Last summer, our duo of Island Interns shared the story of their first night in Casco Viejo, one of Panama City’s most culturally eclectic and historically vibrant sectors. Casco Viejo (alternately known as Casco Antiguo) springs to life at night to host people from around the world. After a year of living in Panama I still feel that there’s no better place to take in Panama City than during a nighttime stroll through the streets of Casco.
Whether you’re making a move to Panama or just visiting for a week’s vacation, the nightlife in Casco Viejo is one of our top recommendations for Panamanian experiences not to be missed. Take a stroll through open-air art galleries and stumble upon impromptu concerts held in the shadows of ancient ruins.
On any given evening you might meet people from 5 different countries and learn how to order a drink in all of their native tongues (but of course, there’s always the universally-understood empty glass).
My favorite itinerary in Casco Viejo favors a slow pace and meandering path, so give yourself a full evening to discover this neighborhood’s varied delights!
The best way to begin a night out in Casco Viejo is with an al fresco dinner. Choose any one of the many attractive options with outdoor seating for unparalleled ambience. My current favorites: Manolo Caracol and Puerta de la Tierra. Sit back, relax, and relish your meal with liesurely enjoyment, watching the locals emerging from the multicolored facades of their homes as they set out on evening walks. Candlelit tables and the sound of the sea contribute timeless feelings of romance to your dining experience as you partake in the catch of the day or savory ropa vieja, a Panamanian classic.
Next, amble down the waterfront promenade heading towards the sound of the ocean. It’s impossible not to gasp at the stunning view of the modern skyline juxtaposed with the ancient city, striking a gorgeous contrast that begs to be photographed.
When you’re able to tear your eyes away, it’s time for a nightcap. Havana Club makes the best mojitos in Casco Viejo and hums with an ever-lively crowd. Or head to Las Bovidas along the water for an elegant, breezy atmosphere and perfect finishing touch to the night.
These are all just suggestions, of course, because with hundreds of hidden locales in Casco Viejo, you can chance upon a new favorite spot daily. The siren song of Casco Viejo is the promise that no two nights are ever the same, even if excellent cuisine and one-of-a-kind, authentically Panamanian experiences are a given.