Our people

IntroductionOur peopleHistoryHandicraftsTraditional CustomCuisineCultural Expressions


The population is heterogeneous. In spite of the fact that our country has a scarce population of 3.7 million inhabitants (up to July 2012), its ethnic composition is very diverse, as a consequence of the historical transit of cultures through Panama.

For statistical information on population, please click here.


Our population is basically a mixture of different ethnic groups such as Caucasian, Indians and Blacks. In addition, there are three major native groups, namely Kuna, Ngobe-Buglé, and Emberá-Wounaan.

There are two groups of Black people, the Afro-colonial group, which is comprised by descendants of Africans, arrived in Panama as slaves during the colonial period and speak Spanish. The other one, the Afro-Antillean, represents the black segment that came from Jamaica, Trinidad and Martinique during the construction of the Panama Canal and are fluent in English.

Furthermore, people from other cultural roots such as Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindu, Greek, Colombian, and others, form part of our cultural heritage.

Panamanian people are characterized as open-minded, highly expressive and cheerful. The Caribbean cultural component is reflected in festivals and the passionate way people celebrate events. Panamanians love music, dance, sports, carnivals, and adore freedom. Most Panamanians are Catholic. Yet, the Constitution acknowledges and respects the freedom of beliefs. Needless to say, Panamanians are always striving hard to enjoy a better life.

Courtesy: Panama Tourism Bureau (IPAT), Embassy of Panama to Japan