The decrepit buildings of Casco Viejo (also known as Casco Antiguo) are gradually being rehabilitated, and each testifies to the past splendour of this colonial district built by the Spaniards.
Gentrification and the budget allocated by UNESCO to preserve the area's historical heritage have turned it into a trendy neighbourhood. Sit on the terrace in one of the cafés that line Plaza Bolivar and its beautiful 19th-century buildings, or, on Independence Square, choose a panama hat from Ecuador, just like those worn during the construction of the canal.
Be enchanted by the gilded Church of San José and the many other charming religious edifices in the neighbourhood, like the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi. Admire the facade of the Teatro Nacional, built in 1908, before moving on past the skyscrapers of the modern city to Plaza de Francia, dedicated to the 22,000 French workers who participated in the construction of the canal.