Lonely Planet Writer

Panama City’s Amador Causeway gets a new look after a US$300m makeover

After a three-year makeover, it looks as though the Amador Causeway shall finally go to the ball.

Amador Causeway
The Calzada de Amador, Panama City

The Calzada de Amador, a 4km-stretch of road linking the tiny islands of Naos, Perico and Flamenco to Panama City, was originally built by the Americans in 1913. Constructed using rocks and soil excavated during the building of the Panama Canal, it was never designed to carry much traffic.

The government has invested heavily in the area in recent years (to the tune of US $300 million) and rapid development has brought with it Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo and the Smithsonian’s Punta Culebra, along with a myriad of outdoor attractions.  One of the most significant improvements of this multi-million dollar rejuvenation project has been an improved traffic flow. Where the causeway once held only two lanes for traffic there are now four, and new roundabouts ensure that you no longer have to crawl all the way to the end of the isthmus before coming back again.

The facelift has also introduced four new viewpoints – three overlooking Panama Bay and one facing the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal – as well as 7500m of parks, kids play areas and green spaces positioned just before Flamenco Island.

Bike lanes on the Calzada de Amador
Bike lanes on the Calzada de Amador

Having long been a popular spot for cyclists, the Amador Causeway is fast becoming the place to bring or to rent a bike. Newly constructed bike lanes link to those on Cinta Costera, the main coastal road of the city, creating a 12km cycle route. Bikes are available to hire at several kiosks along the causeway, as are rollerblades, skateboards and, well, just about anything on wheels.

Calzada de Amador, Panama City
Calzada de Amador, Panama City

And the Amador’s makeover shows no sign of stopping. Future plans include a cruise terminal with the capacity to accommodate two ships simultaneously. A vast convention centre is also under construction.  Festivities to celebrate the completion of this renovation project are scheduled for the end of the month although details are yet to be confirmed.

Get the top travel news stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday by signing up to our newsletter.