Stay in the best hostel in Casco Viejo Panama

Casa Antigua is a boutique hotel located at the entrance to Casco Viejo. The location is ideal because your taxi will not have to navigate the narrow streets of Casco Viejo and it is only 2 minutes from the Cinta Costera where you can take some exercise and stroll to the skyscraper part of the city. In the best location in Casco Viejo.

The hotel has recently opened up two 10 bed dormitories so now you can enjoy the low cost of a dorm bed while enjoying the facilities of a renowned hotel.

Casco Viejo is filled with lots of great bars, cafes, restaurants, and shopping. The hostel is within walking distance of all top sights in Casco Viejo.

Features of our hostel in Casco Viejo Panama

The property has:

  • Cool rooftop terrace with fantastic views of Panama Bay
  • Free WiFi
  • 24-hour reception
  • New rooms with comfortable bunk beds
  • Gastro bar
  • One dorm for boys and another dorm for girls

Our Rooftop Bar – StorX Sky Lounge

This perfect rooftop bar to enjoy great views of Panama City whilst relaxing and having a few cocktails listening to light music after a busy day sightseeing, adjacent to our hostel in Casco Viejo Panama.

There is rarely a place that can match the occasion itself!

StorX is eached by glass lift from Casa Antigua Hotel lobby.

Our Café & Bar – Pips Terrace Cafe & Gastro Pub

Capturing the essence of Panama City’s pulse-quickening tropical vibe, Pips Terrace Cafe & Gastro Pub is all things to all people.

During the day our customers gather beneath broad umbrellas on Pips Café’s sunny terraced sidewalk watching everyone some in Casco Viejo or enjoy the air-conditioned cafe to enjoy fresh salads, pizzas and perfectly cooked burgers.

In the evening Pips Terrace Cafe & Gastro Pub is very popular with the younger crowd who use the café as a base before heading to the many nightclubs or rooftop terraces.

Contact us and book in the best hostel in Casco Viejo Panama.

Are you looking for shared rooms in Casco Viejo Panama?

Staying in hostels is one of the best things about backpacking. You’ll meet loads of new people and share experiences that you’d never get to try if you were travelling alone. Are you looking for shared rooms in Casco Viejo Panama?

There is a common misconception that hostels in some way resemble homeless shelters.

Our shared rooms are part of the boutique hotel Casa Antigua in the heart of Casco Viejo where you will receive the same high level of service as the guest staying in the hotel rooms.

The Rooms at Hotel Casa Antigua

We have two modern, clean 8 bedroom rooms with bunk beds. One for females and one for males.

Washing facilities and bathrooms are new and shared.

Restaurant Bars at the Casa Antigua Hotel

There are three restaurant bar in the Hotel Casa Antigua which are also open to the general public Pips, Skins and Storx:

  • Pips is our Gastro Pub serving excellent food all day long
  • Skins is a late night supper lounge with live music
  • StorX is a Roof top “Sky Lounge” with fantastic vies over whole city and Panama Bay with light music and speciality cocktails. Reached by glass lift from hotel lobby.

Location of the hostel in Casco Viejo Panama

Some of the hostels in Casco Viejo are located in areas that are not safe. The is certainly not the case of the shared rooms in hotel Casa Antigua which is located at the entrance to Casco Viejo and a minute from the Cinta Costera where you have excellent views of the new Panama City and a great place to take some exercise.

Book Ahead in Summer – Shared rooms in Casco Viejo Panama

At the busy times of year in Panama (the Summer runs from December to April) it is advisable to book ahead as the hostels get really busy and we you may and of staying somewhere you wished that you hadn’t.

You can book your bed at the hotel Casa Antigua over the Internet, by email or over the phone.


Our Shared hostel dorms lock so that only backpackers that sleep in that dorm can access it. However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore sensible security precautions.

Check with the hotel reception where you’re able to stash valuables like your passport, your travellers’ cheques and your travel documents.

For more information about our shared rooms in Casco Viejo Panama, contact us.

How to transfer from Tocumen Airport to Casco Viejo Panama

Most of the international flights into Panama City arrive at Tocumen Airport which is located 21 km from Panama City. A transfer from Tocumen Airport is easy.

This guide is specifically about arrival and departure has a separate guide.

Arriving at Tocumen Airport

Arrival Time

The key consideration here is the arrival time. Tocumen Airport is connected to Panama City by a highway named Corredor Sur.

