About Us

Our Story

Casa Latina began as a fusion of two visionaries to bring high quality handicrafts to an up and coming cultural tourism destination that is the Casco Viejo. This historic district of Panama City, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997 is going under a major reconstruction phase in order to revitalize its architecture and make it one of the city’s main tourist attractions. The two stories… ​ Peter and Carmen Illi, owners of renowned handicrafts gallery Galeria Latina in Quito,Ecuador began traveling to Panama in the early 1990’s in the search of new products for their gallery. They had heard of the amazing baskets and carvings coming from the Darien region of Panama and ventured there to find the highest quality products. It was around this time that they met Obdulio Isarama and his wife Alina, they owned a stand in the old Balboa market in Panama City. Obdulio and his wife both came from the Darien region of Panama and had some of the best art work from the region. They soon became friends and started working together to get some of this art work to Ecuador. After working together for over 15 years they decided to open a store together in Panama City, which is how Casa Latina was born. Thank you for visiting our website. We are looking forward to seeing you in our shops in the Mariscal district in Quito,Ecuador and in Casco Viejo, Panama. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed by our huge collection of art and jewelry from Latin America including pieces you won’t find anywhere else.

Our Mission

Our aim at Casa Latina is to conserve the richness of Latin American folk art and share it with others. Casa Latina is comprised of two ethos of handicrafts, one focusing primarily on Panamanian crafts stemming from different indigenous groups primarily from the Darien region. The second focused on the Andean region of Latin America. We invite you to experience the beauty and historical importance of Latin American folk art. Casa Latina is a joint venture of two people who worked very close together for many years in promoting tribal and Latin American art. In a short period of time not only have we been able to gain a reputation as a renowned folk art gallery in Panama, but we have also succeeded in improving the socioeconomic status of the artisans with whom we have worked closely over this period of time. The cultural richness of the Latin American people lives in the work being produced today.