Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on an isthmus, Panama is a transcontinental nation which connects North America and South America. It borders Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Panama is located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. Its location on the eastern end of the Isthmus of Panama, a land bridge connecting North and South America, is strategic. By 1999, Panama controlled the Panama Canal that links the North Atlantic Ocean via the Caribbean Sea with the North Pacific Ocean. A nearly impenetrable jungle forms the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia. It creates a break in the Pan-American Highway, which otherwise forms a complete road from Alaska to Patagonia.

With unemployment rates at 8.8%, Panama has the 2nd highest unemployment rate in Central America, after, Belize. The population living in poverty is estimated at 30%. However, the Panamanian economy grew 8% in 2006 and for the first time in the last ten years the public sector closed the year 2006 with a trade surplus of USD 88 million.[verification needed] Furthermore the GDP nominal revised in 2006 reached USD 16,704 billion.

Panama's economy is service-based, heavily weighted toward banking, commerce, and tourism, due to its key geographic location. The handover of the canal and military installations by the USA has given rise to new construction projects. The Martín Torrijos administration has undertaken controversial structural reforms, such as a fiscal reform and a very difficult Social Security Reform. Furthermore, a referendum regarding the building of a third set of locks for the Panama Canal was approved overwhelmingly (though with low voter turnout) on 22 October 2006. The official estimate of the building of the third set of locks is US$5.25 billion.

The Panamanian currency is the balboa, fixed at parity with the United States dollar. In practice, however, the country is dollarized; Panama mints its own coinage but uses US dollars for all its paper currency. Panama is one of three countries in the region to have dollarized their economies, with the other two being Ecuador and El Salvador.

Real estate
Panama City has seen a race between two rival projects aimed at becoming the tallest building in Latin America. But one of the two projects was cancelled. The other project, a 104-story residential and hotel building named Ice Tower, is slated to be completed in 2010. The Palacio de la Bahia project has been cancelled by the Spanish promoter Olloqui. The two projects were originally smaller, but subsequently started adding floors to obtain status as the tallest building in the region.
There are more than 105 projects in Panama City where neighborhoods are experiencing a huge increase in the number of buildings. In San Francisco there are currently 25 new buildings being built.

Grupo Mall, another Spanish developer, is building a multitower apartment complex, hotel, and commercial mall. The project is scheduled for partial completion in 2009. Apart from the existing demand, future developments will also be helped by such factors as the planned expansion of the Panama Canal, a possible refinery by U.S. oil giant Occidental Petroleum and a new container port near the Pacific entrance of the canal.


The culture, customs, and language of the Panamanians are predominantly Caribbean and Spanish. Ethnically, the majority of the population is mestizo of mixed Amerindian, African, Spanish and Chinese descent. Spanish is the official and dominant language; English is spoken widely on the Caribbean coast and by many in business and professional fields. More than half the population lives in the Panama City-Colón metropolitan corridor.

The overwhelming majority of Panamanians are Roman Catholic, accounting for almost 80% of the population. Although the Constitution recognizes Catholicism as the religion of the great majority, Panama has no official religion. Minority religions in Panama include Protestantism (12%), Islam (4.4%), the Bahá'í Faith (1.2%), Buddhism (at least 1%), Greek Orthodox (0.1%), Judaism (0.4%), and Hinduism (0.3%). The Jewish community in Panama, with over 10,000 members, is by far the biggest in the region (including Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean). Jewish immigration began in the late 19th century, and at present there are synagogues in Panama City, as well as two Jewish schools. Within Latin America, Panama has one of the largest Jewish communities in proportion to its population, surpassed only by Uruguay and Argentina. Panama's communities of Muslims, East Asians, and South Asians, are also among the largest.

Panama City hosts a Bahá'í House of Worship, one of only eight in the world. Completed in 1972, it is perched on a high hill facing the canal, and is constructed of local mud laid in a pattern reminiscent of Native American fabric designs.

