Panama has had a long-standing relationship with the United States since 1903 when the construction of the Panama Canal began.  As a result of this close relationship, English was spoken in the former Panama Canal Zone.

Most Panamanians are bilingual in Panama City.  As you roam around the metropolis you will find English and Spanish signs everywhere.  Such is the case in these pictures.  “Parking” is an English word which translates to “Estacionamiento” in Spanish.  The green sign reads “Bienvenidos” which translates to “Welcome” in English.  Understanding English has been highly beneficial to Panama’s economy since it has become an international financial hub where English is mandatory.

Good Day!


4 thoughts on “Signs”

  1. Hola Omar,
    Just below the “Bienvenidos” is “Entrada” where we get our word “Entry”. Texas has lots of bilingual signage, so much so that many folks who are not Spanish speakers still understand Spanish without knowing it. Even my grandkids are learning Spanish without knowing it. A daycare worker was teaching Spanish words for juice, milk, and other words when my youngest grand daughter declared, “I don’t speak Spanish”, even though she knew the Spanish for those words. The daycare lady asked where she learned the words? Her response, “Mi Abuela”!

    Panama’s other advantage in global business is the use of dollars interchangeably with Balboas. Keeping up with the exchange rate while we were living in Venezuela for 3 years was crazy. We arrived when the Bolivar was 4.23 to the dollar. Three years later, the rate was nearing 15 to the dollar. Panama is blessed not to have to deal with that craziness.

    Your title reminded me of an old 70’s song:

    1. You are absolutely right about the legal use of the American dollar in Panama. It is a strong currency necessary to make Panama, one of the most important banking centers in the region. We were lucky to have the United States giving us the authorization to use their currency in this country since the birth of the republic.

      Being Texas, next to Mexico, it is understandable that Spanish is creeping into the state. It’s a good thing that your grandkids are understanding Spanish. The more languages you master, the better. English has been most beneficial to me in more ways than one.

      Venezuela? That’s a surreal economic, social, and political situation difficult to assimilate.

  2. Before I flew to France to begin my job as captain of a large sailboat on the French Riviera (hey, SOMEBODY was going to do it, why not me?) I bought a thin book called “Signposts.” It was a brilliant idea. The author had taken photos of hundreds of signs people would encounter in their travels around France and explained what they were in English.

    They showed you what an automated ticket machine at Le Gar (train station) looked like and how it worked. They showed the signs one would see in the open air markets and those you’d encounter on the highways.

    You can find the books at and sister volumes, as I remember in German and I think in Italian. Nothing in Spanish that I know of, though.

    1. Hey, Richard, nice to hear from you again. That was a brilliant idea. It would be an excellent project for our Tourist Bureau here in Panama. I remember about your experiences in Antibes, France while the vessel was being repaired.

      You should write a book about you stay in France and your solo-sailing back to the States across the pond.

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