Panama in Central America is located on the Isthmus of Panama, which is the landbridge between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Surfers come here for its beach, reef and point breaks. Nature lovers come for the abundance of wildlife and rainforests. Of course, the country is most famous for its canal, one of the 20th-century’s greatest engineering achievements. With so much to discover about this beautiful country, here are some of the most interesting facts about Panama.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About Panama
1. Panama is on two continents
Panama is in Central America, however, the Panama Canal cuts the country into a western part and eastern part. The western part is in North America and the eastern part is in South America. Two countries share borders with Panama, Costa Rica on the North American continent and Colombia on the South American continent. Therefore, Panama the southernmost country of the North American continent.
2. Panama is home to the world’s longest concrete cable-stayed structure
Three bridges span the Panama Canal linking North and South America. One of those bridges is The Atlantic Bridge in the city of Colón. It spans the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal and is the longest concrete, cable-stayed structure in the world.
3. The world’s shortest trans-continental passenger train route is in Panama
The Panama Canal Railway runs parallel to the Panama Canal. It links the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. It claims to be the oldest operating railway in the world and is also the world’s shortest trans-continental passenger train. The scenic train ride travels 76.6km (47.6 miles) from Colón on the Atlantic side to Balboa on the Pacific side.
4. In Panama you can see the sunrise over the Pacific and set over the Atlantic
Hike to the top of Volcán Barú, the highest peak in Panama. From here, you’ll be able to see the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. If you make it here before dawn, you’ll see the sun rising over the Pacific. If you hang around, you’ll see the sunset over the Caribbean. It is the only place in the world where you can see the Pacific sunrise and Atlantic sunset from the same spot. Although, technically it is the Caribean, not the Atlantic.
5. Panama is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World
The Panama Canal is an artificial waterway approximately 80km (50 miles) long. It connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is one of the American Society of Civil Engineers “Seven Wonders of the Modern World”. The Canal generates almost one-third of Panama’s revenue. All vessels using the Panama Canal must pay a toll. In 2018, the Norwegian Bliss cruise liner paid $891,600 between the toll and other maritime services.
6. Panama celebrates two independence days
On 3rd November, Panama celebrates its separation from Gran Colombia. Gran Colombia was a republic that comprised Panama, modern-day Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and parts of northern Peru and northwestern Brazil. Panama was part of Gran Colombia from 1821 until 1903. Then, on 28th November, Panama celebrates its independence from Spain. Panama was part of the Spanish Empire from 1513 to 1821. Panama declared itself a sovereign entity on 28th November 1821 and it then became part of Gran Colombia.
7. Panama City is the only capital city with a rainforest
The nation’s capital, and largest city, is Panama City. It is the only capital city in the world that has a rainforest within its city limits. Gamboa Rainforest is just 25km from the city centre. It is located in the Soberania National Park where the Chagres River and the Panama Canal meet. An aerial tram takes you high above the trees where you’ll enjoy terrific views. In the rainforest, you’ll be able to spot a wide variety of wildlife, for instance, sloths and exotic birds.