Monday, January 17, 2022
Chad Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Panama City

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Panama City is the Republic of Panama’s capital and biggest city.

It has a population of 880,691 and a metro population of 1,440,381, and is situated in the province of Panama near the Pacific entry to the Panama Canal. The city serves as the country’s political and administrative capital, as well as a financial and commercial centre on an international scale. It is classified as a “beta-” global city, one of three in Central America.

Tocumen Worldwide Airport in Panama, Central America’s biggest and busiest airport, provides daily flights to key international destinations. Panama was selected, along with Curitiba, Brazil, as the 2003 American Capital of Culture. According to International Living magazine, it is one of the top five retirement destinations in the world.

On August 15, 1519, Spanish conqueror Pedro Arias Dávila built the city of Panama. The city served as a base for expeditions that invaded Peru’s Inca Empire. It served as a stopover on one of the most significant trade routes in the history of the American continent, leading to the Nombre de Dios and Portobelo fairs, which saw the passage of the majority of Spain’s gold and silver from the Americas.

On January 28, 1671, privateer Henry Morgan sacked and set fire to the city. On January 21, 1673, the city was officially recreated two years later on a peninsula approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the previous colony. The formerly ruined city’s location is still in ruins and has been transformed into a major tourist attraction known as Panama Viejo.

Panama City – Info Card

POPULATION : City: 880,691
Metro: 1,501,381
FOUNDED :  August 15, 1519
TIME ZONE : ETZ (UTC-5)
LANGUAGE : Spanish (official), English
RELIGION : Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%
AREA : City: 275 km2 (106 sq mi)
Metro: 2,560.8 km2 (988.7 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 2 m (7 ft)
COORDINATES : 8°59′N 79°31′W
SEX RATIO : Male: 48%
 Female: 52%
ETHNIC : mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindian 6%
AREA CODE : 2
POSTAL CODE : 
DIALING CODE : (+507) 2
WEBSITE : www.visitpanama.com

Tourism in Panama City

Panama City is a very multicultural city, having considerable populations from a variety of different countries. The majority speak Spanish, and many also speak some sort of English. Customer service is gradually improving, but remains shockingly poor at hotels. However, in the streets, Panamanians are often quite pleasant and helpful and would welcome the opportunity to offer you some advise.

There is excellent shopping, ranging from high-end boutiques in the malls surrounding Paitilla and the banking sector around Via Espana to genuine bargains near La Central (Central Avenue, which has been converted into a pedestrian walkway) and the outdoor mall Los Pueblos. Additionally, many areas of the City have a plethora of ethnic shops (mainly Chinese and Indian).

The Amador Causeway, the region directly east of the canal’s Pacific entrance, is being developed as a tourist attraction and nightlife hotspot. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute maintains a station and a small museum on the island of Naos. On the causeway, a new museum, the Biomuseo, was just constructed in 2014. It was created by American architect Frank Gehry, who is best known for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Los Angeles Disney Concert Hall. The Parque Municipal Summit is located just outside the municipal boundaries.

WORLD HERITAGE SITES

Panamá Viejo

Panamá Viejo (“Old Panama”) is the name given to the architectural remnants of the Monumental Historic Complex of the first Spanish settlement on the Americas’ Pacific coast, built on August 15, 1519 by Pedro Arias de Avila. This city served as the headquarters for the expeditions that ultimately defeated the Inca Empire in Peru in 1532. It served as a stopover on one of the most significant trade routes in the history of the American continent, leading to the great fairs of Nombre de Dios and Portobelo, through which the majority of Spain’s gold and silver was taken from the Americas.

The UNESCO committee decided to inscribe this property as a world heritage site based on cultural criteria (ii), (iv), and (vi), taking into account that Panama was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas, in 1519, and that the Historic District preserves an intact street pattern and a significant number of early domestic structures that bear witness to the nature of this early settlement.

Casco Viejo or Casco Antiguo

Built and occupied in 1671 in the aftermath of the privateer Henry Morgan’s destruction of Panama Viejo, Panama City’s historic area (also known as Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo, or San Felipe) was designed as a walled city to safeguard its people from future pirate raids. UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site in 2003.

