A writer for Forbes set out to list the coolest neighborhoods in the world, the areas in great cities that have maintained their authenticity and charm, with being overrun by tourists. She narrowed it down to 12 neighborhoods, including Panama City’s famed Casco Viejo, the city’s beautifully restored old city.
Writer Ann Abel started out with set criteria. She was looking for neighborhoods with a special energy and buzz, not the “tourist-trodden neighborhoods” with the big museums and attractions.
“What’s more interesting is discovering the up-and-coming neighborhoods where local creatives are settling in and setting up shop,” she wrote.
To compile her list, she reached out to a variety of travel experts, who waded in with their picks, which included Barcelona’s Sants, Amsterdam Noord, the Navy Yard in Washington D.C., Keramikos in Athens and Getsemani in Cartagena.
Casco Viejo was singled out by Melissa Biggs Bradley, the founder of luxury travel company Indagare.
“The neighborhood buzzes with restoration and new openings, as the developers tackle building after colonial building,” Biggs Bradley told Forbes.
The article notes Casco Viejo checkered history and its amazing restoration in recent years, which has turned a once-seedy area into a magnet for hip restaurants and hotels. The stairway in the American Trade Hotel includes wallpaper with graffiti from once-abandoned buildings in the area.
“The fact that gritty gang slogans are today used as decoration in a designer hotel goes to show just how far Casco Viejo has come,” Biggs Bradley said.