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Regional Information

Temptress Cruise

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Return to Central America



 Revised: 31 Jan 2005

 

  Information
Located in the middle of the American continent, on the narrow isthmus that links the Americas, Panama is endowed with a rich biological diversity. With an area of 78,200 sq. km [roughly equivalent to South Carolina], with more than a 1,000 miles of coasts and 1,000 islands on the Pacific side and 800 miles of coasts and 600 islands on the Caribbean side, Panama boasts more plant species than all of the U.S. and Canada combined. Almost a thousand different species of Panamanian birds have been reported. Naturalists have been attracted to Panama because of the combination of natural splendor and relative ease of access.

The isthmus of Panama is the umbilical cord joining South and Central America. At its narrowest point, it is only 50 km wide, the famous canal is 80 km long and effectively divides the country into eastern and western regions. Tropical rainforests dominate the canal zone, the eastern half of the country and the Darien Gap. The highlands have alpine vegetation and mountain forests; the west coast is predominantly grassland. There are 1600 islands near the Panamanian coast. The two major archipelagos are the San Blas and Bocas del Toro chains on the Caribbean coast, but most of the islands are in the Pacific.

It is a 100% tropical with temperatures around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit (about 25 - 30 degrees Celsius). There are two seasons: the dry season with a bright sun from December to April and the rainy season from May to November. You can also enjoy temperatures of 12 to 15 degrees Celsius in the highlands of the Province of Chiriqui close to the border with Costa Rica as well as in the Valley of Anton and Cerro Azul at one hour and a half and 40 minutes from downtown Panama City respectively. Panama is situated south of the hurricane track and generally not affected by these tropical storms.

Bring light clothes. Panamanians are very casual most of the time but a light suit is worn for business and for visit to government authorities. Never forget to include a bathing suit when packing your suitcase. Sun glasses are recommended as well as sunscreen lotion for protection against sunburn. If you visit the highlands of Chiriqui Province, bring a light sweater or jacket since it can be a little chilly in the evening and early morning. Good walking shoes are necessary for your excursions.

 

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