About the Casco

Casco Antiguo (also referred to as Casco Viejo or San Felipe) is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is quickly being revitalized and now hosts some of the city�s best restaurants and Latin jazz clubs. The neighborhood is where Panama City was founded in 1673 after the original Pacific settlement (Panama Viejo) was sacked by the pirate Henry Morgan. It remained the center of Panamanian life for nearly 300 years, until the 1930s, when, like many old quarters in Latin America, Casco Antiguo declined as Panama's upper crust moved to the suburbs.

The reasons for the exodus are typically attributed to the emergence of the automobile, which made suburban living feasible and downtown living more difficult. In the Casco's case, these pressures were exacerbated by the fact that the boundaries of the Panama Canal Zone, which was off limits to Panamanians, were drawn so as to pinch the Casco off from the rest of the city, leaving only one narrow road for entrance and exit.


The handover of the Panama Canal in 1999 and UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1998 ushered in an era of revitalization by government, entrepreneurs and international organizations.

The 100 acre peninsula's legacy of Spanish, French and American colonial, neoclassical and art nouveau architecture is unique. Certain styles, particularly the narrow 16th through 18th century houses with internal courtyards, are specific to the region. So, while people often refer to Casco Viejo as a "colonial city", the current city-scape is more dominated by French and Early American architecture, which UNESCO points out in its justification of World Heritage status, "lends it a special quality that other colonial cities in Latin America lack (with the exception of New Orleans, where the quality of the architecture is markedly inferior)."

UNESCO drew a connection between this eclectic collection of architectural styles and Panama's historical role as a world cross roads, with each style representing a boom in inter-oceanic trade through the Isthmus. This collection of architecture and the people who inhabit it are clear reflections of Panama's fascinating cultural makeup and an important part of our common heritage.


If you fall in love with the neighborhood and would like to learn more about real estate opportunities, please contact Arco Properties at (507) 2112548,info@arcoproperties.com , www.arcoproperties.com