Casco Viejo is a combination of Colonial Spanish architecture and Caribbean living. Casco Viejo is located at the mouth of the Panama Canal, and is the oldest city in Central America. The “Old Part,” also known as Casco Antiguo or the San Felipe district, is the most colorful part of Panama City. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1997. It’s a city within the city, and one from a different age. Highlights of the area include the Iglesia de San Jose (also called the Church of the Golden Altar), Plaza de la Independencia, Plaza de Francia, Plaza Bolivar, the area around the Palacio de las Garzas, and the Arco Chato, also known as the Flat Arch. Also Not to be missed is the Presidential Palace complex. It is still the presidential palace so it is very heavily guarded.
The majestic Catedral Metropolitano, consecrated in 1798, faces an equally-inviting plaza where Panama’s Declaration of Independence was signed. Three of the bells from the Cathedral’s tower still survive.
You walk through history when you walk through Casco Viejo. Buildings in the area sitting side by side can be over 300 years apart in age! There is clutter on the balconies, cloths hanging out on lines, vines and flowers planted in planters over 200 years old. Everything seems to blend in well together, even thought the buildings are from different eras. The roads are all brick, and all end at the sea. Casco Viejo is surrounded by sea as it is a peninsula. There are many plazas strewn around the area, similar to the famous plazas dotted all over Italy and Spain. Statues of forgone heroes stand in the center of some of these plazas, a memento of days past.
The government recently implemented incentives for purchasers to buy a property in Casco Viejo. The buildings were in danger of become obsolete as there had been no upgrades in many many years. The area was in a steep decline. Now you can see the beauty of the area as new buyers restore the wonderful building to their once grand style. Please visit Escape Artist for more information on the incentives offered.