You might know that Panama is one of the most widely visited countries in the world, but there are dozens of other interesting facts and statistics that most visitors don’t know. Before you book your Panama vacation, why not brush up on this handy list Panama Quick Facts?

  • ¨Panama¨ in Spanish is pronounced ¨pa-na-MAH¨ and written as ¨Panamá.¨
  • The country is divided into 9 provinces and 3 indigenous reservations (comarcas).
  • Panama is a republic, officially referred to as ¨La República de Panamá¨
  • A person from Panama is called ¨Panamanian¨
  • Panama´s total population is almost 3.5 million people, the same number as Berlin, Germany´s total population
  • There are over 1500 islands in Panama throughout the Caribbean Sea, and Pacific and Atlantic Oceans
  • Average water temperatures are in the low to mid 80s°F (25°C)
  • Ricardo Martinelli is Panama´s current president and Panama operates under a constitutional democracy. The next presidential election is scheduled for May 2014.
  • The U.S. dollar is legal tender in Panama and is commonly referred to as a balboa. Panama mints its´ own coins, similar in appearance and of the same 1:1 value as the dollar.
  • Spanish is the official language, but many young professionals are bilingual in both Spanish and English.
  • Education is compulsory for children ages 6-15 and the private educational system is excellent
  • Panama City’s first metro line (Line 1) is expected to be completed by January 2014
  • Panama is about to undertake Central America´s most ambitious wind farm project, totalling $445 million, scheduled to come online next year and supply 7% of Panama´s electrical needs.
  • Universities in Panama can cost as little as $300 per semester
  • 75-85% of the population identifies themselves as Roman Catholic and 15-25% as Evangelical Christian.
  • Panama City is the only capital city that has a rain forest within the city limits
  • The culture, customs, and language of the Panamanians are predominantly Caribbean and Spanish
  • Panama´s current unemployment rate is 5.6% (August 2012)
  • From 1904 till noon, December 31, 1999, the U.S. had full control of the Panama Canal Zone
  • ¨Zonians¨ are people associated with the former Panama Canal Zone, considering themselves both Panamanian and U.S. citizens
  • U.S. Senator and 2008 presidential candidate John McCain was born in the former Panama Canal Zone
  • The Colón Free Trade Zone is the second largest in the world, with 250,000+ visitors per year and 1,751 companies
  • Ethnically, Panama is true melting pot culture– with the strong waves of Afro-Antillean and Chinese immigrants successfully integrating into the 70% mestizo (European and Amerindian) population
  • You can swim in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean in the same day
  • The Panama Canal Expansion Project will allow ships to cross the entire canal in an average of 8-10 hours
  • The expansion of the Panama Canal, expected to be completed in October 2014, will triple shipment crossing volumes
  • 40% of Panama´s population resides in Panama City
  • La Prensa is Panama´s leading newspaper, available in English online
  • Panamanians most often greet each other with a kiss on the right cheek and slight hug
  • Baseball is Panama´s most popular sport, along with boxing and soccer