Here’s Why Casco Viejo is Panama’s Hottest District

Courtesy of Tantalo Hotel
Courtesy of Tantalo Hotel
Martina Gili

The buzz around Panama City’s historic district of Casco Viejo has only just begun. Having recently undergone a surge of renovation, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is a colourful and lively little pocket within Panama City, bursting with boutique hotels, art galleries and a smashing nightlife. Here is why Casco Viejo is Panama City’s hottest district.

History comes alive in Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo’s narrow cobblestone streets, colourful mansions and historical landmarks reawaken visions of Panama’s historic greatness. A walk in the neighbourhood will reveal a beautiful architectural landscape that brings together Spanish colonial, neoclassical and modern design, alongside ancient cathedrals and churches.

Metropolitan Cathedral in Casco Viejo, Panama City

It is empty during the day

While the rest of Panama City is congested with cars and has almost non-existent sidewalks, Casco Viejo is the only neighbourhood that remains quiet and peaceful during the day. This allows for plenty of time and space to discover the little gems that are hidden in the most coveted area of the tropical capital.

It’s where you’ll find the best nightlife in town

Casco Viejo is home to some of the best boutique hotels, restaurants and bars in town. Whether you are looking for an underground rock venue, a salsa bar, a classy rooftop lounge, or for a fine dining experience, Panama City’s historic district has got it all.

Beauty is everywhere in Casco Viejo

Design and beauty are at the core of Casco Viejo. Home to designer hotels and high-end restaurants, Casco Viejo has an artsy feel to it that you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Visit art galleries such as Diablo Rosso if you want to discover the best of Panama’s creative talent.

Authentic barrio of Panama

Casco Viejo used to be a popular working-class barrio(neighbourhood) of Panama City. While most of it has been renovated, some of the original buildings and residents can still be spotted towards the outskirts of the area, chatting to their neighbours in front of rundown homes or playing football in the street. To discover the authentic soul of Casco Viejo, join a tour with Fortaleza and let ex-gang members show you around what used to be areas of conflict.

You can get lost in Casco Viejo

Though the historic district of Panama City is rather small, you can literally get lost in its tiny streets, hopping from one souvenir shop to the other, tasting some of the world’s best coffee, having a delicious brunch or discovering local talent at some of the city’s best art galleries. One unique way of getting to know the neighbourhood is to download the app LiveWalkPTY, an audio guide that allows you to discover Panama City at your own pace while listening to local storytellers.

Unique shopping experience

As the creative hub of the city, Casco Viejo is also the place to go if you are looking for an alternative shopping experience. Forget about household brands and lose yourself in small concept stores such as Viviendo or Franklin Panama, that aim at commercialising handmade and sustainable accessories and fashion items inspired by traditional crafts that will make great souvenirs.

Panamanian crafts

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article