Old Panama/New Panama


I have been in Panama City or simply Panama as Panamanians refer to it for almost a week.  I have been exploring the city by bus, by foot and by taxi.  Taxis are typically US$2-3 to most parts of the city.

Panama is a global crossroads and was long before the Canal was built.  For the Spaniards it was a crucial area through which they transported plundered gold from Peru.  To the 49ers and Klondikers it was a route to the goldfields of California and Alaska.


Ruins of Old Panama


In 1671 the Welsh pirate Henry Morgan sacked and burned the city to the ground.  The Spaniards rebuilt on a rocky peninsula called Casco Viejo which they felt was easier to defend.  Centuries later, as the city expanded, Casco Viejo deteriorated into a slum; but in resent years there has been a great deal of restoration going on.  The entire Casco Viejo is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This is where I have been staying.  It is architecturally interesting and probably what Walt had in mind when he built Pirates of the Carribean.  You can walk everywhere.


Casco Viejo


Casco Viejo


National Theater, Casco Viejo


Today,Panama is a complex cosmopolitan city where virtually every global bank and corporation of any significance has a presence (and often a skyscraper).  A contruction boom is in full progress. There is vibrant nightlife, lots of traffic, some fine restaurants and a mall that is more chic than anything I have seen in the states.


Panama City Contruction Boom


Panama City Skyline


This is Panama!  It is restoring the old and builing the new at an unbelieveable pace.  Thanks for stopping by.

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2 Responses to Old Panama/New Panama

  1. Stephanie March 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Casco Viejo was my favorite area of Panama City. It won’t be long before the government finds a reason to kick out the remainder of the people that still live in the old run-down buildings, so everything can be renovated. If you are still in Panama City, I suggest having a mojito at a bar called Havana Club. They make it with sugarcane and actually put a piece of sugarcane in it that you can chew on. Unbelievable!

    • admin March 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

      Havana Club was great. There is also a Havana Club in the old part of Cartagena (no relation I am sure) with live salsa until about 4 am. It’s right down the street from most of the hostels.

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