Panama is located in Central America and its population is of approximately 3.7 million inhabitants. The country has been recognized for being the most globalized marketplace in Latin America. Panama has a thriving economy, and the Panama Canal, international trade, tourism, construction and logistics have had a large impact in its recent growth. The blossoming film industry is gathering force as a result of significant government incentives to promote local productions.
The capital, Panama City, embodies all the attributes of a great metropolis. By simply looking at the skyline filled with modern architecture and skyscrapers, by strolling within its historic center and by participating in conventions and meetings, travelers rapidly sense that Panama is a vibrant city.
Panama City has much to offer and caters to the many different preferences of locals and visitors. During the week of April 3rd to 9th of 2014, the city will host the highly anticipated International Film Festival of Panama.
Historically, Panama City has been an important venue for conventions and events. In Panama, the night is full of action and excitement. Restaurants, theaters, clubs, casinos, discos and pubs brighten up the city nights, offering visitors an opportunity to relax, enjoy good wining and dining, and all types of events: sports, music, dance and theater.
The Casco Viejo
In 1997, UNESCO declared the Casco Viejo a World Heritage Site. This colorful and magical historic disctrict of Panama City will become the setting for many of the Festival Events. In recent years, important sites and structures have undergone renovations and restorations. The number of restaurants, bars, night clubs and venues has continued to grow, making this part of the city a major attraction for tourists and locals. Museums, colonial churches, plazas, archaeological ruins and children playing on the old streets, offer a genuine slice of Panama’s life and its people.
Panama’s privileged geographical location was paramount in the construction of the Interoceanic Canal, a monumental feat of engineering that has operated continuously since 1914.
The Panama Canal is probably the most visited site in the country. It has a museum showing the history of the canal and its operation, a 3D video room, a scale model of the Canal, and historic pieces of machinery used in its construction. A restaurant on a terrace completes what the museum has to offer.
The hustle and bustle of city life gives way to the quiet streets of small towns where time slows down amidst leisurely strolls and conversations. There are beaches and mountains, cooler temperatures and paradisiacal landscapes. Sites include the highlands of Chiriqui on the slopes of the Baru volcano; Santa Fe on the Veraguas Mountains, or Campana, near the capital city, all with beautiful sceneries. Sunny and cool in daytime and temperate by night, the countryside of Panama is the perfect setting for a restful stay.
Panama’s coastline is dotted with sandy beaches and islands. So much that the line dividing land and water often fades out. The Caribbean coast of Panama offers a variety of tropical environments: beautiful beaches, coral reefs and palm trees; marine scenery of indescribable beauty on the banks of the Pacific Ocean and cozy beaches with tranquil waters, as well as popular spots where the onslaught of a roaring sea conveys the perfect waves for surfing.
Fairs, festivals and popular events
Fairs are highly expected regional events featuring a wide array of attractions. They all serve as a showcase for local produce, manufactures, arts and crafts. They are a great opportunity to take a closer look at the most authentic folklore and sample the traditional countryside cuisine. This is, without a doubt, the best way to come into contact with the regional cultures and the warmth of its people.
Carnivals are also known as "the people’s party". For four days the whole country rejoices in celebrations starting early in the day. Music and street parades are everywhere. Some inland villages have gained for decades a reputation for organizing the best parties, namely: Las Tablas, Chitre, Santiago and Penonomé. If you are attracted by traditional parties and festivals of a more moderate nature, the village of Ocu is the ideal place to spend the holidays. The Panama City Carnival features a big parade with groups of street dancers and floats representing businesses and other organizations. By night, on makeshift stages, national and foreign artists perform for the audience. Music is everywhere: bolero, calypso, salsa, reggae, merengue and bachata.
- Climate: Panama has a tropical climate. Temperatures are relatively high and vary little during the year. Daytime temperatures in Panama City range between 24 ° C (75.2 ° F) and 29 ° C (84.2 ° F).
- Money: The official currency is the Balboa (PAB), although the US Dollar is legal tender in the country ($, USD).
- Country code to call: 507.
- Electricity:120V, 60Hz.
- Language: Spanish, although English is widely spoken.
- Time: GTM - 5.
- ATMs: They are easy to find throughout the country especially in Panama City.
- Tipping: In bars and restaurants the standard tip is 10% of the total bill.
For information regarding visa requirements click here.
Photos courtesy of ATP