Comparison of Hostels in Old Town Panama

Over the last few years there has been a surge of new hostels opening in Casco Viejo – the old town of Panama City. There are several hostels in Old Town Panama. But which hostel is right for you?

Hospedaje Casco Viejo

The Hospedaje Casco Viejo claims to be the cheapest hostel in the Old Town and is constructed in a beautiful mansion built during the early years of the past century.

The property offers:

  • Private or shared rooms
  • Free Wifi
  • 24 Hour Reception
  • Tours/Travel Desk
  • Laundry Facilities

Luna Castle

Luna Castle is, perhaps, the most famous hostel in Casco Viejo. It is set up as a traditional hostel with communal areas for the guests to mingle.

The property offers:

  • Private or shared rooms
  • Free pancake breakfast and free coffee and tea, 
  • Free Wifi and local calls
  • Reception hours: 8:00 am to 11:00 pm with personal lockers
  • Free bikes and ping-pong table
  • Communal balcony, patio, onsite bar and chill room

Magnolia Inn

The Magnolia Inn is more of a hotel than a hostel and is based in a French colonial mansion has been lovingly restored 

The property offers:

  • 16 Private and 6 shared rooms
  • Free Wi-Fi internet 
  • Air conditioning in all but one dorm
  • Orthopedic beds
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Social areas including fully equipped kitchen and sunny dining room

Selina

Selina is part of one of the fastest growing hostel chains in the world. The hostel is very large with over 200 beds

The property offers:

  • Private and shared rooms
  • Free Wifi
  • Restaurant and Bar
  • Yoga Terrace
  • Film room
  • Allows pets
  • Swimming pool

Hotel Casco Viejo

Similar to the Magnolia Inn, Hotel Casco Viejo is more than a hotel than a hostel and, again, is located in a beautifully restored colonial building.

The property offers:

  • 8 Private and 2 shared rooms
  • Free Wi-Fi internet 
  • Air conditioning
  • 24-hour security
  • 3 restaurant and bars
    • PIPS all day café
    • STORX roof terrace
    • Skins Night club

All hostels in Old Town Panama – Which Hostel is best for you?

Hostel accommodation is a very fast-moving arena. We suggest: 

  • Luna Castle – if you like a smaller traditional hostel.
  • Selina – if you prefer a very large hostel with a lot going on.
  • Hotel Casco Viejo – if you prefer a touch of luxury while enjoying the dorm experience.

You can book your room online or contact us for further infomation.

How Easy Is It To Walk Around Panama City?

The answer is ‘very easy’ to walk around Panama City with the development of the Cinta Costera and the Amador Causeway. For the starting point of all the walks will be the entrance to Casco Viejo outside Casa Antigua Hotel. 

The problem is the heat and what time to do the walking.

Walk the Amador Causeway

Unless you are extremely energetic (or have hired a push bike) then it is unlikely that you will want to walk along the Causeway and back. So, you will have to choose which end you start.

You can start from the Biomuseo or from the end of the Causeway where there is duty free shopping.

We suggest that you start from the Biomuseo and then you can enjoy a well-earned drink at the end of the Causeway at one of the many restaurants and bars.

If you are felling very energetic then you can even walk to the Biomeseo from entrance to Casco Viejo using the Cinta Costera III, which is an amazing structure, and circles Casco Viejo.

During you walk you will see the massive ships passing under the Bridge of the Americas while starting or ending their transit through the Panama Canal.

We recommend starting this walk at about 4pm when the sun is starting to go down and get a taxi or Uber back after your long relaxing drink.

Walk around Panama City, Run or Cycle the Cinta Costera I and II

The Cinta Costera is a very popular place for locals and tourists alike.

In the morning, from 6am, you will find many locals getting in their daily exercise before work. While after 5pm you will find hundreds of people exercising or just strolling along enjoying the amazing views of the high -rise Avenida Balboa and the ships waiting in the Bay of Panama to transit the Panama Canal.

We suggest that you have a leisurely breakfast in your hotel and then head on the Cinta Costera at about 10am. It will not be too hot at this time but be careful to wear and hat and sunscreen.

At the end of your walk, you may find yourself visiting Paitilla or Punta Pacifica (two upmarket neighborhoods) where you can enjoy some excellent shopping – we recommend Multi Plaza – and lunches. 

Stroll Around Casco Viejo

Because you will be shaded from the sun (most of the time) it is possible to spend many hours strolling down the narrow streets visiting churches, museums and tourist shops without getting too hot or sunburnt. 

