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24 hours in Casco Viejo, Panama City

Plaza Bolivar © Craig FastPanama City’s old town, Casco Viejo, is a captivating den of historic buildings and European-style plazas imbued with over three centuries of atmosphere and intrigue. As the first European settlement on the Pacific coast, Casco Viejo has enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage status since 2003.

Decades of decay are being put to rights by an extensive restoration programme, meaning classy hotels sit alongside crumbling shells of once-grand houses and braceleted women from the Kuna tribe sell their colourful wares outside shiny shops blasting air conditioning.

Go now before mass tourism latches on to what will undoubtedly soon become one of the most popular city break destinations in the Americas.

Panama City skyline from Casca Viejo © Emma FieldAttractions

Accommodation
Eschew the usual hotels and hostels in favour of the independence and flavour of local life offered by a luxury apartment. I stayed in the comfortable and centrally located Casa Sucre B&B but other top-quality apartments are available through Los Cuatro Tulipanes.

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Overland Traveller copyright © Emma Field 2010