Have you often wondered which colonial city to visit in Latin America?
We have visited them all, so read on to get a real comparison of the colonial old cities in Latin America and find out which one is the best for you.
Casco Viejo Panama City, Panama
Casco Viejo has the advantage of being a part of one of the most dynamic cities in the whole of Latin America as well as being close to the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ – The Panama Canal.
Casco Viejo has been partial renovated so you can still see the old with the new. Having said that, the newly restored buildings are home to some fantastic boutique hotels, great shopping and an amazing range of bars and restaurants.
The sightseeing in Casco is incredible with many beautiful churches having their own squares. It is also home to some great museums.
Cartagena is, perhaps, the most complete colonial old cities in Latin America as it is fully restored. It is home to some fantastic upscale hotels, wonderful restaurants and a very lively nightlife.
Cartagena has the further advantage of being very closely located to the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas (Fort) and many miles of sandy beaches.
A couple of downsides to Cartagena are the cost, and the overcrowding when big cruise ships are in port.
Antigua is a small city surrounded by volcanoes in southern Guatemala. It’s renowned for its Spanish colonial buildings, many of them restored following a 1773 earthquake that ended Antigua’s 200-year reign as Guatemala’s colonial capital.
The town is not as upmarket as Cartagena, with smaller boutique hotels and less fancy restaurants and is not the best place in the world if you to like to party big time.
However, it is an unforgettable place to visit, especially at Easter when the streets are covered in flowers and you can see the most incredible parades.
Sucre is a city in the southern highlands of Bolivia. The whitewashed Casa de la Libertad, where Bolivia’s Declaration of Independence was signed, houses many churches and galleries related to the city’s past as the national capital.
Sucre Old Town, is part of the much larger Sucre City and you will never forget the buildings that are all painted white. There is a good selection of boutique hotels and restaurants but it is not a party city and most things close down at 10pm.
Sucre is an excellent staging post, at only 2,800, metres on the way to the amazing Salar de Uyuni.
Cusco is popular among travelers as the main gateway city to Machu Picchu. However, Cusco is very much worth a visit in itself. Cusco, was once capital of the Inca Empire, and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture.
There is an excellent range of accommodation is Cusco from luxury hotels to very basic hostels. There is a fair range of restaurants (not in the same league and Casco Viejo or Cartagena) but not really a nightlife centre as many people go to bed early as they will be leaving at the break of dawn to travel to Machu Picchu.
One word of warning about Cusco is the altitude. Many of the better-quality hotels have oxygen just in case you become sick.