Striking contrast than that offered by Panama City. On the one hand the modernity of the capital which is displayed in the forests of skyscrapers at the vertiginous height, on the other the crazy charm of the old buildings of the neighborhoods with a rich history past. Casco Antiguo catches the attention of travelers in search of authenticity. Located at the foot of the Ancón hill, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the historic heart of Casco Viejo – its second name – has been regaining its former splendour for two decades. Classified since 1997 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the subject of all attention in the rehabilitation of buildings.
The paving of the streets has been preserved as well as the layout of the checkerboard district which has not changed since the seventeenth century. The Spanish colonial architecture of more than three hundred years, the buildings of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century under Caribbean, French, American influences, are the witnesses of bold stylistic mixtures. The buildings with facades decorated with wrought iron balconies have been adorned with blue, green, yellow, white ... The postcard effect is undeniable and the charm operates with visitors who stroll through the alleys offering themselves an immersion in past centuries.
A new jewel, the work of Panamanian Manuel Choy
The Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo – sixth in the Accor group's Sofitel Legend collection – has just been completely renovated. Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo
The perfect base to discover it is the brand new Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo – sixth in the Sofitel Legend collection of the Accor group – in place of a building that housed the Club Unión built in 1917. The colonial façade on the street has been preserved, here it is now flanked by buildings whose architecture has taken up the colonial style. The new jewel, the work of Panamanian Manuel Choy, demonstrates how brilliantly the reinterpretation of colonial architecture can be achieved. The hotel is surrounded by the sea: the terraces, the swimming pool, the rooftop and most of the 159 rooms and suites open onto the Pacific. Offshore, the bridge of the Cinta Costera 3 surrounds the bay and allows you to go to the Calzada de Amador where the Biomuseo designed by the architect Frank Gehry is located. The museum dedicated to biodiversity raises awareness of the challenges of preserving fauna and flora.
Head for Plaza de Francia, turn left as you leave the hotel. The square with obelisk surmounted by a rooster was redeveloped in 1922 and pays tribute to the French who worked since 1880 to pierce the isthmus. In vain, since it was the Americans who resumed the work and completed the construction of the canal in 1914. Get lost in the alleys, watch the sunset of the beautiful beach El Tuco, treat yourself to a cup of Geisha coffee (one of the most expensive coffees in the world) with a strong flavor, have a drink on a rooftop, taste a ceviche, buy natural cosmetics ... So many trendy and trendy places where the welcome is adorable. And for a sharp cocktail, look for the speakeasy at the Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo. Hints: its name is Arcano, it is located in the floors.
The Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo offers rooms starting from €317 for a Superior 1 King View Plaza, €543 for a Prestige Ocean View.
EAT, HAVE A DRINK
The Caleta restaurant, located within the Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo hotel and led by Italian Executive Chef Lorenzo Di Gravio, serves marine cuisine with Mediterranean influences. About 30 € a dish.
Lunch at the Fonda Lo Que Hay restaurant to discover the cuisine of sharing with local ingredients. About 15 € a ceviche.
Enjoy a Geisha coffee at Sisu Coffee Studio. 10 € per cup.
Have a drink on the rooftop of Casacasco. 15 € the cocktail.
Museum of La Mola, MuMo.