cordiella the land is typically covered in tropical dry forest, interspersed at higher attitudes with cloud forest and rolling pine.
The least populated, more extensive and wild of the provinces of Panama, Darien is available to the visitor to explore and rediscover it by step. It is inhabited in its majority by KunasEmbera y Wounaan natives; Darien shares its territories with the Comarca Embera y Wounaan [reservation] region located in the Cemaco (1 area) y Sambu (2 area). It is geographically located in the oriental extreme side of Panama, bordering with Colombia. This is an agency site, but informative enough to include.
Do today in Panama...
General informative guide with events in the country, focusing mainly but not only on the capital.
Escape the urban sprawl of Panama City in this ecopark which is only 10 kms away and provides a totally different ambience.
Panama is the hub of the natural land bridge that connects the two continents of North and South America. So Panama is home to many South American species as well as North and Central American wildlife. There are said to be over 10,000 varieties of plants and 1500 species of trees, and more then 1,000 species of birds. This is more than can be found in North America and Europe combined, and it includes some of the rarest on Earth.
Isla Coiba National Park
Coiba Island is home to rare plant species found only on the island. As well, the island harbors tree species that have long disappeared from the mainland due to deforestation and overharvesting. The island was declared a National Park in 1992 and in July 2005, Unesco declared the entire Coiba National Park a "World Heritage Site".
Well visually designed site offering plenty of practical information, in addition to updated news on any event in the country. Don't miss neither the hints section nor the multimedia galleries.
Set to become a national icon for Panama, this just opened museum is a true work of art, in terms of design as well as content. Absolutely worthwhile and the site (so far only in Spanish) initiates you appropriately...
Panama Film Festival
We will present everything that show business has to offer: national premieres, red carpets, galas, special events and parties. Also joining us are the renown directors and international film stars, distinguished personalities and more than 15 international journalists, that together with more than 60 local journalists will give the event extensive coverage at both national and international level. In total, more than 100 guests will gather in our city in April 2013 to share and enjoy all that Panama has to offer regarding culture, tourism, and human quality.
There are currently around 25000 articles in our ever-expanding database and we update daily so check back often. More than 7,000 people visit Panama-Guide.com every day to follow current events and to use the other resources available. We provide English language Panama news as well as information about all of the other things you need to know if you plan to visit or live here. We focus on those topics and issues which are of greatest importance to the English speaking expatriate community
Panama Jazz Festival
Looks impressive, international and worthwhile.
Panama Modern Art Museum
The only modern art locus in the country with a page in Spanish only that serves it adequately.
Panama Music Festival
The Music Festival of Panama is a project created by the Fundación Sinfonía Concertante de Panamá, for the purpose of bringing together national and International musicians in a great cultural and artistic exchange, through diverse activities that enrich their musical passion and expertise.
Panama Opera and Theatre
The Panama Opera Foundation is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2008 to coincide with the re-opening of the National Theatre of Panama after a long period of restoration. Opera Panama is dedicated to the training and artistic education of young Panamanian talent and to the development of an audience, by means of performances and educational projects that can reach diverse areas of the country.
The Metropolitan Natural Park is located in Panama City, Ancon district between Ascanio Villalaz Ave., the Amistad road and the Curundu river. MNP is the only wildlife refuge located within city boundaries...
Passport to Panama with Jack
"Passport to Panama with Jack" can be a guide for tourists who are visiting the country, inspiration for photography lovers, a world of dreams to hikers with challenges, a gateway to the country for foreing companies with the desire to settle here, and the eyes of those who want to see beyond the distance in search of new experiences and adventures.
The San Blas islands are considered a part of Panama's tropical paradise and for good reason. Have a look here to find out more about amazing nature and fantastic seafood...
PANAMA IN YOUR POCKET
Publication date: March 2014
Price: 9,95 €
BEST GUIDE PDF
Children Panama: falls also for the kids
PANAMA, A SPORT FISHING DESTINATION
Panama means "abundance of fish" in an Indian language, and this fame attracts anglers from around the world. The Central American country has positioned itself as one of the main destinations for sport fishing, which has generated an annual visitor spending of over €135 million in lodging, boat rentals, and complementary activities.
The great diversity of saltwater fish swimming in the waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, where fishermen practice catch and release, alongside the appeal of fishing in the Panama Canal or Lake Gatún for freshwater species, make Panama a very interesting destination for game fishing.
