Casco Viejo header

Continuing with our Panamanian adventure, we spent the better part of one morning, as well as a few other nights and strolls, wandering the streets of Casco Viejo in the western part of the city. Casco Viejo, also known as Casco Antiguo, is a more touristy haunt, with plenty of higher end restaurants, little shops, and affordable hostel options. Despite our normal aversion to playing the typical American tourists, we found this part of the city to be very beautiful.

Casco Viejo old and new

One of the most striking features of Casco is the ever-present juxtaposition between old and new. Trendy and chic restaurants share blocks with older, dilapidated buildings, standing merely by the props holding them up. A constant reminder of the injection of wealth into the country’s economy after gaining autonomy of the Canal.

After hunting the alleyways for a coffee shop, we finally sat ourselves down at a fresh little shop. The city is filled with art, whether in the form of murals, paintings or enchanting architecture.

Casco coffee

At this coffee shop we witnessed a local tour guide leading an otherwise astray-looking visitor through the ins-and-outs of Panamanian tourist consumerism. He purchased a bag of Geisha coffee, which we later learned runs about eighty dollars a pound. The language barrier between guide and tourist also proved entertaining to watch, as guide explained to tourist the meaning of geisha.

Casco mural

Casco viejo mural

{murals were seamlessly integrated into city architecture}

Casco viejo church interior

{we snuck got lost in a closed church or two}

One of the indigenous groups to Panama, the Guna, were selling their wares in the streets. The women were conspicuous with their brightly colored attire and intricate beading that adorned their legs and arms.

Guna women CV

Guna art

We stopped in for some lunch and dominoes at one of the newer restaurants.

Casco Viejo restaurant lunch

Casco viejo restaurant

Casco Viejo restaurant art

Casco dominoes

This contrasted starkly with some lunch we got on a different day in Casco Viejo. Some unknown mixture of some unknown seafood from a little corner store. Let’s just say it sat “heavy” in the stomach.

Casco Viejo fish lunch

If you find your way to Panama City, I’d recommend hitting up Casco Viejo. It has plenty to offer in the way of nightlife or, if you prefer, lazy Sunday strolls.

Street vendor Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo

{a small market nestled in the heart of Casco Viejo}

Main church Casco Viejo

{what appeared to be the central iglesia in town}

Panama hats

{panama hats}

Casco Viejo


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