Luna’s Castle Address
Calle 9na Este 3-28
Casco Viejo, Panama
Tell the taxi: “Luna’s Castle en Casco Viejo, despues del la rana dorada se sube la rampa y dobla a la derecha, Luna’s Castle es la segunda casa a la derecha.”
Following Captain Morgan’s plundering of the Panama Vieja in 1671, stones from the ruins were used to construct the massive walls of Casco Viejo in 1673. Luna’s Castle, a colonial mansion built in 1905, rests upon this original city wall. Casco Viejo is the historic heart of Panama City. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998, Casco Viejo is the oldest city on the Pacific coast of the Americas. The past decade has seen major restoration projects spring up around the neighborhood. The contrast between old and restored, hallowed-out shells and luxury apartments, creates a unique charm that draws visitors to the area and makes Casco Viejo the cultural center of the city. Within one block you will find trees growing from dilapidated chimneys, elegantly restored colonial mansions adjacent to rotting wooden balconies and even the Presidential Palace. These days Casco Viejo is vibrant with restaurants and bars hosting a variety of live music, art exhibits and other events.
Dining and Nightlife:
There are several restaurants and bars in Casco Viejo – ranging from economic to classy. Here are a few of Luna’s recommendations:
Casablanca offers tables on the edge of scenic Plaza Bolivar and occasional live music, which help make the slow service not so bad after all. The food is usually very good and well worth the prices, which range from around $4 to $12. Favorites include the bruschetta, the burgers and the ceasar salad.
Manolo Caracol is one of the most famous restaurants in Casco Viejo and for good reason. After being seated, they immediately begin bringing you plate after plate of delicious food, ranging from spicy prawns to crab cakes to handmade sausages. The decor is classy but doesn’t come off as pretentious. It is best to make a reservation if you are going for dinner, but for lunch, you’ll be fine just walking in. It is located on Ave. Central near the tourism police.
Café Coca-Cola has been a neighborhood staple for years here in Casco Viejo and is frequented by regulars who sit around talking politics and teasing the waitresses. Café Coca-Cola is definitely the best cheap food option in the area. It goes above its’ generic name and offers a range of typical Panamanian food as well as the basics such as pasta, salads, sandwiches, etc. Plates range from around $2 to $6. It is located on Ave. Central near the Parque de Santa Ana.
Relic Bar Search no further, one of the newest and hottest bars in Panama is right here below the hostel. Tucked away deep beneath the streets, enclosed in old stone walls, and lit with a delicate glow, this place of the past is infused with the spirit of the present. Surviving the passage of time is no feat unto itself. Doing so with the funkiness and audacity of the finist modern party is. Relic has become that party. Open Tuesday night through Saturday night 8:30pm to Late. Don’t miss our happy hour for guests between 9pm-10pm, $.50 beers and $1 mixed drinks. For other events and concert information at Relic please check out www.relicbar.com
Café Havana is a popular spot to go for a quick drink, a late bite to eat or just a spot to sit and chat with some friends. They offer one of the best mojitos in town with a raw sugarcane garnish to keep you from drinking it too fast. Located on Ave. B near the Plaza de Independencia.