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Panama - Getting to Know a Beautiful Country
Panama tourism has flourished for years; however, if most Americans were quizzed on their knowledge of the country of Panama,
their top 5 answers would be something like:
- Don't they have the Panama Canal?"
- Didn't that guy, Noriega live there?
- It must be a big country because they have that canal thing.
- Didn't they have a bobsled team in the Olympics like that movie "Cool Runnings? (Don't think too hard on that one, it was really Jamaica!)
- It must be hot and have a lot of people that speak Spanish because it's south of the United States.
If your answer would have been similar to these, don't feel bad. You are definitely not alone. Truth is, for a country so
important to the world, Panama's attractions and activities are very well-kept secrets. In order to enlighten you a bit,
let's comment on those answers above.
Things You Know About the Country of Panama
- The Panama Canal - Yes, the country of Panama has the Panama Canal. (So you got that one right, big deal since it's in the name!)
The Canal has been referred to by some as the "eighth wonder of the world" and the "engineering marvel of the 20th Century" and it
is a highlight of Panama tourism. Its value to the country of Panama and the rest of the world is being demonstrated with a
widening project that has an estimated cost of $5 billion dollars!
- I'll give you a good score for this one. The military dictator General Manuel Noriega ruled Panama from 1983 until his overthrow
in 1989. Until recently, he had been living a quiet life in a prison in the United States! Noriega was a ruthless dictator and the
country of Panama continues to flourish as it leaves his shadow.
- The country of Panama is relatively small; Panama is the S-shaped country that connects Central and South America at, you
guessed it, the Panama Canal. Despite its diminutive size, the country of Panama has over 1,600 miles of beautiful coastline
along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, offering a wide variety of activities and attractions to Panama tourists.
- Please, I'm not going to even respond to this one, although Panama is home to the current world record-holder in the Long
Jump as well as Major League baseball players Mariano Rivera and Carlos Lee.
- While the general climate of the country of Panama is tropical (temperatures generally are 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during
the day and 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night), temperatures in the mountainous regions tend to be much cooler. As far as the
Spanish, it is the official language of the country of Panama, but many speak English as well. There is a true fascination
among many Panamanians to converse in English when given the opportunity.
Ok, we've graded your quiz, now for a little more about Panama. Panama is neighbors with Costa Rica to the west and Columbia
to the east. It is in the same international time zone as New York and Washington D.C. (without DST), but it also has other
things in common with the United States. Due to its century-long Panama Canal affiliation with the US, Panama has adopted many
similar standards. The standard paper currency in the country of Panama is the US dollar; Panama calls the currency
"balboa" and they mint their own coinage (which is the same size and denominations as in the US), but without a federal bank
they do not print paper currency. The uniform currency eliminates any exchange problems for Americans traveling in the
country of Panama, a welcome relief for anyone who has ever traveled abroad.
In addition, religion in Panama is approximately 85% Catholic and 15% Protestant and there are many churches, from small to
large, in each city. Many of the traffic signs in Panama are quite similar to the US (although they are in Spanish) and even the
standard of electricity is the same, with homes and businesses wired for 110 volts and utilizing the same flat, two-pin plugs
as the US.
Since the fall of the military dictator Manuel Noriega (Remember from our quiz?), Panama's government is an elected democracy
and one of the most stable governments in Latin America. Panama City is the capital of Panama and is home to nearly one
million people, or almost one-third of the country's population, within its metropolitan limits.
The country of Panama enjoys a rich history and many of the same things that are familiar to most American tourists in
Panama. In addition Panama has many activities and Panama attractions are truly special. So study up; I'm sure you'll do great on
our next quiz!
Real estate is a fluctuating industry, no matter what part of the world you refer to. Several factors affect this often-fickle
sector of a country's economy. Some of these factors include the state of a respective country's economy in general, times of war,
international relations in general, tourism within a particular country, as well as the presence of foreign investors.
In a country like Panama, tourism is quite successful thanks to Panamanian attractions and activities in places like David, Panama City and Darien.