WHAT TO DOTake a walk through Casco Viejo

Take a walk 342 years into Panama's history

The Old Town of Panama City, declared a Historical Monument by UNESCO, is not just about history; it is also a place to sample different foods and drinks in open-air cafés and a site where the restaurants and bars fill the air with music and entertain with varied shows.

Strolling along the centuries-old cobblestone streets of Central Avenue, you may encounter a gigantic "red devil", a popular cultural figure guarding the entrance to Diablicos and advertising their traditional Panamanian food. Along with a delicious meal, you can enjoy live Panamanian folkloric shows that are different every evening. Heading towards Plaza Bolivar, five restaurants have set up their tables under umbrellas right on the square and in a very bohemian setting. Musicians play their melodies for diners at the plaza and sweeten the air with their tunes.

Souvenirs like the famous Panama hat can be picked up at Victor's, open until 10 at night. On your way to Plaza de Francia there are several other souvenir shops, including La Ronda and El Faro, with a good selection of typical Panamanian handicrafts. Continue on towards the romantic Esteban Huertas walkway at French Square bordering the sea, with a spectacular view of Cerro Ancón, the Bridge of the Americas, the Biomuseum, the Amador Causeway, the Bay of Panama, and the modern city. Back at the square, visit Las Bóvedas restaurant for a variety of exquisite French cuisine, or to sip a drink at their bar, all with the added touch of jazz music.

On Avenue A, you can find restaurants for all tastes. Italian cooking is delicious at Caffe Per Due, where pizza is their specialty. If your passion is wine, right on the intersection of Avenue A with 4th Street is the wine bar Divino, an establishment dedicated to the preferred drink of the wine god Bacchus. Their collection of bottles comes from the major wine-producing countries of the world and they also recommend food pairings when tasting the different varieties of this exquisite beverage.

Also located on this avenue is a boutique called Reprosa that sells replicas of Indian jewelry. At the broad Herrera Plaza, on weekend evenings you can listen to contemporary music and sample a range of international appetizers at Puerta de Tierra, accompanied by a glass of wine for the finishing touch on your tour of Old Town. In Panama City's Old Town, the ancient and modern coexist in harmony, making for a pleasant and memorable visit.