Print this trip dossier

Journey Latin America asks you to accept cookies for performance and social media purposes. We use cookies on our website to personalise content, evaluate website traffic and enhance performance. You can delete or restrict cookies via your web browser. To get more information about these cookies and the processing of your personal data see our Cookie Policy. Do you accept these cookies and the processing of personal data involved? Find out more


August 15th, 2019

A man a plan a canal: Panama - a palindrome

Mary Anne

By Mary Anne Nelson
Travel Consultants


We all think about the canal when someone mentions Panama. Being one of the world’s most impressive feats of engineering is no surprise, really, but what else do we know about this tiny country linking Central to South America? Here are some interesting facts you might not be aware of:

- Due to its serpentine shape, Panama is the only country in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and sent in the Atlantic. And you can swim in both oceans on the same day.

- Panama’s Isla de Coiba served as a penal colony for 85 years, housing some of the country’s most dangerous criminals – comparable with Alcatraz. Nowadays, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and remains mostly in an unspoiled natural state.

- In 1821, when Central America revolted against Spain, Panama joined Colombia, which had already declared its independence, and then tried, for the next 82 years, to break away from it. Between 1850 and 1900 Panama had 40 administrations, 50 riots, 5 attempted secessions, and 13 US interventions. After a US proposal for canal rights over the narrow isthmus was rejected by Colombia, Panama proclaimed its independence with US backing in 1903.

- Panama has to most diversified wildlife of all the countries in Central America and it is home to north as well as South American species.

- It uses the US dollar for bills but the national currency is called Balboa. Bank notes are not printed, so since 1904 the US dollar has been the legal tender and US coins are interchangeable with Panamanian coins of the same denominations since similar sizes and metals are used.

- Costing nearly USD 8 million, the Panama Canal Railroad was the most expensive railroad ever built and it took five years (1850-55). It is the oldest operating railway in the world, bringing passengers from Panama City to Colon and back.

- The lowest toll paid to cross the Panama Canal was U$0.36 by Richard Halliburton who swam the canal in 1928.

- It is the most industrialised country and, at the same time, has the lowest population in Central America.

- Panama City is the only capital city with a rainforest within its limits.

- It is the second country (after Costa Rica) in the Americas without a standing army. They did away with it on February 1990, after the US invaded the country in 1989 in order to get rid of Manuel Noriega, the then Panamanian leader and de facto dictator.

- Seven out of 10 Panamanians haven’t heard the song “Panama” by Van Halen (actually, I can’t prove this. And I don’t blame them, anyway, if that’s the case!)

Post a comment

Other holidays you may be interested in

shrimps

A Taste of Peru

Private journey

12 days from £3,420pp

Colonial

Self-drive Uruguay: Classic highlights

Private journey

13 days from £2,693pp

day of the dead mexico

Signature Mexico: Day of the Dead

Private journey

8 days from £2,390pp

Costa Rica family activities

Family Costa Rica: Jungle walks and turtle spotting

Private journey

14 days from £3,039pp

Other articles you may like

Browse our inspiration area of the site. It's packed with insider travel tips, Top5s, competitions, events, recipes and holiday ideas for Central and South America sure to whet your travel appetite.

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our twice monthly newsletter and be the first to know about our latest news, offer and competitions.

Sign up with...

Your email

Or...

Using a social account is fast and means you don't need to remember a password.

We never share your data either - see our terms & conditions

Facebook Connect

Remember, you can unsubscribe at any time.

To see how we take care of your data please review our Privacy Policy

Thanks for subscribing – we’ll be in touch!

You are not subscribed. Some error happened.

Share this Page

Social share page will open in new window

Send a friend

reCaptcha_try_again

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/travel-inspiration/travel/a-man-a-plan-a-canal-panama

Page ID: {53AD054E-0F9B-409B-8724-5E8E44C0DCA2}

Page Name: a-man-a-plan-a-canal-panama

Page Display Name: A man a plan a canal: Panama - a palindrome

Page Template Name: T031-PapagaioBlogPost

Page Template ID: {ECC6A232-9784-4CC7-BA26-18421546B8F5}

Parent ID: {DC65CFB2-D81C-4A04-A7F8-0A1B3D88E7EB}

Parent Name: travel

Parent Display Name: Travel

Parent Template Name: T029-PapagaioCategoryListing

Parent Template ID: {4D163066-ED7E-48E6-AF31-34B6C47536CD}