Casco Viejo is Panamá City´s downtown. It has colonial architecture, and is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, with beautiful views to the entrance of the Canal, at the Bridge of the Américas. There is a special law to protect Casco Viejo, as it has been named "Universal Patrimony" by UNESCO, due the historical trajectory of this area since the 16th century. Some historical buildings are the main attraction, like the Presidential Palace, several very antique churches, government buildings, the "Bóvedas (an antique fort against pirates), the National Theater, among others.
Lately Casco Viejo has become a nice place to visit, due his many "cafés" and little restaurants, like in the "Paseo Las Olas" in Ft. Lauderdale (Florida), Coconut Grove (in Miami) or the French Quarter (New Orleans). Even though some houses have been beautifully rebuilt, it still remains a neighborhood in development, and not many families live there.
Casco Viejo is inside Panamá City, which is the reason why all medical facilities are within minutes away. Taking Avenue Balboa, also known as "Cinta Costera", you´ll find a variety of private clinics like Paitilla and Punta Pacífica (which has a direct connection with John Hopkins Hospital, in the US and pictured here), with professionals very well trained in Panamá universities, as well as abroad, many of them fluent in several languages, including English.
There are also spas and dermatological centers all over the city, with the latest technology and attractive prices.
Lately, Panamá is a favorite destination for medical treatments and surgeries, where foreigners and visitors find Panamanian professionals highly knowledgeable and where there excellent results at excellent prices.
Just to give some examples: a regular medical office visit starts at $15 and up; a specialist is around $50 to $75; a small wax (face / women) $3.00; cataract eye surgery is around $2,000 (in a highly specialized center); a complete spa massage is around $60.
There is always the availability of Hospital Santo Tomás (St. thomas Hospital) which is a state hospital, considered to have the best trauma center in the country, and where the most complicated treatment could go around $22 and up. Of course, it doesn´t have pretty installations or private rooms, but the medical attention is very good.
And finally, the government offers a free medical assistance for visitors, for up to 30 days, covering absolutely everything while you visit Panamá, from attending you in your hotel, to any complicated surgery you might need in emergency.
Some hospitals in Panamá city are: Punta Pacífica, Paitilla, San Fernando, Santa Fé, Clínica Nacional, San Judas Tadeo. There are also some hospitals in Chorrera, Soná, Penonomé, David, Isla Bocas, Coronado (emergencies only), and government and private clinics in almost every town covering primary care.
[Editor’s note: According to a press release August 1, 2014, the Panama Authority of Tourism stated that no charge tourist insurance coverage is no longer being offered.]