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Amador Causeway

Panama's City's pride and joy

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This view shows the site of the new Naos Harbour Island residential and hotel project.

One of the most precious assets which reverted to Panama along with the canal when the U.S. pulled out at the end of 1999 was the Amador Causeway which flanks the channel leading into the Pacific entrance to the canal, and joins four small islands, Flamenco, Perico, Culebra and Naos.

Designed as a huge breakwater to protect the entrance to the Canal and prevent sedimentation in the Port of Balboa, the causeway was built with a million and a quarter cubic yards of rock from the excavation of Culebra Cut. It also served as a fortification. Just as the Spaniards had pointed their cannons seaward a few centuries before on the walls of Las Bovedas across the bay, the Americans, during the two world wars, installed ordinance on the causeway islands to make it the most powerful defense complex the world had seen.

The causeway had yet another purpose. It was a recreational area for U.S. military and civilian personell..... but forbidden to Panamanians.

So that when the US moved out, Panamanians rejoiced especially at the possession of The Causeway. A great deal of money was spent on access and infrastructure and many offers were received and projects proposed for the valuable real estate at Amador and the islands.

To date, the projects completed include a cruise port, marina, the Fuerte Amador shopping and restaurant plaza, The Figali Convention Center, a Country Inn Hotel, and a second shopping and restaurant plaza, as well as individual restaurants.

Architectural drawing of the projected Naos harbour Island complex.

Also situated on the Causeway are the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute which has been on Culebra Island since early in the last century, and the Balboa Yacht Club whose building, sadly, burned down and which was disposessed of its site just after the reversion, but which still functions from a bohio close to the shore.

One of the most interesting projects is a proposed biodiversity museum to be called Bridge of Life Museum designed by Frank O. Gehry & Associates. It is sponsored by a private foundation but seems to be stalled for lack of funds.

The wildest idea is the brainchild of a company called Inversiones Guararé Teleferico, S.A. which proposes a cable car from the top of Ancon Hill down to The Causeway. It will be an exhilarating ride...... perhaps.

Looking west towards the Bridge of the Americas.

The most important project has just begun on Naos Island. In a superb location (where Manuel Noriega built a luxurious club for his officers) the Naos Harbour Island residential and hotel project has now been launched by Grupo MSG, a Panamanian group dedicated to import, export, real estate and tourism. The project, which evisages an investment of U.S.$30 million, will include a 300 room hotel and an apartment hotel with a further 114 rooms, all with a view, not only of the ocean, but of the Bridge of the Americas, the whole of Panama City and the infinite variety of ships entering the canal and passing almost within a stone´s-throw. A casino and commercial area and villas will complete the mix.

A breakwater and beach will be constructed in front of the hotel. The water off Naos is especially clean since millions of gallons of fresh water from Gatun Lake flow down past the island from Miraflores Locks each day.

Apartments and villas are offered for outright sale or on a fractional ownership basis—a concept which formalizes the idea of a group of relatives or friends pooling their resources to buy a second home or getaway place.

Related Links

Panama City's Old Quarter in Focus Panama
Panama City in Focus Panama

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