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24 hours in Casco Viejo, Panama City (Page 2)

Casco Viejo homes © Craig FastRestaurants
Mama Chifa serves up the best lunch in the old town (from 11am to 1pm – err on the side of earliness to make sure you don’t miss out), a fact well known by the government workers who flock to her simple restaurant on Calle 4, just past Plaza Bolivar. You get what you’re given, which is invariably tasty and budget friendly.

For a macabre dinner, try Las Bóvedas, a restaurant in the former dungeons. Prisoners of the Spanish were shackled and drowned by the slowly rising tide here.

Popular Manolo Caracol, Calle 3 at Avenida Central Sur, serves up a tide of tapas for US$20 (dinner) or US$15 for lunch.

Otherwise stroll to Plaza Bolivar for food with a charming view of the square. Casablanca offers good value food with friendly service.

Former Union Club © Emma FieldNightlife
Head to the Former Union Club, Calle 3, for clubbing with a neoclassical twist. Built in 1917, the building was destroyed in 1989 during the US invasion of Panama, when it was a club used by Panamanian Defense Forces. Nowadays the open-air ruins are a cool art gallery, rocking nightclub venue and, most famously, the location of the charity event scene in 2008 James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. Plus, it boasts Casco Viejo’s best views of the modern Panama City skyline.

For a more laid-back night out, visit Platea, a jazz bar just across the street.

Money
City insiders know the only ATM in Casco Viejo is located in the Minsterio de Relaciones Exeriores, Palacio Bolivar. Don’t be intimidated by the caged door and security – this ATM is for everyone in the know to use.

Other resources

Check out www.thepanamareport.com for more insider info on the best places to eat, sleep and see, alongside informative pieces and musings on Panamanian culture, history and the ex-pat lifestyle.

Related features and images
Feature: How to travel between Colombia and Panama
Images of Panama
Video: Cycling on Bocas del Toro, Panama

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Overland Traveller copyright © Emma Field 2010