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North America


A map of PanamaA map of Panama Panama occupies an S-shaped neck of land, called an isthmus, that links North America to South America. At its narrowest point, about 60 kilometres (37 miles) wide, the Panama Canal cuts through, linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A spine of rugged mountains runs down the middle of Panama; on either side the land flattens out to rolling hills and grassy plains. Mangrove swamps are found along both coasts. Panama has a tropical climate. with hot, humid weather all year round and a very wet season lasting between May and November. 

A map of PanamaA map of Panama

Panamanians at the Pollera FestivalPanamanians at the Pollera Festival


As in most Central American countries, Panama’s population is largely mestizo—people whose ancestors were a mixture of native American and white European. Others are the descendants of Chinese, West Indian or African workers who arrived in the 19th and early 20th centuries to build railways and work on the Panama Canal. Some Native Americans still live in Panama, including around 250,000 Ngäbe people in the west of the country. They mainly work as subsistence farmers and on banana and coffee plantations. Most Panamanians live in towns and cities; the urban sprawl that envelopes both the capital, Panama City and Colón, the second largest city, is home to more than half of the population.

In Central Panama the sun rises over the Pacific Ocean and sets over the Atlantic.

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