Top fishing spots in Panama are found at Pineapple Bay, Pearl Islands, Coiba Archipelago, Gulf of Chiriquí and the Azuero Peninsula on the Pacific coast, and the Volcano Reef, Bocas del Toro, and Escudo de Veraguas on the Atlantic side. Among the most popular marine species are marlin, sailfish, mahi-mahi, tuna, snapper, roosterfish, amberjack, and wahoo.
Pineapple Bay: Located on the Pacific coast of Darién, 200 kilometers from Panama City, is an ideal fishing spot and the location for numerous world sport fishing competitions. Here you will find different kinds of marlin, such as the black marlin, mahi-mahi, and roosterfish.
Pearl Islands: an archipelago of about 39 islands and 100 islets, situated just 48 kilometers from Panama City, contains a huge number and diversity of fish species, making it one of the most attractive sport fishing spots in the country. Marine species such as dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and whale sharks can also be found in migration along the Pearl Islands.
Gulf of Chiriquí: tucked in the northwest of Chiriquí Province, this region is an enjoyable fishing area because it receives less rainfall compared to the rest of the country. Galapagos penguins can be seen at certain times of the year. The presence of black marlin makes this area a recommended destination by professional sport fishers.
Bocas del Toro: this archipelago on the Caribbean coast, surrounded by waters very appropriate for sport fishing, is one of Panama's tourist highlights. The place is especially appealing for its beautiful scenery, Caribbean cuisine, diving in clear waters, and relaxing on white sand beaches.
Escudo de Veraguas: this completely flat island only 3 kilometers long is part of the province of Bocas del Toro, but sits remotely in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, making for more complicated access. The marine life is very rich, as the coral reefs provide shelter and habitat to many species. Besides fishing, visitors can go diving or snorkeling.
PANAMA IS A RISING SURFING DESTINATION
Panama's privileged geography of being flanked by two oceans makes this Central American country an increasingly popular destination among surfers, since the best beaches for this sport are found merely an hour away from the capital, Panama City.
Noteworthy beaches include Malibu, Teta, Palmar, and Río Mar, where surfers can ride the best waves at sites with stunning scenery.
More adventurous and daring surfers will find that the country also has a few hidden gems to discover. Rare and off-the-beaten-track destinations in Panama offer thrilling challenges, such as at Venao, near Pedasi; Santa Catalina, on the Pacific coast; or off the islands of the Bocas del Toro archipelago, on the Caribbean coast.
Beyond the dream beaches for surfing, Panama stands out as a cheap destination for transporting the gear you need to practice this sport. The airline Air Panama, for example, charges only an extra $15 baggage fee to take aboard surfboards and bodyboards on domestic flights.
All of these advantages were criteria in selecting Panama as the host country for the ISA 2014 World Masters Surfing championship.
OVER 100 CRUISE SHIPS SET TO ARRIVE NEXT SEASON
The cruise season in Colón will start warming up in October as ships from Celebrity Cruises, Holland America, Princess Cruises, and Pullmantur lines pull into port.
From October 2014 to April 2015 more than 100 cruise ships are expected to arrive at the ports of Colón 2000 and Lake Gatún in the Panama Canal. Last cruise season an average of 45,000 passengers disembarked monthly at the port on the shores of the city of Colón and at Amador on the Pacific entrance to the Canal.
The cruise tourism segment recorded the arrival of 215,581 passengers and a 5.75% increase from January to May. Tourists on these cruises spend an estimated $27 million dollars. According to the Florida Caribbean Cruises Association (FCCA), a passenger who disembarks at a Caribbean port spends $125 on average.
Every Friday the cruise ship Monarch on the Pullmantur line sets sail from Terminal number 2 at Colón 2000, which serves as its Home Port, bound for Cartagena, Aruba, Curaçao, and other ports across the southern Caribbean. Thais Tuñón, from the tourism operator Aventuras 2000, notes that the new cruise season will receive the support of the residents of Colón and government entities such as ATP, Customs, Immigration, SINAPROC, Tourist Police, and the National Police. "Operating tours in buses, trains, and boats through the canal requires the support of all these entities. Every time a cruise departs Home Port, 300 people, 90% of them colonenses, are participating and working."
The Panama Canal is the main draw for tourists on cruises. They also visit tourist attractions like Portobello and Panama City. The Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) anticipates that Colón and the Amador port in Panama City will have a good season that will generate employment and tourist income for tour operators, transportation companies, restaurants, and stores.
