Reasons To Love Casco Viejo – Part 1

Casco Viejo – Casco Antiguo – Panama

Our Turff.

“Love is in the air”… with St. Valentine so near you can almost taste the strawberries with cream (smell the roses!) , it might be a good moment to sit back and think about why we love Casco Viejo!

I have quite a list… but before I get into it, would like to invite anyone reading this blog to send us your reasons!

1. You can walk everywhere: since I moved to Casco I developed an allergy to cars and traffic… and found out that I really, really, don`t depend on them to do and get what I need (at least not all the time!!!). And I love it!

2. You get to know everyone and everyone gets to know you!and your dog, and your kids, etc.

3.  You can be yourself: dress as crazy or conservative as  you want…  nobody will even notice.

4.  We have a surf break: hey, no one in Panama City has one! Plus, one of Panama´s best female surfers is from the neighborhood…

5. We have beaches: again, nobody in the rest of Panama City has them! the best kept secret… shhhhhhh.   Only turtles know it. They came last December to pay a visit.

6. Good neighborhood with good people: people who gets involved with non profits that work in the barrio, people who help other people just because it is your neighbor, people who volunteer, people who says “hi” to you in the street and kids who ask how your dog is doing. How not to love that?

7.  It is the Artistic Heart of Panama: most art festivals base in Casco Viejo (Jazz Fest, Theatre Fest, Dance Fest, Art Block) . From big to small, just spend a couple of weeks here, you`ll feel the art vibe.

8. We Protect, We  Fight: Casconians are very protective of their barrio, proud of their UNESCO designation and will fight to the teeth against anything that threatens its position as a World Heritage Site.

9. Proud of being a mixed neighborhood”:  mix of architectural styles, mix of socioeconomic levels, mix of people and friends in the street… mix, mix, mix. I bet Casco Viejo is the most diverse part of Panama City (mt2 by mt2). This is the one place where rich and poor mix in Panama and everyone gets along well. Daniel Craig stayed in Casco Viejo for two months and no one even noticed! Panamanians living outside Casco Viejo tend to refer to Casconians as “crazy”. Yes! we are! and we love it…

10. Summer is a constant party: kids in the street playing, dancers jump in the street for an impromptu performance and disappear and you can actually fly kites at Las Bovedas.

10-1 Rainy Season is also a party: with so many churches and quite some schools, there is always a parade going on!

11. You can go to the police and they`ll actually try to help you… and most times with a smile!

12.  Casco Viejo is the most romantic place of Panama City: Where else could you stroll by four different plazas in a Sunday afternoon with your kids or holding hands with the love of your life?

13. It is the ONLY place in Panama City where you can give addresses like: corner of 4th Street and A Avenue.  Streets here HAVE numbers and ARE organized.

14.  Casco has a high concentration of success stories and everyday heroes.

15. You can jog to secondary rainforest (Cerro Ancon), have spectacular views of Panama`s Bay and be back in less than an hour.

16. You have balconies as opposed to all-closed-air-conditioning-glass-box-apartments. Balconies to share with your friends, grow tomatoes,  landscape and make the town even more beautiful and interesting.

17. You know that if you are hungry at 1 p.m. and all you have is $0.25 you`ll be able to grab a tamal from the “tamal” guy or at 5 p.m. buy a “boyo” from the “boyo man”.

18. You can have it both ways: Casco`s town lifestyle and modern Panama City, as Casco Viejo is only 5 minutes away (by car) or 10 minutes away (jogging) from crazy modern Panama.

19.  A good place to base: add to the list less than 15 minutes away from the local airport and 20 minutes away from Panama`s international airport.

20.We have the Best Jazz school of Panama run by Panamanian Grammy winner Danilo Perez.

21. Because The Rest of Panama City Comes to Casco When They Want to Show Who They Are/ Where They Came From to Foreigners.  Should I write this in bold letters?


  1. Beatriz (Toni) Chue says:
    February 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    22. We can attend concerts, dance performances and other events at the beautiful Teatro Nacional, just a few minutes’ walk away from our condo.

    23. We have some of the best restaurants in Panama right at our doorstep (and a sophisticated wine bar).

  2. “7 good things about Casco Viejo”
    5pm – 6pm every day of the year is the magical hour
    Blossoms fall from trees that grow from chimneys
    Honking is, for the most part, forbidden
    Cars will actually let you cross the street
    We have the best protests
    We have the friendliest crackheads
    We gossip

    “4 bad things about Casco Viejo”
    Most restaurants are geared towards tourists and thus quite expensive
    Taxis can be hard to find at weird hours
    We occasionally have gang activity
    Sidewalks can have holes/poop

    -from the escritorio of Los Cuatro Tulipanes

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