Experience the historical, charming and vibrant neighborhood of Casco Antiguo. Casco Antiguo, also known as Casco Viejo, or the ‘old quarter,” is Panama City’s historic district. Considered a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site, the district dates back to 1673, and features vibrant plazas and picturesque brick-paved streets surrounded by colorful buildings. The area is ideal for walking, discovering history and enjoying a variety of fine cuisine. Come for some of the city’s best gastronomy, culture and photo opps, and stay to mingle with the locals in the heart of the nightlife scene.
Start your visit with a lively walk through the neighborhood. You’ll encounter some religious history at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Panama City located in the main square, Plaza Mayor, as well as the Church of San Jose, famous for its amazing golden altar. As you walk, make sure to stop at Plaza de Francia, a beautiful plaza that pays homage to the French role in the construction of the Panama Canal. The plaza is also home to Las Bóvedas, a monument that was once used as a defense against pirate attacks. Next, visit Paseo Esteban Huertas, where you’ll get pristine views of the city skyline and bay.
Casco Antiguo is also home to several of the city’s top museums, including the Museo del Canal (The Canal Museum), and the Museo de la Mola, featuring the traditional textile art made by the Guna indigenous group. You’ll also find the iconic stone archway at Arco Chato, which is the remains of a church built by Dominican friars, and a beautiful photo opportunity. Next, be sure to visit the Panama National Theater to see the stunning ceiling frescoes painted by Robert Lewis. On your walk, you’ll also get the chance to do some shopping, with opportunities to buy local crafts and visit high-end boutiques.
When you get hungry, you’re in luck. Casco Viejo is home to the heart of the gastronomy scene in Panama City. You’ll be met with the smells of grilled seafood wafting through its historic streets, and you’ll get to try some of Panama’s best dishes, as well as cuisine from all over the world made by premiere chefs. After dinner, check out the nightlife scene, or take in the sunset with views of the capital from one of the amazing rooftop bars overlooking the city.
Look for the Casco Antiguo in the San Felipe neighborhood of Panama City, which can be accessed by taxi.