A GRAND CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE PANAMA CANAL
The centenary of the Panama Canal has become one of the most transcendental moments in the history of this Central American country and the world at large. The 2014 anniversary celebration is slated for August 15, the historic day when the ship S.S. Ancón crossed the Canal for the first time, and it will take place a hundred years after the construction of this extraordinary work of engineering that has made it one of the main shipping lanes in the world.
This country that links the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea also melds tradition and modernity, offering such a wide range of activities, from tours of ancient civilizations to mountain hiking or soaking in the sun on nearly virgin sandy beaches, that it is an ideal destination to visit any time of the year. This year, Panama offers an additional attraction: join in on the celebration of the Canal's 100th Anniversary by participating in the activities scheduled for the coming months.
Centenary of the Panama Canal, event by event
Panama wishes to share this centennial celebration of the waterway and enjoy together this anniversary of worldwide interest. The anniversary celebration culminates on August 14th with the Centennial Gala, a grand artistic, musical, and theatrical production that will be broadcast live on television. Canal staff will also be cast members in this show that will represent the epic construction of the Canal, the battle across generations to recover it, and its current expansion project.
Also scheduled this month is the film premiere of Canal Stories (Manglar Productions) at the capital city's National Theater. The five shorts that comprise the film, lasting twenty minutes each, relate various fictional stories that occurred in five significant moments in the history of Panama and the Canal.
In addition, the traveling exposition Centennial Experience of the Canal roadshow is available to visit through July in nine provinces of the country. The hands-on display employs audiovisual resources (maps, 3D, touch screens, photographs, etc.), interactive games, pieces of collections, and educational and group activities.
At the same time, various cultural and sports events have been held over the past months, such as the Ocean to Ocean canoe race that took competitors three days to paddle through the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to Pacific Ocean. During this time three commemorative books have been published: The Panama Canal, a deluxe edition by author Luis Blas Ariti, Transfer of the Panama Canal, by Jorge Eduardo Ritter, and 100 Years, 100 Landmarks, by Manuel Orestes Nieto, with photographs and short texts that frame the main events in the hundred years of the Panama Canal's history.
The Panama Canal and the mythical hat, symbols of this destination
Construction of the canal began in 1904. During the ten years it took to execute the colossal work of hydraulics, more than 56,000 people from over 30 countries came to Panama to participate in the project.
In November 1906, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt visited the construction site. That moment was immortalized by the New York Times in a photograph in which the American head of state appeared wearing a straw hat, which became known as a Panama hat and a symbol of the destination.
The bulk of the excavations for the construction of the interoceanic waterway were dug at Culebra Cut, in the central mountain range of Panama. An estimated 1,600 people were involved in this project from 1907 to late 1913. All of the soil excavated during this phase is equivalent to what was used to erect the Egyptian pyramids.
Since opening, the Panama Canal has registered the transit of more than one million ships from around the world and an annual average of 14,000 voyages. Extending about 80 kilometers long, the Canal currently serves 144 shipping routes that combine 160 countries and reach more than 1,700 ports worldwide. The Panama Canal is currently undergoing an expansion in order to double its capacity and strengthen the country's position as a maritime and logistics center.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT PANAMA
Demography of Panama
Most of the population is of mestizo origins, descendants of Indian, African and Spanish heritages, although there is great ethnic diversity.
The population density is evident along the coastal region of the Gulf of Panama, particularly on the Azuero Peninsula, and in the metropolitan areas of Panama City and Colón. A high degree of urban development in recent years has attracted a growing urban population, currently representing 59% of the total country population. The fertility rate is one of the lowest in Central America, with an average of 2.6 children per woman.
3,405,813 (July 2010 est.)
Distribution by age
0-14 years: 28.6% (male 504,726/ female 484,291)
15-64 years: 64.2% (male 1,123,777/ female 1,098,661)
65 years and over: 7.2% (male 115,425/ female 133,582) (2011 est.).
1.435% (2011 est.).
19.43 births /1,000 people (2011 est.).
4.65 deaths/1,000 people (July 2011 est.).
Net migration rate
-0.42 Migrant (s) / 1,000 people (2011 est.).
Distribution by sex
At birth: 1.045 male (s) / female
Uunder 15: 1.04 male (s) / female
15-64 years: 1.02 male (s) / female
65 years and over: 0.87 male (s) / female
Total population: 1.02 male (s) / female (2011 est.).
