We asked Carmen, one of our incredible teachers here at Casco Antiguo Spanish School “What are your favorite things to do here in Panama?” Here’s what she said:
Having ceviche and beers at Mercado del Marisco:
Without a doubt ceviche is my favorite Panamanian foods, together with patacones (twice fried plantains) and yuca (a side dish made from the root of the cassava plant). Ceviche, for those who don’t know, its an dish prepared with fresh fish or seafood and lemon juice, chopped onion, celery, habanero pepper, and sea salt. Ceviche de Corvina (sea bass ceviche) is the most popular though there are dozens of different types, from octopus and shrimp to squid, conch, lobster, and giant prawns. I highly recommend you to try it and judge it for yourself.
One of my favorite things to do in Panama City, Panama is to have ceviche at the food stalls right outside of the Mercado del Marisco which is 5 a 10 minutes’ walk from Casco Antiguo Spanish School. There, you are not only going to find ceviche and beers, but music and festive atmosphere almost every day of the week but especially on the weekends. You can have a both a small ceviche de corvina (sea bass ceviche) and a beer for 2.50$, which is a very good price considering how fresh and delicious the seafood is. Most of the stalls are open from 8am to 9pm and it is a perfect plan if you just want to have a nice time chit chatting with friends and, in the meanwhile, you can get to know the Panamanian life style. You can also find a wide variety of beers, most of them national, for reasonable prices (from $1.25). My favorite Friday evening plan is to have dinner at the market stalls – don’t worry if you don’t like ceviche, they have many more dishes you can order, like a whole fried fish and other non-seafood dishes too – and after dinner, go out for around the Casco Antiguo to meet friends and enjoy the incredible nightlife in the neighborhood.
Walking along the Cinta Costera:
Cinta Costera is a park that runs along the main Avenida Balboa in Panama City and is a wonderful place to go for a walk. There are always people walking, running, riding bicycles or skating. It’s a perfect place to go alone, with friends or kids because you will always find all types of activities to do. It is a very safe place since there are police officers patrolling the Cinta. Also, if you get hungry, you’ll find food all along the Cinta Costera, from raspados (shaved ice) to hot dogs and non-alcoholic beverages. Maybe you are thinking: “I would love to ride a bike along the Cinta but I don’t have a bike…” Well, that is not a problem anymore since you can find places to rent bikes, roller blades or motorbikes from 4$/h the bikes and roller blades and 12$/h the motorbikes. Cinta Costera starts right here in Casco Antiguo (a 5 minute walk from Casco Antiguo Spanish School) and ends up at the Multicentro Mall in downtown Panama City. It depends on how fast you walk but it can take you around 30 – 40 min to walk from one end to the other.
About the author: Carmen is a Spanish teacher at Casco Antiguo Spanish School. She is from Madrid (Spain) and has been living in Panama since August 2013. When she’s not teaching Spanish here at Casco Antiguo Spanish School she can be found with a beer in her hand at Mercado de Marisco or walking along the Cinta Costera.