The Republic of Panama is a small country situated between North and South America, bordering Costa Rica and Colombia. It is the narrowest point of the Central American Isthmus, with just 50 miles between the Pacific and Caribbean Coasts. Panama has a population of 3,5 million (2011) and has a multicultural heritage.
The Panamanian government is democratic and the currency is the U.S. Dollar. The economy is 75% service, 16% industry, and 10% agricultural. The primary language is Spanish, but English is a strong second language. Additionally, financial service, free-trade operations, tourism and trans-shipment through and along the Panama Canal are among the primary industries of this country.
The Republic of Panama has two main cities, one situated on the Pacific Coast known as Panama City and the other on the Caribbean Coast known as Colon. Panama City is the capital and principle commercial center and Colon is a city that houses the largest Free Trade Zone in all of the Americas. Just outside of the city limits of Panama City, is the country’s most famous attraction, the Panama Canal.
Another attraction is the $75 million, newly restored Panama Canal Railway, which runs parallel to the Canal and provides ocean-to-ocean trans-shipment between the Pacific and Caribbean Coasts.
Panama City has a rich history that extends back to the 16th century. The infamous pirate, Henry Morgan, sacked the original Panama City (known today as Old Panama), which is now visible as ruins outside the present city limits.
The second Panama City of the Spanish colonial days is visible as the section of the city known as Casco Viejo. Many historic buildings and churches are mainstays of this area. Casco Viejo also has the Panama Canal Museum, which was once the French headquarters during their attempt to build the Panama Canal.
There is also 16th-century history on the Caribbean Coast, near Colon City. The Spanish forts of San Lorenzo and Portobello are forts in which the Spanish conquerors, Columbus and Balboa, both left their marks.
The Republic of Panama is known by ecologists for its expansive, protected tropical rainforests. The fact that Panama connects two continents gives these rainforests their unique biodiversity of animal species. Panama has a record number of bird species and has 125 animal species unique to this country. Additionally, Panama is the home of the Smithsonian Institute of Tropical Research, which is the world’s primary tropical, scientific investigative center.
Other great features of Panama include world-class adventures such as deep-sea and lake fishing, surfing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rappelling, cannoning and trekking throughout the country. There is also world-class diving and snorkeling in areas like Bocas del Toro, Coiba Island, the Pearl Islands (including Contadora Island), Isla Grande and even in the historic Panama Canal.
As for the climate in Panama, there are two distinct seasons, the dry season (Jan-mid-April) and the rainy season (mid-April-Dec). The dry season is the primary tourist season. The rainy season is characterized by regular, sometimes short-duration (one hour or less) afternoon rains. Panama City has a warmer climate than the highlands of El Valle and Boquete, with an average temperature of 78 degrees F.
The Republic of Panama has everything to offer. It has a business environment combined with excellent health care and private schools offered in English, French, Chinese and Spanish. It has rich history, unique tourist attractions and the luxury amenities of any large North American City. Panama City is a great place to visit or to relocate a family or business.