The distinctive sound of today's reggaeton is a mix of Jamaican dancehall rhythms, derived from reggae, and Latin merengue, bomba, plena and sometimes salsa. It's heavily percussive beat is called "dembow" and comes from Trinidad's 'soca' music; it fuses electronic dance music, hip-hop elements and Spanish / Spanglish rap to form a compelling, driving sound that has been embraced by hispanic urban youth worldwide
Historically there has been an invisible line that has segregated Jamaican music and other Latin dance styles. But that line was breached in Panama, a country with a significant Jamaican population that had migrated south to work on the Panama Canal in the early 20th century.
There's a heated debate about whether reggaeton originated in Panama or Puerto Rico. While it seems obvious that the roots are Panamanian, some of the best know (and earliest) purveyors of today's reggaeton sounds come from Puerto Rico, so the confusion is easily understood.