Panama’s World Records

Cynthia Lehman

When I think about Panama I have to admit, World Records are not one of the first things that come to mind.  However, there are all types of world records and some come with much controversy. The Guinness Book of World Records is one of my favorite things to read.  Every year for Christmas my son would get the latest edition.  I thought it might be fun to see what Panama is recognized for. What I uncovered is some of the records occurred in Panama and some are actually held by nationals.

Did you know there is a location in Panama that holds more than 200 world fishing records? The world famous Piñas Bay, located off the Pacific Coast in the Darien, in Panama holds more fishing records than any place in the world. In the late 1920’s while searching for Black Marlin, the renowned author, Zane Grey first discovered a great reef in Piñas Bay that supports aquatic life beyond belief.  I know Panama has great fish to eat but never considered that they would be prominent record holder. The Republic of Panama is a fisherman’s paradise. Every year visitors spend thousands of dollars to travel here specifically to fish. It is not all about the canal!

Located just 30 minutes outside of the Panama City is one of the world’s most biodiverse and gorgeous rainforests that contains multitudes of wildlife.  There are over 976 bird species in Panama, that is more than the US and Canada combined. Pipeline Road holds a world record of 350 bird species counted in one day.

It makes sense Panamanians believe in general the word Panama means “abundance of fish, trees and butterflies”.

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If you have ever visited the Miraflores Locks museum you may have seen this record. The lowest toll ever paid was in 1928, when American travel writer Richard Halliburton paid 36 cents, based on his body weight of 140 lbs, to swim through the Panama Canal. The locks were raised and lowered as they would have been for the largest vessel. His journey lasted 10 days with a total of 50 hours water time.  In 1939 he was lost at sea attempting to cross the Pacific Ocean in a Chinese junk.

In January 2014, Fundacion Olga Sinclair joined with the Panama Canal Authority to establish a new Guinness World Record when 5,084 children, ages 1-18 years, painted a mural simultaneously for three and a half -minutes as part of 100th anniversary celebrations for the Panama Canal. The painting was performed on individual strips and then combined into one large artwork measuring nearly 2,000 square meters.  Children from dozens of different countries with embassies in Panama participated within the same global spirit of cooperation represented by the Canal itself. The painting’s message reads in Spanish, “2014 A Century Uniting the World”

The surfing Guinness Book of World Records holder comes from Bocus in Cambutal, Panama.  Gary Saavedra, the best surfer in the history of Panama, surfed for three hours and 55 minutes in a 41.3 mile waved created by a power boat.  The previous record was one hour and six minutes. The surfer had to battle 20-knot winds and large vessels that were making the water conditions unstable for riding the artificial wave. Saavedra almost fell and lost his wave ten times.  He arrived at the Amador Causeway to a cheering crowd.

Panama has the number two most expensive coffee in the world.  Specifically grown in Boquete, Panama, The Hacienda La Esmeralda goes for a minimum of $104 a pound. It is mostly cultivated under the shades of old guava trees and is enjoyed by folks all over the world for its unique taste.

What is the number one most expensive coffee you ask? Luwak Coffee, commonly referred to as civet coffee.. This particular coffee is produced from the coffee beans that have been consumed by a certain animal – the mongoose. Before it can be produced the coffee beans have to pass through the digestive system of the animals. This coffee is popular all over the world and goes for $160 per pound.  In this case the number two coffee will be just fine for me, no pun intended.

Panama offers a lot for everyone from fishing and bird hunting to water sports and coffee.  Isn’t it time you came to visit?

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