Veraguas - central province of Panama


Area:10,050 sq km                                                      Elevation: Sea Level to 3478m                                   Population:209,100                                                           As one might expect from Panama´s only province with coasts on both oceans, Veraguas is a place of rich variety.Visited by Christopher Columbus during his fourth voyage, it took the Spanish two more decades before they were able to overcome climate, terrain and a hostile indigenous population to establish a foothold in the town of Concepcion. Today, the same Veraguas geography that made life so difficult for the Spanish makes the province a waterman's, challenging rapids, pristine lakes and some of the country´s best surf breaks. Just what you might expect from a province that derived from the Noble Bugle word "viragua" which means "green waters".  From en air plane, the Caribbean and Pacific slopes of Veraguas look as different from each other as Canada´s Mountains do from Australia´s Great Sandy Desert. Heavy rainfall, virgin forest, and little evidence of people characterize the Caribbean  slope. On the Pacific coast but still within the province is Panama´s largest island, Isla de Coiba.The diving  around Coiba and neighboring islands is excellent, and the fishing is world - class. Also world-class are some of the waves that curl up to nearby Playa Santa Catalina.                                                                                       

SANTIAGO (pop 34,800) - 250 km from Panama  City, is bisected by the Interamericana, and its central location - just north of the Peninsula de Azuero and about halfway between PanamaCity and Costa Rica - has made it a hub of rural commercial activity.