One of the places that I miss terribly back in Panama is Casco Viejo, the old city. During the past several years, this area has really experienced a sort of renaissance. Old buildings are slowly being restored, new restaurants have opened up in old spaces, and a handful of boutique hotels have opened. Although the area is visited by tourists, it still remains an every day hang out for locals.
Casco viejo feels like a world apart from the modern city scape. It’s full of street vendors, unique shops, trendy restaurants, art galleries, and a few food carts sprinkled here and there. What is most amazing, is the the view of the sea as you stroll along.
The American Trade Hotel, an Ace hotel, has been open a little more than a year. Not only is it in a great location, it also offers a number of amenities which include an intimate pool, a gorgeous restaurant aptly named “the dinning room,” a lobby cafe and bar, a coffee shop that exclusively features Panamanian coffees, and an exquisite jazz club.
You could spend days lounging around the pool, feasting on local food, enjoying cocktails in between meals, and staying up late going to jazz performances.
Their brunch is fantastic, and they even accommodate gluten free diners. What to do after a leisurely brunch? Go for a taste of local coffee at Cafe Unido. Sit at one of the many courtyards to enjoy, or take a stroll in the old city to take in its colorful charm.
Hope these photos take you on a mini-vacation to Panama’s old city from the comfort of your desk. Beware—do not scroll down if you are hungry.