Casco Antiguo Insider Tour
By an insider
Historic Casco Antiguo Tour
Did you ever think about visiting an old part of a city but seeing what is alive, lively, and trendy in that “old town”? Our Casco Antiguo tour will show you just that. “Casco Antiguo”, Panama is also known as “Casco Viejo” if you have been looking for it on a map.
Yes, we spend some time in the past, but just enough to understand the present and move to the future.
Instead of similar to the days of the past of riding the streets in a carriage and not having to worry about a Spanish invasion, today we ride the toktok (just arrived from India) and start with coffee at a renovated bed and breakfast coffee shop sipping Panama coffee called Luna (because it is planted and harvested based on the cycles of the moon). It is one of Panama’s award-winning coffees.
Here we sit in the cozy corner and we will cover the phases of what “Casco” was by understanding the history of the building where we are having coffee. History is meant to be lived not just observed. (Here we have pictures of what it was at its origin, then pictures of its next phase, followed by all the pictures of renovation, and now sitting in the final product in the present.
We will get in our toktok and begin understanding more of the past by visiting the oldest wall that once protected the city.
This wall is next to the newly renovated American Trade Hotel. We will go inside the beautiful hotel and learn about its grand past as well as its past of crime and street fitting. Because this is a Casco Insider tour you will be able to see some of the unique memories pasted on the wall and not always open to the public.
Modern and Trendy “Casco Viejo”
We look at the trendy Jazz Club and the Danilo Pérez Jazz School.
Walk to the Golden Altar……then picked up by toktok and tour the ruins and churches.
They drop us at a million dollar business (the figures that are created for the floats) and then we walk around the plaza and visit the Panama Canal Museum.
A block away is a thriving Super Gourmet where you see the local life and some of the best Panamanian organic products, AND something to eat or drink.
Then on to seeing the VIP shop run by the mother of a former gang member, and Santa Familia (usually never on a tour), a former convent now home to many local activities, Pots to Plants, Streamer Dancing, gym, training for women to enter the workforce and leave poverty behind. It will be renovated within the next several years and become a trendy hotel.
We then take toktoks to the “Presidential Palace”….called “Palance of the Herons” and we walk to Plaza Bolivar, the Teatro Nacional, along the street by what used to be the Club Union, Platea (the jazz, salsa, rock place), Villa Palma (the hotel that is a showroom for Italian furniture), and up the steps along the seawall and to the Spanish museum and the La Terraza for drinks.
From here…..Las Bovedas the toktok picks us up and returns you to your hotel.
At Christmas, a very special tour of one of the most extensive displays of Nativity scenes in the whole world – very rarely open but as a Casco Insider Tour it can be arranged with proper notice. This is not only one of the most extensive in the world but the scenes come from most countries in the world.
This post is also available in: Spanish