It may be said of many places in the world that a visitor would feel like they were “stepping back in time” when he or she visits for the very first time.
This is certainly true of the Casco Viejo, the “Old Quarter” in Panama City; the capital of Panama.
Casco Viejo is a World Heritage Site and generally described as the historic center of a very modern city. Casco Viejo is also a popular destination on many Panama tours and features homes with unique balconies that are simply overflowing with flowers.
Many of the building structures in Casco Viejo were built in the French style and during a period of strong French influence. The unique ambience of Casco Viejo resembles the more-famous French Quarter of New Orleans.
In recent years lucky travellers have discovered exceptional entertainment at the many new night clubs, restaurants and shopping opportunities now available in the “Old Quarter”, Casco Viejo.
Gold Altar of San Jose Cathedral
San Jose Cathedral is just a short distance away from Casco Viejo. Visitors come to San Jose Cathedral to see the Gold Altar, an example of fine woodcarving that is gilded with real gold.
Other visitors set aside time to visit the Presidential House, open for tours on Sunday.
Panama La Vieja – Old Panama
Panama La Vieja or Old Panama is the name given to a part of the city located on the Pacific Coast. The strong Spanish influence is still visible here, with a history that goes back hundreds of years to the time when expeditions passed through or stopped on their way to find gold and silver.
The historic Old Panama district, firmly settled in modern Panama City, has its own pattern of streets and buildings that invoke a much different lifestyle than what one finds in the modern metropolis.
Tourists to Panama La Vieja will find the ruins of the old cathedral and bell tower still standing, along with the residence known as the Bishop’s House.
Old Panama’s Kuna Market
While visiting Casco Viejo and Old Panama many visitors enjoy some leisure time at the Kuna Market. The market features unique crafts, produce and other items that showcase the exceptional talent of the Kuna native population.
At one point in their history, the native Kuna people could be found in many other areas of the country but they now live primarily in the northern section of Panama as well as part of the San Blas Archipelago.
Panama Canal Museum
No visit to Panama or Panama City would be complete without some quality time in the Panama Canal Museum. Formally called the Panama Interoceanic Canal Museum this institution is conveniently located in the Casco Viejo area, near Plaza de la Independencia.
Regarded as one of the best museums in the country, the Panama Interoceanic Canal Museum provides a detailed history of the construction and operation of this massive early 20th century project. With exhibits on two floors, the Panama Interoceanic Canal Museum does offer some English information but much of the text is in Spanish. For two dollars visitors can get a rather thorough education on the canal, its history and construction.
Casco Viejo & Old Panama – Part of Caravan’s Panama Tours
Panama City, Old Panama and Casco Viejo are included as part of Caravan Tours’ all inclusive Panama Tours. These are fully escorted 9-day tours, which are exceptionally priced starting at just $1,195.
Visit Panama Tours Reservations to check tour availability.