People and Culture

panama pollera

Due to its position as a crossroads and transport center, Panama's people and culture reflect it's international connections. There is a saying that Panama was "born globalized." Since Panama is historically a crossroads, people and cultures from all over the world meet and mix here, resulting in an atmosphere of tolerance where people know how to get along with each other.

Panama is a microcosm of the Americas with a mixture of Latin, European, black and Indian populations. 65% of Panamanians are mestizo (European-Indian mixed) and the other 35% are a combination of traditional natives, Caribbean blacks, European and Chinese. Small but dynamic, Jewish, Arab and Hindu communities play important roles in Panama's business community.

You will find the Panamanian people gentle, friendly, fun-loving and helpful. Panamanians favorite pastime is a party. One of the most important national holidays are the Carnival celebrations in which it seems the whole country shuts down for serious partying or serious relaxation.

The presence of a large American community in the Canal Zone for almost a hundred years deeply impacted the culture. Panamanian-American marriages abound. The quintessential American "can-do" spirit and the modernity of Panamanian character are due in part to America's long presence in Panama.

While this unusual history as a crossroads and a country divided by an American presence has been a source of pain and grievance in the past, it has prepared Panama as few other countries, to become a popular tourist destination in both business and tourism in today's global village.