Along with Costa Rica, Panama is a Central American destination on the rise. From the vibrant capital of Panama City to the charming town of Boquete, and set between the from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, there’s plenty of allure to be found. For those who want to learn a little bit more about this fascinating country before booking a trip, here are ten interesting facts about Panama.
1. The Panama Canal makes up about a third of the country’s economy. The canal has a long and arduous history, with the initial idea for it coming from the Spanish in the 16th century. However, it was not acted upon until later when the French first attempted to build it. Eventually, the United States took over and finished the project. Panama has only gained controlled of the canal from the United States within the last couple of decades.
2. Panama has two designated public holidays that are independence days. November 28th is known as Independence Day, celebrating the region’s freedom from Spain. While, November 3rd is known as Separation Day, celebrating its freedom from Colombia. Separation Day tends to hold more festivities than Independence Day.
3. Because of its location is just south of hurricane alley, Panama gets almost no hurricanes to go along with its tropical climate. And, while they do receive some earthquakes, they are few in far between in comparison to many other Latin American countries.
4. Panama City is the only capital city in the world that has a rainforest within its city limits. These rainforests are protected treasures and must-see stops when visiting the country.
© Drone Pic
5. The only break in the lengthy Pan-American Highway meant to run from Alaska to Chile sits on Panama’s southern border. It’s been named the Darien Gap, and has developed a mystical reputation of sorts. It’s one of the least-visited regions in the world due to the harsh jungle atmosphere that only drug traffickers and guerilla groups dare tackle, one of the main areas potential visitors should avoid.
6. Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Atlantic Ocean and set on the Pacific Ocean from the same spot. At the country’s narrowest point there are only 80 kilometers separating these bodies of water.
© Marc Cappelletti
7. Panama is popular for foreign retirees. Due to a lovely natural backdrop and a somewhat cooler climate than other hotspots of the country, Boquete is one of the most common destinations for people to retire to.
8. Panama has one of the smallest populations in Latin American at about four-million people. Close to a third of that populations lives within the metropolitan area of Panama City.
© Marc Veraart
9. Though Latin America is known for its love for soccer, baseball is actually often considered more popular in Panama. They have a professional league made up of four teams, and their national team is ranked 15th in the world.
10. Known for its diverse flora and fauna, there are roughly 10,000 different plant species in Panama, with over a 1,000 different species of orchids alone. Panama also holds world records for bird watching and fishing.