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Casco Viejo – the old town of Panama City (Part 1)

Casco Viejo is a fascinating historic district, rich in history, culture and attractions.

On my first visit it almost felt like I had stumbled out of a time machine and landed in the 17th century.

The neighborhood was founded in 1673 after the original city, Panama Viejo, was destroyed by pirates.

The narrow, winding streets with the magnificent palaces and colonial-style mansions captivated me. When I closed my eyes for a moment, I could imagine what happened in this place 300 years ago.

The churches

In addition to the many magnificent buildings in the old town, there are some impressive churches. My first visit was to the Cathedral of Panama.

The colonial architecture and art is also reflected here. The large altar is covered with gold leaf and is considered one of the most magnificent in all of Latin America.

In the church of San Felipe Neri there is a small treasure hidden in a back room. A breathtaking nativity scene, an artistic representation of the Christmas story, is revealed behind a protective glass wall. Every figure, every building and every element was designed with great care and attention to detail.

Restaurants and cafes

Casco Viejo offers a wealth of restaurants, bars and cafes. Whether Panamanian delicacies or international cuisine in a charming ambience, you can find it all here.

I liked a certain restaurant so I ate there a second time.

A 17th-century Jesuit monastery was recently transformed into a stylish hotel. The tastefully restored lounges now house one of the 5 in-house restaurants. A small but nice menu invites you to breakfast or lunch at El Santuario.

I love sitting at a bar counter and watching the bartenders work. I was truly rewarded at the Exilio Bar. In the room where the bar is located today, the Jesuits most likely lived and taught over 250 years ago, before they were expelled by a secret exile order from King Carlos III. were banished from Spain.

Exquisite wines, good cocktails and various types of beer are served to guests.

There are also less exclusive but still cozy cafes and restaurants in the old town. Finca del Mar is a popular choice for both tourists and locals. The picturesque terrace between old stone walls and traditional decor creates a warm atmosphere and invites you to enjoy and linger.

As far as I can remember, I drank my first Cuba Libre here ;-)

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