SOOO.... Guess what?! After I posted yesterday's article, my friend contacted me to tell me that some other friends of ours that I met through her, who are Panamanian (and are engaged), just bought an apartment in the Casco Viejo neighborhood and are getting married at the Ace Hotel in Panama this January!! Woah. Can you even get over that coincidence? I cannot. R + C, if you're reading this congrats and best wishes!
So, as promised, I was going to drag out my Panama recap for as long as I think you can stand. And I am NOT one to shirk on my promises. Therefore, today I am going to talk about my personal experience in the Casco Antiguo district and tomorrow, will give y'all a debrief on my experience in another part of the country, Bocas Del Toro - NOT TO BE MISSED!
When we went (to Panama City), we stayed in a vacation rental that I found on VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner) and I have absolutely no complaints. The apartment was economical, nice and centrally located. When we arrived from the airport to the neighborhood, the guy we had booked with came to meet us and on the way to our "rental" bought us the most delicious banana bread I've ever had (second to my mom's, of course) from a street vendor walking around selling banana bread. I'll have you know I am quite a banana bread connoisseur, so this moment was HUGE for me. It's probably safe to say that set the stage for my whole experience because in my version of heaven, there will be people s̶e̶l̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ handing out banana bread. There were also vendors walking around selling Panama hats which really made you feel as though you were in a different land. To be fair, I think Panama hats are the sexiest of brimmed hats, so I may be biased.
Yeah, no surprise there.
The district has this adorable gazebo in the middle of the main square, that oozes quaintness. Many of the restaurants are situation around the plaza of the neighborhood/town square and have outdoor seating. It is an ideal set up for an afternoon beverage (or "(Insert day of the week here) Funday" if you're like me ;). There are also street walking around selling Sno-Cones during the daytime, and that's a good thing not only because sno cones are awesome but also because it can get as hot as the dickens there and a Sno-Cone starts looking like the difference between survival and perishment.
Um yes... we did go see the Panama Canal while we there because, you at least have to see it. But it wasn't something to base a whole trip around, by any means. I think that's pretty much all I really need to say about it.
Unfortunately we didn't really spend much time outside of the Casco area while we were in Panama City, and I definitely wish we had because it is quite the burgeoning metropolis but yet another reason to go back. You can see the city from "across the bay" however, while you are in the Casco Viejo neighborhood, which is pretty spectacular.
.... And that concludes my editorial on the Casco Viejo district in Panama City, Panama. If I haven't convinced you to want to go by now, it's hopeless ;).
Come back tomorrow for the final day of Panama Pandemonium!
(Teaser: Colorful thatched cottages in the middle of the Caribbean Sea).