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The Amador Causeway

Can you see the sunken sailboat? :D

Stretching two miles into the Pacific, the Amador Causeway, or "Calzada de Amador," is a man-made land bridge that unites Panama City with four small islands—Naos, Perico, Culebra, and Flamenco. The bridge was built (or at least started) in 1913 using rocks from the excavation of the Culebra Cut of the Panama Canal. Back then, the site made up two U.S. military complexes—Fort Amador, named after Panama's first president, Manuel Amador Guerrero; and Fort Grant, named after President Ulysses S. Grant, who famously led an infantry regiment across Panama in 1852 to reach California.

The Amador Causeway in the early 20th century and a Google map of the bridge and islands today.

The causeway was heavily fortified from its creation through World By II. By the late 1960s, however, the causeway had transformed into something of a gated community for U.S. soldiers in the Canal Zone. The islands boasted a yacht club, golf course, baseball field, and bathing beaches, as well as offered great views of the city and ocean.

After the U.S. turned over the Canal to Panama in 1999, Panama decided to build up the causeway as a leisure and tourist location. Today, the causeway includes a running and cycling path on either side of a four-lane road, as well as offers a cruise port, marina, conference center, hotels, restaurants, museums, and more. (As an aside, my guide told me the best gelato place in all of Panama City is on Perico Island by the marina. I was too busy taking pictures to care about getting ice cream, though!)

Where's Jess? ;)

The marina and Panama Cruise Terminal (in the background).

More marina pics on Perico Island.

Panama City from Perico Island.

Close-up of Panama City from Perico Island.

Looking towards Casco Viejo and Ancon Hill, to the left of the city.

Panama City and the Pacific Ocean from the Causeway.

Panama City from the Causeway.

Looking towards the entrance of the canal, on the other side of the causeway.

Ships waiting to pass through the canal. Without a reservation, ships may have to wait as long as a week to enter the canal.

Sailboats chilling closer to shore.

The Bridge of the Americas.

Another famous site easily viewed from the Amador Causeway is the Bridge of the Americas. The bridge crosses the Pacific approach to the Panama Canal at Balboa, near Panama City. The United States built the bridge between 1959 and 1962 for $20 million. From its completion in 1962 until the opening of the parallel Centennial Bridge in 2004, the Bridge of the Americas was a key part of the Pan-American Highway.

All in all, if you ever make it to Panama City, you must take at least an hour or two to drive out to the Amador Causeway. It's beautiful and offers different views of the city than you can get anywhere else. And there's good gelato there, too! ;)

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Jun 29, 2023

Hi Jessica,

I had no idea about the causeway. In high school history all I remember is the story of the canal and how it made such a difference to the war effort.

Great photos as always. The causeway looks like a great place to visit for people wanting a secluded holiday.

Jessica Cyphers
Jessica Cyphers
Jun 29, 2023
Replying to

Hi Gary,

I'm not sure about a secluded holiday... I didn't get many pics of the stores, but there were definitely people around, even on a weekday. It's a beautiful spot, though. The Panama Cruise Terminal was only finished a couple years ago.

And I had no idea about the causeway, either. I'm amazed by what people have been able to do with a bunch of rock dumped into the ocean. :D One of the coolest things about traveling, though, is the amount you learn about a place. :)

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