Arriving in Panama, the broad cultural and ethnic diversity of this small country is one of its most outstanding and attractive attributes, and is reflected in its many customs. There is not just the beauty of the countryside to be discovered, but the variety of regional and local ways of life.
Panama has preserved much of its indigenous Indian culture and this unique way of life continues to thrive alongside the imprint of two centuries of development. Small though it is, Panama combines the latest technology and modern commerce with an environmentally and anthropologically rich heritage. This means that you can be in the fast-moving metropolis of Panama City, and yet be less than an hour’s flight away from dense rain forests and the very different indigenous cultural life.
Despite continuous foreign domination in the past, the Panamanians now have complete sovereignty over their country. Masters in their own house at last, they are both proud and welcoming. Good manners are as important to them as the original laid-back Latin style, and you will find them friendly, polite, and relaxed.
Culture Smart! Panama hopes to enrich your experience by offering insights into Panamanian society and sensibilities, and practical advice on how to behave in different situations. It describes the historical background, values and attitudes, and Panamanian life at work and at home. The better you come to know these resourceful and hospitable people, the warmer your welcome will be.
On arrival in any situation, after introductions Panamanians will often ask after your family, even having never met them, and about your work. Such questions are not only considered good etiquette, but arise from a genuine interest in family and status and should be reciprocated.