Panama’s capital city is Panama City, and it’s hot and humid here most of the year. After seceding from its neighboring country Colombia, Panama was established in 1903. The official language is Spanish, but many Panamanians are bilingual speaking a variety of indigenous languages, including Panamanian English, Creole and English.
With both the Caribbean Sea and North Pacific Ocean on either side, divers, rafters, and surfers alike are sure to enjoy Panama. When visiting Panama, one should definitely visit the capital, Panama City which is a center of arts, food, and fashion. Another great place to visit is the Coiba National Marine Park, which has some of the rarest species on land and in water.
Panama city is reminiscent of an improved blend between Rio and Miami. I use this term because that’s what Panama City continues to do: improve. Sophisticated high rises have been built on the old landfill and have replaced the drab buildings that used to line the coastal streets. The roads are wide and keeping the traffic moving. The old city is being rebuilt and the water treatment plant is treating the once foul stench that overcame the city at high tide. Panama City is a highly visitable city for 2-3 days or more. It’s safe compared to other Latin American capitals and it’s bustling with activity.
No visit to Panama City would be complete without a visit to the Canal. Many Vessels travel through the locks in the morning and late afternoon– it’s best to call ahead to make sure ships will be there when you visit. A tour not to be missed is to the Embarra Village where you will meet members of the Embera tribe. You’ll drive 1 hour beside the canal, then through the dense jungle where you’ll board a boat for a 30 min ride up the river to the village. The tribe’s medicine men will show you how they treat high blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, and other infirmities. You’ll learn how they live simply without electricity and the comforts of technology. The highlights of the town was the frank discussion I had with the chief about the challenges of technology closing in on them.