Unfortunately thousands of Panamanians use this highway in the mornings to go to work in Panama City, so from 6-9am Monday to Saturday the Corredor Sur gets very crowded. So rather than the 30 minutes it will take for the transfer from Tocumen Airport to Casco Viejo during the rest of the day it could take upto 2 hours.

Many flights from South America land at Tocumen Airport at this time so if you have any connecting flights (at Panama Pacifico or Albroook airports) or tours booked on the morning of your arrival please build this possible delay into your plans.

Transfer from Tocumen Airport Options

Airport Taxi – Cost $30

There is a sort of regulated taxi service costing $30 from the airport to Panama City but this service has some problems:

  • Often it is not clear if you are being taken to a regular taxi or some non-authorized driver who is just making some extra money and could end up charging you a higher amount or causing some other problems
  • The taxi drivers drive like crazy along the highway to get back to the airport for the next fare. We have been in these taxis when they have been tail-gating through the tolls to avoid paying the taxes

Uber – $12 – $30

Uber is not allowed to operate directly from the arrivals section of the terminal so will direct you to an area of the airport car park about 5 minutes from the terminal to collect you.

Of course, you will need Data to be able to contact Uber.

The cost could be as low as $12 during quiet times but as much as a regular taxi during busy times.

Also, during busy times there can be a very long wait for Uber and last-minute cancellations by the Uber driver.

Chauffeur Service – About $40

The Chauffeur Service will be waiting for you with a Name Card at arrivals and take you and your luggage directly to your car and then straight to your hotel.

Often the car will have WIFI and bottled water.

So, if you are looking for convenience the Chauffeur Service will be the better but more expensive option.

Contact us for more information


Why flying to Panama City is easier than you think

For such a small country Panama has excellent flight connectivity with direct flights to Panama City to most of the major cities in central, north and south America as well direct connections with 5 major cities in Europe and Bejing in China.

Tocuman International Airport

Most of the international flights arrive and depart from Tocuman International Airport with the exceptions being:

  • Wingo that flies from Panama Pacifico to Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Cartagena
  • Air Panama that flies from Albrook to San Jose, Medellin, Cartagena and Armenia

Tocuman International Airport, known as the Hub of the Americas, receives many direct flights to Panama City.

This project to create a new South Terminal at Tocuman International Airport will increase the total capacity of the airport to 20 million passengers a year by 2022, with 85,000sqm of new buildings, 20 new boarding gates, improved customs facilities and a new baggage-handling system.

Once complete, the airport will feature a total of 68 gates spread over an area of 148,000 square-metres.

The new terminal is expected to be fully operational by the first semester of 2019.

Copa Airlines

The majority of the flights operating out of Tocuman International Airport are provided by the Panamanian Flag Carrier Copa Airlines. Copa are a member of the Star Alliance network.

Copa Airlines has been rewarded thanks to its punctuality close to 90%, one of the best indicators in the industry.

The list of Copa Airlines destinations is far too long to be listed here but can be found at The destinations include all the major cities in the Americas and the Caribbean

The major success of Copa Airlines and Tocuman has been its connectivity with 80% of the passengers arriving at the airport being in transit.

The Copa Airlines schedule has been carefully designed to connect south and north America with most of the flights from Argentina, Brazil and Chile arriving early in the morning to connect with the flights to the main cities in the USA and Canada.

Max 9

Copa recently took delivery of its first Max 9 is the first of the five aircraft of its class that the airline will receive between October and December 2018. The Max 9 will operate on the airline’s longest routes starting with San Francisco in December 2018.

The Max 9 includes a new Copa Business Class with fully flat seats and a new Premium Economy service.

Other Airlines


Air China operates a route from Beijing to Panama City via Houston which currently flies twice a week.


The current list of connections to Europe are:

  • KLM – Amsterdam
  • Air France – Paris
  • Iberia – Madrid
  • Turkish – Istanbul
  • Lufthansa – Frankfurt

Air Europa is due to start flights in June 2019

North America

The current list of connections to North America are:

  • United – Houston and New York
  • American – Miami, Dallas Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York, Charlotte, Chicago
  • Delta – Atlanta
  • Air Canada – Montreal and Toronto
  • Aero Mexico – Mexico City
  • Spirit Airlines – Fort Lauderdale, Orlando

South America

The current list of connections to South America are:

  • Avianca – Bogota, San Jose, San Salvador
  • Laser – Caracas
  • Venezolana – Caracas, Maracaibo
  • Turpial Airlines – Valencia

Take one of the direct flights to Panama City and enjoy an unforgettable stay at our boutique hotel. Book now!

