Taking In Panama City’s Rustic Zone

As long as you have a fan blowing on you, the best time to stay inside your wifi-equipped accommodation is in the blazing afternoon.

I realize this in hindsight and keep trying to correct my mistake. I love to wake up at dawn.   At this time and for a few hours after; gentle, tropical winds cool the air, providing for an ideal temperature.

One day I actually made it up and out early. I came across people  who were out working in the early morning.

I wondered what the construction guys, the bottle collector, or the women walking in professional attire thought of me as I engaged in my new pastime of pointing and clicking. I wondered if these people felt an underlying envy. I wondered if they thought that I was fortunate to be in another land, taking pictures of their partly pristine and partially dilapidated city zone. 

I pondered:  In their eyes, am I just another wealthy foreigner who has time and money to burn? Or are these people so desensitized from seeing tourists daily that these hypothetical thoughts of mine don’t exist in their minds?

I felt that these streets and buildings were begging to be photographed.

The French, Spanish and Caribbean vibes of Casco Viejo’s avenues and architecture are a photographing drifter’s dream.

Vicariously stepping back centuries, I was absorbed by the charming calles and avenidas.

I thought: If I were to faint or pass out in this old town, then awaken and forget where I am, I’d guess I was in Havana, a place I’ve only seen in pictures.  Could I be experiencing Déjà vu from a past life?

Casco Viejo also reminds me of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, a place where I was fortunate to visit once.


The small peninsula of Casco Viejo is a part of modern-day Panama City. It was originally built in 1519, making it the oldest city on the Pacific side of the Americas. Also referred to as Casco Antiguo, the city was rebuilt after being ransacked and burned in 1671 by the Welsh pirate Henry Morgan.

Some parts of the city are decayed from wear and neglect. However, this area has become gentrified as of late. Much of what hasn’t been renovated is being worked on. There is a sizable budget to keep restoring.  This ensures that Casco Viejo will remain surreal.

This is one picturesque option for leaving Casco Viejo.

I didn’t anticipate that I’d spend five nights at the popular Hospedaje Casco Viejo.  The setting from my window was so comfortable.  I love the old-urban style feel there.

The price was right at $15(it’s since gone up to $18) a night for a private room with shared bath down the hall.  This includes quality coffee all morning as the owner loves his Joe.  Another small perk is a breakfast of bananas and peanut butter and jelly on white rolls.   Like any preferred place, they provide wifi for their guests.  I even had an OK connection in my room.

Of the two top windows, the one on the right is from the room where I stayed.

There is a church directly across the street from the Hospedaje. This is the view directly across from my window. It was soothing to wake up last Sunday morning listening to live tropical church music and singing.  

This is another view from my window.

I’ll leave you with the final view from my window. Here you see the ice-cream man and the homeless man.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. The fifth one down is amazing! What a view!

    Reply

  2. Great pics!

    Reply

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