Visiting Panama City’s Unesco site Casco Viejo
Panama City’s historic district called Casco Viejo juts out into a Peninsula in Panama bay with stunning views of the city skyline and coastal landscape. This fascinating area was on the verge of decline and destruction in the early 90s when it was saved and certified with Unesco to bring it back to life and now Casco Viejo, also known as Casco Antiguo is the must see place to visit in Panama City right next to the famous entrance to the Panama Canal.
The historic district is rich in architectural details, ornate restored landmarks and public buildings, elaborate churches and beautifully private buildings that have been recently converted into luxury hotels, restaurants, art galleries and other tourist focused attractions. Casco Viejo is now a must see destination when you visit in Panama City and see a combination of old and new, fantastic atmosphere and great food along with the impressive Unesco buildings that have revitalized the entire area and made this a fun place to explore in Panama City.
Here are some photo highlights to visiting around Casco Viejo
Street scenes walking around Casco Viejo
When you walk down the streets of Casco Viejo, keep your eyes open to the street life – things happen unexpectedly and you find the most amazing visuals to photograph when you have an open mind and interact. The neighborhood is rich with incredible and bold colors, beautiful architectural details and locals living and enjoying their own historic center.
Even the president of the country has his home here perched on the perimeter of the district with magnificent views of the Malecon and downtown district – it is a privileged spot to see the entire city and coastal areas.
The presidential view of Panama City
Visiting the historic landmarks around Casco Antiguo
Plaza de la Independencia and the cathedral
The main plaza is impressive with grand buildings fronting the main cathedral of Panama City which is being renovated. The stately park in the center is beautiful, well maintained and a perfect spot to take photographs or grab a bite from the outdoor cafes around the square or just enjoy the stately buildings like the Canal Museum, Palacio Municipal and the Hotel Central surrounding the plaza.
Tip – later in the afternoon, restaurants on the square set up outdoor dining areas to enjoy an evening spent at the Plaza de la Independencia or just an evening drink.
At the tip of the peninsula of Casco Viejo is this impressive monument called Plaza Francia dedicated to the French effort of initiating the build of the Panama Canal. You can climb up the walls for panoramic views of the coastal areas and the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal.
Tip – Late afternoon is a perfect time to view this area for the beautiful afternoon light and into the sunset so you can capture nice photographs of the monument and surrounding area.
Beautiful churches of Casco Viejo
The churches around Casco Viejo from ornate and filled with golden details to simple. Take a look at some of these wonderful churches worth exploring around the peninsula area of the old town.
Interior views of Iglesia San Francisco de Asis
Iglesia San Jose and it’s golden alter
The façade and ruins of Iglesia de la Compania de Jesús
All about the details in Casco Viejo
The city is revitalized and yet raw – gorgeous restored palatial homes converted into luxury hotels are within access to lived in neighborhoods with locals bringing out sofas and having barbeques from friends in the street. It is real life and lived in and not just a scrubbed clean and tourist zone. I love seeing the decay amid the beautifully restored and elegant buildings all on the same block. You pass by derelict old homes with faded colors and beautiful façade details that harken to a glorious past – the good thing is that the local government is fostering more restoration of these historic buildings to bring new life and commerce to these establishments.
Arbored promenades and craft vendors at Casco Viejo
Where to find the authentic part of Casco Viejo
Along the walking promenades in the outer areas Casco Viejo away from the tourist zones, you’ll find the authentic places where all the locals shop, eat and go to the outdoor markets for their purchases and daily routine. With faded buildings, some with the upper facades in complete ruins but the bottom areas still functioning and open for business, I accidentally walked some of these promenades and saw the real Casco Viejo raw and bustling. It was enjoyable walking around the cheap department stores and street vendors, watching all the activity and daily hubbub everyday people did in this area so alive and raw like the images below.
Locals living and working in Casco Viejo
A musician strumming some tunes at Casco Viejo
The locals really enjoy living in the historic center while property is still affordable in this area. You can tell they are a proud people, with warm hearts and smiles to visitors exploring this area of Panama City – I felt very welcomed and find everyone easy to engaged with any passerby.
Mother and son at a vista point smiling with Mickey Mouse
I hope you enjoyed this tour highlighting the beautiful historic center of Panama City called Casco Viejo. If you enjoyed this post, check out my other posts on Panama city below:
Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on the Visiting Panama City’s Unesco site Casco Viejo, hopefully you will be able to see and experience Panama City and explore the rich culture and history of Casco Viejo – the old historic center of the city. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.