Things to do in Casco Viejo Panama

Once in the hands of local gangs, Panama City’s historic district of Casco Viejo is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most trendy area in town. With beautiful colonial mansions, art galleries and a bursting gastronomic scene, the small neighbourhood is an absolute must-see. There are several things to do in Casco Viejo Panama.

Visit the beautiful colonial buildings

These are some of the best buildings and squares to visit in Casco Viejo Panama on our lis of things to do in Casco Viejo Panama

The Flat Arch/ El Arco Chato & Church of Santo Domingo/ Iglesia de Santo Domingo

The ruins of the church and convent of Santo Domingo is one of the most important monumental colonial Old Town of Panama.

Plaza/ Parque Bolivar

In the center of the plaza is a monument to the Venezuelan general Simon Bolivar, also known as the “Liberator of Latin America”.

Plaza de Francia

Originally Plaza de Francia was the main square of the city. This plaza is located at the very tip of the peninsula and in the center is an obelisk topped by a rooster, a symbol of the French nation.

Plaza Herrera

In 1887, Plaza Herrera was renamed for one of Panama’s independence heroes: Panamanian general and statesman Tomas Herrera (1804-54).

Plaza de la Independencia/ Plaza de la Catedral & The Cathedral Metropolitana

The Metropolitan Cathedral is located on Plaza de la Catedral also known as Plaza de la Independencia which is the heart of Casco Viejo with many events through out the year.

Panama Canal Museum

Located in an emblematic building in the heart of Casco Viejo, the Interoceanic Canal Museum reveals the tumultuous history of the construction of the Panama Canal, whose capacity was recently doubled.

History Museum of Panama

Located on the second floor of the Municipal Palace building, the Museum of History presents documents, ceramics, furniture, clothing, weapons, paintings, sculptures and pieces of the colonial period, federal, provincial and republican.

The Fish Market

The fish market is a white and light blue building with the Japanese and Panamanian flags on the top of the building. The Japanese government donated the new fish market installations. The market can’t be missed as it is located at the very entrance of Casco Viejo, just off Avenida Balboa.

Gaze at the city’s skyline by night from one of the city’s best rooftops

Casco Viejo is considered Panama’s hottest district because of its smashing nightlife, its design hotels and fine-dining venues. Enjoy Panama City’s tropical weather while sipping a cocktail on one of the city’s best rooftop bars and take in the stunning panoramic views of the city’s skyline by night.

Go on a journey through Panama’s indigenous crafts

Considered the most creative neighbourhood in town, Casco Viejo is also the place to go to find alternative concept stores and handmade traditional crafts. Discover the most beautiful indigenous creations, ranging from Guna Yala’s fabrics (the molas), to woven baskets and masks, to ornamental objects carved in wood.

If you need more information about things to do in Casco Viejo Panama, contact us.

How long to stay in an hotel in Panama City?

Like many countries in the world there is a big distinction between the capital city and the rest of the country. For this reason, you must plan your stay beforehand at any hotel in Panama City.

We will break this review down into two sections

  • Stating outside of Panama City – known as the Interior
  • Staying inside Panama City to explore the city itself and the various day tours that can be made

The Panama Interior

There are basically two different types of vacations – on the sea or on the land

On the Sea

There are five different destinations:

  • The Pearl Islands is a group of 200 or morebeautiful islands and islets lying about 30 miles off the Pacific coast of Panama in the Gulf of Panama. There is also excellent fishing and whale watching here. These are mostly ininhabited and can be reached from Panama City by ferry or air
  • Pacific beach resorts. These are situated about 90 minutes from Panama City by car. Most are all-inclusive and the JW Marriott is by far the best
  • Pedasí, Los Santos is located about 5 hours drive from Panama City. It has a very famous area about 20 kilometers away called Playa Venao which is famous for surfing.
  • Bocas del Toro is situated on the Caribbean coast and is best reached by plane from Panama City
  • The San Blas islands are a group of islands in the archipelago de San Blas, located in the Northwest of Panama facing the Caribbean Sea. There are 378 islands within the archipelago and they are scattered around in an area of about 100 square miles. These are best reached by plane or by sea

On the Land

There are three different destinations which will allow you to escape from the heat of the coastline:

  • Boquete is a small town on the Caldera River, in western Panama. The surrounding Chiriquí Highlands are home to coffee plantations and the Barú Volcano National Park, to the west. forest.
  • El Valle de Antón, this picturesque town is nestled in the crater of a huge extinct volcano, and ringed by verdant forests and jagged peaks.
  • Bird watching Panama is very popular with a huge selection in tropical rain forest with a huge flora and fauna

