• Though Panama has the highest growth rate in Latin America at around 8.5 percent, over a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line – the majority from indigenous communities.
• Panama hosts almost 1000 species of bird, including the odd-looking three-wattled bellbird, resident in the Chiriquí Highlands, whose extraordinary “bonk” call can be heard almost a kilometre away.
• Panama City’s new 14km Metro line cost an estimated $1.88 billion dollars to build, with likely annual maintenance costs of around $56 million – the country’s second most expensive project after the Panama Canal expansion.
• The Panama Canal took over 60 million pounds of dynamite to blast through the rock; the ships laden with the explosives each contained 20,000 boxes that all had to be unloaded by hand.
• The Guna, Panama’s most high-profile indigenous people, have one of the highest rates of albinism in the world with one in 150 being born a “moon child”.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
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