Step into the Past at Casco Viejo: Panama's Oceanfront Old Town--
The historic district of Casco Viejo, also known as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe, is a corner of the harbor in Panama City that boasts a rich history dating back to the 16th century. Founded in 1519 by Pedro Arias de Avila, Panama City was once a crucial hub for the transport of gold from Peru to Spain. For over 150 years, gold was carried overland to the Caribbean and then shipped to Spain, making Panama City an important center of trade and commerce. In 1671, privateer Captain Henry Morgan and his 1,500 men sacked and burned Panama City, including the original city in Casco Viejo. But the city rose from its ashes and was rebuilt, and today, Casco Viejo is a popular tourist destination, known for its charming and well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture.
Casco Viejo is referred to as the Historic District of Panama and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognized for its unique blend of cultural and historical significance. Its red-bricked streets are lined with a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops, offering visitors a glimpse into the city's rich history and cultural heritage. The Spanish-colonial style architecture, with its ornate facades, iron balconies, and cobblestone streets, creates a distinct atmosphere that feels like a lifetime away from the modern, fast-paced parts of Panama City.
In recent years, Casco Viejo has become one of the hippest neighborhoods in the city, attracting young professionals and tourists alike. The 2.5-kilometer marine viaduct encircling the historic district provides stunning views of Casco Viejo and its surroundings, making it an ideal spot for photography. The Plaza Simón Bolívar square is a popular gathering spot, with several outdoor restaurants and rooftop patios offering a variety of dining options.
Casco Viejo is a must-visit for anyone interested in history, culture, and architecture. Its rich heritage, combined with its modern, vibrant atmosphere, make it a unique and fascinating destination. Whether you're a history buff, a culture lover, or simply looking for a unique travel experience, Casco Viejo is sure to impress. So, take a step back in time and immerse yourself in the charm and beauty of one of Panama City's most historic and picturesque neighborhoods.