Casa Arias

Our new home here in Panama City is called Casa Arias. It was built for one of the founders of the Republic of Panama (president 1903-1904), Tomas Arias. The house is grandiose, in a good condition and still has most of the original pieces. The stair case is made from marble imported from Italy, the banisters are handcarved mahogany. The house itself is big and old enough to make a good location for a horror movie. Every room has a very high ceiling, I would say 3.5 meters which creates a special atmosphere. You really feel like a king living in this house.

Since the building is so big, it is shared - but its not strangers together, but like a big family. It has a small company renting an office on the 3rd floor, office of the non-profit of our landlord (a youth leadership development organization called Earth Train) on the ground floor. We have a small apartment on the 2nd floor (bedroom with a balcony, bathroom, kitchen and a small room between the last 2). Owners' quarter are also on the 2nd floor. There are many common areas which we all share, like the pavilion on the 3rd floor (suitable for parties, BBQ, meetings, chilling out) and a small observatory on the 4th floor. There is also a security guard who lives here.

House is still under renovations in some parts and work on it is going on. There will be an art gallery on the ground floor. The courtyard and 3rd floor open area will be filled with tropical plants everywhere.

The house itself is maybe 40 meters from the sea. We have a gourmet grocery just next to our house and famous Independence Plaza with a beautiful cathedral is just 30 seconds walk away. I wrote about the magic of our neighborhood the last time.

I took some pictures today, but its hard to capture the house with pictures. Perhaps I need to walk around with a video camera if I want you to really see the place. Anyways, pictures with comments:

The fascade
Yep, thats our home. The main entrance is the big door on the left.
The view from the open area on the 3rd floor. Bridge of Americas on the right
View from the observatory. The flag of Panama is on top of the hill
Marble stairs
The courtyard. This will be redesigned/re-landscaped and turned into a piece of tropical paradise
Going down towards the main entrance
Open air pavilion. As I mentioned, it is used for meetings, parties, drinking wine and so on. Notice the grill on the right and don't forget the hammock (haven't used either of them yet, but I will a lot).
View to the causeway. That causeway leads up to 4 islands which are filled with restaurants. Popular sightseeing destinations.
View to the sea from the Pavilion
View from the Pavilion. Notice the ships queuing for the canal. The abandoned house you see will be turned into a boutique hotel. Casco Viejo has a lot of houses like this which are now being bought and renovated. If you happen to have cash lying around, this might be your best investment ever.
More view to the sea
View to the street in front of our house. The house with the white balcony has the gourmet grocery where I shop once a day.
More neighbours.
3rd level open area. This will be filled with plants as well.
View towards the city center. The skyscrapers in downtown city are well visible. Nice contrast with the old tower.
A walkway on the 2nd level
Behind the blue wall is the small company I mentioned and the level below is our apartment
More views from the roof
Pavilion area
This is the house thats is turned into a hotel again
View from our balcony (other side of the house)
View from our balcony towards the street
Our kitchen. We haven't been able to fully furnish and decorate it yet. We love the wine rack.
Our bedroom. The room is too big for the camera to capture it well, so here's one part of it.

Here are 2 videos I took. One has the view from the top floor of our house and the other one shows views from the French Plaza in Casco Viejo (close to our house).


Jingwei said...

I am totally impressed by where you live! Also I am jealous of the fact that you and your girlfriend has the guts to go to a 3rd country and establish your life there from scratch. Keep us updated of how things are going with career building, life in Panama.

Anonymous said...


I used to live in your room, on the second floor, in 2005. I was an intern with EarthTrain. Your photos are amazing! I can't believe how much work has been done--when I lived there, there were no doors, no windows.

I think I planted some of those trees in the courtyard below :)

I would love to hear about your times there! Get in touch and let's email...