Population: 3.5 million (growth rate 1.3%)
Size of country: 78,000 sq km (30,420 sq mi)--slightly smaller than South Carolina.
Capital city: Panama City (population 900,000)
Location: Panama is bordered by: the Caribbean Sea to the north; the North Pacific Ocean to the south; Columbia to the east; and Costa Rica to the west. <Maps of Panama>
International airport: Tocumen, Panama City (PTY)
Climate: Tropical; the Rainy Season is from May to December and the Dry Season is from mid December to May. To see what the weather is like right now in Panama City. <Current Weather in Panama>
Currency: The U.S. dollar, also referred to as balboas in Panama. The native currency (the balboa) is no longer in circulation, although the country does mint its own coins, which can be used interchangeably with U.S. coins.
Language: Spanish; English is a strong second language.
System of government: Democracy, led by President Varela.
Telephone country code: 507
Time zone: Eastern Standard Time. <Current Time in Panama City>
Electricity: Same as the United States, 110V.
National holidays: New Year's Day (January 1), Martyrs' Day (January 9), Carnival (40 days before Good Friday), Good Friday (variable), Labor Day (May 1), Anniversary of the Foundation of Panama City (August 15), Columbus Day (October 12), Anniversary of Independence from Spain (November 2), Independence Day (November 3), Flag Day (November 4), Colon Day (province of Colon only--November 5), Anniversary of First Call for Independence in Los Santos (November 10), Mother's Day (December 8), Christmas Day (December 25)
Government: Democratic constitutional republic
Religion: Roman Catholic (85%), 10% Protestant, 5% other
Life expectancy at birth: 75.89 years (in the U.S., it's 77.4 years)
Business hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Media: Eight daily newspapers (six in Spanish, two in Chinese) and about 20 weekly and monthly periodicals. Six television stations, of which three are non-commercial. 80 commercially-run radio stations.
Education: Provided by both state and private sector; 90% literacy.
Economy: Based mainly on a well-developed services sector that accounts for 75% of GDP: the Panama Canal; banking; the Colon Free Trade Zone; insurance; container ports; flagship registry; and tourism.
Exports: $6.9 billion
Primary trade partners: USA, EU, Central America & Caribbean, Japan
Imports: $7.7 billion
GDP: US$9.8 billion
GDP per head: US$3200
Annual growth: 4.1%
Inflation rate: 1.1%
Major industries: Banking, construction, petroleum refining, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling, shipping and agriculture.
Military: The military in Panama is prohibited by the constitution, same as in Costa Rica.
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