Panama in 20 Days (Part 2)

Casco Viejo

Fujifilm X100 – f4.0 1/1500 ISO200 – Casco Viejo is a great place for a walking tour.

This is part 2 of 5 part series about our Panama Vacation. You can check part 1 clicking here.

Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo,  also known as Casco Antiguo, is one of the coolest places to visit in Panama City. The narrow brick streets are filled with buildings of different architectural styles. Some of them have been restored and now house museums, restaurants, shops and elegant residences. Other buildings stand in disrepair with peeling walls giving a high contrast with the remodeled ones just next door.

DSCF5667

Fujifilm X100 – f8.0 1/200 ISO200 – Elegant restaurants and sidewalk caf├ęs.

DSCF5648

Fujifilm X100 – f5.6 1/680 ISO200 – Some buildings are in disrepair or complete ruin

We had the opportunity to visit Casco Viejo twice during our stay in Panama City. We spent Saturday morning and afternoon exploring the area when we were there for the first time. We decided to not visit any museums or churches and just wander the narrow streets appreciating the atmosphere of the place, the restaurants and cafes.

In both occasions, I took only the Fujifilm X100 with me, I really enjoy the freedom of walking very light with no bags. The only thing I missed was a tripod when I was there at night for a couple of shots.

In case you’re wondering how I geotagged my photos, since X100 doesn’t have a GPS module, I’ve used an app on my iPhone called geotgr. It tracks my location and saves a GPX file which I can import in Lightroom later to tag my photos automatically based on the capture time. It works very well and I use it from time to time when it will be hard to remember exactly where I was to tag them manually.

DSCF5689

Fujifilm X100 – f8.0 1/450 ISO200 – Catedral Metropolitana on Plaza de La Independencia

Casco Viejo

Fujifilm X100 – f8.0 1/250 ISO200 – Iglesia Santo Domingo and the Flat Arch. I took this picture from behind because the facade was always full of tourists.

Flowered Balconies in Casco Viejo

Fujifilm X100 f4.0 1/900 ISO200 – Flowered balconies are everywhere in Casco Viejo.

Casco Viejo

Fujifilm X100 – f8.0 1/420 ISO200 – Government buildings have restricted access.

Doors in Casco Viejo

Fujifilm X100 – f5.6 1/220 ISO200 – Doors in Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo is also a great place for street photography. There is such a variety of people, from tourists to fully characterized indians, that you will be overwhelmed by the photo opportunities. That’s said, I’m still struggling to approach strangers in the streets and ask for a photo. There was an occasion that I made eye contact with an indian, she smiled back but as soon as I raised the camera she tried to hide herself, I respected her and walked away. There is no easy way to do this and it’s something that needs practice to gain confidence.

DSCF5685

Fujifilm X100 – f8.0 1/60 ISO320 – I took this candid shot across the street and cropped to frame it better.

DSCF5693

Fujifilm X100 – f8.0 1/200 ISO200 – Wandering the narrow streets you will find some interesting people and places.

DSCF5632

Fujifilm X100 – f5.6 1/60 ISO320 – Highly cropped image of this beautiful woman fully characterized.

Casco Viejo

Fujifilm X100 – f2.8 1/320 ISO200 – Local indians selling handicraft products.

DSCF5705

Fujifilm X100 – f5.6 1/30 ISO200 – There are bicycle-taxis to get tourists around Casco Viejo.

Casco Viejo

Fujifilm X100 – f5.6 1/340 ISO200 – Nice view of the Panama City’s skyscrapers from Casco Viejo.

We had such a great time in Casco Viejo that we planned a second visit at night for dinner three days later. A little piece of advice here, for safety reasons don’t wander around at night beyond the places with more activity. Fortunately, nothing bad happened to us, not even close, but we didn’t have the same safeness feeling as we had during the day.

DSCF5830

Fujifilm X100 – f2.8 1/15 ISO2500 – Tables on sidewalks around Plaza Simon Bolivar give an extra charm to the place at night.

DSCF5833

Fujifilm X100 – f2.0 1/15 ISO2500 – Bar inside Mostaza Restaurant.

Casco Viejo

Fujifilm X100 – f2.0 1/15 ISO800 – Just outside Mostaza Restaurant.

In part 3 we are going to explore Panama Channel and Amador Causeway.

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a feedback in the comment section below.