20 Things Panama Is Known And Famous For

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Panama is known for the Panama Canal, its indigenous groups and traditions, as well as the vibrant Panamanian music and art scene.

Panama is located in Central America and shares a border with Costa Rica and the Caribbean sea to the north and Colombia and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Panama is known for bridging North and South America and being an international trade and commerce hub.

Here is some interesting information on Panama that gives you an insight into the country.

What Is Panama Known For?

Panama is known for many things, but perhaps the most famous is the Panama Canal. The country boasts a rich biodiversity and stunning natural landscapes, including tropical rainforests, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters.

Panama is famous for its vibrant culture, reflected in Panamanian music, art, and food, with influences from indigenous groups, enslaved Africans, and Spanish colonizers. Sitting at the crossroads of continents, Panama is known for being home to several indigenous communities that have managed to preserve their traditional way of life.

While not typically known as a popular travel destination, this is a unique and fascinating destination that has much to offer to anyone who spends time discovering it.

History, Culture, And Traditions Panama Is Famous For

Panama’s Independence

Panama gained independence from Spain in 1821, along with several other Central and South American countries. However, Panama remained a part of the newly formed Gran Colombia until 1903, when it declared independence from Colombia with the support of the United States.

It was a controversial move, with Colombia and other Latin American countries condemning the United States for intervening in Panamanian affairs.

Nonetheless, Panama gained independence and has become a sovereign nation with a unique history and culture. The struggle was represented in their flag and has also shaped their culture.

The Panamanian flag features red, white, and blue, with two blue stripes representing the ocean that borders the country and a red stripe symbolizing the bloodshed during Panama’s struggle for independence.

You can learn more about this memorial event in their libraries, museums, galleries, and even from an aged citizen who witnessed the conflict.  

Invasion of Panama

This invasion is one of those things Panama is known for internationally. It caused controversy among the domestic and international communities, with the United States facing criticism for violating Panama’s sovereignty and causing civilian casualties during the operation.

This event was a quick call by the United States to rescue the Panamanians from the leadership of General Manuel Noriega.

After Panama’s independence, some military coups birth the reign of military leaders and dictators in the mid-20th century. It never changed until the invasion of the United States army led to the removal of Manuel Noriega as the head of state.

Carnival de Panamá

The Carnival de Panamá is the most well-known celebration in Panama, held annually in Panama City. It spans four days and includes lively parades, music, dancing, and lavish costumes. This celebration usually takes place in February or March.

If you visit Panama, attending the Carnival de Panamá is an experience not to be missed. The colorful and extravagant costumes the participants wear are a sight to behold.

The music and dancing are infectious and will have you tapping your feet and joining the fun. This festival’s energy and excitement will surely leave a lasting impression on anyone who attends. It is no wonder why this is one event that Panama is known for.


The pollera is a popular dress among Panamanian women during special occasions like weddings and folk festivals. It is a long skirt made of cotton or silk with beautiful embroidery and lace.

Women pair the pollera with an embroidered blouse, shawl, or headdress. The pollera represents Panama’s culture, and tradition passed down as a family heirloom.

Trying on the pollera is a must-do when you visit Panama as a female. Wearing the pollera is a great way to experience Panamanian culture, learn about its history, and have a memorable experience. For guys, you can buy it as a gift for someone you love.

Cities And Travel Destinations Panama Is Known For

Panama City

Panama City is the capital of Panama and is home to the most famous Panamanian. It is located on the Pacific coast and is a center for international trade and business.

The capital has an attractive modern skyline and is rich in culture. Several historical landmarks here, including the Panama Canal and the Casco Viejo, are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Your visit to Panama is only complete as a tourist visiting the country’s capital. The city is a bustling international trade and business center, offering an exciting atmosphere. You can enjoy various shopping, dining, and nightlife options. And plenty to see and do, as well as an international airport, this is the typical starting point for travelers to Panama.

Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is situated on the Caribbean coast. It’s one of the areas in Panama known for its many islands and mainland areas. You can enjoy the beaches, go surfing, explore the islands, or relax and soak up the sun.

Moreover, the area has a fascinating cultural heritage influenced by indigenous groups, Afro-Caribbeans, and Spanish colonizers. You can experience this unique mix of cultures through the local cuisine, music, and festivals. It’s an excellent place to unwind and immerse yourself in the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle


Boquete is a place in Panama with lovely views, cool temperatures, and excellent coffee. It’s a popular spot for people who love nature and outdoor activities like hiking, bird watching, and rafting. When you visit Boquete, you can explore the beauty of Panama’s lush nature and take part in exciting adventures.

One of the most remarkable things about Boquete is the quality of its coffee. Visit the coffee plantations here to learn about making coffee and taste some of the best beans. This experience will give you a deep insight into the world of coffee production, while also enjoying the rich flavors of Panamanian coffee.


Chiriqui, located in the west of Panama, is a beautiful province because of its diverse natural beauty. You can find cloud forests, volcanoes, and beaches here. This is another place to be if you’re looking for a natural adventure.

The capital city of David is a bustling commercial center that offers easy access to nearby attractions. For example, you can visit the highland town of Boquete or explore the Pacific coast.

Also, Chiriqui is home to several indigenous groups, such as the Ngobe-Bugle, who have preserved their traditional way of life and handicrafts. Offering a blend of nature and culture, you will not regret visiting this beautiful province in Panama.

Landmarks And Architecture Panama Is Famous For

Panama City’s Skyline

Recently, Panama City’s skyline has undergone a massive transformation, making it one of the most impressive in the world. With numerous skyscrapers, the view is breathtaking. Strolling along the Cinta Costera gives you a panoramic skyline view, including the iconic F&F Tower and the Trump Ocean Club.

If you enjoy impressive cityscapes, the Panama City skyline is a must-see. The number of tall buildings and the architectural beauty they display will astound you. A walk along the Cinta Costera provides a perfect vantage point to take in the view of this magnificent skyline.

Volcan Baru

Volcan Baru, in Panama’s Chiriqui Province, is an active volcano with the highest peak in the country.

The difficult hike to the summit takes 6-8 hours round trip and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Caribbean Sea to the north.

For a more amazing experience, you can time your ascent to coincide with a spectacular sunrise; although that means you will need to trek in the dark.

In addition to hiking, nearby national parks, hot springs, and zip-lining through the rainforest are all options. Volcan Baru is a unique and beautiful destination you should visit while in Panama. Volcan Baru is an awesome getaway particularly if you enjoy nature or adventure.

Coiba National Park

Coiba National Park is a protected area off the coast of Panama in the Pacific Ocean. The park comprises islands that are home to numerous plant and animal species.

If you’re a nature lover, Coiba National Park is worth visiting as it is kept rather raw and pristine. You can tour the abandoned prison and learn about the island’s past.

The national park is known for its crystal-clear waters, beautiful beaches, and excellent snorkeling and diving. There is a variety of marine life to see, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and sharks. During the migration season, you may even see humpback whales.

You will need a permit to access the Park or take part in water activities in the area. Tour operators can often help with that.

Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is one of the major Panama landmarks. It’s an engineering marvel that connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Undoubtedly, it’s a must-visit site for anyone interested in history, engineering, or maritime trade.

When you head to one of the vantage points, you can watch ships from all over the world navigate the locks and make their way through the canal. It’s a rather unique and impressive sight you won’t see anywhere else.

You can also visit the museum and see exhibits about the construction of the canal and the people who made it possible. It’s one of the iconic destinations for anyone traveling to Panama.

Food Panama Is Known For


Sancocho is a popular and delicious traditional dish in Panama. It is a hearty soup made with various meats, vegetables, and spices that are slowly cooked to create a flavorful and filling meal. If you love good food, you should definitely try Sancocho when visiting Panama.