And if you are in need of a refreshment then then nearest café will only be a few steps away.

Book now or contact us for further information about walk around Panama City.

Festive Season Hotel in Panama City

Would you like to experience a Panama Christmas break this December?

Christmas is one of the most exciting times of year for many, but with that excitement can also come lots of stress. Want to sit back and relax for a change? That’s good to hear, as that’s exactly what we are here for.

Panama City is one of the best Christmas break destinations and Hotel Casa Antigua, situated at the entrance to the Old Town, is the ideal location to enjoy Panama City. 

From our festive season hotel in Panama it is easy to visit:

  • The wonderful Christmas lights and entertainment at Parque Urraca. Parque Urraca is a leisurely 40 minutes walk from the Hotel Casa Antigua (or 5 minutes in a taxi or Uber)
  • The Cinta Costera where you can enjoy some exercise while admiring the Christmas lights that illuminate the Bay of Panama
  • Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Quarter), also known as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe, is the historic district of Panama City. There will be many  special carol concerts in the magnificent squares in the old town as well religious festivals in the  beautifully restored churches.
  • The best shopping centres in Latin America with many top brands offering excellent festive sales
  • Exploring Panama City’s dynamic nightlife with many top class restaurants and bars

When you book your stay at Hotel Casa Antigua, you will receive the following benefits:

  • Welcome bottle of sparkling wine
  • Breakfast in bed on the first morning
  • Discounts at our PIPS cafe bar, Skins nightclub and StorX rooftop bar (with the best views in Casco Viejo)

About Hotel Casa Antigua

Nestled on a cobblestoned street in Panama City’s storied Casco Viejo, Casa Antigua blends the rich history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with the modern comforts and conveniences expected by today’s sophisticated travelers. Ultra-private yet located just minutes from the city’s most celebrated attractions, this intimate, European-style hotel is a favorite of frequent travelers to Panama’s capital city.

Contact us or book your room in our festive season hotel in Panama.

Central Hotel Compared to Hotel Casa Antigua Panama

Central Hotel Panamá

Central Hotel Panamá was constructed nearly 150 years ago in the heart of old Panama City and faces the Plaza de la Independencia, was the first hotel in the country at the time of its opening in 1874 and gained a reputation for high-style European and American services.

Hotel Casa Antigua

Hotel Casa Antigua is a much newer hotel, which blends the rich history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with the modern comforts and conveniences expected by today’s sophisticated travelers. Ultra-private yet located just minutes from the city’s most celebrated attractions, this intimate, European-style hotel is a favorite of frequent travelers to Panama’s capital city.

We would like to use this blog to compare two very different boutique hotels in the Old Town of Panama City:  The Central Hotel and Hotel Casa Antigua

Elegance and Style

Central Hotel Panamá has French-influenced design, while Hotel casa Antigua has a more general European style.

Both are luxury hotels and events space combining old world elegance with clean, current design.  Both hotels occupy beautifully restored buildings.

Location

Both hotels are located in the most desirable area in Panama City. Casco Viejo is a UNESCO World Heritage site offering the best attractions, dining and nightlife combined with an authentic Panamanian cultural experience.

Central Hotel Panamá is located in the Plaza de la Independencia while Hotel Casa Antigua is located at the entrance of Casco Viejo close to the Cinta Costera and new City.

Hotel Casa Antigua is easier to get into and out of as it is located at the entrance of the old town so avoiding slow progress through the busy narrow streets.

Rooms

Now this is where the big differences start to come in.

Hotel Casa Antigua has only 8 rooms which are really suites including kitchens while the Central Hotel has 135 well appointed rooms.

Social Facilities

Both hotels offer very popular social meeting places.

The Hotel Central offers a fine dining restaurant called the The Central as well as a popular case known as Bistro Central.

The Hotel Central also offers 5 different banqueting facilities ranging from 40 to 170 covers.

The hotel Central also has a swimming pool, gym and spa. 

Hotel Casa Antigua takes a different approach with a very popular café bar called Pips which is ideal for people watching, a small nightclub called Skins and a rooftop bar with the best views in casco Viejo named StorX.  StorX is also excellent for private event hire.

Cost

The Hotel Central is a bit more  expensive than the Hotel Casa Antigua but is a much larger, more glamourous hotel with more facilities.. 

We hope that you have found this review useful. Contact us or book now.

How to Travel to the Panama Canal?

