Each family vacation is different. Not only with the changing of destinations but the changing of the kids. No two experiences will ever be the same.

Our trip to Panama was seven days, three hotels, the city and the beach, three bags and five backpacks. I didn’t need candy to distract them or false promises to bribe them, I didn’t hear moans of tired feet and legs or field endless questions of what was coming next. They were simply travelers, experiencing the new. They took each new experience as it came; hearing, smelling, tasting and seeing everything, drawing comparison to what was familiar and identifying what was new. They took the discomfort of being in a new country and not knowing the language and embraced it for the adventure that it is.

When we travel we come with expectations, plans, baggage, we leave behind routine, responsibilities and stress and we hope for renewal, fun and lifelong memories. This trip we came away with a newfound understanding that our kids have benefitted practically and spiritually from all our travels. We have left an indelible mark and planted the seeds of appreciation and gratitude of this wide, wide world.

Casco Viejo or Antiguo is the old quarter of Panama City, founded in 1673 after the original Pacific settlement (Panama Viejo) was sacked by the pirate Henry Morgan. It remained the center of Panamanian life for nearly 300 years, until the 1930s, when it began to decline. This decline was exacerbated by the Panama Canal Zone, which existed from 1903 to 1979 and was off limits to Panamanians. The boundaries were drawn so as to pinch the Casco off from the rest of the city, leaving only one narrow road for entrance and egress. The handover of the Panama Canal in 1999 and UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1998 ushered in an era of revitalization by government, entrepreneurs and international organizations.

During its 300 years as the heart of Panamanian life, the peninsula developed a unique legacy of Spanish, French and American colonial, neoclassical and art nouveau architecture which showcases the many influences on this country as well as it’s significance as a world cross roads.