Panama's City's pride and joy
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Panama City's Old Quarter in Focus
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