Until just a couple of years ago it seemed abandoned. Not many of the tourists who came to the country went to visit the site. There wasn't much life left in the Old Town anymore, even though it had been on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites since 1997. Once the National Government, together with the National Institute of Culture, invested millions of dollars in this site in 2010, however, it became lively day and night.
The freshness, elegance, class, and serenity you feel when strolling along each of its newly-paved cobblestone streets have set the stage for it to host such prestigious events as Macrofest 2014, which ended last Saturday, and the International Film Festival (IFF) of Panama 2014 (from April 3 to 9), as well as repeat concerts by renowned national and international artists.
For Marie Claire De Bueno, who helped put on Macrofest, it means a lot to hold this event, since it benefits the arts, creativity, and design, and it attracts more tourists, who will feel immersed in a cultural environment. "We had a daily schedule of activities that encouraged the public to tour Old Town's historic streets and squares and discover urban interventions and works of art that are pleasing to the senses," she said.
Around 35 restaurants, 20 cafes, nightclubs, art galleries, 11 hotels (simple or luxury), and other attractions have pulled in 98% of foreign visitors to the Old Town.
Busy hotel and Fever Friday
A tour of the place revealed that American Trade, a venue for some of the Macrofest 2014 activities, is one of the hotels with the highest number of foreign guests. Not too far away, an exact replica will be made when the IFF Panama starts. According to organizers, this hotel will be the venue for the festival and will host countless filmmakers from Central America, who won't be able to resist taking a walk around the area.
Another popular spot in this area is Fiebre, in Villa Agustina. This nightclub has a different ambience from any others in either the Rumba Area or Uruguay Street. The time to get there is at 9:00 p.m.
Anolan Eligia Gómez, a fan of Fridays at Fever, doesn't miss the opportunity to dance everything from 'pindin' to reggae and even electronic music.
This party scene, which takes place in a kind of house divided into apartments, has a global feel to it. No one is looking around to see who else is there, like what usually happens in other nightlife districts, commented Gómez.
The heat is unbearable, but you forget about that and everything else as you get into the moment. The nightclub even allows you to show up in what you had on at the beach. You can wear whatever you want.
Source: Panamá América