It is a staple of Panamanian cuisine and is loved by both locals and visitors. The soup perfectly represents the country’s rich cultural heritage and is a great way to experience the unique flavors of Panama.

The dish is often served with rice and avocado, adding a refreshing and creamy element to the hearty soup. Take advantage of this delicious and authentic dish when visiting Panama.


Hojaldre is a traditional Panamanian pastry that is incredibly tasty. It’s a light, flaky pastry similar to puff pastry, and you can fill it with various sweet or savory ingredients. Some popular fillings include cheese, ham, chicken, and guava paste.

As you take a break from your explorations, try a Hojaldre for refreshment. It’s perfect for breakfast or as a snack, and a big part of the country’s cuisine. You can find it at many bakeries and street food vendors throughout the country.

Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz con pollo is a traditional dish from Panama that consists of rice and chicken cooked with various seasonings and vegetables. The name in Spanish literally translates to “Rice with Chicken.”

This is a hearty meal popular in many parts of Latin America. A savory and tasty arroz con pollo is always satisfying.

Not only is arroz con pollo a delicious dish, but it’s also a great way to experience the culture of Latin America. By trying the local cuisine, you can learn about the traditional foods and flavors of the region.


Ceviche is made with raw fish or shellfish marinated in citrus juices like lemon or lime and mixed with onions, cilantro, and chili peppers. The acid in the citrus juices “cooks” the seafood, giving it a firm texture and a tangy, fresh flavor.

It can be an adventurous eat for anyone not familiar with raw food. But if you’re a seafood lover, you should try ceviche.

It is a healthy and refreshing dish that is full of flavor. Combining citrus juices, fresh herbs, and spicy peppers creates a unique taste. Plus, it’s a great option for those looking for a light, low-calorie meal.

Famous People From Panama

Rubén Blades

Rubén Blades is a famous Panamanian artist known for his salsa music and acting abilities. He has won Grammy awards for his music and has appeared in several films, including “The Counselor” and “Predator 2.”

Blades’ music is characterized by his unique vocal style and his ability to blend different genres into his music. His acting abilities have garnered him critical acclaim, and he has been praised for his great skills and ability to bring depth to his roles.

Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera is a retired Panamanian-American professional baseball pitcher who plyed his trade with the New York Yankees for a whopping 19 seasons. He is often considered one of the all-time great relievers, having recorded more saves than any other pitcher.

Rivera is a 13-time All-Star, a five-time World Series champion, and was the first player to be unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is a known philanthropist and has deep Christian faith off the field.

Mireya Moscoso

Mireya Moscoso is a famous Panamanian politician who was the country’s first female president from 1999 to 2004. During her presidency, she implemented several reforms to improve the country’s economic stability and promote democracy.

Moscoso also oversaw the return of the Panama Canal to Panama and the transfer of the canal’s control to the Panamanian government. She is known for her commitment to women’s rights and efforts to promote gender equality in Panama.

Carlos Eleta Almarán

Carlos Eleta Almarán was a Panamanian composer and songwriter best known for writing the iconic bolero “Historia de Amor.” The song, which numerous artists have covered in various languages, has become a Latin American music canon classic.

Eleta Almarán’s other notable works include “Si Me Comprendieras,” “Perdóname Mi Vida,” and “Verdad Amarga.” His contributions to Latin American music have earned him a place in the pantheon of great songwriters, and his music continues to be celebrated and performed by artists worldwide.

Discovering More Things Panama Is Known For

Panama is a country rich in history with a hospitable and accommodating culture. Beyond the beauties of this great country, there are many fun facts about Panama that make it an interesting destination.

Apart from sightseeing, museum and gallery visit, there are other varieties of things that you can do. From modern engineering to ancient heritage, experience it all when you check out this underrated country at the crossroads of Central and South America.

Regardless of the reason you’ve decided to visit, be it sightseeing, beach, road trip, or business trip. It’s a great place to get quite a few things done at a time.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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