Panama has a tropical climate. Temperatures are relatively high and vary little throughout the year. The temperatures are usually lower on the Pacific than on the Caribbean coast.
Panama City: Temperatures range from 24° C (75.2° F) to 35° C (95° F).
Highlands: Temperatures are usually lower and more constant, hovering around 23° C (73.4° F).
Beaches: Temperatures are hot, averaging 31° C (87.8° F).
The Republic of Panama is a large isthmus strip with a total area of 75,517 km², and 2,210 km² of surface waters, reaching 78,200 km² of total territory. The country is located in Central America at 7° 11' longitude and 9° 37' north latitude.
Main cities and geographical features of Panama. Panama is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea and to the south by the Pacific Ocean. Panama shares its eastern border with the Republic of Colombia, and is bordered on the west by the Republic of Costa Rica. Borders: 555 km in total, of which 225 km are with Colombia and 330 km with Costa Rica. Costs: 2,490 km It is politically divided into 9 provinces and 5 indigenous regions.
Panama's two coastlines are referred to as the Caribbean coast and the Pacific coast, and less frequently described as the North and South coasts, respectively. To the east is Colombia and Costa Rica is to the west. Due to the location and contours of the country, the directions shown on he compass can be surprising. For example, a trip through the Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean implies travel not east, but to the northwest, and in Panama City the sunset is to the east over the Pacific Ocean.
Pacific coastal waters are extraordinarily low. A depth of 180 meters is reached only once outside the perimeters of either the Gulf Darien or the Gulf of Chiriquí, and wide mud flats extend up to 70 kilometers seaward from the coast. As a result, the tidal range is extreme. There is a variation of about 70 centimeters between high and low tide, and on the Caribbean coast the contrasts are sharp with more than 7 m on the Pacific coast. Approximately 130 miles above the river Tuira the amplitude still exceeds 5 m.
Most of the Panamanian territory consists of lowlands (70%). The majority of Panama's population lives in these warm low-lying lands. This category includes the southern lowlands and plains, the hills and plains of the Central Isthmus, the eastern depressions and the northern plains and lowlands. The remaining 30% of Panama territory is highlands. These lands are composed of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. To this group belong Barú Volcano, the Central mountain range, the Northern Eastern Arch, the Southern Eastern Arch, Southern Massif and Volcanic Chain.
Panama is divided into 9 provinces, 75 districts, 621 municipalitys and the following 5 indigenous reserves: Guna Yala, Ngäbé-Bugle, Emberá-Wounaán, Madungandí y Wargandí.
Bocas del Toro Province. Capital: Bocas del Toro, located on Colón island and divided into 3 districts. The province is constituted by nine main islands. Its land is suitable for growing bananas and cocoa.
Population: 125,461 inhabitants (2010 census ).
Size: 4,643.9 km².
Coclé Province. The capital is Penonomé and has 6 districts: Natá, La Pintada, Olá, Aguadulce, Antón and Penonomé.
Population: 233,708 inhabitants (2010 census).
Size: 4,927.4 km ². The land is suitable for agriculture and raising livestock.
Colón Province. Its capital is Colón and is divided into the following five districts: Donoso, Chagres, Colón, Portobelo and Santa Isabel, and also into 91 municipalities. It is considered a commercial city for having a Duty-Free Zone and the Panama Canal.
Population: 241,928 inhabitants (2010 census).
Size: 4,868.4 km².
Chiriquí Province. The capital is David and it is divided into 13 districts and 91 municipalities. The 13 districts are: Alanje, Barú, Boquerón, Boquete, Bugaba, David, Dolega, Gualaca, Remedios, Renacimiento, San Félix, San Lorenzo and Tolé.
Population: 416,873 inhabitants (201 census).
Size: 6,547.7 km².
Darién Province. The capital is La Palma and it is the largest and the least populated province. It has two districts: Chepigana and Pinogana.
Population: 48,378 inhabitants (2010 census).
Size: 11,896.5 km².
Herrera Province. Its capital is Chitré and has 6 districts: Las Minas, Los Pozos, Ocú, Parita, Pesé and Santa María, as well as 44 municipalities.
Population: 109,955 inhabitants (2010 census).
Size: 2,340.7 km².
