Panama City’s Casco Antiguo: A Neighborhood in Transition

Whether you call it the Casco Viejo or Casco Antiguo, Panama City’s most historic surviving neighborhood is an architectural treat for the eyes. After Panama La Vieja, the original settlement, was attacked and deserted in the 17th century, the city’s residents moved just a few miles away, founding this area in 1673.

Today, the Casco Antiguo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must-see for visitors. It’s a neighborhood in transition, where long-neglected structures are finding new life as development surges throughout the city (some locals are concerned now about plans to extend the Cinta Costera highway around the perimeter of the neighborhood, which would block off the district from the ocean and likely ruin some views). New hotels, upscale shops, gourmet restaurants and elegant bars are popping up, and streets are being repaved.

These are a few of my favorite photos from my most recent trip. And don’t be fooled by the run-down facades and empty shells. Most of these structures are actually in the process of renovation. This is a neighborhood in transition.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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