Musical Sunday, Casco Viejo

Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

A classic Casco Viejo Sunday: walk my dog early around 7 ish, and down the street two neighbors singing and dancing.  They were so funny improvising I had to take a video and upload it to Facebook. But then, in the afternoon, a friend called me “hey! concert in Plaza Catedral,!”. So I run there and a group of students from La Chorrera had their band playing. After, the SPI band followed with tons of salsa, and the whole plaza became a dancing floor. The kids were fantastic, their spirit got contagious, everyone started dancing after them.

And you know what is the best about this? that this type of stuff happens all the time here. You wouldn´t be able to plan ahead for this. You can only live it by living in it. Awesome.

IMG_7432 IMG_7423 IMG_7429



Casco Viejo Kids enter National Dance Competition.

Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

Danza Activa is a dance competition that has been around now for about 5 years in Panama. Last year it had about 300 participants including dancers from Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the United States.

“Enlaces” is the dance program from Fundación Calicanto, that through dance opens doors to a different world and in doing so prevents crime with children from high risk areas. It is all about education and prevention, a big component on self esteem.

The program now has a couple of years running with quiet success. Some of their students have already participated in performances such as Nutcracker shoulder to shoulder with professional dancers from Panama`s National Ballet. Having a group of them competing this year with other dancers at Danza Activa is an amazing achievement.

Our congratulations to the Enlaces team at Fundación Calicanto!

Danza Activa Casco Viejo



Parking in Casco the Easy Way

Casco Viejo, Panama

Have you ever heard: “can´t find parking in Casco”, “had to park on top of a sidewalk”, “parked on a corner and got my car scratched” (if not more).

Every day, visitors in Casco jump through hoops to get parking. And yet, there is a full parking building in the old town. What`s the catch? absolutely nothing: just no one is aware that it even exists. When pointed, most people go “ahhhh!” . So I`m hereby sharing the secret spot: Plaza Herrera.

How to get to the parking building: if you are coming from Cinta Costera and going up the ramp into San Felipe, just keep to your right and drive straight towards Plaza Herrera. Do not deviate. Keep straight. You`ll see a yellow building on the corner, fully restored. Behind it, you`ll see a very shy blue sign with a big “E” which in Spanish stands for ESTACIONAMIENTO (a.i. parking).

Right now is for free, so no excuses. Fully guarded, brand new, parking building.  You don´t need to pay anyone here. Can´t promise it will be forever “for free” as taxes pay only up to so much. But even once you start paying, you`ll car be off the street, well situated and secure. Easy to reach, easy to leave from.

Now you know!!!! so please, please, don´t park on the streets on top of sidewalks and corners. And if you are coming for events, don´t forget there is also Casco Parking. This is a private company that also has secure lots inside Casco.  More on Casco Parking HERE.

Here is a map with a bonus on how to get to Arco Properties:

how to get to Arco Properties

Panama Photos 1941 National Geographic Magazine

Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

Coming back to Panama from a recent trip, we stopped at Albuquerque and hit some antique stores. You won´t believe my surprise when I found in a pile of old National Geographic magazines, an article about Panama. The year was 1941. I simply loved it. Since today we are celebrating the foundation of “Panama La Vieja”, I thought it would be a good moment to put these out there!

Plaza Santa Ana

Santa Ana 1941 National Geographic Magazine


Aerial photoaerea 1941 National Geographic Magazine


I think this is at Las Bóvedas, the surf wave: Olas Las Bovedas 1941 National Geographic Magazine

Plaza Arango, also known as the “Lottery Plaza”

Plaza Arango 1941 National Geographic Magazine

Plaza Francia: loved that the park used to be larger! when did we take that away????Plaza Francia 1941 National Geographic Magazine


Today! Save the Frog at American Trade Hotel

Panama Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

The Golden Frog is a symbol of national pride but also a source of preoccupation on our scientific and environmentalist community. The frog only exists in El Valle, Panama, and walks the tight rope of extinction.

