Casco Viejo is a unique location to stay in Panama City, Panama if you want to be steps away from the city’s best restaurants, nightlife & things to do.
Casco Viejo (also called Casco Antiguo) is my favorite neighborhood in Panama City, and I recommend staying in this area if you can. Whenever I’m giving tours people often wish they had chosen to stay here instead. It’s a stark contrast from Panama City’s chaotic metropolis and instantly feels like you have traveled to an entirely different world, even though it’s only a few minutes away.
Casco is a mix of restored Spanish colonial buildings that are now boutique hotels & hostels, apartments, trendy bars, and restaurants. Interspersed between these are condemned buildings where a few local families live that proudly blast their music all day, with their windows and doors wide open, and a good view of what they are watching on their huge flat screen TV.
Why Stay In Casco?
Ambiance: You will fall in love with Casco’s laid-back brick streets, beautiful architecture, and authentic local feel.
Food: At the time of this post, there are over 70 places to eat in Casco Viejo, and they are continuously converting ruins into restaurants. If you’re a foodie, this is the ultimate place to stay and a few must-try spots include Donde José, L’Osteria, and Caliope. You’re also just a 10-minute walk away from the freshest seafood at the Mercado de Mariscos.
Nightlife: Besides a few spots, the majority of the nightlife in Panama City is now in Casco Viejo. This is where the locals come to party and if you want to experience the nightlife this is where you need to be. Staying in Casco Viejo means you are steps away from the action and can quickly stumble back to your hotel at 4 am when the bars close.
Downsides: Hence the nightlife, it can be noisy on the weekends so if this is an issue for you be sure to read user reviews carefully for comments about the noise level at the below hotels. Also, a few of the places I mention have swimming pools but they are small and not standard to have in Casco Viejo. If you want to spend the day at one of the luxurious city pools, they are pretty easy to sneak into.
Where To Stay…
From budget backpacker hostels to luxurious boutique hotels, the Casco Viejo lifestyle can fit any budget. Here are my top picks on where to stay in Panama City’s coolest neighborhood.
The Villa Palma Boutique Hotel is elegantly decorated and one of the best values for luxury accommodation in Casco Viejo. It’s also located away from any noisy establishments so you can actually get some sleep if that’s what you’re after. From $120/night*
Average Rating 8.9 | BOOK NOW
Luna’s Castle is located at the entrance of Casco Viejo, so you’re surrounded by Panama City’s top bars and restaurants, and you have the city’s coolest underground bar located downstairs. Also one of the most favorite spots to stay for backpackers, so it’s great place to meet people. Dorms from $13 / night, Privates from $34 / night*
Average Rating 8.3 | BOOK NOW
The Magnolia Inn a luxury hostel and hotel located in the heart of Casco Viejo, and it’s best for if you want an affordable and nice hostel to stay in Casco Viejo without the party atmosphere that Luna’s Castle has. Each bed even has its own plug and wall lamp! Dorms from $15 / night, Hotel Rooms from $90 / night*
Average Rating 8.9 | BOOK NOW
Swimming pools are hard to come by in this historic sector of the city, so it’s exciting when a hotel offers this amenity. The American Trade Hotel is one of the few spots in Casco with a pool so you can spend the day meandering through the charming streets and then relax in the pool before a fun night out – plus the hotel is gorgeous. From $209 / night*
Average Rating 9.0 | BOOK NOW
Average Rating 8.6 | BOOK NOW
Nice budget boutique hotel located right at the entrance of Casco Viejo so you’re near lots of restaurants and nightlife. Also features a rooftop bar view a view of the Panama City skyline. From $70 / night*
Average Rating 6.9 | BOOK NOW
Experience luxury living in Casco Viejo. Rooms come with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and Netflix access. All suites include a seating area and kitchen, and some units have access to a small swimming pool with sea and city views. Guests can benefit from 24-hour concierge assistance, full spa services, massage, a gourmet chef that cooks in their suite, a food shopping service, and a driver. They even offer a smartphone for you to use in Panama. From $250 / night*
Average Rating 9.3 | BOOK NOW
The studio apartment comes equipped with a full kitchen, and you have access to the rooftop pool which is an excellent area to relax and enjoy the views of the city and Plaza Bolivar. Overall this is an excellent deal if you want to stay in a small apartment with pool access in Casco Viejo. From $91 / night*
Average Rating 9.1 | BOOK NOW
Featuring free à-la-carte breakfast, an amazing coffee house, and a balcony- Casa Sucre Boutique Hotel is an ideal choice for travelers looking for a relaxed and quiet place to stay in Casco Viejo. From $170 / night*
Average Rating 8.6 | BOOK NOW
A budget-friendly boutique hotel in Casco Viejo that comes equipped with a swimming pool. The pool is tiny, but it is on the rooftop, so you have excellent views of Casco’s rooftops and the Panama City skyline.
Average Rating 7.9 | BOOK NOW
*Hotel rates may vary based on season and availability. This post contains affiliate links, and if you go on to book one of the above hotel rooms, I will be paid a small commission. I spent a lot of time researching, going to these hotels, and using my knowledge of the neighborhoods in Panama City, so all opinions above are my own and were not influenced by any of the hotels. However, by clicking BOOK NOW, your cost will be the same or maybe even less than booking directly with the hotels.