(Casco Viejo and Casco Antiguo are
different names for the same place.)
We do use street names in Casco Viejo / Casco Antiguo, but many times we give directions and locations via points of reference. For instance, we may say “it’s near the fish market” or “to the side of the plaza”; things that are more familiar.
Casco Viejo has three main areas.
Near the fish market is the area where you also have close by Panama's Chinatown of the late 1800s and 1900s. Today, there are Chinese there who sell food and merchandise. That area is called Terra Plene. This is a colorful neighborhood, where you can get almost anything. You’ll see peddlers on the street.
The fish market is very popular with Americans. You can buy excellent fish at reasonable prices. At the fish market there are restaurants, including a restaurant upstairs. You have also outdoors tables where you buy ceviche and other seafood and you eat it there or you take it home.
The fish market area is growing because they’ve just expanded the coastal beltway that goes around the water and the fish market is roughly in the middle of the coastal beltway. This area is popular, but its more low key. The buildings aren’t that new, but there’s potential. Lots of people go shopping at the fish market, not only for fish, but for other items, including Chinese tea, herbs, and other products they have from China. You can also have a Chinese breakfast there.
The fish market area also has some fantastic buildings that face the water. These buildings have a lot of potential because not only are you in Casco Antiguo, but you also have a fabulous view of the modern part of Panama City.
Another area of Casco Antiguo is called Santa Ana. Santa Ana is an old place with a small plaza and a church. There are many pedestrians. Santa Ana is where the city started to grow from the core of Casco Antiguo / Casco Viejo.
Then you have the area of Casco Antiguo proper, which runs from roughly 1st
street to 10th
street. This is the traditional / core area of Casco Antiguo. Most of the historical monuments are in this area, including the church that was built in the 1700s. It’s also where most of the restaurants and plazas are located and where most of the activities take place.