Panama City Unmasked [PHOTO ESSAY]

Panama City Skyline
Modern Panama City Skyline
Panama City, Panama

Panama City is not like other cities in Central America. A unique mixture of modern skyscrapers and crumbling neighborhoods full of history.

I spent a couple months living in Panama City, giving me plenty of time to explore it’s diverse streets. Central America’s biggest metropolitan area is growing rapidly. It’s often called “The Miami of the South”. But many of the high-rise skyscrapers you see are actually empty or not yet finished.

The city center has moved a few times over the centuries after pirates like Henry Morgan destroyed it. In the past Panama City was also used as a Spanish base for gold exploration and the conquest of many countries, including Peru in South America.

In 1989 the United States invaded Panama, destroying parts of the city with bombing. The invasion’s aim was to get rid of Panama’s dictator General Manuel Noriega, who had worked for the CIA under President Bush for over 20 years as a paid informant (supporting foreign dictators seems to be a common theme for the United States).

In this photo essay I attempt to reveal the many different sides of Panama City. Enjoy! :)

Panama City Home
Beach Front Property
Panama City Casco Viejo
Old Casco Viejo Neighborhood
Panama City Police
Panama City Police Force
Panama City Diablo Rojo Bus
Diablo Rojo Public Bus
Panama City Lottery
Wildly Popular Panama Lottery
Panama Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace
Panama City Fish Market
Panama City Fish Market
Panama City Skyscrapers
New Skyscraper Construction
Cathedral Metropolitana Panama City
Cathedral Metropolitana Panama City
Fishing Boats Panama City
Panama City Fishing Boats
El Chorillo Panama City
War-Torn El Chorillo Neighborhood
Panama City Alley
Squatter Buildings with Character
Travel Planning Resources for Panama City

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Book cheap flights on Skyscanner, my favorite airline search engine to find deals. Also read my tips for how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.


I hope you enjoyed my photos of Panama City! Hopefully you found the information useful too. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Which of the above shots is your favorite & why? Let me know in the comments!


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, beautiful photos, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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