Panama is located in Central America, bordering Costa Rica to the north and Colombia to the south, with coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is a narrow, elongated country that links the North and South American continents and through which ships pass between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean along the 80km-long Panama Canal.
A large part of Panama is uninhabited - perfect for small ship cruising. There are hundreds of offshore islands, including the San Blas and Bocas del Toro archipelagos.
In addition to the mainland, Panama owns many hundreds of offshore islands, including the San Blas and Bocas del Toro archipelagos. Panama is mountainous inland, with flat coastal lowlands, and rainforests covering much of the country. Much of the land is protected in the interests of its wildlife. A large part of the country is uninhabited (perfect for small ship cruising), with the majority of the near 3 million population living in the main cities of Panama City (the country's capital) and Colon, in the canal region or in the Pacific lowlands. Spanish is official language of Panama, but English and several indigenous languages are spoken.
Panama food mainly comprises American and Spanish cuisine, but also spans an array of tastes and worldwide cultural influences such as Indian, Arabic, Italian, Chinese and Mexican. The exquisite dishes come from the traditional recipes. As Panama is a coastal region, expect a lot of seafood. Food in Panama consists of fresh and healthy vegetables as well as fruits. Since Panama has a little more Caribbean influence than other Central American countries, you'll see a lot more plaintain than beans here. Panamanian food is generally mild and not overly spicy. As with other parts of Central America, the favorite meat seems to be chicken. The food of Bocas del Toro is even more Caribbean than the rest of Panama. Many of the dishes contain coconut, unlike in the more Latin parts of Panama.
Panama food with all its variations, is indeed exotic. Traditional dishes include: Carimañola, a roll made from ground and boiled yucca and stuffed with minced meat and boiled eggs and then fried. Tortillas, made with ground maize and then fried like pancakes. Empanadas, made from flour or corn pastries, are generally filled with cheese, chicken or even meat. Patacones, green fried plantains, cut into pieces and fried. Tamales, a popular local delicacy made from boiled and ground corn with spices, chicken or pork being stuffed inside and boiled after wrapping it in a banana leaf. Tajadas, ripe plantain cut in slices length-ways and baked with cinnamon.