Also known as Colonial Panama, Casco Antiguo is the histor center of the capital. It is a charming district of narrow streets overlooked by flower bedecked balconies of two or three-storey houses. At its tip lies the French Plaza, a monument to the French builders of the Panama Canal, and the French Embassy. On the walkway around the momument, visitos have a fine view of the Amador Causeway, the Biodiversity Museum, the Bridge of the Americans and the skycraper skyline of Panama City to the east. A plaque on the walkway commemorates the firing of canon shots to drive away a Colombian warship and consolidate Panama’s independence from Colombia in 1903. To one side of the monument is an old Spanich structure called Las Bovedas, now home to an art gallery and French restaurant.
Some excellent museums, art craft shops, galleries and boutiques are found in Casco Viejo, including the Canal Museum, which traces Panama’s history as the route connecting Atlantic and Pacific from pre-Hispanic to modern times. Next door is the old cathedral that is under major renovation, with gleaming spires inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Neary is a small museum dedicated to religious art found in the old Santo Domingo monastery, where visitors will also see the famous Flat Arch, which reportedly helped convince engineers that Panama was earthquake safe country. You can also walk towards the SAn Jose Cathedral or the beautiful Golden Altar, intricately carved of wood and gilded with gold. Another building that you should not miss is the Presidential Palace, which can be toured on Sundays.
If you visit Casco Antiguo at night is totally a different vibe, full of cafes, bars and excellent restaurants. Don´t miss the opportunity to discover more about Panama’s history and book a biking tour to Casco Viejo with one of our history expert guides.