There are so many beautiful places to explore here. Due to the lock downs, quarantines, closures and curfews of Covid-19 I haven’t managed to get to all of them (yet). But with that in mind, here is a list of my favorite places of where to photograph in Boquete, Panama. Let’s hope it gives you some good ideas of where to go if and when they open up for tourism again.
1. The Boquete Visitors Center (CEFTA)
The Boquete Visitors Center is perched on top of the hill before you make the final descent into town. It is actually about a 30 minute walk from downtown Boquete. I can’t tell you if it actually contains any useful information about Boquete as it has been closed for Covid-19 the whole time I have been here.
Most people stop here on their way in or out of town. It’s usually a quick stop for a selfie with the sign or the fantastic view below. If you are lucky you might catch feeding time for the local community of cuatis.
For me, the best time to be there for photos is at sunrise. Sunrise is usually around 6.20am. Some of the best pictures will be just before 6am. At this early hour the lights of downtown Boquete will still be glowing before it gets too light. Don’t forget your tripod!
After your 6am shot is a good time to take a little breakfast. There are plenty of benches to sit and admire the view whilst eating. Enjoy the peace and solitude as you will likely be the only person here.
Although sunrise is around 6.20am, the sun doesn’t actually rise above the Jaramillo mountains until around 7am. This is the time to capture the ever changing colors in the sky in front of you.
After 7 am the sunrise show is over and the best photos are usually done. Of course with the ever-changing weather in Boquete, you never really know when a good photo opportunity will arise.
I would imagine that sunset would give some great photo opportunities here too. Unfortunately with the current curfew, I am limited to sunsets only from the comfort of my home.
For the best photos at the Boquete Visitors Center I recommend doing panoramic shots. One photo alone cannot capture the vast view in front of you. I also recommend not just sticking to the visitors center property. At the end of all the benches is a small wall you can easily climb over. Here you will find a short trail on a small cliff with unobstructed views of the Boquete valley below.
2. The Wilson Bridge
The Wilson Bridge is one of the many old metal bridges crossing the many rivers in and around Boquete. It is about a 40-minute walk along a peaceful road from downtown Boquete. Don’t be afraid to take a taxi. It will only cost you $2 and maybe it will also make for a good picture!
The Wilson Bridge is impressive at any time of day depending on the weather. Usually try to go early in the morning for the best light but you never really know what you are going to get until you get there. If it’s a clear morning then sunrise will light up the mountains looking north from the bridge.
I do like it after a rainstorm for some good reflections in the puddles left behind on the bridge. There is very little traffic on this bridge so you don’t have to worry about getting run over. But I also find a car or truck in the shot adds a little something extra to the picture.
A good wide angle lens will help you capture the bridge in all it’s glory.
Of course, if you only have a short time here and the weather doesn’t cooperate, there is always Photoshop!
3. Boquete Tree Trek Road
The area around Boquete Tree Trek is one of my favorite places in Boquete. If you are looking for where to photograph in Boquete, you can’t go wrong here. The resort itself sounds like a lot of fun but it was closed during my stay and I never got to visit.
Getting here is more of a walk than a hike as the road is paved all the way to the top. It is still quite a climb and will take about 1 1/2 hours walking from town.
Once you reach the driveway for Tree Trek, continue walking for just a minute longer. After that, you will reach a beautiful part of the river with a rickety old footbridge crossing it. There are some fun photos to be had here.
It wasn’t until my second time here that I realized the river is not the highlight of the area. About 10 minutes before you reach the river you will see a large metal gate on your left. Beyond this gate is a stunning green meadow with great views of Volcan Baru on a clear morning.
Once again, I recommend getting here for sunrise as the light is so much better. It also makes for a much cooler walk up the hill. I’m sure sunset would also be a great experience but curfew would not allow me to stay out that late.
And it’s not just the view of the volcano here. Just the meadow itself is a beautiful place to be.
The meadows themselves are a great place to explore. I’m sure they are private property but I have never seen another person around. The river runs all alongside the meadows and makes a great spot for a picnic, or even a cold beer!
4. Cerro La Estrella
Cerro La Estrella could be the highlight of your photography trip to Boquete, Panama. But it will also be one of the most challenging. For more details on how to get here, check out my post on hiking Cerro La Estrella.
It would be a real challenge to get up here for sunrise. It is at least a 2 hour climb to the top, that’s if you don’t get lost. But the earlier you go, the better chance you have of views of Volcan Baru. Even with clouds, the view is still quite spectacular.
Check out my recent post on hiking Cerro La Estrella for more great pictures.
5. La Piedra de Lino
La Piedra De Lino is a great place to go for 360-degree views of the Boquete valley and Volcan Baru. It is a short but very challenging hike not too far from downtown Boquete. Check out my recent post on hiking La Piedra de Lino for more information on how to get there.
On a clear day you will have 360 degree views of the scenery that Boquete is famous for. But on a different day the clouds can put on quite a show for you. Why not take a picnic and enjoy the view from the rocks at the summit?
Check out my post on hiking La Piedra de Lino for more great views.
6. El Pianista Trail
I must admit that the El Pianista trail is not my favorite place to go hiking. The upper part of the trail is just dark and heavily forested, and the views often shrouded in clouds. However, if you are looking where to photograph in Boquete, the lower part of the trail is a great option.
I usually walk the loop road from town to get to the trailhead. The road itself can make for some nice photo opportunities with lots of colorful flowers everywhere you turn. It is a fairly easy 2 1/2 hour loop from downtown Boquete.
Don’t forget to check out the old coffee factory close to the trailhead!
Once you turn off the main road by the El Pianista restaurant, many beautiful spots on the river await you. They are spread out over about a 30 minute walk, with the best spot being on the far side of the meadow on your left after about 20 minutes walking.
Don’t forget your tripod for some fun shots with the water!
7. Mi Casa!
Yes, really! One of the best views in all of Boquete was from my bedroom window! The house that I was fortunate to be stuck in during the Covid-19 quarantine had some incredible views.
With great views of downtown Boquete and Volcan Baru, I spent many a sunrise or sunset photographing this wonderful view.
Can you imagine ever getting tired of a view like this? Trust me, you can! When a 3 week stay turned into 5 months, I was definetly ready for a change of scenery.
I know there are many more beautiful spots out there just waiting for me to photograph them. If and when the government allows, I’ll surely be out there discovering them.
Do you have any recommendations for me? Feel free to share your favorite spot or any photos in the comments section below….