Blogs from Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panamá, Panama, Central America Caribbean


Tom and I left Tennessee during the aftermath of he surprise January 2014 snowstorm. We shuttled the luggage to the Prius at the paved road, then Tom drove the truck (in 4WD with chains) the mile back to the house and walked back down to the road to join me. To avoid an early morning slip-n-n slide trip, we spent Friday night at the Hilton by the Knoxville airport and escaped on Feb 1 to Panama City -- the real one, not the one in Florida. We are staying in Casco Viejo (translates as "the old shell"), the second oldest section of the city. It was started by the Spanish in 1671 after the earliest section was destroyed by Henry Morgan. Yes THAT Morgan, who was a pirate, privateer or British admiral, depending on your point ... read more
My Favorite
Typical Caribbean Building
Also Typical

"I should never have listened to you," said Angela, my wife. "I knew this would happen. I just knew!" I wiped the sweat from my forehead and shook my T-shirt. A smidgeon of wind to cool myself down would be a welcome distraction from the heat and humidity of downtown Panama City. The street was busy, full of shops opening up for the day. I looked at the map and then at the street names around. Nothing matched up. We were lost and it was all my fault. Forty minutes earlier, after finishing breakfast, it had been my suggestion that we head outside for a quick wander around. I wanted to take a photo of a skyscraper I'd seen the previous evening. From the back seat of the taxi, the skyscraper had seemed close to our ... read more
Not the best look I've had...
Panama City
Panama City to Rio de Janeiro by Jason Smart

17th - 29th June Galapagos, Ecuador Surfing Sea Lions and Sneaky Surprises We arrived on the Galápagos Islands in the rain. We were full of big ideas and high expectations. We had heard tales of obscenely abundant wildlife, ridiculously sunny beaches and that it was affordable with a DIY approach. Unfortunately our first couple of days on Santa Cruz Island brought us grey clouds, lashings of rain and very few Kodak moment animal sightings. Hmmm, this was not what we had changed our flights and extended our trip for... Determined as ever we soaked up the prehistoric-esque pelicans that looked as though they had just flown out of a Quentin Blake illustration, and began to tick off the 'must dos' on the island. If we couldn't find animals hanging around in front of us, we'd have ... read more
Mangrove walkway
Kicker Rock
Marine iguana

When I was in graduate school at the University of Texas I made friends from all over the US. But our little group of structural engineers also included Alejandro, who was from Panama. Alejandro spoke perfect English and was a pretty sharp guy. We went on some good adventures back in those days, but after I graduated I moved to Las Vegas and Alejandro stayed around to get his PhD. We kept in touch though and when he told me he was moving back to Panama after he got his PhD I was eager to pay him a visit. Already planning a trip to Peru, I figured the best thing to do was stop in Panama for a few days on my way back to the US. I could get a nonstop flight from Panama City ... read more
Gates of the Canal
Passing Through the Canal
Me at the Canal

On the long journey from Ostional to the central capital we had decided that we'd skip the big city and take another long bus to the Caribbean coast and a beach side town called Cahuita. The journey was pretty spectacular, climbing and descending through deeply forested areas before reaching the flatter plains of the coast. We arrived after dark, but the hostel owner meeting us with his huge dog 'Scooby Doo' meant that we knew we'd made the right decision. Heading out into the town we immediately noticed a huge difference from the pacific side of the country. The Caribbean vibe was there in full flow, with reggae beats and dreadlocks the order of the evening. After a lay in we ventured out into Cahuita National Park and we weren't disappointed. The park stretched about 6 ... read more
Racoon - Cahuita
Scooby Doo
Starfish at Starfish Beach

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City » Casco Viejo November 10th 2012

We arrived to the panama shoreline and Gisbert gave us a lift to the town centre where we could get a bus into Panama city. There was a street parade going on and part of the road which the bus would go down was shut off, so we hiked a few Kms up road and hailed a bus which was heading in the right direction. It was a little under a £1! We checked into the hostel and headed to the panama canal. I turned into a geek for the next couple of hours as it was really quite facinating to see what a precicion operation the ships passing through undergo. there is only a 35 inch gap on either side so not much room to manouver at all!! Kate and i got some dinner and ... read more
old town
panama canal

Made it to Panama City! My last stop in central America. I'm staying in Casco Viejo, which is the "old town" region across the bay over looking the city's skyline. I was very surprised when I first saw this city. I don't feel like I am in Central America. It feels more like Miami with large skyscrapers, fancy shops, people from all over the world, and super nice houses & cars. Not to mention its hot and humid here. It's a very nice and lively big city where you can go out to clubs any night of the week and still get away with having meals for under $3. I've stayed a total of 5 nights in this city. Probably more than I have in any other city thus far. I'm staying at a place called ... read more
day time 2
casco viejo
the canal

I almost did not. It was looking like i might have ended up in Miami instead. My flight had arrived 20 minutes late and into terminal 24; i was leaving out of terminal 49. Slowed by a weighted back pack and a pair of flip flops i attempted to make a run for my plane which was deaprting in 10 minutes. Not making any headway, i stripped off the flip flops, chucked the bottle of water and ran my heart out. My years of yoga have done nothing for my cardio and I realized 7 minutes in I was completely out of shape. I was the last one to board as the door was closing. Now I was sweaty, dirty and hungry. My trip had started at 1am. We landed Panama city at 11:30 local time ... read more
Local indian culture
Across the river
my house in the mountains

After being forced to stay a night longer in Bocas del Toro we decided to make it a good night out. We still planned to get up at 5am the next morning and, together with our Norwegian co-travellers, catch the bus to Panama City. We made it a really great night out at Barco Hondido- a popular open air bar/club in Bocas with a "swimming pool". There we ran into a few people we met while travelling. After the bar closed we bought a few beer and sat down in the main square where some locals gathered to organise a spontanious live-concert, which unfortunatly got cut by the police. By that time it was 3am so we grabbed a quick bite and made a bet with the Norwegians, as we were convinced they wouldnt manage to ... read more
view from the rooftop swimming pool
view from the 62nd floor of the Trump Tower
Panama Canal

A combination of a cheap flight and a lifelong desire to see the Panama Canal resulted in us heading down to Panama City for our spring break. As Shauna wanted to relax at the beginning of the trip, we booked the first three days in at Coconut Lodge, which was just outside of the city. I was worried about the location, as it wasn't close to really anything. At least this way, I would have to relax… In all my years of travelling, I have never had quite the experience as I did here. While it bills itself as a B&B, it was really a B&B and resort combined. Right from the pickup at the airport to the free room upgrade and complimentary drink everything exceeded our expectations. We were the only guests there for our ... read more
License Plates
Red Diablo
Shoe Shine

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