Los Santos Province. Its capital is Las Tablas, and it has 79 municipalities and 7 districts: Guararé, Las Tablas, Los Santos, Macaracas, Pedasí, Pocrí and Tonosí.
Population: 89,592 inhabitants (census 2010).
Size: 3,804.6 km ².
Panama Province. Its capital is Panama and has 11 districts: Arraiján, Balboa,Capira, Chame, Chepo, San Carlos,San Miguelito, Taboga, La Chorrera, Panamá and Chimán, and 97 municipalitys.
Population: 1,713,070 inhabitants (2010 census).
Size: 11,670.92 km².
Veraguas Province. Its capital is Santiago and has 85 municipalities and 12 districts: Atalaya, Calobre, Cañazas, La Mesa, Las Palmas, Mariato, Montijo, Río de Jesús, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Santiago and Soná.
Population: 226,991 inhabitants (2010 census).
Size: 10,629.6 km².
Guna Yala Indigenous Region. Its capital is El Porvenir.
Population: 33,109 inhabitants (2010 census).
Size: 2,340.7 km².
Emberá-Wounaan Indigenous Region. Its capital is Unión Chocó.
Population: 10,001 inhabitants (2010 census).
Size: 4,383.5 km².
Ngäbe-Bugle Indigenous Region. Its capital is Buadidi.
Population: 156,747 inhabitants ( 2010 census).
Size: 6,968 km²
Panama owns a cultural multiplicity that makes it unique in the region, one of the biggest contributors to this cultural richness is the constant presence of visitors from all parts of the world. The origin of this singular cultural mix is without a doubt the crossroads characteristic of the country. In addition, the intense connection of Panama with the sea makes it very similar to an island of the Caribbean.
Being a point of contact and a crossing site, this small strip of land is considered a true crucible of races. With almost 3 and a half million inhabitants, its population is compounded 67% of mestizos (amerindian with targets) and mulatos (white with black), 14% blacks, 10% whites, amerindian 6% (indigenous) and a 3% of people are from varied ethnic origins. This mixture is particularly rich, because although it comes from cultural origins and very diverse traditions, the mixture has been stimulated by the atmosphere of tolerance and harmony that always has reigned in the territory.
Although the free religious creed is respected, the population of the country mainly professes catholicism, this religion is deeply bound to the traditions and cultural expressions. In the interior of the country, for example, the greatest celebrations are related to diverse saints. These saints are even denominated as the owners of different towns. One of the greatest celebrations relating to cultural and catholic beliefs is the Carnival of Panama. The Carnival is a massive celebration of four days that precedes to the Cuaresma.
La Pollera is the name used in Latin America and Spain for a type of skirt and dress that is characterized by its elaborate decorations. The skirts are made of different materials like cotton or wool, and are often colorfully decorated using various techniques, commonly embroidery and lace with floral designs.
It is believed that the pollera skirt was derived from a Spanish dress in the 16th or 17th century. It was passed down to women in the middle and lower classes as a simpler and easier version in which to do their daily chores or go to their regional celebrations. In many Latin American countries it is currently used as a folk costume. Whereas in some countries it refers to just the skirt portion, in Panama the entire dress is called pollera.
Panama's National Symbols
The Symbols of the Nation, also known as 'national symbols' are the elements representative of the Republic of Panama. They are recognized not only domestically, but also abroad as synonyms to both Panama and the Panamanian nationality.
The origin of the term comes from Article 6 of the 1941 Panama National Constitution, "The symbols of the Nation are: the anthem, flag and coat of arms." In addition to this declaration, the same Article 6 in a subsequent Panama National Constitution in 1946 amended that: "The symbols of the Nation are: the anthem, flag and coat of arms adopted prior to the year 1941." This suggests that the second version of the flag of Panama, the coat of arms and the national anthem were already officially recognized before that year and ratified in 1941. The Harpy Eagle was declared the National Bird of the Republic of Panama under Law 18 on April 10, 2002.
Panama's economy is one of the most stable in America. The main economic activities are financial, tourism and logistics, which represent 75% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). From 2003 to 2009 the GDP doubled, propelled by high foreign and domestic investment, coupled with the tourism and logistics industries. According to the Bank, the IMF and the UN, the country has the highest per capita income in Central America, which is about $13,090; it is also the largest exporter and importer at the regional level, according to ECLAC. The GDP has enjoyed a sustained growth for more than twenty years in a row (1989). The country is classified in the category of investment grade by these rcredit rating companies: Standard and Poor's, Moody's and Fitch Ratings.
