Inside the present sandy coast is a peculiar tide-water channel called the Rio Lagartos, which follows almost the whole northern shore, with occasional openings or bocas, connecting with the open sea.
Copper has been found between the Plain of David and Bocas del Toro.
There are valuable deposits of coal near Bocas del Toro and Golfo Dulce.
There is little agriculture, though the soil is rich and fertile; bananas (occupying about one-half the area under cultivation and grown especially in the north-west), coffee (also grown especially on the Costa Rican border in Chiriqui province), cacao (growing wild in Bocas del Toro province), tobacco, and cereals are the largest crops.
The principal ports are Colon, Panama 1 and Bocas del Toro, the last being a banana-shipping port.
The principal cities' in Panama are: Colon (q.v.), at the Caribbean end of the canal; Panama (q.v.), at the Pacific end of the canal, and near it, in the Canal Zone, the cities of Balboa and Ancon; Bocas del Toro (pop. about 4000), capital of the province of the same.
The seven provinces, restoring an old administrative division, are: Panama, with most of the territory east of the canal and a little (on the Pacific side) west of the canal; Colon, on either side of the canal, along the Caribbean; Cocle, west and south; Los Santos, farther west and south, on the Azuero Peninsula, west of the Gulf; Veraguas, to the north-west, crossing to the Mosquito Gulf; and Chiriqui, farthest west, on the Pacific, and Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean.