The Best Hostels and Cheap Hotels to Book in Casco Viejo, Panama

Casco Viejo is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Panama City
Casco Viejo is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Panama City | © Westend61 GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Carrie Back
20 September 2021

Casco Viejo, the old town of Panama City, is a Unesco-badged tourist hotspot and one of the hippest neighborhoods in the capital of Panama. It’s home to beautiful buildings, modern art galleries and an innovative culinary scene, though you can also just wander aimlessly around its winding alleyways and cobblestone streets. Sound good? Here are the best hostels and cheap hotels in Casco Viejo, Panama, bookable on Culture Trip.

Selina Casco Viejo Panama City

Courtesy of Selina Casco Viejo Panama City / Expedia
Stylish Selina is a hip hostel with both dorms and private suites, each with the industrial vibe of their exposed metal details and rustic wood furnishings. The rooftop terrace is the real star however, featuring yoga spaces, two Latin restaurants and a pool area. There are also regular activities with a Panamanian twist – learn to make ceviche and dance salsa, practicing your moves later at the bar.

Magnolia Inn

Courtesy of Magnolia Inn / Expedia
In the heart of Casco Viejo, the Magnolia Inn was beautifully restored from its origins as a French-colonial mansion. This historic beauty is both a hostel with bunk beds and a hotel with more luxurious rooms. If you’re on a budget, opt for the basic dorms in the ballroom – to stay more comfortably, you might want the dorms with air conditioning. There are also stylish social areas in which you can mingle, including a fully equipped kitchen and sun-drenched dining room.

Luna's Castle

Hostel, Hotel
Courtesy of Luna's Castle / Expedia
In a building dating to 1905, Luna’s Castle is an eclectic hostel with contemporary artwork, a one-minute walk from Panama Bay. Dorm rooms have privacy curtains on the beds, and a stay includes a free pancake breakfast, free coffee and tea, and free internet access. Guests and locals alike flock to the bar at the weekend.

El Machico Hostel

Hostel, Villa
Pool at El Machico Hostel Panamá, Panama City
© Courtesy of El Machico Hostal
Near the Cinta Costera boardwalk and Panama Bay, ​El Machico is a small, stylish hostel that’s popular with backpackers. In the day, the pool and sundeck is a popular spot to hang out; at night, they project movies in the same open-air space. Other forms of entertainment include a games console, pool table, and foldable bikes available for rent. Dorm rooms are basic, ranging from six to 12 beds, and in the morning there’s a free pancake breakfast.

Hostel Mamallena

Courtesy of Hostel Mamallena Bocas del Toro / Expedia
If you want to stay in an authentic Panamanian neighborhood, Hostel Mamallena in Perejil is the place for you. It has 12 private rooms with double beds and a shared bathroom, three dorm rooms, and lots of open, colorful hangout areas where you can meet other travelers. There’s pancake mix available all day – you can use the kitchen at any time to whip up a batch – and you’re welcome to bring your own alcohol.

Hotel Casa Panamá

Courtesy of Hotel Casa Panamá / Expedia
Across the street from Plaza V Centenario park, Hotel Casa features warmly decorated private rooms with stone walls and wood-beam ceilings. The highlight of this hotel is the rooftop overlooking Panama Bay, which features a small pool, a sundeck with lounge chairs, and lots of tropical greenery. At night, the adjoining restaurant and bar becomes a skyline party spot.

Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar

Tantalo Hotel : Kitchen : Roofbar
Courtesy of Tantalo /

Tantalo is right in the middle of all the Casco Viejo action, so if you’re looking for a lively place to stay, this is your hotel. It features a fusion restaurant, rooftop club, and plenty of artsy rooms – the work of muralists, sculptors and painters is everywhere. This small boutique hotel has 10 individually decorated, uber-modern designs, each with their own distinct look.

Amador Familiar

Courtesy of Amador Familiar / Expedia
Book a stay in a renovated canal house that’s full of character and surrounded by nature. Boasting both affordable dorms and simple, bright private rooms, it’s a great base for exploring Gamboa, the Panama Canal and the Amador Causeway. Wifi and a basic breakfast of fruit and cereal are included in the cost, while there’s also a covered, semi-outdoor kitchen and dining area available for guests.

Casco Viejo is but a piece in the Panamanian jigsaw. Why not find a stay at a luxury resort, or discover the best hotels for every traveler in Panama, bookable now with Culture Trip. Waste no time with our two-week itinerary for getting the best out of the country.

This is a rewrite of an article originally by Brittney Schering.

These recommendations were updated on September 20, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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