Efforts have been made to reproduce it in captivity (successful!) but tons of work still lies ahead. The good part is that the “frog team” is highly motivated. Some years ago, they created the Golden Frog Festival, and every year they do several activities to fund raise for research and conservation.

Today, they`ll be at the American Trade Hotel with an interesting talk. Here is the info:


What If… Calicanto`s Annual Fundraising Gala

Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

1914 was a special year for Panama. It was the inauguration of the Panama Canal. You would think that such an amazing wonder would have attracted the best of the best around the world to come and see it. But no. No one showed up. The main reason was:Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed and by July 2014 World War I had exploded. The Panama Canal was inaugurated in August.

A hundred years later, Panama looks back to commemorate one of the Seven Wonders of the World. On this topic, Fundacion Calicanto has decided to give a twist: what if the Archduke had survived the bullet? what if the world had never entered the war? who would have shown up for the inauguration party?

So, answers will “show up” during their creative fundraising Gala on September 3rd.  The whole theme will be around the historic Hotel Tivoli (someone donated an original menu!) and the night promises to be a lot of fun.

But the best part? all proceeds go to their programs, which include women empowerment, children`s education and social reintegration for Casco Viejo`s young men. While the night might be creative and full of fantasy, do know it is all about building a very real, long term, world of peace.

If you would like to assist, please let us know!

To learn about their programs:

Here is their invitation to the party:

GALA night

Check out Calicanto`s last gala:

Turtles Hatched! Nature gift to Casco Viejo

Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

On the 6th of June a neighbor sent us a photo with the mother laying the eggs. We were not sure if she had done it, though, as she was already leaving. But today, 65 days later… the beautiful gift of life!

Another neighbor saw them coming out and helped them to reach the water. Now we have the whole thing documented! it is amazing when you give nature a chance to recover. Let`s keep protecting and caring for our oceans, specially urban beaches like the ones in Casco. We need those reminders that we are not alone, we do share this world with others.

mom 6 de junio 2014 IMG_7279

Casco Viejo Building Condecorated with Award!

Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

For third year in a row, the architectural firm Hache Uve has won a Premio Magna given by the Panamanian Architecture and Engineer Association. This time, the awarded building was Casa Vidal, a residential project located at 1st Street in San Felipe, Casco Viejo.  Congratulations to everyone involved! restoring a building in Casco is not a one man show. From land owners to designers, to builders and project managers, there are thousands of hours put into a single unit.

Here is Hache Uve`s page on the project: CLICK HERE.

And here is a small video with photos of the building:

Street Birthday Party

Panama Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

Loved street birthday parties. One of my earliest memories was hitting a piñata so hard I broke the wooden stick, which ended up hitting an adult several feet away. Hey, no one told him to be that close! Then there is another one, where a piñata finally broke and candies fell from the sky and somehow all of a sudden it was ok to jump in there and grab as much as you could, by force if you needed to. Awesome. But in today`s world, when was the last time you saw a street birthday party? well, actually Saturday in Casco Viejo.

It is such a teasing game. The adults at the top raise and lower the piñata so the baby or the kid can´t get it too easily. But eventually they do, sometimes the adult gave them the opportunity, sometimes (with older kids) they totally had to earn it.  And when the treasure falls down, you can imagine what`s next. Chaos, tears, laughter. And then dance and sharing. Food comes, mothers are on top of everything and everyone sing the famous song, in English first and Spanish later with some salsa tempo and a bonus track about ice cream. Cultural note here: you can´t escape the singing part, even when you are a full grown up, suit and tie adult. You will sing Feliz Cumpleaños. If you are not used to it, my best advice is just to own it!

So here it is: the birthday party we bumped into on Saturday after the Esperanza Tour at Fortaleza. Loved the little kid… so serious, he was swinging like pro baseball player!

piñata cool tour happy bday casco in action



Casco Viejo at Escapes Magazine

Panama, Casco Viejo, Casco Antiguo

This month`s edition of Escapes Magazine was devoted to Casco Viejo. Usually you see it in the planes in domestic flights, specially Air Panama.

Enlaces Magazine Casco Viejo Casco viejo destination Casco Viejo sites