Panama Facts

Interesting Facts for Kids

Panama facts header image - Kids World Travel Guide

Here are some interesting Panama Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.

Panama for Kids

Flag of Panama
  • Population: 3.8 million people live in Panama (2020)
  • Capital: Panama City with 1.9 million inhabitants 
  • Name: Republic de Panama. República de Panamá
  • Language: Spanish
  • Literacy: More than 95% of the people can read and write.
  • Religion: mainly Christians (Roman Catholic 85%, Protestants 15%)
  • Currency: 1 balboa = 100 centesimos
  • National Symbols: Harpy eagle (national bird) blue, white and red (national colours)
  • Motto: "Pro Mundi Beneficio" which means "For the Benefit of the World"
  • National Day: 3 November (Independence Day)
  • History: Panama was inhabited by indigenous tribes such as the Cueva and Chocoan people before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1500. The Spanish settlers based themselves in Panama. The Spanish ruled for about 300 year. Panama gained independence from Spain in 1821, but then became part of the Republic of Gran Colombia and only in 1903 gained full independence. 

Panama Facts | Geography
Where is Panama?

Panama lies in the centre of the Americas and on the two American continents. The Panama canal splits the country in a western or North American part and an eastern or South American part.

Panama shares borders with two countries: Costa Rica on the North American continent and Colombia on the South American continent. Panama's capital city is called Panama City.

Map of PanamaMap of Panama

Panama is located close to the equator which is only about 1,000 km/ 620 miles away. This is a narrow country and at the widest point only 177 km/ 110 miles wide. The country has the shape of an "S lying down"

Panama is roughly the size of the Czech Republic or about the size of South Carolina/USA. A flight from London/UK to Panama City takes roughly 12.5 hours and from New York/USA a flight takes 5 hours. 

Panama has a tropical climate with little variation in the seasons.

Panama Facts
10 Panama Geo Superlatives

Panama City

1. Panama is generally regarded as the southernmost country of the North American continent. 

2. Panama is the most urbanised country in Central America. About 68% of the population lives in urban areas.

3. The country is one of the countries that has coastlines on two oceans: Caribbean Sea is to the north of the country and the Pacific Ocean is to the South of the country. 

View over Panama from Volcan BaruView over Panama from Volcan Baru

4. The highest point of Panama is the Volcan Baru with 3,475 m/ 11,401 ft.

5. The Panama Canal has been build in 1881. The artificial waterway linking the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean is 77 km/ 48 miles long.

Panama Canal - World Fact BookPanama Canal

6. The Atlantic Bridge over the Panama Canal is the world's longest concrete four-lane bridge and one of three bridges over the artificial waterway linking the North and the South American continent.

7. Panama became a land bridge roughly 2.8 million years ago. Panama's mountainous spine stretching across the country is called the Central Divide. These hills and mountains are a remainder of an now eroded arch that once existed there. 

8. Panama is ranking second in the world in number of ships carrying goods and operating under than Panamanian flag - after Indonesia. The Merchant Marine fleet of Panama is more than double the size of that of the USA.

Panama JunglePanama Jungle

9. The world's longest road, the Pan-American Highway, is interrupted in Panama by the Darien Gap which is dense jungle and rainforest at the border to Colombia.

10. The biodiversity in Panama is about three times higher than that of the US, Canada and Europe combined. Tree cover and forests, however, have been reduced by over 50% in the last century.  

Panama Facts
Panama Economy

Panama is rich in natural resources such as copper and iron as well as mahogany timber. Other important export products from Panama include fruits and nuts, and fish products.

Panama Fishing boats - image by Miloz Maslanka/shutterstock.comFishing boats in Panama

The USA and China are the biggest trading partners of Panama.

The US dollar is legal tender in Panama, which means you can pay your goods in US dollar. Panama's official currency is the Balboa, with is fixed and on par with the US Dollar.

Panama Facts | People

Panama is one of the most urbanised countries in the Americas. The Panamanians mainly speak Spanish which is the official language of Panama, but there are various indigenous languages spoken as well. English is taught in public schools and many people are bilingual in Panama.

Teenagers in Panama - image by Fotos593/shutterstock.comYoung people in Panama

Most Panamanians live in the capital city and other urban areas. Panama City is the country's largest city and houses about half of the population of the country. 

Panama Facts | Typical Food

Beans, rice, plantains and fresh fruits and vegetables are the staple diet of the Panamanians. Green leafy vegetables are not as easily available in Panama, but there is an abundance of tropical fruits and vegetables such as corn, yuka and plantains. Yuca, also called cassava or manioc in other parts of the world, is a starchy root vegetable. Chicken and fish or seafood is widely available and part of many popular dishes.

Typical Panamanian food and drinks include:

  • Ceviche: This dish is made with raw fish or seafood that has been marinated in oil and lemon or lime juice.
  • Sancocho: chicken and vegetable stew, often also made with yuca and plantains
  • Tamales: steamed corn pancakes steamed in banana or corn leaves can be filled with meat and vegetables or sweet fillings
  • Tres leches: this delicious soft 'milk cake' is made with three layers of various milk and cream products
  • Yuca frita: fried yuca chips or fries, these are served with many meals

Popular Pages

Useful Resources for Panama Facts

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Panama." World Fact Book. Last updated 30 June 2020. Last accessed 24 July 2020
  • Janis and Jeff Jones. "20 Fun Facts about Panama City." Travelling with the Jones. 21 April 2015. Last accessed 24 July 2020
  • Panama Tourism. "Panama Geography." Visit Panama. Last accessed 24 July 2020
  • Domingo Trapiche. "7 Panamanian dishes you should not miss." ElTrapiche. Last accessed 24 July 2020

Images on Panama facts page: and own images

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