Panama Geography

By | November 24, 2021

As a country located in Central America according to, the Republic of Panama receives its name from the City of Panama, where the town hall was held and the Act of Separation of Panama from Colombia was signed, and in the same way for the Isthmus of Panama, which encompasses said territory.

The word Panama is of indigenous origin, probably from the cave. There are several meanings and references assigned to the name Panama, however the meaning abundance of fish and butterflies is commonly accepted.

Some historians attribute the name to the majestic tree called locally Panama (Sterculia apetala), with lush shade and very common in the area, under which aboriginal families gathered.

With regard to Panama City, near the site of the founding of the city by Pedrarias, there were small settlements of fishermen called Panama, as indicated in a letter, which for some authors could be the reason for baptizing the city with said name.


The Republic of Panama is an isthmic strip with a total area of ​​75,517 km², surface of territorial waters: 2,210 km². Total: 78,200 km² The highest heights are the Barú Volcano with 3,475 m, the Fabrega hill with 3,375 m, the Itamut with 3,280 m and the Echandi with 3,163 m. Its main islands are Coiba with 493 km², Del Rey with 234 km² and Cebaco with 80 km². The largest lakes are Gatún with 423.15 km², Bayano with 185.43 km², and Alajuela with 57 km². Its most important rivers are the Chucunaque with 231 km, Tuira with 230 km, Bayano with 206 km, Santa María with 173 km and its most important river due to its impact on the economy is the Chagres of 125 km, vital for the operation of the canal. from Panama.

In the country the Panama Canal is operated, a work that facilitates communication between the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and that significantly influenced world trade. It has the Colon Free Zone, the largest free zone on the continent and the second in the world.


In general, it has a tropical climate, very hot throughout the year on the coasts and lowlands, changing inland as altitude is gained, with temperatures pleasantly cool around 1000 meters above sea level and cold above 2000 meters above sea level. Rainfall is generally high, with differences between the Caribbean slope (3000mm / year on average) where there is practically no dry season, and the Pacific slope, which has a very marked dry season from December to March (1500mm / year). year on average).

Certain local exposure conditions, ocean currents, wind direction and windward or leeward location, make the precipitation pattern vary in some localities of the country, regardless of its location on some slope, for example, in some points of the Peninsula of Azuero, in the Pacific, rainfall is less than 900 mm / year and in Panama City and the island of Coiba, also in the Pacific, it exceeds 2000 mm / year. In the mountains of the interior the precipitations are very high, registering values superior to 5000 mm / year.

Hurricanes do not constitute a threat to the country because they are south of its area of influence (over 10º North Latitude).


By 2008, Panama had an estimated population of 3,395,346 residents. This makes it the least populated republic on the American continent. Between 1950 and 2010 the population went from 839,000 residents to almost 3,500,000 residents. More than 70% of Panamanians live in urban areas and half live in Panama City and peripheral areas.

Regarding ethnic distribution, 70% of Panamanians are mestizo, 14% white, 10% black and mulatto, 6% indigenous and 1% Asian, the latter mostly of Chinese descent. On the other hand, 30% of the population is under 14 years old, 63.6% is between 15 and 64 years old, and 6.4% is over 64 years old.

The schooling rate is 93.4%, with a maximum of 95.1% in the Province of Colón and a minimum of 77.8 in the Archipelago of San Blas.

Political-administrative organization

The Republic of Panama is divided into provinces, these in turn into districts and the districts into townships, which are the basic political-administrative divisions. Each district elects its representative and alternate by direct popular vote. For their part, the regions are a special jurisdiction equivalent to a province, and are governed according to their own special institutions.

From the 1 of January of 2014, the Panamanian territory includes 10 provinces, 3 indigenous regions provincial level and 2 indigenous regions with level of judges, as well as 648 districts of both of which are county. [3]

The name of the Kuna Yala region was changed in October 2011, when the Government of Panama acknowledged the assertion of the Guna people that in their mother tongue it was not equivalent to the letter “K” and that the official name should be “Guna Yala “.


province Capital
Bull’s mouths Bull’s mouths
Coclé Penonomé
Colon Colon
Chiriquí Saint Joseph of David
Darien The Palm
Herrera Chitré
The Saints The tables
Panama Panama
Western Panama La Chorrera
Veraguas Santiago

Counties with province level

County Capital
Emberá-Wounaan Union Chocó
Guna Yala Future
Ngöbe-Buglé Buabiti (Llano Tugrí)

Counties with level of corregimiento

County Capital
Madugandí Akua Yala
Wargandí He died

Panama Geography