Panama

Location of Panama

  • Country Name: Republic of Panama
  • Capital: Panama
  • Nationality: Panamanian (singular), Panamanians (plural)
  • Population: 3,242,173 (July 2007 estimate)
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%
  • Official Language: Spanish, however many Panamanians are bilingual (English/Spanish)
  • Independence: 3 November 1903 (from Colombia; became independent from Spain 28 November 1821)
  • Local Time: GMT-5
  • Electric Current: 120V and 240V
  • Currency: The Balboa (Balboas - plural); 1 Balboa = 100 cents. The United States Dollar circulates freely with and exchange rate of 1 Balboa = 1 Dollar
 
Government and Administrative Divisions
  • Government Type: Constitutional Democracy
  • Administrative Divisions: 9 provinces (provincias, provincia-singular) and 1 territory* (comarca); Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama, Veraguas and San Blas*(Kuna Yala)
 
Geography
  • Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica.
  • Area: 78,200 sq km
  • Elevation Extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m; highest point: Volcan Baru (Chiriqui Province) 3,475 m
  • Panama forms a land bridge that connects North and South America. At its narrowest point, only 80 kilometers separate the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, making Panama the ideal location for building the now famous Panama Canal. A nearly impenetrable rainforest forms the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia. It creates a break in the PanAmerican Highway, which would otherwise form a complete road from Alaska to Chile.
 
Climate
  • Pleasant tropical climate with a uniform temperature throughout the year, evenings are usually cooler. The average temperature is 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • The country has two seasons: rainy and dry. The rainy season lasts from May to December and consists of rain showers that still allow you to enjoy the warm rays of the sun. During the dry season, also known as "summer", which lasts from mid December to April, pleasant winds blow constantly through clear blue skies.
 
Immigration Requirements
  • Depending on your nationality, you may be required to have a valid passport and a visa or a US$5.00 tourist card. Tourist cards may be bought at the airline counter at the time of departure or at the airport in Panama when you arrive.
 
People
  • Ethnic Groups: 70% Mestizos (mixed European and Indigenous non-European ancestry), 10% White, 12% Mulatos (mixed European and African ancestry) y 8% Indigenous
  • Literacy: 92.6% (definition: those age 15 and over that can read and write)
  • Population Growth Rate: 1.26%
  • Age Structure:

    • 0-14 years: 29.8% (male 460,840/female 443,359)
    • 15-64 years: 63.9% (male 984,558/female 956,748)
    • 65 years and over: 6.4% (male 91,383/female 102,262)
  • Median Age:

    • Total: 26.18 years
    • Male: 25.89 years
    • Female: 26.48 years
 
Economy
  • Panama's dollarized economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector. Services include operating the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone (Free Trade Zone), insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism. The tourism sector has experienced considerable growth compared to previous years. The Panamanian Government is set on making tourism one of the most important segments of the Panamanian economy by taking advantage of the abundant tourism resources Panama has to offer.
  • Currency: The Balboa (Balboas - plural); 1 Balboa = 100 cents. The United States Dollar circulates freely with and exchange rate of 1 Balboa = 1 Dollar.
  • 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
  • GDP (official exchange rate): US$15.4 billion GDP - real growth rate: 4.3% GDP - per capita: US$7,300
  • Exports: US$7.481 billion f.o.b. (includes the Colon Free Zone) (2005)
  • Export Partners: US 50.5%, Sweden 6.6%, Spain 5.1%, Netherlands 4.4%, Costa Rica 4.2% (2004)
  • Imports: US$8.734 billion f.o.b. (includes the Colon Free Trade Zone) (2005)
  • Import Partners: US 33.3%, Netherlands Antilles 8.1%, Japan 6%, Costa Rica 5.7%, Mexico 4.6%, Colombia 4.2% (2004)
 
Communications
  • Telephones - main lines in use: 432,900 (2006)
  • Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.352 million (2005)
  • Telephone System: country code - 507; 1 coaxial submarine cable; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to the Central American Microwave System
  • Internet Hosts: 7,149 (2006)
  • Internet Users: 300,000 (2005)
 
Transportation
  • Airports:

    • Total: 117 (2006)
    • Paved runways: 53
    • Unpaved runways: 64
  • Railways: 355 km
  • Roadways:

    • Total: 11,643 km
    • Paved: 4,028 km (including 30 km of expressways)
    • Unpaved: 7,615 km
  • Waterways: 800 km (includes 82 km Panama Canal)
  • Merchant Marine: 5,473 total