10 Amazing Facts About Panama
If you’re planning a vacation to Panama, you might not know just how remarkable this amazing country really is. Why not share these fascinating tidbits with your friends and family on Facebook while you get ready for your trip?
- The Panama Canal generates almost one-third of the entire country’s revenue: This spectacular feat of maritime engineering isn’t just a major tourist draw – it’s also a powerful economic force in Panama. Generating nearly one-third of all economic activity in the country, along with the associated industrialized sector dependent on this waterway, the Panama Canal is almost 80 kilometers (50 miles) in length and facilitates passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific for more than 14,000 vessels every year.
- The Canal is one of the most ambitious engineering projects ever undertaken: As if the fact that the Panama Canal generates roughly one-third of the nation’s revenue weren’t impressive enough, the facts behind the construction of the canal are equally amazing. Each of the canal’s locks are 7 feet thick, and more than 121 million cubic feet of concrete was used to create the canal’s locks and dams. The Canal is currently undergoing a major expansion project that will create thousands of jobs and facilitate even greater maritime trade in Panama.
- Panama is home to more species of bird than the U.S. and Canada combined: Despite its relatively small size, Panama’s amazing biodiversity makes it a paradise for birdwatchers. More species of bird, both native and migratory, can be observed across Panama than the entirety of both the U.S. and Canada.
- Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency: The fact that Panama uses the American dollar as its currency stems from the country’s close ties with the U.S. The American dollar has been Panama’s official currency since 1904, although bills used in Panama are not actually minted here, as there are no official U.S. treasuries or mints located in the country.
- El Valle is located at the site of a formerly active volcano: The town of El Valle de Antón is situated in a gigantic basin that was once the center of an active volcano. Geological surveys of the region suggest this volcano may have last erupted around 300,000 years ago – relatively recently in geological terms.
- Panama City is the only capital in the world with a rainforest within its limits: A quintessentially Panamanian destination, Panama City is the only world capital to hold this distinction. Parque Natural Metropolitano de Panamá provides guests with a unique opportunity to experience the diversity of Panama’s natural landscape and the capital’s vibrant urban culture in the same afternoon.
- The Panama Railroad is the most expensive rail network ever built: Costing more than $8 million and taking five years to complete, the Panama Railroad is the most expensive rail construction project in the world. At one point, this impressive infrastructural marvel traded at more than $295 per share on the New York Stock Exchange, and an estimated 12,000 workers died during the building of the railroad.
- Panama has more than 1,500 miles of coastline: For a relatively small country, Panama boasts many miles of pristine beaches, with more than 1,500 miles (2,490 kilometers) of beaches.
- The highest elevation in Panama is Volcán Barú: Located in the national park of the same name near Boquete, Volcán Barú is Panama’s tallest point, standing at 11,397 feet (3,473 meters) above sea level. On a clear day, it is possible to see both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean from the summit.
- Panama has the second-largest duty-free zone in the world: Second only to Hong Kong, Panama has one of the largest duty-free zones in the world. Business within this Free Trade Zone surpasses $5 billion per year and serves more than 525 million consumers annually.