Casco Antiguo has a variety of architectural styles reflective of the country’s cultural diversity: Caribbean, Republican, art deco, French, and colonial architecture coexist in an area comprised of over 800 structures. Casco Antiguo is home to the majority of Panama City’s major landmarks, including the Salón Bolivar, the National Theater (established in 1908), Las Bóvedas, and Plaza de Francia. Additionally, there are several Catholic structures, including the Metropolitan Cathedral, La Merced Church, and St. Philip Neri Church. St. Joseph Church’s remarkable golden altar was one of the few things rescued from Panama Viejo during the 1671 pirate siege. During the siege, it was covered in mud and then discreetly relocated to its current site.

The Cinta Costera 3 in Casco Viejo

The historic sector, which is undergoing renovation, has developed into one of the city’s primary tourist attractions, second only to the Panama Canal. Both the public and commercial sectors are attempting to restore it. President Ricardo Martinelli completed the “Cinta Costera 3” addition to the Cinta Costera marine highway viaduct in 2014, encircling the Casco Antiguo.

There were demonstrations prior to the construction of the Cinta Costera 3 project. Much of the opposition surrounding the proposal centered on the prospect of Casco Viejo losing its UNESCO World Heritage designation. Casco Viejo was not included to the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger by UNESCO on June 28, 2012.

Geography of Panama City

Panama is situated in the northern region of the country, between the Pacific Ocean and tropical rain forest. The Parque Natural Metropolitano (Metropolitan Nature Park), which stretches from Panama City to the Panama Canal, is home to a variety of unusual bird and animal species, including tapir, puma, and caiman. At the canal’s Pacific entrance lies the Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas (Marine Exhibitions Site), a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute-managed research center for persons interested in tropical marine life and ecology.

Tropical woods encircling Panama are critical to the Panama Canal’s operation, since they provide the canal with the water it requires. Due to the canal’s economic significance to Panama, the tropical woods around it have been preserved in near-pristine condition; the canal is therefore a unique example of a massive engineering undertaking in the midst of a forest that aided in its preservation. Along the canal’s western bank lies the Parque Nacional Soberana (National Park of Sovereignty), which contains the Summit botanical gardens and a zoo. Pipeline Road is the most well-known path in this national park, which is popular among birdwatchers.

Panama’s rough topography is crisscrossed by around 500 rivers. The majority are impassable; many begin as rapid highland streams, meander down valleys, and eventually become coastal deltas. However, the Ro Chepo and the Ro Chagres, both of which are located inside the city limits, serve as hydroelectric power sources.

The Ro Chagres is one of the longest and most essential rivers that pour into the Caribbean, one of around 150. A portion of this river was dammed to create Gatun Lake, which serves as a significant transit route between the canal’s locks on either end. Both Gatun Lake and Madden Lake (which is also fed by the Rio Chagres) provide hydroelectricity to the old Canal Zone region. The Ro Chepo, another significant source of hydroelectricity, is one of over 300 rivers that discharge into the Pacific.

Economy of Panama City

Panama City’s economy is service-based, with a heavy emphasis on banking, business, and tourism as the country’s economic and financial hub. The economy is heavily reliant on commerce and shipping operations related with the Panama Canal and Balboa’s port facilities. The city has seen rapid economic development in recent years, owing mostly to the continuous construction of the Panama Canal, increased real estate investment, and a reasonably stable banking sector. The city has over eighty banks, at least fifteen of which are national.

Panama City generates around 55% of the country’s GDP. This is because the majority of Panamanian companies and residences are concentrated in the city and its surrounding metropolitan region. It serves as a gateway to other parts of the country as well as a transit hub and tourist attraction in and of itself.

Tourism is one of the biggest revenue-generating economic activity. The city’s hotel occupancy rate has traditionally been quite high, ranking second only to Perth, Australia, and followed by Dubai in 2008. However, hotel occupancy rates have decreased significantly since 2009, most likely as a result of the development of several new luxury hotels. Numerous major hotel chains, including Le Méridien, Radisson, and RIU, have established or intend to build new properties in the city, joining those formerly operated by Marriott, Sheraton, InterContinental, and other foreign and domestic brands. Additionally, the Trump Organization is developing the Trump Ocean Club in Latin America, while Hilton Worldwide just constructed its first Garden Inn Panama at Eusebio A. Morales Avenue and 49A Street West, as well as The Panamera, Latin America’s second Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

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