If you only have time to visit one of the many tourist attractions in Panama City then the Panama Canal is going to be your first choice. Read this tip to travel to the Panama Canal from our hotel in Panama.

Ways to visit the Canal

Before looking at the various methods of transport to the Panama Canal, lets look at the options to visit the Canal.

Take a Full or Partial Transit of the Canal

This type of tour will take between 6 and 8 hours and cost from $50 to $150 per perform

Visit the Miraflores Locks

This is the typical way to visit the canal. It can take 30 minutes to reach the locks from Panama City. There are a variety of things to do at the Miraflores Locks such as:

  • Visit the museum
  • Go to the observation platform
  • Have lunch

In our experience the best time to visit is about 2pm in the afternoon

Agua Clara Visitor Center

This is the new visitor centre that was build as part of the Panama Canal extension project that was completed in 2016. The Agua Clara Visitor Center is located on the Atlantic side of the Canal and can take one hour to reach, s may be better included in a trip to the Atlantic side to include the Portabelo and/or the Fort Lorenzo ruins. Another good way to visit the Canal is if your cruise is docking at Colon which is only a short drive away.

Best ways to travel to the Panama Canal

We will focus on the Pacific viewing of the canal as you will most likely to be staying in Panama City

Full or Partial Transit of the Canal

This tour will generally include a hotel pick up in the price

Yellow Taxi

If you take this option, make sure that you agree the price up front. This can be more of a challenge on the return travel as you are a captive audience, especially at busy time. The cost should be about $15 each way but the taxi driver will try to extract as much as he can from tourists. It is unlikely that the driver will be able to speak English

Hop On Hop Off Bus

The cost is $29 per person for a 24-hour pass for a two-hour loop, with buses stopping once every hour.

This is a good option if you want to see more of the city and get English speaking guides.

Uber

With Uber, the cost will typically be about $11. The driver will not likely speak English but you will be guaranteed a good car at a fixed price.

You can use the Wifi at the Miraflores lock to book your return journey.

Stay in our hotel in Panama us while you travel to the Panama Canal. Book now or contact us.

Hotel for New Year Celebrations in Panama

Celebrating the New Year in Panama is a very good idea since, like many countries, a lot of the locals disappear from the capital city to their families in the Interior (anyone outside of Panama City) or leave to take a vacation in the Caribbean. Are you looking for hotel for New Year Celebrations in Panama?

Businesses is carried out on an essential only basis  leaving the city mostly clear of traffic so that it is easy to get about to visit the many interesting sites.

Also, the weather is almost certain to by dry as Panama is entering its Summer season, The summer season normally runs from mid-December to April when the winds blow from the North bringing a nice cool breeze.

New Years Eve in Panama City

For the locals that have remained in Panama City, you can basically split New Years Eve into two parts.

Up until midnight most of the people stay at home to celebrate the incoming new year with their family sharing long term customs and traditions by eating, drinking and singing.

However, once the clock strikes twelve the younger generations pour out onto the streets to have one long party. The first part of the party is to enjoy the brilliant fireworks display that will light up the whole of the City and Panama Bay.New Year Celebrations in Panama.

After the fireworks the most then head to the modern-day parties hosted by famous night clubs, discotheques, and bars in Casco Viejo. It is pretty important to make prior reservations to the most popular hotspots as it will be very difficult to gain entry otherwise.

New Year in Panama City for Tourists

Many of the larger hotels such as the Hard Rock, The Panama and The Hilton will host glamourous Ney Years Eve parties which will have a choice of all-inclusive options ranging from drinks only to full dinners with open bar. These parties will cost from $60 to $200 a head. If you intend to celebrate at one of these parties it is best to book accommodation at the hotel in question as taxis will be very expensive and hard to come by in the early hours of new-year day.

If you wish to celebrate the new year with the locals then it is best to head down to Casco Viejo.

You will not find a better place to stay than the Hotel Casa Antigua, a boutique, suite hotel which has three of the best venues in Panama City.

  • Skins – where you dance away to the best music in town
  • StorX – where you can enjoy the best views in Casco Viejo enjoying the ambience
  • PIPS- this is the place to recover in the morning enjoying a hearty breakfast while discussing the night before

Book now your Hotel for New Year Celebrations in Panama Old Town or contact us.

Looking for a Old Town Hotel in Panama for Christmas?

Christmas and New Year is the best time to visit Panama City. There is virtually no ran and you are cooled by the northerly breazes.  Casa Antigua Hotel is the best Old Town Hotel Panama Christmas.