Panama, because of its historical reliance on commerce, is above all a melting pot. This is shown, for instance, by its considerable population of Chinese origin (see Panama section in Chinatowns in Latin America). Many Chinese immigrated to Panama to help build the Panama Railroad in the 19th century although larger numbers have immigrated over the last few decades mostly as economic immigrants. At least 6% of Panama's population are of full or partial Chinese descent. A term for "corner store" in Panamanian Spanish is el chinito,[citation needed] reflecting the fact that many corner stores are owned and run by Chinese immigrants. (Other countries have similar social patterns, for instance, the "Arab" corner stores of France.)

Source: Wikipedia

Bocas del Toro Province

Bocas del Toro Map

Bocas del Toro Province

Bocas del Toro is a province of Panama. The capital is the city of Bocas del Toro on Isla Colon (Colon Island). The population of the province numbers some 89,300 people. The province consists of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Bahía Almirante (Almirante Bay), Laguna de Chiriquí (Chiriquí Lagoon), and adjacent mainland. Major cities or towns include Almirante, Bocas del Toro (aka: Bocas Town), and Changuinola. The province borders the Caribbean Sea to the north, Limión Province of Costa Rica to the west, Chiriquí Province to the south, and Ngöbe Bugle Comarca to the east. The Río Sixaola forms part of the border with Costa Rica. An old railroad bridge spans the river between Guabito and Sixaola, Costa Rica. The bridge is a border crossing used by tourists going between destinations in Bocas and Costa Rica.

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Chiriqui Province

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Chiriquí Province

Chiriquí is a province of Panama, it is located on the western coast of Panama and is the most developed province in the country. The capital is the city of David. The local government of Chiriquí is modeled after that of the United States.

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Coclé Province

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Coclé Province

Coclé is a province of central Panama on the nation's southern coast. The capital is the city of Penonomé. This province was created by the Act of September 12, 1855 with the title of Department of Coclé during the presidency of Dr. Justo de Arosemena. It became a province, Decretory Number 190, on October 20, 1985. Coclé is primarily an agricultural area, with sugar and tomatoes as major crops. The province has a number of well known beaches, such as Santa Clara, Farallon and Rio Hato, and tourist activity has increased in recent years.

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Colón Province

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Colón Province

Colón is a province of Panama. The capital is the city of Colón. This province has traditionally been focused in commerce (through the Colón Free Zone, Panama Canal and its banking activities), but also has natural resources that are being developed as tourist attraction, such as coral reefs and rainforests. In fact during the Spanish colonial period, the Colon region of Panama was the center of trade, commerce, and overall economy for the Spanish. Spanish brought many black African slaves in this area to work and be enslaved in Panama, and also to ship blacks out to other Spaniard colonies.

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Darién Province

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Darién Province

Darién is a province in eastern Panama. It is also the largest province in Panama. It is hot, humid, heavily forested, and sparsely populated.

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Herrera Province

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Herrera Province

Herrera is a province in Panama. Named after General Tomás Herrera, the province was founded on January 18, 1915 after a division of the Los Santos province. The capital city of Herrera is Chitré, which is located near the province's coastline. Herrera is bordered on the north by the provinces Veraguas and Coclé, on the south by Los Santos, on the east by Golfo de Parita and Los Santos, and on the west by Veraguas.

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Los Santos Province

Los Santos Map

Los Santos Province

Los Santos is a province of Panama. The capital city is Las Tablas, which is famous for its carnivals, the Festival Nacional de la Pollera (National Festival of the Pollera), and the Festival of the Patron Santa Librada; and the Festival Nacional de la Mejorana in Guararé. The province Los Santos and Herrera are important in Panamanian folklore because they are believed to be the birth place of the Pollera, the traditional Panamanian dress.

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Panamá Province

Panama Province Map

Panamá Province

Panamá is a major province of the country of Panama, containing the capital city, Panama City. The governor of the province is Mayin Correa, a former mayor of Panama City and elected by President Martinelli after being sworn in on July 1, 2009.

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Veraguas Province

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Veraguas Province

Veraguas is a province of Panama, located in the centre-west of the country. The capital is the city of Santiago de Veraguas. The province covers 10,677.2 km².

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