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Panama Viejo (Old Panama City ruins)
Things to do in Panama
Viejo was the first European city built in the Pacific coast of the Americas. It was founded in 1519 by Pedro Arias Davila and soon became one of the most important trade centers in the continent, especially for gold and silver. This particular fact is what made it so attractive to pirates wanting to steal the countries treasures and eventually made them attack the city until its destruction in 1671. This attack was lead by welsh pirate Henry Morgan, who was later apprehended and imprisoned in England due to the violation of a peace treaty between Spain and England. He was actually released in 1674 when he proved he didn't have knowledge of the treaty.
The attack caused the death of thousands of people and left the city in ruins. The city was never re-built and the new Panama City was founded slightly south west of its former location (around 8km away).
Panama Viejo is the most funded archaeological site in the country due to its cultural value and it is very well preserved for touristic purposes. The site now offers 57 acres of crumbling building remains connected by paths with interpretive signs in both English and Spanish for you to understand its history. Panama Viejo also has a visitor center with one of the best handicraft markets in the city, a two story museum and a viewing tower in the Cathedral Tower of the old city (the most prominent building in the ruins site).
The old city was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997.
Full Package (including museum and viewing tower)
Adults: $6.00; Seniors: $5.00 ; Students: $3.00
Visitor center and Museum only
Adults: $3.00; Seniors: $2.00; Children and Students: $0.50
Ruins path and Viewing tower
Adults: $4.00; Seniors: $3.00; Students: $2.00
Children younger than 8 years old cannot access the viewing tower for security reasons.
Museum: Tue to Sun from 9:00 am to 5:30pm
Viewing tower: Tue to Sun from 8:30am to 6:30pm
Even thought both facilities are closed on Mondays, you can still visit the ruins path that day.
It is important to highlight that the visitor center and museum are about 15 minutes walk from the ruin's site.