Virtually No Traffic

The areas outside of Panama City are known as the Interior even though most of these villages, towns and cities are on the coast.
During the festive season, many of the residents of Panama City return to join their family for the celebrations. Also, most of the businesses are closed down and their owners fly out of Panama to the Caribbean, Mexico or South America to enjoy a quiet time.
This results in virtually no traffic on the normally crowded streets of Panama City – making it very easy to get around to see the famous sites.

The Weather

Christmas and New Year normally signify the start of the Summer season in Panama. During the Panamanian Summer there is virtually no rainfall while you still can enjoy the rich greenery created by the Winter Season.
The Summer Dry Season will enable you to sit on the beach to get a great tan or travel to the many sites without the fear of getting drenched.

Religious Masses

The Panamanians are mostly Catholics and will attend the Masses in commemoration of the Nativity. This is a very moving experience and worth attending if Catholicism is not your faith.

Eating and Drinking

As most of the locals are either out of the city or celebrating with their families in their homes to wish each other Merry Christmas, while eating a large dinner of rice with chicken, baked ham, turkey and potato salad most of the restaurants are closed on New Years Day apart from in the tourist centre of Casco Viejo.

Where to Stay in Panama over Christmas

Unless you on business the best place to stay in Panama City all year around is Casco Viejo.
Apart from being the only district where most of the restaurants are open, you can sit in one of the many rooftop bars or street side cafes enjoying a drink while being cooled by the breezes.
At the Casa Antigua Hotel, we are the best hotel for Christmas in Panama, you can enjoy people watching from your balcony and look out over the Bay of Panama to see the giant ships waiting to transit the Canal, while being cooled down by the fresh wind from the comfort of your fully equipped suite with its own mini kitchen.

Book now in our Old Town Hotel Panama Christmas, Casa Antigua Hotel, or contact us.

Coming soon in Amador Convention Centre

After many delays, the Amador Convention Centre will this month open for business. Giving Panama, at the hub of the Americas, a truly world class center for recreational and commercial events. Casa Antigua Hotel is near Amador Convention Centre.

Space Available

It is located very close to the entrance of the Panama Canal and the Biomuseo, offering splendid views, the work with an investment of 193.7 million dollars, has a unique, avant-garde, functional design, with modern decoration and the latest technology for congresses and conventions.

The complex consists of 3 buildings connected by conditioned corridors and roofs that will allow the realization of events of great magnitude using the totality of 30,000 m2 dedicated to the exhibition area, with a capacity of 25,000 people, standing out as the largest and most complete convention center in Central America.

Its minimalist and functional design includes 3 rooms for fairs and exhibitions totaling a total exhibition area of ​​15,000 m2, divisible into three large rooms, four areas of 2,300 m2 meeting rooms divisible into 16 meeting rooms, 4000 banquet hall m2 divisible into three small rooms, with comfortable areas of management, rest, loading of goods, a large central lobby, pre-function areas with 12,000 m2 and parking for 1,716 automobiles and 30 buses.

Upcoming Events at the Amador Convention Centre

The following concerts are scheduled for the Amador Convention Centre in the next few months and you can be sure that there will be a raft of world famous acts:

  • Sat, Aug 17 9:00 PM Don Omar en El Choli Se Muda a Panama City
  • Thu, Aug 29 9:00 PM Chayanne
  • Sat, Aug 14 5:00 PM LA TIERRA DEL PARKIN
  • Thu, Sep 19 9:00 PM MORAT
  • Thu, Oct 31 REO Speedwagon

In addition to concerts there will be many domestic and international trade fairs, conventions and meetings held in the facility.

Where to stay in Panama?

There are not many hotels really close to Amador Convention Centre, with the 3 star Radisson probably being the closest.

So, visitors to the Amador Convention Centre, whether for business or pleasure, will have two main choices:

  • The new city with its range of top-class chain hotels including the Waldorf, Marriott, Inter-Continental or Hilton
  • The Unesco rated old town with its range of charming boutique hotels

Casco Viejo Hotels

If you only have a few days in Panama City – then the place to stay is Casco Viejo.

Casco Viejo is the historic district and cultural gem of Panama City. The old town was established around 1673 by the Spanish colonialists, the Catholic Church, and other settlers. As well as the historical attractions, it is the center of nightlife in Panama City with many top-quality restaurants and bars.