Staying in Panama City

Best Day Trips

We would suggest:

  • Visit to the Indigenous traditional village of the Embera tribe, deep in the rain forest of Panama.
  • Partial Canal Transit
  • Panama Canal Railway journey combined by tour to histotical Portabello and San Lorenzo Spanish sightseeing

Around the city

It is easy and cheap to travel around Panama City by taxi or Uber. You can visit:

  • The Canal
  • Casco Viejo
  • Panama Viejo
  • Causeway
  • New City Centre
  • Even a day trip to The Pearl Islands

So how long to stay in an hotel in Panama City

Three nights will be long enough to explore the city itself with additional days required to undertake day trips.

Our hotel and Happy Landing Travel Agency will be more than happy to give you all the advice that you require to enjoy Panama to its fullest.

Contact us for more information about our hotel in Panama City.




Discover the best boutique hotel in Panama City

There are many hotels in Panama that claim to be boutique hotels but are not really. Find out how Casa Antigua Hotel really is a boutique hotel in Panama City.

Defining Characteristics of a Boutique Hotel in Panama City

It is small. Casa Antigua Hotel only has 9 rooms.

It has a strong personality. Hotel’s intimate size produces its one-on-one five-star hospitality service and its heady ambiance.

Casa Antigua Hotel strives to be one-of-a-kind. An independant hotel with an independent attitude that works hard to not feel like a corporate hotel.

Casa Antigua Hotel clientele are individualistic as well, appealing to guests who shy away from cookie-cutter décor and business hotels.

Casa Antigua Hotel has a contemporary vibe and a quirky, modern spirit, without fussy, glitzy furnishings are not boutique-hotel hallmarks and will surprise and delight guests with its nice touches.


Casa Antigua Hotel is rich in local flavor located in the best area of Panama City and its spirited ambiance suits its lively location.

The hotel simply has the best location in Casco Viejo. Situated at the entrance to old town for easy access to the main road arteries and the Cinta Costera.

Casa Antigua Hotel reminds you exactly of where you are as soon as you look out of the window and it conveys a strong sense of place and pride in its location’s heritage.

Food and Drink

Grapes Restaurant and Bar

Casa Antigua Hotel does have a restaurant Bar inside the building but Grapes Restaurant and Bar, with the same owners, is located across the street.

Grapes Restaurant and Bar is one of the best restaurant / bars in the whole of Panama City and draws a city-wide crowd.

This sophisticated restaurant comes to delight its customers with an award-winning international culinary vanguard, repeatedly awarded consecutively with the Certificate of Excellence Awards from TripAdvisor. All this in an intimate and elegant atmosphere characterized by its original walls, French doors and arches that create an atmosphere of style and good taste where you can enjoy the excellent menu and wine list.

Pips Terrace Cafe & Gastro Pub

Capturing the essence of Panama City’s pulse-quickening tropical vibe, Pips Terrace Cafe & Gastro Pub is all things to all people.

By day, guests of all ages gather beneath broad umbrellas to enjoy fresh salads, pizzas and perfectly cooked burgers on Pips Café’s sunny terraced sidewalk. By night, the atmosphere shifts into high gear, as stylish young crowds spill from the cafe’s broad French doors, enjoying music, sipping cocktails and dancing in the streets.

It’s friendly to four-legged travelers: Boutique hotels tend to have fewer rules and restrictions than bigger, more conventional hotels. Many, perhaps most, boutique hotels are very pet-friendly, welcoming your furry friend.

Discover a authentic boutique hotel in Panama City, contact us.

When to stay in a hotel in Casco Antiguo

Panama is home to an incredible selection of places to stay, including modern large city hotels, hostels, beach hotels and boutique hotels. However, the guest will get the most out of the city by staying in a hotel in Casco Antiguo, Panama.

Hotel in Casco Antiguo, Panama – the best place to stay

Casco Antiguo, also known as Casco Viejo, is the most desirable area in Panama City- offering the best sight-seeing, dining, nightlife and culture.

It is also very quick and easy to reach all the other areas of Panama City using the cheap local taxi or Uber service while in the evening you will not have to be concerned about having to find a bar to have a drink or a restaurant for a bite to eat as many of the best places are on your doorstep.

In addition, there is no need to worry about your security in Casco Antiguo as the streets are well patrolled by the friendly tourist police service.

At the moment you will not find any international brand hotels in Casco Antiguo only unique boutique hotels and hostels that give you a great insight into the community.

The Seasons in Panama

Panama has only two seasons – Summer and Winter.

