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Finding north in Panama

October 12, 2009
by Cate

by Cate

It took a while to figure out my bearings in Panama. North isn’t north but west and south is really east. How is this possible? Location and shape. It’s common knowledge that Panama joins the two Americas together, but another factor is the shape of the country. Panama sits like an malformed S between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans; curved in the right places to create confusion on unsuspecting travellers like me and narrow enough to witness a sunrise in the Atlantic and a sunset in the Pacific–all in one day.

Something else I rediscovered (I’m a slow learner), the Panama Canal actually runs north-south not east-west. Small discoveries like these are what makes travel enriching. Not only do I learn about culture, nature, and languages but revisit long forgotten geography lessons.

So my question is: If Panama is located north-south then where does the sunrise and set?

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. October 12, 2009 6:36 pm

    What a great little fact to learn. I’d have never thought that the Panama Canal ran N-S.

  2. October 12, 2009 8:08 pm

    Really interesting, Cate! There’s nothing like being there to put it all in perspective.

  3. Bear permalink
    October 13, 2009 2:48 pm

    I wonder. In many countries the governments do not like compasses and detaield maps to be available. So would one garner too much attention if oen were to pull out a compass when visiting the canal? Probably so in these times!

  4. October 14, 2009 4:10 am

    I would LOVE to get to Panama some day. It’s been years since I’ve been to Central America, and I’m eager to get back– with Panama right at the top of my list. -X

  5. October 14, 2009 3:36 pm

    Everyone -It’s a nice little factoid something to mention when you’re in Panama to a group of new travellers. Makes you sound like a wise old owl πŸ™‚
    Thanks for your comments

  6. October 15, 2009 1:57 pm

    he he πŸ™‚ very interesting. although, not the best place for the directionally challenged to go figuring out i guess πŸ™‚

  7. October 15, 2009 8:42 pm

    Ms.N – true or take a GIS gadget with you πŸ˜›

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