Republic of Panama
You have two weeks for a vacation. Where do you go? Naturally that depends on just what you like to do when you travel, who you travel with, and whether you need a family-friendly spot or something on the adventurous side. Whatever your needs, most people like to have a lot of choices and options wherever they go. So, where might you go in order to enjoy a lot of opportunities over those two short weeks?
There is a place where can you visit two oceans, explore the rainforest, climb mountains, tour vibrant urban areas and cities, meet people from a long list of different backgrounds and cultures, and choose from fourteen national parks. It is a place where you encounter the largest number of flora and fauna throughout the Americas. It is a country where you can find ruined fortresses, evidence of the famous pirates of old, and where an almost endless list of outdoor activities awaits. And, yes, it can all be enjoyed in those two short weeks!
Where is this impressive place? It is Panama.
The Diversity of Panama
With around three million inhabitants spread out over more than 78k square kilometers, it is a country that is both untamed and settled. Land preservations and parks account for 22% of the area of Panama, and jungle remains over 30% of the terrain too. It serves as a land bridge between North and South America, and it is home to the famous Panama Canal (long considered a key shipping route throughout the world).
Set in Central America, it has coastlines that touch both the North Pacific Ocean as well as the Caribbean Sea. Panama is easy to get to and is quickly becoming a top vacation destination. It boasts several wonderful cities, four major regions, and is remarkably easy to traverse (by bus, car, taxi, plane and by foot.)
It is ideal for families and yet also great for singles, adventurers, and those who are retired. East of lovely Costa Rica and due west of Colombia, it is a land in which ancient and modern times exist peacefully and pleasantly together.
Perhaps the best way to see and understand this yourself is to plan visits to some of the different towns, provinces, islands, and cities. These include:
- Panama City - the capital
- Boquete - the coffee growing center set in the Chiriqui highlands
- Colon - a central port city and near to the Panama Canal and home to Cristobal (the actual port)
- Balboa - also near the canal and a suburb of Panama City
- Coronado - the first resort community in the country
- Provinces - places such as Guna Yala, Bocas del Toro, and the Beach Area (Cocle) among others
- Islands - places like the Pearl Islands or Mamey Island are also ideal destinations
Just reading this list demonstrates the far-ranging diversity contained in this relatively small country, and proves that it is a place with something to offer everyone of any background or interest. This is also demonstrated when you meet the people who live in Panama.
The People of Panama
Someone from Panama is known as a Panamanian, but the country itself is an unusual mix of groups that "include Mestizo (of European and Native American descent) people who...constitute about 70% of the population, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) who constitute about 14% of the population, white population who make up about 10% of the population, and Amerindian who constitute 6% of the population." (Ask.com, 2014)
The Amerindians include three native cultures - the Chocoe-Embera people of the Darien jungles, the Guna Indians from the San Blas Island, and the Ngabe-Bugle people from the Chiriqui highlands. The country is popular with "expats" and it is possible to find communities of Americans, Italians, Colombians, and people of many other backgrounds happily settled in Panama.
The official language is Spanish, though many Panamanians are bilingual and comfortably speak English. Travelers often note the different dialects or blends of Spanish variants, Caribbean languages, and English. There are also people who speak their native indigenous languages, and those who came from other parts of the Caribbean and who speak a unique form of English referred to as Guari Guari.
As a republic, Panama was officially independent as of 1972. However, the United States retained a strip of land on either side of the Panama Canal for two decades before formally handing over responsibility for the canal to Panama in 1999. Today it is a thriving nation with a strong and diversified economy. It is also considered one of the most modern nations in terms of infrastructure (roads, hospitals, and airports) than many other Central American countries.
Paying a Visit
Safe, progressive, affordable, exciting, easy to get around...Panama has an ample list of reasons to pay a visit. Whether you want to climb a mountain to catch a glimpse of two oceans at once, encounter more than 900 kinds of birds, see the ruins of ancient forts, tour the Panama Canal, or enjoy the sparkling nightlife of an international city, you will be able to easily do these things - and so much more - when you book a trip to Panama.
To ensure you plan the most complete experience possible, make note of the four specific "zones" of Panama and then schedule your visit accordingly:
- Central - Here is Panama City, the canal, and the Cocle or Beach Area province.
- Pacific West - Home to many popular regions, including the Chirigui Province as well as Los Santos and Herrara Provinces. Some of the Veraguas Province is here too.
- Eastern Panama - This is where the Darien Province is found as well Kuna Yala and the San Blas Islands.
- Caribbean West - This is the location of the Ngobe Bugle Province, the Bocas del Toro province, and some of the Veruguas Province.
- Clearly, the Republic of Panama has an amazing amount to offer and enjoy, and is ready for your arrival!
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