Fun Facts about Panama


The capital is Panama City.

Population (2011 est.)

3,510,045 (growth rate: 1.41%); life expectancy: 77.96; density per sq mi: 115


Roman Catholic 85%; Protestant 15%

National Holidays

Independence Day is November 3.


United Sates dollar and Panamanian Balboa are the currencies in Panama.

Panama was the first Latin American country to adopt the U.S. currency as its own.

Capital and Largest City (2010 est.)

Panama City, 1,272,672 (metro. area), 880,691 (city proper)

Panama is a small country with a population of just 3.5 million, 37%, or 1.3 million, of whom are living in the Panama City area.

Time Zone

GMT-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time).


The oldest continually operation railroad is in Panama. It travels from Panama City to Colon and back.

Land Area

29,340 sq mi (75,991 sq km); total area: 30,193 sq mi (78,200 sq km)


Spanish (official); English is taught in all schools and many Panamanian executives are fully bilingual

Panama Canal

Nicaragua was the original location of the Panama Canal, but a stock crash in the United States ended those plans. When the French failed to create their own canal in Panama, the United States purchased the land rights for US$40 million, and after much blood and sweat it became the famous wonder that it remain today.

The canal allows ships traveling between New York and San Francisco to save 7,872 miles of travel. It also accounts for a third of Panama’s economy.

The cargo ship Ancon was the first vessel to transit the Canal on August 15, 1914.

The lowest toll paid was $0.36 and was paid by Richard Halliburton who crossed the Canal swimming in 1928.