The temperature in both seasons is more or less the same – maximum 32 and minimum 21 but what is different is the amount of rainfall.

During the Summer season from mid-December to April there is very little rainfall.

During the Winter season the amount of rain gets steady heavier from May to November but the rainfall comes in short thunderstorms which quickly clear up.

So you will find that the smaller boutique hotels in Casco Antiguo tend to fill up very quickly during the Summer season when Casco Antiguo will be very busy, so it may be worth considering staying from May to September when the weather is still good and you will get a better deal on prices.

Contact us for more information about staying in a hotel in Casco Antiguo, Panama

Adventurous things to do in Panama City over the Festive Season

Here is a list of adventurous things to do in Panama City over the Festive Season:

Walk or bike the Amador Causeway

At the edge of the Panama Canal is the Amador Causeway.

Created with the scrap materials from digging the canal, the causeway connects a series of four islands to the mainland.

Near the start of the causeway there is a great view of the Bridge of the Americas and ships entering and exiting the canal.

Many people rent bikes to travel up and down the causeway as it is a very long walk!

All along the causeway there are restaurants serving a wide variety of dishes to suit any pocket.

At the far end is the Flamenco Marina where there is a selection of nice yachts to admire  and the duty free shop that you can use if you have your passport with you.

Hike at Parque Metropolitano or Cerro Ancon

Located at the edge of Panama City lies a massive nature reserve that is perfect for hiking. You can usually spot some exotic animals, birds, plants and monkeys

One at the top you will see a panoramic view of Panama City over the Festive Season.

Mercado Artesanias de 5 de Mayo (Artisan Market)

This is the best place to visit for souvenir shopping because it is not in the best part of town and does not receive many tourists.

To get there you can talk or take a taxi from the hotel for a couple of dollars.

There is also a Metro station here called 5 de Mayo station. This will be a great place to experience the completely safe, modern and very cheap Panama Metro system.

Take a day trip to Contadora Island

So Contadora is not located in Panama City but is the easiest island to get to which is a part of the world famous Pearl Islands.

The island is a 1 and half hour ferry ride from the Yacht  Club or JW Marriot hotel or 15-minute flight from Panama City and has stunning beaches, hotels, and restaurants.

It will cost about $90 – $100 per person to get there. You can arrive by ferry using Sea Las Perlas or Ferry Las Perlas or fly using Air Panama.


Ok this is not vaey adventourous but well worth a visit!

Located on the Amador Causeway, the recently opened Biomuseo, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, features eight galleries focussing on the origin of the Panamanian isthmus and its impact on the planet’s biodiversity.

Book now to do adventurous things in Panama City over the Festive Season.

Active things to do in Panama City during the holiday season

Two of the great things about Panama City during the holiday season are:

  • The weather is generally perfect with little chance of rain
  • Main residents of the city have headed off to the Interior for their vactions making the roads very clear

Walk, run, cycle, skateboard along the Cinta Costera, Panama City during the holiday season

Running the length of most of the city is the Cinta Costera, or coastal belt. It has a total length oof more than 5kms and is completely safe with many tourist police to take care of you.

One of the many great  things about the Hotel Casa Antigua is that it is located on minute away from the middle of the Cinta Costera.

Cinta Costera 1 and 2

If you turn left onto the Cinta Costera then you will head towards the part of Panama City.

It extends from Paitilla to The Fish Market. It is easy to forget you are in the middle of a busy metropolis while on the Cinta Costera.

Start at the Fish Market and walk until you get tired.  Stop for a break and watch a local game of volleyball or soccer.  It can get hot so avoid midday if the sun is out.  In the evenings it is a great place to people watch! It is easy to get a taxi or Uber back if you need to.

Cinta Costera 3

If you choose to head right you will travel along Cinta Costara 3 which is an important part of Panama’s new urban road network.

The Cinta Costera 3 project consists of two parts. The first part is a marine viaduct that bypasses the Old Town at a variable distance between 200 and 400 meters (656 and 1312 feet) from the Old Town’s walls and buildings. This section was built to reduce congestion in downtown Panama City and avoid traffic heading west to pass through the Old Town by providing an express route to the city’s west end.

The second part is a six-lane avenue with spacious parking and public areas, pedestrian and bicycle lanes, and sport facilities that include football and basketball courts, among others.

Other features of the project include a series of roundabouts and traffic-friendly improvements to the multi-lane road leading to Casco Viejo and a new bridge connecting to Calzada de Amador.

If you want to enjoy Panama City during the holiday season, book a room.

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