Meandering along the streets of Casco Viejo is a walk down a physical timeline; with old Spanish ruins next to forgotten French architecture neighboring restored boutique hotels, this historical neighborhood manifests Panama City's colorful past. The diversity in buildings reflects the array of people who occupy this peninsula, from hat-totting tourists to barefoot residents to the President himself. The energy of the place is packed between the thin streets, filled with shops, cars, pedestrians, and restaurants and then shoots out over the extensive coast line of the canal. My favorite people watching activity is to capture a drama in the making, and that is exactly what I caught between this boy and his elder. It is for these moments that it pays off to constantly lug around a SLR.
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Shop and Stroll Casco Viejo
Shop for molas, drink mojitos and feast your eyes on a dramatic blend of artfully restored and horribly dilapidated Spanish colonial architecture in Panama City's old town, Casco Viejo. There is a lot of great shopping to be had in Casco Viejo, from cute shops selling Panama hats, locally made clothing and jewelry, and souvenirs to native Embera and Kuna women selling a kaleidoscope of handwoven molas and indigenous dresses along the roads and squares of the old city. In addition to the shopping, a number of the time worn buildings have been painstakingly restored to their original colonial charm and converted into bars and cafes, where you can take a break from the tropical sun to enjoy some refreshing mojitos, ceverzas or ron, or all three. Many of the cafes serve tapas plates and Panamanian style ceviche prepared with locally caught seafood. Casco Viejo occupies a small peninsula offering spectacular views of the island studded harbor and panoramas of modern Panama City's skyline just across the bay. The old city can be explored in a leisurely half day and its tidy blocks are easy to navigate, making for a fun day of history, culture and cuisine.
Panama City's colonial neighborhood, called Casco Viejo, is a beautiful peninsula full of a mix of crumbling colonial decay and dutifully restored colonial dreams. The area is great for a day of strolling and stopping for occasional drinks when the tropical sun becomes oppressive. Look out for indigenous Embera and Kuna women selling their vibrant multicolor handicrafts.