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Facts for Travelers in Panama
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Just a few years ago, villa, penthouse, apartment or condominiums in Panama have cost a lot of money. Today, however, the real estate in Panama dropped in price and local realtors have much more affordable deals. For the price of $100,000 today you can buy real estate in Panama of 80 square meters. Cost of penthouses and villas in Panama were also dropped, so today everyone has the opportunity to take advantage of enticing offers and buy property in the country that represents a pure democracy.

Business Panama
Regions of Panama: Facts for the Travelers


Best Time to Travel to Panama
Panama's tourist season is during the dry summer season from around mid-December to mid-April.
The weather can be hot and steamy in the lowlands during the rainy season, when the humidity makes the heat more oppressive than otherwise. Rain in Panama tends to come in sudden short downpours that freshens the air and are followed by sunshine. If you'll be doing any long, strenuous hiking, the dry season is the most comfortable time to do it; the Darién Gap can be crossed only at this time.

If you like to party, try to be in Panama City or on the Península de Azuero for Carnaval, held each year on the weekend before Ash Wednesday. Panama City's Carnaval celebration is one of the world's largest.

Main Events
Carnaval is celebrated over the four days preceding Ash Wednesday and involves music, dancing and a big parade on Fat Tuesday.
The celebrations in Panama City, Las Tablas and Penonome are the most festive. The Semana Santa (Easter Week) celebrations at the Villa de Los Santos, on the Península de Azuero, are equally renowned. The Festival of the Black Christ at Portobelo on October 21 includes a parade of the famous life-size statue of the Black Christ, and attracts pilgrims from all over the country.

Other interesting events are:
- Trade & Agricultural Fair of David
- Flower Fair in Boquete
- Fair of Azuero
- Festival of the Sea in Bocas del Toro

Currency
US dollar (known as 'Balboa')
Getting In & Out of Panama

There are direct flights from Panama to most capitals in North, Central and South America. In the US, Miami and Houston are the principal connections for flights to Panama. Continental, American and Delta airlines flight directly to Panama from different US cities. Copa is the national airline. There's a US$20 departure tax on international flights, payable only in cash.

There are three land border crossings between Panama and Costa Rica; Paso Canoas, on the Inter American Highway, is the most popular, followed by Guabito-Sixaola near the Caribbean coast. There are buses to the border that connect with local services on the Costa Rican side.

Getting Around

Panama has a number of domestic airlines and a good domestic flight network. There's an inexpensive bus system servicing all accessible parts of the country.

Between islands, boats are the principal mode of transportation, particularly between the San Blas and Bocas del Toro archipelagos. Kuna Indian merchant vessels carry cargo and passengers along the San Blas coast, between Colón and Puerto Obaldía. Cars can be rented in Panama City and David.
Environment
The Isthmus of Panama is the umbilical cord joining South and Central America. It borders Costa Rica to the west and Colombia to the east.

Panama's arched shape reflects both its role as a bridge between continents and as a passageway between oceans. At its narrowest point, it is only 50km (30mi) wide, but it has a 1160km (720mi) Caribbean coastline on its northern shore and a 1690km (1048mi) Pacific coast to the south. The famous canal is 80km (50mi) long and effectively divides the country into eastern and western regions.

There are hundreds of islands near the Panamanian coasts. The two major archipelagos are the San Blas and Bocas del Toro chains in the Caribbean Sea, though the best snorkeling, diving and deep-sea fishing are to be found in the Pacific near Coiba Island and the Pearl Islands. Panama has flat coastal lowlands and two mountain chains running along its spine. The highest peak is Volcán Barú at 3475m (11,400ft).

Rainforests dominate the canal zone, the northwestern portion of the country and much of the eastern half. Although, Costa Rica is widely known for its fantastic wildlife, Panama has, in fact, a greater number of flora and fauna species, more land set aside for preservation and far fewer people wandering through the jungle looking for wildlife and inadvertently scaring it away. There's much truth in the Panamanian saying that in Costa Rica 20 tourists try to see one resplendent quetzal, but in Panama one person tries to see 20 of these exquisite birds.

Panama has two seasons. The dry season lasts from January to mid-April and the rainy season from mid-April to December. Rainfall is heavier on the Caribbean side of the highlands, though most people live on or near the Pacific coast. Temperatures are typically hot in the lowlands (between 21°C and 32°C/70°F and 90°F) and cool in the mountains (between 10-18°C/50-64°F). These vary little throughout the year.
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