Panama Facts and Figures

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Reviewed by Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen is the Live and Invest Overseas Founding Publisher. She has more than 30 years of hands-on experience traveling, living, and buying property around the world.


48 Fun And Interesting Facts About Panama

Skyline of Panama City
Alamy/hanohikirf

General Panama Facts

  1. 48. Panama’s time zone is GMT -5, which is the same as EST.
  2. 47. There is no daylight savings time in Panama.
  3. 46. The dialing code for Panama is +507.
  4. 45. Panama boasts an impressive 2,490 km of coastline.
  5. 44. Panama has 10 provinces (Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí, Coclé, Colón, Darién, Herrera, Los Santos, Panamá, Panamá Oeste, and Veraguas) and 3 reservations or comarcas (Guna Yala, Ngöbe-Buglé, and Emberá-Wounaan).
  6. 43. Panama’s biggest city and capital is Panama City.
  7. 42. Colon and David are the second-largest towns.
  8. 41. Panama has not had a national military since it was abolished in 1990.
  9. 40. Famous Panamanians include boxer Roberto Duran, salsa singer and actor Ruben Blades and baseball players Mariano Rivera and Carlos Lee.
  10. 39. The Panama hat is actually from Ecuador. They are called Panama hats because they were sent to Panama before being shipped worldwide.
  11. 38. Christopher Columbus first arrived in 1502.
  12. 37. Vasco Núñez de Balboa arrived in 1513 and was the first European to discover the Pacific coast of Panama.
  13. 36. The national dish of Panama is sancocho, a stew made with mixed vegetables and chicken.
  14. 35. Panama is the most southerly country in Central America.
  15. 34. Panama has over 10,000 different species of plants.
  16. 33. Panama City is the only capital city that has a rain forest within the city limits.
  17. 32. Panama is located south of Hurricane Alley and is not impacted the storms and hurricanes which batter the Caribbean.
  18. 31. The Biomuseo is the only building in Latin America to be designed by Frank Gehry.
  19. 30. In 1671 the pirate Henry Morgan and 1,400 men sacked Panama City.
  20. 29. Panama has one Olympic gold medal, Irving Saladino won the men’s long jump at Bejing 2008.
  21. 28. The Volcan Baru is the tallest mountain in Panama at 3,474 meters.
  22. 27. It is also an active stratovolcano.
  23. 26. Panama was a Spanish colony until 1821 when it joined the Republic of Gran Colombia.
  24. 25. Panama gained independence in 1903, after some help from the U.S. who were keen to build the canal.
  25. 24. The population of Panama is now over 4 million (2016).
  26. 23. The currency is the Balboa, which is pegged to the U.S. Dollar. U.S. Dollars are also accepted.
  27. 22. The exchange rate is 1 balboa per U.S. Dollar.
  28. 21. The official language is Spanish although approximately 15% of the population also speak English.
  29. 20. Panama’s primary exports are Bananas, gold, shrimp, sugar, iron and steel waste, pineapples, watermelons.
  30. 19. The Free Trade Zone in Panama is the second largest duty-free zone in the world.
  31. 18. Business in this area is worth more than $5 billion annually.
  32. 17. The oldest continually operating railroad is in Panama. It travels between Panama City and Colon.
  33. 16. The railroad cost just short of $8 million to build and at one point was valued at over $295 a share.
  34. 15. Panama was the first country in any of the America’s to elect a female President, Mireya Moscoso in 1999.
The Biomuseo in Panama
Wikimedia Commons/F Delventhal

Facts About The Panama Canal

Panama Canal, Panama
iStock/Marina113

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Wildlife In Panama

Rose-throated Becard
Alamy/Rick & Nora Bowers
  1. 4. Panama is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. As a result, it is home to 218 species of mammal, 226 species of reptile and164 amphibian species.
  2. 3. 125 animal species found in Panama are not found anywhere else in the world.
  3. 2. Panama is home to 940 avian species, the largest most in Central America.
  4. 1. The National Bird of Panama is the Harpy Eagle. It is amongst the largest and most powerful raptors in the world.

Other Facts About Panama


Information TypePanama Data
Population4,314,767 (June 2020)
Gross Domestic Product PPP (GDP)US$71 billion (June 2020)
GDP Per CapitaUS$12,600 (2020 est.)
Inflation Rate-0.91% (June 2020)
CapitalPanama City
Population of Capital City1,860,291 (metropolitan area)
Time ZoneGMT – 5
SeasonsTropical. Rainy season lasts from May to November.
Electricity110V (Panama City 120V)/60 Hz. Plug Types: A, B (US style)
Income Tax Rate for ResidentsResident individuals are taxed on their Panamian-sourced income at progressive rates, from 7% to 27%.
Property Tax0% for first 20 years, 0% to 2.1% after.
Capital Gains Tax10%
Inheritance Tax0%
Rental Income Tax0% for first 15 years in designated areas, income tax up to a maximum of 27%.
Transfer Tax2% to 5%
Sales Tax7%
Restrictions on Foreign Ownership of PropertyNone
Local Chamber of Commercewww.panacamara.com
Ave Cuba and Ecuador, Calle 33-ATopic: 0816-07517 Panama, Republic of Panama.Tel: 507-207-3400
American Chamber of Commercehttp://www.panamcham.com/
Ocean Business Plaza, Suite 1709Ave. Aquilino de la Guardia & 47th StreetMarbellaPanama, R.P.Tel: 507-301- 3881
Residency and Visa RequirementsTourist Visa: 180 days
Residency: The most cost-effective, hassle-free invest-for-residency program available anywhere in the world today is in Panama.The Specific Countries program. If you hold a passport for one of the 48 countries on the list, this is the best Panamanian residency option after the pensionado visa.Citizenship: After five years of legal residence and full immigrant statusPanama Visa and Residency Information
Special Benefits for Foreign Residents or RetireesPanama’s pensionado program of special benefits and discounts for foreign retirees holds a very high standard, you can save as much as 50% on everything from restaurant meals to in-country airfares, from prescription medicines to closing costs on your new beach house.
National AirlineCopa Airlines www.copaair.com

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