Rich in history and profiting from a burst of foreign investment, Casco Viejo is one of the “12 Coolest Neighbourhoods Around the World”, according to Forbes magazine. It is one of the wealthiest districts in culture, architecture and natural beauty, and the area is ideal for walking, discovering history and enjoying fine cuisine.
With narrow streets, colourful colonial architecture and a diverse population, there is definitely something magical about this neighbourhood.
The Central American country of Panama has big ambitions and is spending $300 million to boost its community and sustainable tourism efforts. At the heart of that strategy is Panama City. With 1.9 million inhabitants, this diverse capital is gifted with a rich history, vibrant nightlife and exciting neighbourhoods and offers a wide range of experiences.
One of its rising neighbourhoods is Casco Viejo, also known as San Felipe or Casco Antiguo, a small peninsula at one end of the Cinta Costera and is the oldest area in Panama City, only four avenues wide and overlooking the entrance to the Panama Canal.
Casco Viejo was first built after the destruction of Panama Viejo, the first city constructed under Spanish rule in the 1500s, offering outstanding examples of colonial architecture. In 1997, it was granted UNESCO World Heritage status.
More recently, the neighbourhood has undergone a significant amount of regeneration. Boutique hotels, galleries, trendy cafes and artisan markets make it today one of the most fashionable parts of Panama City. There is a real sense of the old meeting the new – a thriving and bustling modern city district on top of historic architecture.
Its central location means it is also an excellent base to explore Panama City. You can easily wander around the district on foot whilst the rest of the capital is just a short taxi ride away.
Ultimately, Casco Viejo is the place to be after dark in Panama city, with a laid-back, cosmopolitan atmosphere, offering a wide selection of cafés, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. It is also one of the safest parts of the capital.
By day, the Pacific takes centre stage with beautiful ocean views. You can spend a day browsing the famous fish market of the Mercado de Mariscos before heading to the Cinta Costera walkway, which offers the sweeping vista of the Pacific on one side and the iconic skyline of the city on the other.
Casco Viejo offers visitors many experiences. From a neglected district, it has become one of the most popular destinations for tourists and an up-and-coming neighbourhood to live and work. With a city-centre location, a beachfront area and a host of attractions, you will have everything you need on your doorstep.
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