The Panama Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is a 77-kilometre ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels per year. In total, over 815,000 vessels have passed through the canal. Tolls for the canal are decided by the Panama Canal Authority and are based on vessel type, size, and the type of cargo carried. The most expensive regular toll for canal passage to date was charged on May 16, 2008 to the Disney Magic, which paid US$331,200. The least expensive toll was 36 cents to American adventurer Richard Halliburton, who swam the canal in 1928.[ The average toll is around US$54,000.
Revenue from Canal tolls represent today a significant portion of Panama's GDP. Panama has the third or fourth largest economy in Central America and it is also the fastest growing economy and the largest per capita consumer in Central America.
Panama has a tropical climate. Temperatures are uniformly high—as is the relative humidity—and there is little seasonal variation. Diurnal ranges are low; on a typical dry-season day in the capital city, the early morning minimum may be 24 °C.