Taxes in Panama
According to Act 8 of March 15, 2010, which amended the Fiscal Code, the air, sea and land transportation companies, as well as passengers, shall pay ITBMS tax. In Panama, 7% of ITBMS is charged on public entertainment, events, seminars, conferences, lectures and artistic, professional and sport presentations in general that are not free and whose annual incomes are over $36,000. The importation and sale of alcoholic beverages, as well as hotel or lodging services, jewelry and weapons will pay 10 percent of ITBMS. Tobacco derivatives (such as cigarettes, cigars, and snuff) will pay 15% of ITBMS. Cable TV, microwave, satellite and mobile phones will pay 5% of ITMBS.
Electricity: 110 volts; 60 cycles.
Government and Politics
The Republic of Panama is an independent and sovereign State, located in its own territory, from which individual and social rights are observed and respected, and where the will of the majority is represented by the free right to vote.
The public power emanates from the people and is exercised by three bodies: legislative, executive, and judicial. In their separation they are harmonized, united in cooperation and limited by the classic system of checks and balances.
There are three independent organizations whose responsibilities are clearly defined in the Political Constitution:
• The Comptroller General of the Republic has the obligation to oversee public funds.
• The Electoral Tribunal has to guarantee freedom, honesty and effectiveness of the popular vote.
• The Public Ministry oversees the interests of the State and its municipalities.
Panama's political institutions
The 1972 Political Constitution of Panama, as amended by the Reformatory Acts of 1978 and the Constitutional Act of 1983, presents a unitary, republican, democratic and representative government.
Formed by the president of the Republic and ministers of state. The President shall be elected by direct universal suffrage for a period of five years, and in the same manner the vice president will be elected (Title VI, Chapter 1, Political Constitution of the Republic of Panama).
Responsible for administering constant, free and rapid justice. The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Justice Court, the Courts and Judges established by law under the Political Constitution of the Republic of Panama (Title VII, Chapter 1).
It consists of an organization called the National Assembly of Panama (formerly called Legislative Assembly) and its main activity is issuing laws. The National Assembly shall be formed by Representatives (formerly called legislators) chosen through party candidacy and direct popular vote to serve for a period of 5 years (Title V, Chapter 1, Political Constitution of the Republic of Panama.)
Religion in Panama
Religion in Panama is covered by the Constitution of Panama, which establishes the freedom of worship. Although with some reservations, the government generally respects this right.
The Panamanian government does not collect statistics on religious affiliation of citizens, but various sources estimate that 75 to 85 percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic and between 15 to 25 percent identify as Evangelical Christian. The Baha'i community in Panama includes 2% of the population, with approximately 60,000 members, including about 10% of the population Ngöbe. One of the seven Bahá'í Houses of Worship in the world is in Panama. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormons, have about 40,000 members in Panama.
Among the religious groups with lower numbers of followers, we have the Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Anglicanism Episcopalians with between 7,000 and 10,000 members, Islam communities with approximately 10,000 members each, Hindu, Buddhists, and other Christians. The indigenous religions include Ibeorgun of the people Mamatata of the Ngöbe. We can also find isolated pockets of the community Rastafari.
Panama City has always been an accessible shopping paradise where you can choose the price of the product you want. What's more, imagine the most sophisticated and exclusive article from the most distant country, and you will find it here.
Panama's currency is called the Balboa (PAB). One Balboa is the equivalent of 100 cents. There are no paper bills in Panama; all local currency is in coins, in denominations of PAB1 and 10, and in 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents. American dollars were first accepted as currency in 1904 and are still used today, along with the local currency of Balboas.
The shopping hours vary, but most stores, warehouses and shopping malls are open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Some even stay open until 10:00 pm from Monday to Sunday.
Credit cards are an accepted form of payment in all cases, including Visa, American Express, Master Card and Dinner Club. The U.S. dollar, in free circulation and joint legal tender with the national currency, is also always accepted.
However, the city's clubs and bars are governed by the famed "Carrot Law," which stipulates that all businesses that sell liquor must close their doors by 2:00 am.
The waiters at the best restaurants in Panama City and in resort cities will expect to receive a 10% tip. Tipping is not required in small cafes and more casual places, though it is always appreciated. The bell hoppers are tipped a minimum of 50 cents per suitcase.