As a country that has been the second-most competitive economy in Latin America, Panama is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. They were previously inhabited by several indigenous tribes, before being settled by the Spanish in the 16th century. Then, they were able to join the Republic of Gran Colombia. After it was dissolved, they remained as Republic of Colombia. It is a country packed with rich history and culture, world famous attractions, and fantastic weather. Their culture is reflected through their traditional products such as pottery, woodcarving, and many more.If you are looking for some adventures, the variety of biodiversity it offers, is the best place to be.
There are a lot to try here in Panama. Panamanian cuisine is a blend of different cultures: African, Spanish, and Native American. Their dishes are typically mildly flavored. Their diverse population utilizes the different dishes and ingredients that were offered by these culture. Since they are surrounded by other Latin American countries, common ingredients in their dishes are corn, rice, plantains, and many others.
- Bollos — It is a corn dough that is wrapped in corn husk or plantains leaves, then boiled. There are two main variety of this dish: fresh and dry corn bollos. The second one is usually flavored with butter, corn, or stuffed with beef.
- Empanadas — A type of pastry that is baked or fried. In Panama, it is made with flour or corn and then stuffed with meats, cheese, and sometimes sweet fillings.
- Carimañola — Similar to empanadas. It is a meat-pie made with yuta and stuffed with cheese and meat, then fried. It is usually served during breakfast.
- Tamal de olla — Tamale on baking pan. The ingredients for this is pork or chicken. It will be stuffed with corn, vegetables, olives, and raisins. Sometimes, people would add chopped prunes.
With their rich history and culture, Panama is starting to be one of the place that ones would want to travel to. It is the country where the North meets the South because of the Panama Canal. Although people come here for this, they stay for other reasons. They are more developed than most of their neighbors, allowing them to provide tourists a modern infrastructure that is easy and convenient for them to use. It also offers natural beauty at the Pearl Islands. It features a beautiful view of the forest and pristine beaches. This place will truly leave you in awe.
Here are some of the top attractions:
- Panama Canal — An artificial waterway that connects the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. It was officially started in France in 1881 and continued by United States in 1904. Within this, they created an artificial lake, Gatun Lake, to reduce the amount of excavation work required.
- San Blas Islands — A popular place for sailing due to its beauty and environment. It is comprised of 365 islands and inhabited by Kaplan people. It is a relaxing place that allows one to disconnect from the world, and be able to only enjoy the place with the person they are with. It’s seriously such a haven for ecologists because of their environment. Just beautiful.
- Panamá Viejo — The former capital and the remaining part of old Panama city. It became a World Heritage site in 1997. This is where the first European settlement took place. There is a tragic history of it being attacked by pirates and indigenous people and cities being burned by the Great Fire. A great cultural place to learn about a part of Panama’s history.
- Contadora Island — Contadora means “the one that counts.” It got this name because in the previous days, the Spanish counted the pearls that were harvested from other islands, then sell it to Spaniards. However, it is now known for their location and secluded beaches. A stunning beach filled with white sand and spectacular scenery. It is great for whale watching and snorkeling.
In Panama, you will know how to enjoy a good party! There are three primary sections of their nightlife: Colonial Casco Viejo, Causeway, and the financial district. It has a little bit of everything, which makes it perfect for anyone that wants to travel to Panama. It ranges from underground lairs to high-end nightclubs. There are different styles laid-back, dance, and hip-hop. In addition, they even have a beach nightlife which offers great live music.
The main currency of Panama is balboa (PAB) and United States dollar. Coins come in denominations of 0.05, 0.10, 0.25, and 0.50 balboa. Their exchange rate has been tied to the United States dollar, so it has been at 1:1 since its introduction.
Customs & Languages
The official language of Panama is Spanish. Their culture is influenced by European music, art, and traditions that were brought over by others. These different cultures have blended in together. For example, the tamborito is a Spanish dance, but it uses the African rhythms, themes, and dance moves. The first tip when traveling is to bring bug spray due to it being a tropical country. Two, bring your ID. The police here are regularly checking for passports of random passersby just for safety. Third, stay hydrated. It is humid and hot all year round, so be prepared.
Here are some helpful words/phrases:
- Hello — Hola
- Please – Por favor
- Thank you — Gracias
- How much? — ¿Cuánto cuesta?
- Where is the bathroom? — ¿Dónde está el baño?