I arrived in Panama a day before my Panama Relocation Tour started so I could spend some time in Panama City. I was really looking forward to exploring this totally new city in a totally new country.
Panama City is huge! Almost half the population of the country’s 3.6 million people live there. It is a thriving, high-energy city with explosive job growth. It was fun to imagine being in my 20s or 30s and staying to make my fortune.
I took a taxi from the hotel to the Old Town (Casco Viejo or Casco Antiguo) area. I went by the contemporary F&F Tower (also called the screw building):
There was construction everywhere:
Panama’s sidewalks are filled with sudden steps and ramps and elevation changes, mostly unmarked, and you have to look sharp everywhere you go. I took the picture below just before I managed to fall, within only a half hour of starting my Old Town exploring. There was a step there that I just didn’t see. Fortunately I didn’t hurt myself badly and my brand new camera was fine.
Old Town or Casco Viejo dates back to 1673. It is a fascinating mix of shabby colonial building facades and sleek finished renovations with modern, air conditioned and sophisticated designs.
This was one of the many building shells that were awaiting renovation:
I definitely saw the possibilities in this building:
Some of the beautifully renovated areas:
As is typical in an older area of a city, streets were narrow:
Gorgeous tile work:
Compañía de Jesús, the ruins of an ancient convent:
View of Old Town from the Cinta Costera Highway that surrounds it:
View of Panama City and Cinta Costera Highway from Old Town:
The heat was brutal. The morning wasn’t bad, but the weather got hotter and more humid throughout the day, and there were short episodes of intense rain. The extreme heat and threatening rain became too much for me, so I headed back to the hotel by 3 pm to enjoy the cool comfort of my hotel room until dinner.