With its colonial old town, historic ruins, striking skyline and sweeping waterfront promenades, Panama City, Panama has some phenomenal photography spots. As Central America’s largest and most modern city, it’s easy to get great vantage points of the action from one of the many high-rises or rooftop patios, and a kaleidoscope of colours on seemingly every corner creates perfect backdrops for portraits. Here are some of the top spots to shoot your Panama City photos.
Besides being one of the best places to visit in Panama City, Casco Viejo (also referred to as Casco Antiguo) is also a photographer’s dream. Think vibrant murals brightening up what would otherwise be a boring gravel parking lot, pastel facades accented by window boxes dripping with lush flowers, and lovely cobblestone streets lined with bright doorways.
Dating back to the 1600s, this old quarter has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has protected its stately buildings and ruins. A great landmark to start at is the elegant, whitewashed Central Hotel Panama which provides a gorgeous location for fashion shots, and overlooks the main plaza which is best captured with a wide-angle lens.
The rooftop patios at hot spots like Tantalo provide great viewpoints over the old town, and the waterfront promenade Las Bobedas is one of the most popular places to snap Panama City pictures since you can also capture the modern skyline in the background, juxtapositioned with the centuries-old colonial buildings in the foreground.
Renowned architect Frank Gehry didn’t hold back when designing this gorgeous, modern museum, which is reminiscent of a Rubix cube thanks to its geometric angles painted with primary colours. Found along the Amador Causeway, the angular roof is quite a contrast to the calm waters surrounding it, and the BioMuseo’s funky composition provides endless options for creative composition.
The Panama City signs
There are not one, but two huge Panama signs found within the city limits. One is on the Amador Causeway, and another in a park in the middle of the Cinta Costera which is the city’s main thoroughfare along the waterfront. Snapping a shot in front of the colourful instillations is a must-do during a trip to Panama City.
Panama La Vieja
One of the top Panama City attractions is the place where it all began: Panama La Vieja, a site dating back to the 1500s where the city was founded. Located a short drive from the new city centre, the remaining stone fortifications, bell tower and cathedral are now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are some great photo-ops here, set amongst the crumbling ruins which are surrounded by greenery, with the skyline glittering in the distance.
Iglesia Del Carmen
This gorgeous church could be a destination on its own, yet it’s surprisingly tucked away in the bustling financial district which means not all tourists end up making it here. Unveiled in 1953, the cathedral is done in the Gothic style, the only one of its kind in all of Panama. Its two impressive towers and detailed facades pop in photos, and the grand interior features beautiful stained glass windows and an intricate alter.
Globe Guide tip: Head to the deck of the nearby Crowne Plaza Hotel for a great view of Iglesia Del Carmen from above.
The Bridge of the Americas
Those lucky enough to sail through the Panama Canal are in for a treat, as they’ll get a close up view of two gargantuan bridges which are quite a feat of engineering. The Bridge of the Americas marks the canal’s entrance, and as its name states it has the rather important job of linking North and South America. There are plenty of places to photograph the curves of its tiered archways on both sides of the water, but one of the best is from underneath (especially if you’re lucky enough to time your boat trip for sunset).
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Metropolitan Natural Park
This spot’s claim to fame is that it’s Central America’s only protected tropical forest area found within city limits, making it a great place for nature and wildlife photographers. The 232-hectare park has several walking trails winding past flora and fauna, and is particularly popular with birders hoping to spot species like the dusty ant bird, broad-winged hawk, and orange-chinned parakeet.
For the best views, head to the Cerro Cedro lookout point which is the highest point in the park. Visitors can see out as far as Taboga Island, the Panama Canal and the Bridge of the Americas. Another option is the Los Caobos lookout point which serves up sweeping views of Soberania National Park and the Camino de Cruces, both of which are national parks connected to the Metropolitan Natural Park.
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