Panama owns a cultural multuplicity 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 Carribean.
75,517 km2 (29,157 sq mi)
Spanish (official), English
Balboa, United States dollar
Panama City, San Miguelito, Tocumen
Volcan Baru, 3,475 meters (11,401 ft)
Catholic (85%), Christian (15%)
Business hours are typically 0800 until 1200 and then 1400 until 1800. Expect a long lunch break culture.
Panama has a tropical climate. Temperatures are uniformly high, as is the relative humidity, and there is little seasonal variation. The rainy season lasts from May to November but rain rarely lasts all day. The dry season, December to April, is the most comfortable for hiking and visibility for diving is best during this season.
Calling home is easiest either via Skype in an internet cafe or using International Phone Cards. Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good.
Panama is full of beautiful wildlife, varied terrains and much to see and do, whether your preference is lying on beaches, trekking through wilderness, sporty activities or exploring cities. Panama’s most famous feature is certainly the mighty Panama Canal but it also hosts spectacular wildlife, including rare marine dwellers, making scuba diving and snorkelling excellent. Panama City, divided quite definitively between its shiny new skyscrapers and its colonial Old Town, is enthralling to wander round, with street markets and local life aplenty on view. The Balboa is the currency used in Panama, but the US dollar is also accepted. You can change currency at banks, hotels airports, and casa de cambios. Credit cards such as Master card, VISA and America Express are acceptable in hotels, restaurants and some stores. The current in Panama is 110v, 60Hz. The flat two pin plug is the same as used in U.S.
Car hire is available in city centres and airport to people who are at least 23 years old. There is a reasonably good road system throughout Panama, but foreigners driving through the country should be extremely careful of other drivers, as the standard can be fairly reckless. You can hire bikes in cities, however, cycling around cities can be extremely perilous due to drivers seemingly regarding cyclists as fun targets. Bus travel around Panama is good and the usual way to travel.