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Geography of Panama:
Panama, recognized as the umbilical cord that united Central America with South America located in the middle of the American continent; borders north with the Caribbean Sea; south with Pacific Ocean; west with Costa Rica and east with Colombia. Its arch reflects its peculiarity in being a bridge between two continents and passage between two oceans. Panama´s territorial surface is 75,517 square kilometers made up by a mountainous axis, former skeleton of a more wider territory submerged under water as witnessed by a number of islands in the Pacific coast (Coiba Island and the Las Perlas Archipelago) and the accidents in the Atlantic coast (Bocas del Toro Islands, Chiriquí Lagoon and the Gulf of San Blas),More...

The identity of the Panamanian people:
The particularity of a Panamanian is its plurality and mixture. It is necessary to deepen in the past of Panama to find its roots and take a look the shades that make up its nationality. Its geography served in remote times as the main route of American indigenous people. At times, historians must unite the mosaics of possibilities and inquire in the indigenous languages to understand why the name of Panama. The significance has been reported meaning abundance of fish and butterflies as well as beautiful tree that growns on this land.

The Republic of Panama receives its name from Panama City where the first city hall meeting was held and the signing of Panama´s  separation from Colombia Act.

The Panamanian nation is made up by multiple heritage, proper of mixture and colonization. Its diverse population includes a mixture of African, indigenous, European and Caribbean background turning into a complex and heterogenous identity in a maze of shared roots. Panamanians are good, working and hospital people.

Visitthese linkto kwow more about National Symbols of Panama.

Language:
Official language is Spanish.

Demography:
The majority of the population is mestizo (indigenous, African and Spanish background), although there is a large diversity of ethnic communities. The population is 2.8 million, made up by 70 percent mestizo, 14 percent African background, 10 percent white and 5 percent Amerindia. The yearly growth during 1995 and 2000 was 1.6 percent. At this rate it is estimated that the number of inhabitants will double by 2045.

Culture:
The Panamanian people are characterized in having a personality of multiple heritages as a result of the mixture and with a broad diversity of cultural affinity. Its folklore is rich and diverse. One of its traditions is to enjoy each town´s patron Saint festivals and the traditions of its carnavals held during the month of February.

Panama has a rich cultural estate expressed in diverse artistic manifestations and example of the country´s ethnic community. The artistic activity has its maximum exponents in literature, music, painting, architecture among others. The cultural events are carried out regularly in theaters, plazas and galleries always with a large audience. The cultural movement is concentrated in Panama City, where you can find the largest number of entities and cultural institutions.

There are colleges, universities and public and private educational institutions at a national level. The Panamanian people freely practice any of the religious manifestations in the country, although the majority are Catholic. There are a variety of indigenous groups in the country: Emberá-Wounan, Kuna Yala, Madungandi, Ngöbe-Buglé, Wargandi who carry out their ancestral customs and conserve their culture as part of their own identity.

Religion:
Due to their cultural diversity, the people practice a variety of religions in the country. Among them, the majority are Roman Catholic which make up 80% of the population; in addition, 15% are Christian-Evangelist. The remaining 5% are divided into Judaism, Buddhism, Hindu and others like Jehovah´s Witness and 7th Day Adventists.

Currency:
The official currency is Balboa, it is equivelent to the US dollar. The majority of the credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants and stores (VISA, Master Card, American Express, Dinners). Automatic cash services are also offered.

Voltage:

Electricity of 110 and 220 Volt.

Visa:
At your arrival, you must present your tourist card and pay $5.00 charge normally done by the airlines or by immigration authorities. The tourist card must be presented when you exit the airport. Americans, Canadians and the majority of Europeans do not require visas only a valid passport. Other citizens must consult the Panamanian consulate to request your entry visa.

Government and Exit Tax:
Sales tax 5%, hotel tax 10%. International exit tax is $20.00 paid at the airport.

Security:
Panama enjoys the highest security standards for tourists according to the prestigious Pikerton Intelligence Agency. Although we recomment to take your precaution in public places and use your common sense.

Transportation:
Local transportation has a system of buses and taxis that circulate in the capital city. Taxis prices vary depending in the area and do not exceed $2.00. Towards the outside of the capital the service can cost $10.00. Foreign drivers licence are valid for 90 days. The main route of international flights is located in Panama making its transportation of excellent quality. You can also travel the country through the Pan American Highway from Panama City to the border with Costa Rica. The speed limit does not exceed 90 kilometers per hour and in populated areas the speed must be reduced. Police agents offer the visitor security along the entire highway.

Tips:
Tips are allowed according to your criteria. The normal rate is 10% of total service, bellboys are generally given $1.00 per luggage. Recommended tips for bus drivers and guides: $2.50-$5.00 per person.

Working Hours:
Panama has the same standard time as New York and Miami. The majority of the businesses open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Friday, and from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturdays.

 
 
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