the HIDDEN GEM
The Republic of Panama spanning a vast area of approximately 29, 157 square miles (75,517 square-kilometers.), is located in between Costa Rica and Colombia, forming the narrowest and lowest portion of the Isthmus that links North and South America.
It is shaped like an elongated letter “S”, which extends west to east some 420 miles (676 kilometers.), the country has a width that varies between 31 and 115 miles (50 and 185 kilometers,) and has a coastline of 490 miles (788 kilometers.) on the Atlantic Ocean and 870 miles (1,400 kilometers.) on the Pacific Ocean.
The Canal, which joins the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, is about 50 miles (80 kilometers.) long. Because of the lateral nature of its extension and its curved contour, directions are often surprising. A transit of the Canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic involves traveling not to the East but to the North-West; in Panama City the sun is seen to rise from the Pacific.
The most cosmopolitan capital in Central America, Panama City is both a vibrant metropolis and a gateway to tropical escapes. Many worlds coexist here. Welcoming both east and west, Panama is a regional hub of trade commerce and immigration.
The resulting cultural cocktail forges a refreshing ‘anything goes’ attitude, more dynamic and fluid than its neighbors.
La Joya de Panama – Torio, Panama
History and Government
Several stories are heard about the name of the country. Many believe that the name “Panama” came from a commonly found species of trees, from the abundance of butterflies (in an indigenous language). However, the most believed explanation is that the name “Panama” means abundance of fishes.
The Isthmus of Panama was discovered in 1501 by Rodrigo de Bastidas. Vasco Nunez de Balboa also had a leading part in Panama’s history, as he established Santa María La Antigua del Darién in 1510, the first permanent settlement on the mainland of the Americas. In 1513, Balboa led an expedition, in Panama, that discovered the Pacific Ocean.
Panama City was founded by Pedro Arias Davila on the 15th day of August in 1519, almost a hundred years before Jamestown; the first permanent English settlement in North America was founded. Panama was a Spanish colony until 1821 when it became part of the Gran Grananda, later liberated by of Simón Bolivar. In 1903, Panama broke its alliance with Colombia and became an independent republic.
The Azuero Peninsula is referred to as the “heartland” of Panama. Its cities and towns uphold the rich culture and the traditions of the republic. The Azuero Peninsula has a rich history that dates back to pre-Columbian indigenous groups, as well as a remarkably well-intact Spanish culture, which is best observed in the festivals and architecture that dominate the region. The area offers unique attractions and destinations for a day trip or weekend excursion.