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Visiting Panama

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 10:23 PM EDT


Two young Panamanian girls playing in Boquete

By: Laurie Cooper

From the first moment you step off the plane upon landing in Panama, you will feel as welcome as if you were at home. This is not because of the tall buildings of Panama City, the exotic beaches or the humid tropical weather, but because the people that you will encounter and get to know during your stay will be some of the nicest and most welcoming people you could ever meet.

Most foreigners who are planning a visit to Panama think that they are coming to a typical Central American, Spanish speaking country. While this is partly true, there is much more to be said about the people and culture of Panama. Panamanians love their country with a true passion, and many are willing to share that love with anybody willing to listen. The people of Panama represent all different backgrounds and nationalities, but in this small yet spread out country they have managed to develop a society of great importance to the rest of the world. Panama exemplifies how people from different backgrounds and pasts can live peacefully together in a unified community. Homeless people, wealthy people, middle class working people and everything in between coexist in Panama. One major difference noticed between Panamanians and the rest of the world is that Panamanians do what they have to do to survive without complaint, with the mentality that if they work hard, the rest will take care of itself. The people of Panama work to live rather than live to work, so that they have money to get by but know that family and happiness make up a more important part of life.

Even if none of Panamanian sites remind you of home, the people will make you feel right at home. Walking along the streets of Panama, you can find families playing in parks, elderly men reading the newspaper while talking about how to solve the world’s problems and women offering to sell you their handmade goods. Panamanian people are unique, and only want the best for their country and everyone in it. Once you visit Panama, you may not want to leave. The Panamanian people, accompanied by the beautiful scenery and a booming economy, will soon make Panama one of the top destinations to visit on the planet.