Panama Country Information

Panama Country Information

The name “Panamá” comes from the Indian language and means “water rich in fish”.


The Republic of Panama is part of Central America and lies on a land bridge that separates the Caribbean Sea from the Pacific Ocean. The country therefore only has two neighbors, Costa Rica and Colombia. At the narrowest point, the land bridge measures only 55 km. This land bridge, also called the Isthmus of Panama, connects North America with South America and was built 3 million years ago. Visit cellphoneexplorer for Central America Travel Guide.

The state capital is Panama City. Time zone

In comparison to our German time, Panama is 6 hours behind in winter and 7 hours in summer.


Panama has an area of 75,517 square kilometers. Its landscapes are separated by the Panama Canal and thus divided into two different landscape areas. The country consists for the most part of a mountain range that acts as a link between the mountain ranges of Costa Rica and the foothills of the Colombian coastal mountains. Through the two seas, Panama has a coastline of 1,915 km, while the national border is only 555 km (330 km with Costa Rica and 225 km with Colombia). The coastline of the Pacific and the Panama Canal area are the most densely populated areas in the country.

The highest mountain in the country is the Volcán Barú with a height of 3,477 m.

The Kuna Yala Indians live on the northeastern Caribbean coast and enjoy recognized autonomy in the region.


In the pre-Columbian period, before Columbus discovered America, the country was settled by the Chibcha Indians, from whose culture ceramics and gold work have been preserved. In 1502, Spanish sailors discovered the Caribbean coast of Panama. It soon developed into an important base for the colonial powers. In 1739 the country was annexed to the viceroyalty of New Granada and thus Colombia. In 1821 it was able to shake off Spanish rule, but was attached to Greater Colombia Simón Bolívars. In 1879 a French company began building the Panama Canal.This attempt ended in financial and human disaster as many workers died of malaria. In 1903 the small country achieved world fame when it was occupied by the Americans and with whose help final sovereignty was achieved. In 1906 the Americans continued building the Panama Canal and were able to complete it in 1914. Today the canal is owned by the Panamanian government, which is expanding it further.

Flora and fauna

The landscape differences between western and eastern Panama are very large. While rainforests grow on the Caribbean side, only dry forests or savannahs can be found on the Pacific side. The difference is gradually weakening near Panama City. Wildlife such as jaguars, ocelots, tapirs, armadillos and alligators still live in the forests.


The largest sources of income for the state result from the canal fees and the income from the ports at the entrance and exit of the canal. Agricultural products such as maize, rice, bananas and cattle breeding only play a subordinate role in the country. A second mainstay of the country, albeit basically an illegal one, is the cultivation of hemp.

Panama has one of the largest merchant fleets in the world, although many ships are owned by foreign shipowners. The most important trading partners are the USA, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.


Membership in Int. Organizations: United Nations (UN), General Customs and Trade Agreement ( GATT), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), UNESCO, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, as well as in numerous regional organizations. Population

Only about 6% of the 3.4 million population has its origins in the Chibcha Indians. The majority of Panamanians (70%) are mestizos and thus mixed race between Indians and Spanish settlers. Blacks and mulattos make up around 13% of the population in Panama.


Most Panamanians profess the Roman Catholic religion. But there are also small Jewish and Protestant communities.


The national language is Spanish and thus Panama belongs to the group of Latin American countries.

In larger cities, English is mostly spoken in hotels and other tourist centers, but hardly in the interior of the country. Basic knowledge of Spanish is advantageous here.

Food and drink

Country specialties in Panama are for example

– Ceviche (fish in lemon juice, onions and peppers)

– Palacones de Plátano (fried plantains )

– Sancocho (stew with chicken, meat and vegetables)

– Tamales (spicy pie wrapped in banana leaves)

– Empanadas (filled dumplings)

Many local beers are offered for drinks, as well as fruit juices mixed with water or milk. If you like to enjoy good coffee, Panama is the right address, as very good types of coffee are grown here. The rum from Panama is also very tasty, especially as a cocktail.


Entering Panama is straightforward. No visa is required for a tourist stay of less than 90 days. On arrival you only need to show a passport with a validity of at least 6 months after the start of the trip.

Medical advice

Current information on vaccinations can be obtained from your family doctor or on the website of the Center for Travel Medicine (CRM).


In Panama the voltage is 110 V 60 Hz. An American adapter is therefore required.

Security / drugs

There is an urgent warning against drug use and trafficking, even in the smallest quantities. Violation threatens high prison sentences that have to be served in Panama.

Current travel advice can also be found at


In Germany:

Embassy of the Republic of Panama
Wichmannstrasse 6
10787 Berlin
Tel.: (030) 22 60 58 11
Fax: (030) 22 60 58 12
Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In Panama:

Street address:
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Calle 53 E
Urbanizacion Marbella
Edificio World Trade Center No. 20

Postal address: Apdo: 0832-0536 World Trade Center
Tel.: (00507) 263 77 33, 263 79 91, 264 11 47, 263 46 77
Fax: (00507) 223 66 64
e-mail: info@panama.diplo. de

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In Germany
In Austria
In Switzerland

Frequently asked questions about Panama

What are the entry requirements for Panama?

For a stay of up to 180 days, German citizens with a passport that is valid for at least 6 months upon entry do not need a visa. Furthermore, either a valid onward travel ticket to a neighboring country or a return ticket to Germany must be presented. The German child ID must be provided with a photo.

What vaccinations do you need to travel to Panama?

A valid vaccination against yellow fever is required for all travelers arriving from a yellow fever area. This is not required when entering from Germany. In addition, vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis A is recommended, and for long-term stays over four weeks against hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid. We definitely recommend taking out health insurance abroad with repatriation.

Panama Country Information