Last time I went from Boquete Panama to the big city I stayed at the Decapolis, a nice four star hotel. This time I went to the other extreme, no stars, a hostel in the Casco Viejo district of Panama City.
Casco Viejo is an area of Panama City rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of old Panama. The area is an island of beautiful restored building in a UNESCO world heritage site. The restoration centers on the Republic’s governmental center and expands outward a few blocks, not too much. It is becoming a artistic, cultural and performance center for the city.
We stayed in Hospedaje Casco Viejo, my daughter selected based on a guide book recommendation, it then unselected it but failed to tell me. We arrived about 2 am after a very late Delta flight from Atlanta and found the staff accommodating, the rooms spartan and the venue on the fringe of safety.
We were woken early by the sounds of construction, both the hostel and building next door are being renovated.
The church across the way was doing early morning meals right along the coast.
We stayed two nights, my private room for two with a private bath, cold water only, was $36, theirs with a shared bath a little less. I stayed alone but need to pay for two.
There were two redeeming things about the Hostel, the fascinating people from around the world and age spectrum staying there and the location. We were two blocks from fine restaurants and beautiful historical buildings. Unfortunately one of the policemen guarding the Presidential compound suggested even those two blocks were unsafe to walk at night.
Caso Viejo is on the edge of happening, hopefully the island of beauty and security will grow in time.