Finding Great Hosts at Casa Sucre Panama

I’m heading to Halifax for a short trip soon and I had to find a place to stay that wasn’t too expensive. A friend recommended the dorms at Dahlhousie University for $47/night. I was also tempted to stay at a hostel for about $30, but I’m not a fan of bunk beds. I decided to give Airbnb.com a try–I’ve heard good things about it. I found what looks like a nice place in south Halifax for $45/night, and the hosts responded to my questions quickly. I’ll post a full review after I return.

casco viejo panama
On the left, squatter, on the right, new hotel construction

The prospect of sharing an apartment with my hosts reminded me slightly of the bed & breakfast in Panama City. On the first full day in the city, my Canadian companions and I decided that we needed to stay in Casco Viejo to enjoy the life that the city possesses. We intended on staying at Luna’s Castle–the major hostel in Panama City. Unfortunately, it was booked; not even a dorm bed.

We wandered through the small area of Casco Viejo under the intense sun in search of a bed for the night. Everywhere we looked, the rooms were booked or far out of our price range.Casa Sucre

We were about to give up when I decided to take a look down one last street. I found Casa Sucre just around the corner from Luna’s Castle. We decided to take a look and see how much it would cost. It was out of our price range, but we figured it would be alright if we all split one room. It was a little crowded, but cleaner and more comfortable than any other place we could have afforded. It was an elegant and warm boutique hotel run by Rich and Alyce from the U.S.

The balcony at Casa Sucre was interesting–it wrapped around the building and looked directly across the street into a building full of squatters. Our hosts even knew them. Had we had more time to relax, that balcony would have been great. As it was, we sat there between sightseeing and dinner to cool off with a couple beers.

casco viejo
Most of Casco Viejo was a construction site

It was great to sit around living room/dining room talking with Rich and Alyce about their endeavor to renovate the once-dilapidated property in Panama City. Rich even showed me a slideshow of the construction–there really wasn’t much that could be saved from the original building.

It may have been more than we wanted to spend on a room, but it was well worth it. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the amazing breakfast.

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