Geography of Panama

General information about Panama

The official name is the Republic of Panama (Republica de Panama), a state in Central America.

It is located on the Isthmus of Panama, which links South and North America. The area is 75,517 km2, the population is 3 million people. (2001). The official language is Spanish. The capital is the city of Panama (708.4 thousand people, 2000 census). Public holiday – Independence Day November 3 (1903). The monetary unit is the balboa (equal to 100 centesimos).

Member of the UN (since 1945), OAS (since 1948), Leningrad NPP (since 1975), Association of Caribbean States (since 1995), WTO (since 1997), etc.

Geography of Panama

According to, Panama is located between 7°12’07” and 9°38’46” North latitude and 77°09’24” and 83°03’07” West longitude. In the north it is washed by the Caribbean Sea, in the south – by the Pacific Ocean, in the east it borders on the Republic of Colombia, in the west – on the Republic of Costa Rica. The length of the coastline is 2988.3 km (of which 1700.6 km are on the Pacific coast). Panama belongs to St. 1600 islands, mostly coral. Coiba Island (area 493 km2) is the largest Panamanian island in the Pacific Ocean. A special ethno-cultural and natural flavor is characteristic of the San Blas archipelago (368 islands are located along the Atlantic coast of the republic in a chain of 500 km).

1/2 of the country’s area is occupied by mountains and hills. Mountain ranges pass through the entire territory of Panama – Cordillera Veragua (active volcano Baru, 3475 m, the highest point of the country) and Cordillera de San Blas (up to 920 m). At the junction of these two ridges in the lowest part of Panama, the Panama Canal was laid (length 81.6 km). During the construction of the canal, the waters of the Chagres River were used to construct one of the largest artificial lakes on the planet, Lake Gatun (area 425 km2), through which part of the route of the interoceanic canal passes. The lowlands are occupied by intermontane depressions and the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Frequent earthquakes. Panama flows approx. 500 rivers, full-flowing, but not long and unsuitable for navigation (the Chuku-Nake River – 231 km – is the largest).

The soils of Panama are predominantly red-yellow, ferralitic, in the southwest – red and brown-red. The Caribbean slopes of the mountains are almost entirely covered with dense, moist evergreen forests, the Pacific slopes are covered with more sparse deciduous evergreen forests, and in some places there are shrub savannahs in the southwest. The Darien selva, located in the east of the country, is difficult to access due to numerous swamps, which made it difficult to build the Pan American Highway on this section. The forest wealth of Panama is significant, there are many valuable species of trees (mahogany, logwood, buckout, etc.), various types of palm trees, rubber trees, evergreen oaks, and cedar. Jaguars, ocelots, and cougars have survived in hard-to-reach areas. There are armadillos, tapirs, monkeys, sloths, tree porcupines. In Panama, approx. 900 species of birds. In the selva of Darien, a harpy eagle has been preserved, which has become a national symbol, embellishing the coat of arms of the country. Another symbol of Panama is the orchid, the number of its species in the country reaches 1300.

The main natural wealth of Panama is its exceptionally favorable geographical position at the intersection of sea, air and land routes, in the center of the Western Hemisphere. Ores of copper, molybdenum, iron, manganese, gold, silver, etc. are found in the bowels of Panama. In particular, reliable copper reserves amount to 6 billion tons of ore. The need for initial large capital investments and the instability of the world market for raw materials made it difficult to implement the grandiose projects of the 1970s and 1980s. Therefore, the share of the mining industry in GDP does not exceed 0.3%.

The geographical location of Panama in low intertropical latitudes and the powerful influence of two oceans determine its typically tropical maritime climate, which is characterized by moderately high constant temperatures (+ 25-28 ° C), abundant rainfall and relatively high humidity, two distinct seasons: dry ( mid-December – April) and rainy (May – December).

Geography of Panama