Casa Antigua Hotel Panama

The only downside of Casco Viejo is the slow-moving traffic through the cobbled streets.

If you want to avoid this problem stay at the Casa Antigua Panama which is the best located hotel in Panama City. The hotel is located at the entrance to Casco Viejo, has the following location advantages:

  • Located in a very safe part of the old town, just a few minutes’ walk to all of the attractions.
  • A minute walk to the Cinta Costera – the amazing 5km costal strip in Panama City.
  • No need to travel all the way through the old town when taking a taxi to the many amazing sights in Panama City.

Book your stay near Amador Convention Centre with us! Contact us.

American Trade Hotel Compared to Hotel Casa Antigua

We would like to use this blog to compare two very different boutique hotels in the Old Town of Panama City: American Trade Hotel and Hotel Casa Antigua

Elegance and Style

Both are luxury hotels and events space combining old world elegance with clean, current design.  Both hotels occupy beautifully restored buildings.

Location

Both hotels are located in the most desirable area in Panama City.  Casco Viejo is a UNESCO World Heritage site offering the best attractions, dining and nightlife combined with an authentic Panamanian cultural experience.

The American Trade Hotel is located in the centre of Casco Viejo with the Plaza Herrera on one side and Avenida Central on the other while Hotel Casa Antigua is located at the entrance of Casco Viejo.

While Hotel Casa Antigua is easier to get into and out of as it is located at the entrance of the old town so avoiding slow progress through the busy narrow streets.

Rooms

Now this is where the big differences start to come in.

Hotel Casa Antigua has only 8 rooms which are really suites including kitchens while the American Trade Hotel has 50 well appointed rooms.

Social Facilities

Both hotels offer very popular social meeting places.

The American Trade Hotel offers a fine dining restaurant, the stylish Unido Café and Danilo’s Jazz Club, featuring live entertainment. Also the American Trade Hall has excellent event space ideal for weddings, social exchanges, and corporate events.

Hotel Casa Antigua takes a different approach with a very popular café bar called Pips which is ideal for people watching, a small nightclub called Skins and the rooftop bar with the best views in casco Viejo named StorX. StorX is also excellent for private event hire.

Cost

The American Trade Hotel is twice as expensive than the Hotel Casa Antigua but is a much larger, more glamourous hotel. 

We hope that you have found this review useful.

Book now at Hotel Casa Antigua or contact us

Which Hotel to Choose in Panama Old Town?

Casco Viejo is a mix of restored colonial buildings that are now boutique hotels, apartments, bars and restaurants. However, unlike Cartagena in Colombia Casco Viejo is not yet complete and in between the refurbished buildings you can still find local families living in run down old houses. What is the difference between hotels in Casco Viejo Panama?

Hotels in Casco Viejo Panama

There really are some excellent hotels in Panama City Old Town so you will not be disappointed wherever you choose.

Hotel or Hostel?

While staying is hostel is often the choice of backpackers who are travelling on a budget and want to meet new friends along the way, hostels are now becoming more luxurious and even have private rooms.

Hotel Casa Antigua really is a boutique hotel but offers two shared rooms one of which is for women only. So at  Hotel Casa Antigua you can enjoy the lost cost with a chance to meet new friends while enjoying the luxuries of a boutique hotel!

Small or Large?

Traditionally hostels were quite small places but the Selina Hostel has changed all that with 300 beds!

There are several larger hotels in Casco Viejo Panama such as the American Trade Hotel and Hotel Central but most of the hotels are of a smaller boutique nature

Suite or Standard Room?

If you are planning to stay a longer time then you will probably want to use a hotel with a kitchen so that you can cut down on eating out costs. Both Hotel Casa Antigua and Las Clementinas provide cooking facilities

Cheap or Expensive

A room in a shared down will cost you about $20 at most hostels.

Most of the hotels hover around the $100 in the quiet season but you will find the American Trade Hotel a little bit more expensive

The new Sofitel will change the landscape completely and expect prices to be above $300 a night.

Location

Casco Viejo is a pretty small place and you can walk the whole area in one hour (It will take you much longer as there are so many great things to do and see)

But the hotel with the best location by far is the Hotel Casa Antigua as it is located at the entrance to Casco Viejo which greatly reduces the travelling time through the narrow streets of Casco Viejo and is very close to the Cinta Costera where you can exercise and take in the fantastic views of the new city and the Bay of Panama.

 

Book now or contact us for more information about hotels in Casco Viejo Panama.