"A Mix of Cultures and History" Top 5 Page for this destination Panama by BruceDunning

Panama Travel Guide: 1,711 reviews and 4,267 photos

A River Runs Through It-Canal

Panama has had its share of other cultures coming to "help" The canal was surely one of the biggest feats to accomplish and complete. It took over since 1882 to complete and turn over to the locals in 1977. The gig is the Chinese now operate this canal. WOW. Another chance for US to take a dive when we gave it back in 1999 based on 1977 agreement.
Charles I of Spain had a concept for a canal back in 1534, but it took some years; like until 1913 to finish. A rail line was completed in 1850 by the US that helped in transport. The rail still goes that route today. There were 20,000 french that died trying to build the canal, most all from malaria. So the US decided to cure that disease before starting the work.

The Stars and Squares

The country has 3.1 million people, and 70% live in Panama City, which is near the pacific coast side. Total of 50 miles across the isthmus country is the reason to develop the waterway, and the internal systems for agriculture. It first had a railroad built in 1850 by Americans. They have 100,000 US expats living here, and Latin immigrants for some labor jobs. No army, and police are scarce, but states crime is only 1%-of what?
Discovered in 1513 by Pascal de Vagas, the connection to the Pacific connection was kept a secret for 157 years, even with Panama City being built in 1519. Columbus found the land in 1502, and they established Portobello town/fort, just north of Colon in 1597. It means pretty port.

Temporarily Under Work-REconstruction of country

This is a sign falling down. It hopefully is not a note of other thing to come for the country. They have poverty and lower end economy that inhibits the growth of the country in rural areas. Panama is somewhat of a socialize state, so it helps its people, but the infrastructure suffers. Health care is universal, and a clinic cost is $5, but hospitals charges are out of site unless on welfare. That only takes 30 days, if unemployed and below poverty level of around $15,000. The Government gets 18% deduction for health care plus employer and worker pay 23% total for pension/welfare. University costs locals $30 a semester to attend. Minimum wage is $325 a month. An average house costs is $27,000.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lovely vegetation in the country
  • Cons:It is a poverty country, especialy in rural-traffic is bad
  • In a nutshell:It is not place I would like to see twice-canal is okay
  • Last visit to Panama: Feb 2009
  • Intro Updated Aug 4, 2009
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Reviews (37)

Comments (12)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Aug 2, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    Great tips Bruce and all very helpful and honest! Excellent page!

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Jul 11, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Good intro to Panama. I've always wanted to spend about a month and drive from the US to Panama. Not sure how safe it might be, though.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    Hi, Bruce! Thanks for your very detailed story and nice pictures.....Take care!...

  • bijo69's Profile Photo
    Sep 13, 2009 at 2:47 PM

    Interesting page! Would love to see the canal!

  • omidamini's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2009 at 11:13 PM

    Thanks for very good Panama Page, I hope see you here.

  • xaver's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    panama is one of thouse places that always attracted me but I am still waiting to visit.Nice description.

  • junecorlett's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    Great tips here, I am sure the cruise ships own all the shops nearby.

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    What an interesting page. Thanks for all the interesting info that you put here ;-)

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2009 at 7:02 PM

    Hi Bruce Nice pages . We had fun in Panama a few years ago . We almost killed ourselves at a Brazillian Barbecue...it was a eat ( beef) until you drop place!!

  • Cristian_Uluru's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2009 at 3:15 PM

    Very intersting page!!! It is impressive to see how many ships use it every years!!! Very good work!


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