Panama City Old Town “Casco Antiguo” #NMCLaborDay
Getting to the hotel around 4pm, we knew that we wanted to be in bed by around 9pm to get some good sleep. Since we didn’t have that much time to explore, the old town of Panama seemed like the best bet to pass a few hours.
The old town started in the early 1500’s until the late 1600’s, for over 150 years. It was set ablaze and a new city was build. It’s full of centuries old architecture. It’s been well maintained and restored, and offers some great restaurants, souvenir shopping, and options for street food. Mmm street food…
The old town butts up against the water and is surround by the Cinta Costera highway.
When you go, make sure to get a raspado or “Raspao”. It’s basically shaved ice, but you can add a flavor, malted milk, and some other special secret sauce that I didn’t get to ask what it was. It looked like a soy sauce consistency and color, but it was sweet.
It may not look it, but it was hot and humid, so we kept ducking in and out of the shade, trying to find some refuge from the hot sun.
There was a cute group of teenagers doing a video, in English, so we stopped to talk to them. They were doing videos for their school class, encouraging people to come check out Panama and all the old town city center had to offer. I considered this a NoMasCoach/Panamanian culture exchange.
Walking from the city center just a few blocks north you’ll run into the Mercado de Mariscos, or the Seafood Market. Created in 1995 with the help of the Japanese Government, it is a center for tons of fresh fish that comes in from the small boats every day.
There are about 12-15 restaurants that line the front of the market, and most offer the same things. You can get anything from a whole fried fish for around $15-20 or go the route that we did, Ceviche!
We had three kinds: corvina, octopus, and a mixture with patacones (the yellow things in the picture).
On a hot day, nothing complimented it better than a cold Panamá beer.
Beer = $1.25
Ceviche = $1.50 and $2.25
Patacones with Ceviche = $6.00
Best dinner we’ve had in a long time.
And if you wanted something for dessert, don’t worry. There are tons of Raspado trolleys going throughout the market at all times. That’ll run you another $1.00. I dare you to find something that tasty and cheap anywhere in the USA!
A quick jump onto the Wi-Fi from one of the neighboring restaurants and we had our Uber Edwin on the way. Total cost for the ride home, $2.65.
There are lots of tours available from travel companies to the Casco Viejo for a lot of money, but if you’re smart with your travel and branch out a little bit on your own, you can save tons of money and enjoy a great time in an amazing city.