Since 1975 REPROSA has been dedicated to the promotion of Panama's history, cultural traditions, ecological beauty and ethnic diversity. All their handicrafts are hand-made in Panama by Panamanian artisans, and there is something for every budget. REPROSA has three locations: Costa del Este Industrial Park (271-0033), Ave. A in Casco Viejo (228-4913), and Ave. Samuel Lewis in Obarrio (269-0457). REPROSA also offers a tour of their award-winning workshop where visitors can see first-hand how the Treasures of Panama are made. Their factory is in the Costa del Este Industrial Park just minutes from Panama Viejo. Tour $10 per person, Monday thru Friday at 9:30AM and 2PM.
The ease of travel and wide array of experiences make Panama one of the most attractive emerging tourism destinations in the world. In just one week, visitors can enjoy two oceans, experience the mountains and rainforest, learn about native cultures and take advantage of vibrant urban life. The capital, Panama City, is a modern, sophisticated metropolis that resembles Miami and has established commerce, arts, fashion and dining. Panama is known as the "Crossroads of the Americas" due to its privileged position between North and South America. The indigenous meaning of the country's name, "abundance of fish", reflects Panama's reputation as a paradise for water sports enthusiasts and eco-tourists. As the isthmus connecting two massive continents, Panama's flora and fauna is incredibly diverse. For example, Panama has been named the country with the most bird species in the world: over 900. Panama's many indigenous tribes are still thriving, living in the same ancient manner as their ancestors, making its cultural fabric exceptionally rich. Panama's government has strong ties to the United States and strongly supports business, development and tourism. The International Monetary Fund applauds the country's diversified economy and predicts it to have one of the strongest GDP growth rates in the world for the next several years. Panama is known for its highly developed international banking sector, with about 80 banks from several countries establishing local branches, including HSBC, BBVA and Citi Bank. The canal, which is being expanded, continues to drive Panama's service-based economy and remains one of the most important transportation links in the world. In addition to the country's strong economic base, Panama's physical infrastructure, including modern hospitals, airports and roads, is much more highly developed than its Central American neighbors. Panama has a large expatriate community; about 25,000 US citizens live in the country. It is worth spending some time reading up on Panama and communicating with locals, expats, and fellow travelers before arriving in the country. Consider joining some local forums or blogs for expats or the Central America Forum. Many of the local blogs can give you the most current information on: floods, earthquakes, trail closings, and the best restaurants.