"I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (LK 1:38)

His Holiness Pope Francis made the announcement in Krakow in 2016 that World Youth Day 2019 would be held in Panama City. During his speech, the Holy Father announced the themes setting out the spiritual journey for the next three years, and invited young people to have a memory of the past, courage for the present and have hope for the future. This will be the first-time World Youth Day has been held in Central America.

Where is Panama?

Since it emerged from the sea 3 million years ago, impacting the planet's biodiversity, the destiny of Panama’s small isthmus has been to connect the world as a natural bridge.

Panama is bounded by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south.

The shortest distance between the two coastlines is a mere 60kms. Its here you’ll find Panama City, located on the Pacific Ocean coast, at the Southern end of the world famous Panama Canal.

Panama City’s unique location has made it a hub of trade and immigration. A city that boasts a mix of ultra modern and colonial architecture, yet close to sandy beaches and lush tropical forests.


Panama owns a cultural diversity that makes it unique in the region. One of the biggest contributors to the richness of its culture is the constant presence of visitors from all parts of the world. The origin of this singular cultural mix is, without a doubt, the “crossroads” nature of the country. In addition, the intense connection Panama has with the sea makes it very similar to an island in the Caribbean.

As a point of contact and a crossing site, this small strip of land is considered a true melting pot of races. With over 3 and a half million inhabitants, its population is composed of 67% mestizos (Amerindian and European) and mulatos (white and black), 14% blacks, 10% whites, 6% Amerindian (indigenous people) and 3% from varied ethnic origins. This mixture is particularly rich because, although it comes from a wide array of cultural origins and very diverse traditions, it has been stimulated by the atmosphere of tolerance and harmony that has always reigned in the territory.

Panama facts & Figures

The population of Panama is around 4 million, and around 880,700 people live in Panama City is. Putting this into perspective, the entire population of Panama is half a million less than that of Sydney, and the population of Panama City is about 400,00 less than that of Adelaide.

It is probably no surprise that the inhabitants are 85% Catholic and 15% Protestant.

  • Panama City Pop: 880,700
  • Panama Country Pop: 3,405,813 (July 2010 est.)
  • Official Language: Spanish
  • Religion: 85% Catholic, 15% Protestant
  • Panama: 123 km x 60 km
  • Currency: USD

Panama Weather

Panama has a Tropical Climate. There’s no summer, winter, spring, or autumn. The weather is either the Wet Season, or it’s the Dry Season

World Youth Day 2019 will be held during January in the middle of the Dry Season. Low temperatures in the evening average 24°C and an average high of 29°C during the day.

Being a Tropical Climate there is always a chance of a shower or too, though January and February are traditionally the driest months of the year.

Best known for the Panama Canal

Miraflores Locks Visitor Centre is just 20 minutes from the city centre.

From the initial French attempt to build the canal, to the eventual handover of the canal to the Panamanian government in 1999, the Panama Canal is an iconic landmark that must be seen. 77kms in length, it connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.

The first attempt to build the canal was started by the French in 1881. However, engineering problems, and huge loss of life due to yellow fever and injury eventually halted the project. In 1904, the USA purchased the French equipment and excavations for $40 million dollars, with the canal officially opening on 5th August 1914.

The opening of the canal dramatically cut the time for ships to travel between the two great oceans. Ships no longer had to navigate the hazardous Cape Horn route, increasing safety for ships and crew. In 1914, a mere 59 ships passed though the canal and lock system. By 2014 this has increased to a staggering14,000 ships passing through each year.

Sights in Panama City

Panama City is a skyline of gleaming glass and steel towers. A centre of international banking and trade, chic clubs, casinos and international restaurants and shopping.

Casco Viejo – the old Spanish quarter. Also known as San Felipé, this historic district was first settled in 1673, and designated a World Heritage site in 1997.

La Calzada De Amador, or as we say in English, The Causeway. Built with rocks excavated during the construction of the Panama Canal, the Causeway connects four outlaying islands at the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal, to the mainland.

Young travellers smiling with friends

Why Cosmos

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At Cosmos, we’re experts in faith based travel - the art of bringing you an unforgettable experience, time and time again. With over 50 years of touring under our belts and no sign of slowing down. We know how to make pilgrimages that you’ll never forget; creating the experience you’ve always dreamed of, and showing you the ones you never even thought of. We take the planning and logistics off your hands.

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