Introducing Your Next Best Vacation: Panamá City, Panamá

Introducing Your Next Best Vacation: Panamá City, Panamá

Casco Viejo, also known as Casco Anitguo (or in English “Old Town”), is located in the historic area of Panama City, Panama. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Casco Viejo is a popular tourist destination for travelers from all over the world and a great place to spend time. Founded in 1519 by Spanish colonists, it was originally used as a fort to protect the town and its surrounding area. The influences of Spain, France, and early America are still very present today in each cobblestone road and multicolored building. You can’t say you have experienced everything this beautiful country has to offer until you visit its historic center. Casco Viejo features many vibrant plazas, delightful museums, a variety of cuisine, and endless rooftop fun.


Plaza Simon Bolivar/ Picture taken by: Lynnette Peña-Kelly

When you’re exploring the city, keep an eye out for all the lively plazas. These large, open spaces are home to some of Panama City’s most important landmarks.

Plaza de Francia is a great place to start. The park is surrounded by shops and art galleries, so it’s easy to spend half a day wandering around and  taking in all of the beautiful sights.

Mosey on over to Plaza Bolivar next—it’s home to one of Panama City’s biggest churches as well as several restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy lunch or refresh yourself with a cup of coffee after strolling around!

If you’re looking for something more active, head over to Plaza Mayor. It was once used as an outdoor market space during colonial times, but now hosts live music performances. Every weekend from November through March local bands will play everything from salsa music to reggaeton hits. You’ll find plenty of food vendors serving up delicious treats as well as craft vendors selling handmade jewelry made out of recycled materials like glass bottles or papier-mâché sculptures made from old magazines.


Arco Chato/ Picture taken by: Michael G. Kelly

Museo del Canal is a must-see for any history buff. This museum offers a comprehensive look at Panama’s role in shipping and its impact on world affairs. Located near the Miraflores Locks and Miraflores Lake.

El Arco Chato is a ruin of an old Santo Domingo church and convent. It’s located in the heart of the city.

Museo de Mola is a museum that showcases a collection of pre-Columbian artworks from Panama and other countries in Central America.

Museo de la Biodiversidad is located next door to the Botanical Gardens in Gamboa. This museum features exhibitions on biodiversity conservation as well as interactive displays where children can learn about native animals, like manatees and crocodiles, through hands-on activities like painting pictures with their toes or creating masks out of leaves. 


Marzola Parrilla Argentina/ Picture taken by: Lynnette Peña-Kelly

Foodies get ready for you palettes to be dazzled: one thing Casco is not short of is tasty food.

  • Café Coca Cola holds the title of oldest café in Panama. The location is convenient for those staying in downtown Panama City. If you are looking for a hearty plate of rice and beans with the featured meat of the day- this is the place for you.
  • Tantalo is a great spot to grab a meal , served with incredible views and great service. Have dinner and stay for the party, this rooftop atmosphere will be one of the best you have in town. P.S don’t forget to end your meal with the Corn Flan–you will thank me later.
  • Mercado de Marisco, eat like the locals do and have your pick of fresh seafood. This fish market serves up an amazing array of ceviche, fish and oysters.
  • Marzola, I could not write about food and not mention this memorable steakhouse. Go for the quirky décor, but stay for perfectly cooked steaks and mouth watering sauces.
  • El Trapiche (just outside of Casco Viejo) is a popular place to get your fill of typical Panamanian food. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere and varied menu.


Casco Viejo/ Picture taken by: Lynnette Peña-Kelly

Casco Viejo offers the most popular nightlife destinations in town. You will find a plethora of options: clubs, breweries, rum bars, rooftop bars –oh my!

La Rana Dorada Brewery is where you can have a pint of their freshly brewed handcrafted beer. This wonderful brew pub is sure to serve up a good time and hip ambiance.

Casa Jaguar offers a great combination of international cuisine, unique cocktails, and wicked fun

Pedro Mandiga Rum Bar is a distillery owned bar that produces four types of rum. Come and enjoy their house rum along with a rum flight from around the world.

Casco Viejo/ Picture taken by: Lynnette Peña-Kelly

Panama City is a vibrant city with so much to offer. If you’re looking for an adventure in Central America, Panama is the place to be!

About the Writer

I’m an independent travel planner with CS Elements Travel. I specialize in group travel and custom itineraries. My favorite destinations are: Portugal, Panama, Punta Cana, Jamaica, Cancun and Spain. My identifiers are: Travel Advisor, Latina, Wife, Pizza Snob and World Traveler. Follow my adventures and if you would like help planning your next trip, here is where to find me:

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