Casco Viejo Panama
While Casco Viejo sits in the midst of modern Panama City, it is still isolated on 3 sides by water. This grants it spectacular views. From modern Punta Paitilla and Punta Pacifica on one side, to the Causeway and islands of Amador on the other, there is nothing but water. The view is simply stunning.
Because Casco Viejo was chosen as a world cultural heritage site, restorations are strictly controlled. This means that the facades of the buildings need to maintain the old world Spanish architecture that is loved the world over.
Housing condos, stores and trendy restaurants means you are surrounded in a majesty right out of the past. You can practically feel the history. You can imagine the pirate ships, carrying famous pirates like Henry Morgan. It’s easy to see in your mind’s eye, the smugglers, romantics and poets who have come before you and the narrow cobblestone roads, designed for horse and carriage add to the ambiance.
The American Dollar is a commonly cited reason for why Panama is so great. For the foreigner, especially Americans, it is great because it doesn’t become “Monopoly money.” It is easy to be aware of exactly how much you are spending in this ancient city. There is no labor-intensive addition, subtraction, division or multiplication involved to figure out the price of a soda. So, in Casco Viejo, Panama, it is easy to grasp the value of what you purchase, instead of throwing away your Monopoly money at any and every chance you get. This is especially useful if you are off to the casinos!
Back in the states, fireworks were reserved for the 4th of July, and some spectacles at Sea World. In Panama City, it’s not bazaar to see fireworks going off every night of the week. On New Year’s, the entire city as far as the eye can see, ignites with the colorful flashes and flickers of thousands of fireworks which makes it quite lovely and appealing to the eyes.
There are nice dishes in Casco Viejo as well, incredibly delicious patacones (twice fried plantain patties) and cheap wines. South American wine, from Chile and Argentina, is much less expensive here than in the United States.
Finally, there are abundant and inexpensive taxis here making local transportation easy. However, taxi meters are not typically used, and therefore it is recommended to negotiate the price before leaving. If you understand and speak Spanish, you can overhear and engage in a number of colorful conversations with the taxi drivers.