Welcome to Panama, a country where the concept of exotic begins in its name, which means “abundance of fish and butterflies” in our indigenous language. Come to where the sun, adventure, mystery, opportunities (business or leisure) are also abundant. Panama better known as The Bridge of the World, where modern cities meet with nature’s beauty and where there’s always something new to discover.
Panama has coasts on two oceans: the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea. These coasts, although different, are suited for all sorts of activities with the different beaches and islands found in them. World famous beautiful beaches and islands will make your visit unforgettable!
Caribbean Sea: On the Caribbean coast, the beaches on the provinces of Colon, San
Blas and Bocas del Toro and their neighboring islands, are small to mid-sized and all of them have coral reefs nearby, they are often near other waterways and most have been formed by coral buildup. These are the best beaches to do some scuba diving in.
Pacific Ocean: On this coast you’ll find a series of beaches which are easily accessible from the Panamerican Road. Many water sports including windsurfing, surfing and swimming are practiced here. The most popular of these are: Gorgona, Coronado, San Carlos, El Palmar, RÕo Mar, Corona, Sea Cliff, Santa Clara, Playa Blanca and FarallÑn.
Considered one of the Eight Wonders of the World, the Panama Canal is one of the most fascinating places in the world, where human genius and skill join to link two oceans and bring the world closer together.
The Panama Canal has a length of approximately 80 kilometers between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Between 13,000 and 14,000 ships use the Canal yearly, thanks to the work of approximately 9,000 workers, working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, offering transit service to ships of all nations.
The Canal uses a locks system that act as water elevators raising the ships from sea-level (Atlantic or Pacific) to 26 meters above sea-level (Gatún Lake). Each set of locks carries the name of the town where it was built: Gatún (on the Atlantic side), Pedro Miguel and Miraflores (on the Pacific).
The narrowest part of the Canal is Gaillard Cut and it stretches from the Pedro Miguel Locks to the southern tip of Gatún Lake in Gamboa. This stretch is approximately 13.7 kilometers long.
Take a mini cruise through the Canal and then check out the Visitor Center in Miraflores, the ideal place to see the Canal operating. This installation, recently open to the public, has large balconies from which visitors can see the locks open and close as the ships begin or end their transit. Four exhibition rooms, organized by themes, are the main feature of the Visitor Center.
Exhibitions are dedicated to Canal history, the importance of water as a source of life, the Canal operation and it’s place in worldwide trading. www.pancanal.com
Old Panama City
Panama City, the first spanish city on the american Pacific, is founded in 1519 by Pedradiras Davila, in an areathat was part of an ethnic coastal village dedicated to fishing.
Panama City became an important geographic location for colonial trade. It is estimated that during the 16th and 17th centuries, 60% of all american silver went through the city which also operated as a connection point for interamerican trade. Products from countries such as Nicaragua, Ecuador, Costarica, Peru and Mexico arrived at Panama City to be reshipped to other locations in the continent. Panama’s position as one of the most important centers for expeditions, and it’s important strategic location for trading set forth the Isthmus’ destiny for international transit service.
Panama was located by an important river, which made it useful as a port. As every spanish built city it reflected the current social order in its spacing. The highest points were saved for Royal Houses and the High Church, symbols of the Crown and the Catholic Church, the icons of colonial society.
Old Panama started with a handful of simple huts. Afterwards, wood-based construction became widespread and this lasted through time. Stone was already used at the end of the 16th century but only in government building, churches and the best houses. Old Panama had a few government buildings, so the landscape was quite diverse.
Old Panama was also the host of a Royal Court, an iberic tribunal, and as such, a major government office. The elite of landowners and traders lived in the city and its population may have reached 10,000, which is a considerable amount for the period.
Its comercial importance brought the greed of pirates. In 1671 the city was attacked by English pirate Henry Morgan and the city was left in ruins. Two years later it was moved to what is now known as Casco Antiguo, abandoning the old site of the City for over two centuries. This left these structures untouched giving visitors a real view of the colonial Panama City.