Presidential Palace (Palacio De Las Garzas)
Palacio de Las Garzas is the official residence of the President of Panama. It was named after resident African herons, which were brought as a gift in 1922 following final renovations of the palace under President Belisario Porras.
The Panama Canal Museum is located in a beautifully restored building that dates back to 1874. It was originally used as the office of the French Canal Company and the U.S. Isthmian Canal Commission. Today the museum is dedicated to the history and construction of the Panama Canal.
Las Bóvedas Monument
National Theater (Teatro Nacional)
The National Theater was inaugurated in 1908 and stands on the site of an 18th century monastery. When it was first opened, the theater enjoyed fame as a glamorous destination for the city's elite. It gradually fell into disrepair and at one point was rented as a movie house. After two restorations in the 1970s and early 2000s, it was reopened with its original neo-baroque style beautifully preserved. Be sure to view the ceiling frescos by Robert Lewis, a well-known Panamanian artist.
Iglesia Santo Domingo & The Flat Arch (Arco Chato)
Originally constructed in the 17th century, the church and convent of Santo Domingo were never rebuilt after a fire that destroyed them in 1756. The only thing that survived was the Flat Arch (Arco Chato) at the entrance. The Arch stood as a testament to Panama’s lack of major seismic activity and made a case for why the Panama Canal should be built in this area.
Esteban Huertas Promenade
Dedicated to the Colombian general who played a key role in Panama’s separation from Colombia, this promenade is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll in Casco Viejo. It's full of tourists, vendors and young couples taking in the ocean breeze. Enjoy sweeping views of the Panama City bay, including ships lined up to enter the Panama Canal.
Designed by Leonardo de Villanueva, Plaza Francia originally served as the main square of the walled city. It is dedicated to the French effort to build the Panama Canal and the thousands of people from around the world who died during the process. An obelisk topped with a French coque crowns the monument, and a dozen marble plaques provide details of the labor of constructing the canal.
Casa Góngora is one of the oldest houses in Panama and the last surviving example of 17th century domestic colonial architecture in Panama City. The house was built around 1760 and named after Paul Góngora Caceres, a prominent merchant. It was restored in 1998-99, and much of the original woodworking (doors, balconies, armor) was kept intact. Casa Góngora hosts regular exhibitions of Panamanian artists' work.
Iglesia San Francisco De Asis
Iglesia San Francisco de Asis is one of the smallest, but most ornate, churches in Casco Viejo. It sits across the street from the National Theater on Plaza Bolivar. Like many of the buildings in the neighborhood, the church was ravaged by fire in 1737, and again in 1756. Restored in 1998, it is now one of the most striking churches in Panama.
One of the largest cathedrals in Central America, the magnificent Catedral de Panamá was completed in 1796 and practically abandoned until a major renovation in 2003. Today it stands right outside the hotel on Plaza Catedral (Plaza de la Independencia) and is one of the main points of interest in Casco Viejo. The two towers on either side of the main entrance are encrusted with mother of pearl from the Pearl Islands, creating an interesting architectural contrast to the immense stone entrance wall and wooden doors. The interior is vast but modestly adorned, with the notable exception of an impressive marble altar.
Plaza Herrera sits on the edge of the more gentrified area of Casco Viejo. The surrounding buildings, many of which originally served as large residences, have beautiful facades but stand in disrepair. At the center of the plaza is a statue of local hero General Tomás Herrera on horseback. Herrera fought in South America's wars for independence from Spain and later led Panama's first attempt to gain independence from Colombia in the mid 1800s. Parts of the original city wall can be found off the west side of the plaza.
History Museum of Panama
Located on the second floor of the Municipal Palace building, the Museum of History presents documents, artifacts, paintings, sculptures and pieces from throughout Panama's history. You are certain to leave with a better understanding of Panama and its past.
Antiguo Club Union
Once the playground for Manuel Noriega and the Panamanian elite, this amazing structure fell into disrepair in recent years thanks to neglect and a military invasion. The ruins of the building have been used as the backdrop in films like James Bond: Quantum Of Solace and The Tailor of Panama. Most recently, rave-style outdoor parties have been held here. The whole area is now closed off completely to the public as it undergoes renovations.
Central Hotel Panamá
Plaza de la Independencia
Corregimiento San Felipe
Panama City, Panama