Panama

historia
Panama is a country in Central America with coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, with Colombia (and South America) to the southeast and Costa Rica (and North America) to the northwest. It's strategically located on the isthmus that forms the land bridge connecting North and South America and controls the Panama Canal that links the North Atlantic Ocean via the Caribbean Sea with the North Pacific Ocean, one of the most important shipping routes in the world.

The ease of travel and wide array of experiences make Panama one of the most attractive emerging tourism destinations in the world. In just one week, visitors can
enjoy two different oceans, experience the mountains and rainforest, learn about native cultures and take advantage of vibrant urban life. The capital, Panama City, is a modern, sophisticated metropolis that resembles Miami and has established commerce, arts, fashion and dining. Fodors, Frommers and National Geographic have all recently begun publishing guides for Panama, only the second country in Central America, behind Costa Rica, to have such extensive travel coverage.

canal
The Canal itself is best seen via an aerial view through the local operator (www.panamaflightadventures.com) and is the central marvel and spectacle of Panama among many. Even stunt and trick flights with veteran air force pilots and skydives are available over the marvel of engineering, to appreciate the entire scale of and ambition behind it.

panama
Panama is known as the "Crossroads of the Americas" due to its privileged position between North and South America. The indigenous meaning of the country's name,
"abundance of fish", reflects Panama's reputation as a paradise for water sports enthusiasts and eco-tourists alike. As the isthmus connecting two massive continents, Panama's flora and fauna is incredibly diverse. For example, Panama boasts over 900 different bird species. Panama's many indigenous tribes are still thriving, living in the same ancient manner as their ancestors, making its cultural fabric exceptionally rich.

Panama's government has strong ties to the United States and strongly supports business, development and tourism. The International Monetary Fund applauds the country's diversified economy and predicts it to have one of the strongest GDP growth rates in the world for the next several years. Panama is known for its highly developed international banking sector, with about 80 banks from several countries establishing local branches, including HSBC and Citibank. Currently undergoing expansion, the Canal continues to drive Panama's service-based economy and remains one of the most important transportation links in the world. In addition to the country's strong economic base, Panama's physical infrastructure, including modern hospitals, airports and roads, is more highly developed than its Central American neighbors.

Panama boasts a large expat community; about 25,000 U.S. citizens live in the country. It is worth spending some time reading up on Panama and communicating with locals,
expats and fellow travelers alike before arriving in the country. Consider joining some local forums [1] or blogs for expats or the Central America Forum. Many of the local blogs can give you the most current info on: floods, earthquakes, trail closings, and the best restaurant reviews.

Less than 9 degrees north of the equator, most of Panama enjoys temperatures that are fairly consistent year round, with daytime temperatures 30-33°C and night time
around 21-23°C). Tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season, called winter or invierno (May to November); short dry season, called summer or
verano (December to April). The most popular time to travel to Panama is December through March, when lower humidity and nearly zero percent chance of rain make it more ideal for travelers.

During most of the rainy season, mornings and early afternoons are usually sunny, while late afternoons and evenings have intermittent rainfall.

Most areas are quite warm, but a few places, such as Boquete, Cerro Punta and El Valle can get a little chilly at night. You definitely want a heavy rain-proof jacket if you're going to the top of Barú since you will be above 3000m for a little while.

Natural hazards: Occasional severe storms and forest fires in the remote Darien area.
Hurricane-strong winds are only a very small possibility in Panama. Because of its geographic position, it is very unlikely that Panama could be in the path of any hurricane, unlike the other Central American countries. Hurricanes normally hit farther north.

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