Casco Antiguo (Panama’s Old Town) hits you like a hot, sweaty kickabout down the park. It’s not in an easy or obvious location either. But it had to be seen.
My first glimpse of The Old Town was from the edge of the New Town! The Old Town sticks out like a mini peninsula, with it’s Cathedral and antique buildings on view against the Pacific Ocean’s calm waters.
I had met Eduardo from Brazil by total chance getting a packed bus from Panama International Airport into the city centre of Panama. The bus took just over an hour and I was sweated to the max after it. Luckily I had decided not to bring my backpack for the day out. It was just too hot, but I did wear my jacket fleece, as the sun’s rays were strong, and I had not quite anticipated the heat of Panama City. Similarly to Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja, the Casco Antiguo sticks out like a thumb on the hand of Panama City.
We knew we would get to Panama City’s Old Town with ease – it was a simple route. I had a small Panama guide book and a map of all parts of the city. Eduardo and I both agreed once we got there we would first stop off for a beer in the heat. In the previous couple of months I had already done my fair share of former Spanish colonial sightseeing, in places like Buenos Aires, La Paz and Quito. With all that in mind, I expected Panama to be a filler rather than a thriller. It was an added bonus to be there, as I hadn’t originally intended to do Panama (or Trinidad and Tobago) on this trip.
Our walk took about 20 minutes in hot conditions, we squeezed through a local market in a poor area to get to the start of the Old Town.
Some of the old buildings have succumbed over time and others have been knocked down completely.
Check out the rum selection. I thought of my brother Marko who loves Rum. He’d love this bar!
We did pass by a few watering holes before that, but this bar was right in the heart of the Old Town – it’s name was Vieja Havana (Old Cuba!).
More ruins in Panama City Old Town. Despite it being run down, these buildings add a charm to the area.
There was randomly free wi-fi in the square. I didn’t have a laptop with me – nor do I carry a phone when I travel, but Eduardo whipped out his laptop and had an online chat with his sister!
Relaxing at the yellow and white Palacio Bolivar in the Old Town.
Our lunchtime view. Incredible. A busy world of commuters seemed miles away in the totally uncommercial Old Town of Panama City.
We were heading to the Canal de Panama next so felt no real need to visit the Canal Museum. As interesting as it will be, I’m sure – some man made structure that – and some history behind the construction of the awesome canal.
Just to prove it works – Eduardo gets online in Panama City Old Town, using the free Wi-fi connection!
Next stop was to head by taxi out to the Canal to feast our eyes on that marvel.
The taxi took us through some very old fashioned living areas, almost slums, as I enjoyed the wond coming through the wind in a day so so hot.
Eduardo looked the part in his Panama Hat as we said goodbye to an incredible time in the Old Town (Casco Antiguo) of Panama City. Well worth a visit. With days like this I don’t want this travel dream to ever end. An amazing time was had here in Panama Old Town.
Where – Old Town (Casco Antiguo), Panama City, Panama
Who Went – Jonny Blair, Eduardo
Nationalities Met – Brazilian, Panamaniacs (that’s it)
Strange Currencies – US Dollars
Bar Visited – Viejo Havana
Beer Tried – Atlas (superb)
Transport Used – Local bus, taxi
Souvenirs bought – Panama Hat (by Eduardo)
Key Song –
MANIC STREET PREACHERS – BABY ELIAN (LIVE IN CUBA, 2001):
(this would have sounded amazing as we relaxed by the pier eating lunch)
My Videos –
OUR AMAZING LUNCH, BARBECUE IN PANAMA CITY:
RELAXING BY THE PACIFIC OCEAN BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW CITY, PANAMA:
ON A LOCAL BUS IN PANAMA CITY:
PLAZA BOLIVAR AND PALACIO BOLIVAR:
TAXI THROUGH THE OLD CITY: