Panama,officially the Republic of Panama is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital is Panama City. On a 2012 poll, it was reported that Panama City was the city with the happiest people in the world.
At the time of the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the known inhabitants of Panama included the Cuevas and the Coclé tribes. These peoples nearly disappeared, above all, from European infectious diseases to which they had no immunity.
Panama is located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. It mostly lies between latitudes 7° and 10°N, and longitudes 77° and 83°W (a small area lies west of 83°). Some people consider the territory east of the Panama Canal as part of South America although this is rare. Its location on the Isthmus of Panama is strategic. By 2000, Panama controlled the Panama Canal which connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to the North of the Pacific Ocean. Panama, at 75,515 km2, is ranked 118th worldwide on the basis of land size. For comparison, Panama is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of South Carolina or slightly larger than the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
Panama's politics take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
For all people national elections are universal and mandatory for all citizens 18 years and older. National elections for the executive and legislative branches take place every five years. Members of the judicial branch (justices) are appointed by the head of state. Panama's National Assembly is elected by proportional representation in fixed electoral districts, so many smaller parties are represented. Presidential elections do not require a simple majority; out of the four last presidents only one, the incumbent president, was elected with over 50% of the popular vote.
According to the CIA World Factbook, as of 2011 Panama had an unemployment rate of 2.7%. A food surplus was registered in August 2008. On the Human Development Index Panama was ranked at number 60 (2008). In recent years, Panama's economy has experienced an economic boom, with growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) averaging over 10.4% from 2006–2008. The Panamanian economy has been among the fastest growing and best managed in Latin America. Latin Business Chronicle has predicted that Panama will be the fastest growing economy in Latin America in the five-year period 2010–14, matching Brazil's 10% rate.
Tourism in the Republic of Panama is rapidly growing. Its fascinating nature and culture allures a wide range of travelers.
Tourism in Panama kept its growth during the past 5 years due to the government offering tax and price discounts to foreign guests and retirees. These economic incentives caused Panama to be regarded as a relatively good place to retire in the world. Real estate developers in Panama have increased the amount of tourism destinations in the past five years because of the interest for these visitor incentives.The amount of tourists arriving between January and September 2008 totaled 1,110,000. This was a significant increase of 13.1% (128,452) over the previous high of 982,640 during the same period in 2007.
The culture of Panama derived from European music, art and traditions that were brought over by the Spanish to Panama. Hegemonic forces have created hybrid forms of this by blending African and Native American culture with European culture. For example, the tamborito is a Spanish dance that was blended with African rhythms, themes and dance moves. Dance is a symbol of the diverse cultures that have coupled in Panama. The local folklore can be experienced through a multitude of festivals, dances and traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation. Local cities host live reggae en español, reggaeton, kompa, jazz, blues, salsa, reggae, and rock music performances.
10 Top Tourist Attractions in Panama
San Blas Islands
Bocas del Toro