Amador Causeway, Panama, WRITTEN Report

Amador Causeway – One of the Coolest Places to Live and Hang Out in Panama City

Alright, I’m so excited about the launch of the site. I just got back from Amador Causeway with my daughters where we had a blast. I’m ready to tell you all about it. 

For this Panama For Real location report, I’ll be focusing on the Amador Causeway, a narrow land bridge that connects four islands by the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The Causeway was created using rock extracted during the excavations of the canal. Nothing goes to waste here in Panama. If rock, sand, or dirt is taken from one area, it’s usually used someplace else. In this case, it was used to create a really cool, breezy, hangout with water on both sides.

Amador Causeway map

You’ll notice that I’ve filed this report under “Beach Locations.” Technically, this isn’t a beach location. However, since everything in Amador sort of revolves around the water, from the marinas to the yacht clubs, The Causeway seems to fit better in the beach category than in any of the others.

The Bridge of the Americas from Amador Causeway

Not all locations covered by Panama For Real will be places where you can realistically live. Some might just be tourist hotspots, where the lifestyle wouldn’t make much sense for most people. Or we might cover places where only ROP (Right of Possession) real estate exists, rather than titled land and properties. Each location will be studied on a case by case basis, so that you not only discover the best places to live in Panama, but also the most exciting places to visit.

With Amador Causeway, you can realistically live there, and it would probably be an amazing lifestyle, if you can afford it. You’ll find no lower income or even middle income housing on The Causeway. The only homes and condos you’ll see for rent or for sale are top notch and will cost a pretty penny. I’ll cover the cost of housing and the styles of housing a little bit later.

I’ve spent many afternoons with the boys here

This report will probably be a little shorter than some of the others because you won’t find many of the things you’ll find in established towns in this country. You won’t find schools, banks, or medical facilities on The Causeway. However, Amador Causeway is part of Panama City, so really, if you lived there, you’d have easy access to the best hospitals this country has to offer and Marbella’s banking district, both areas only a quick drive or taxi ride away.

So what is this place all about?

When I first moved to Panama and I was complaining about the lack of things to do with kids here, everyone used to tell me to go to The Causeway. They’d talk about riding bikes along the water and stopping for ice cream. When I finally visited the area, I was blown away. I had no idea what I’d been missing. It’s a great, open area for people to go for a stroll.

A wonderful place to go for an afternoon stroll

My wife works at ANATI, the government’s land development department, which for the time being is located at the entrance to Amador Causeway. So I’ve spent many afternoons with the kids, hanging out on The Causeway while waiting for her to get off work. We’ve walked every square inch of the place and one thing’s for sure, once you get out of the hectic city and onto The Causeway, stress seems to melt away.

Families enjoy Amador Causeway

It’s a great place to go for a jog or any other kind of exercise. I’ve seen people out working one-on-one with their personal trainers, I’ve seen bicycle teams riding in formation, and I’ve seen walkers, joggers, and rollerbladers. People walk their dogs, and I couldn’t believe it when I actually saw little stands with free bags for picking up your pet’s poop. That’s something I’d expect in Palm Beach or Beverly Hills, but that’s very new and a great improvement here. Especially since I’ve fallen victim to the poo on my shoe situation in the past (not fun when you’re in a sports bar watching the Saturday night fights with friends and can’t figure out where the hell that smell is coming from). Eww, gross. I know.  

My kids love spending time on the causeway

One of my favorite things about the area is the ease at which you can rent bicycles and other fun forms of transportation. Just the other day, I rented a two seater bike with my daughters and we paid $9 for an hour. That’s not bad. And you’ll find larger bikes for larger groups. Check out the price list below to see what I’m talking about.

$9 for an hour on the two-seater bike

During our hour on the bike, we made it only about halfway down the rest of The Causeway when the storm that had been threatening to catch us, finally did, and the sky let loose with that sideways rain that’s impossible to shield against. I couldn’t even take pictures out of fear of the camera getting soaked.

Right before the torrential downpour

We tried to keep going and workers driving by in trucks seemed to get a kick out of it as they pointed at us and giggled. Crazy gringos riding a bike in the rain. I thought we’d be okay with the little roof over our heads, but it just sloped downward and filled up with water like a fabric bucket, and yes, Dear Liza, our little bucket had a hole. By the time we got back to the bike rental place we were completely drenched. But it was a memory we won’t forget. And who doesn’t like to play in the rain from time to time? 

My attempt at rainy-weather photography

On a sunny day you’ll see groups of people out on those rental bikes and you’ll see couples walking hand-in-hand. You can even rent scooters, four-wheelers, and little dune buggy like vehicles.

See? I told you!

What else does the Amador Causeway offer?

Amador is home to some of the best restaurants in Panama City and you won’t believe the variety you’ll find there. I saw Panamanian restaurants, Indian, Mexican, Colombian, and just about everything else, from pizza to BBQ ribs to burgers. Check out our video on Amador Causeway to see a lot of them close up. 

One of my favorite restaurants in Panama

The nightlife on the causeway is some of the best around, and it caters to all age groups. At all of the plazas up and down the boardwalk you’ll find nice restaurants and great places for evening cocktails. At Zona Viva, or what’s also called Zona de la Rumba, old military buildings, sit in two parallel lines, facing each other, creating an alleyway down the center where the party crowd can sashay from club to club, all while in a controlled environment.

It’s always a party at Zona Viva!

You’ll be charged a small fee to enter the Zona Viva alley (I think just a couple of bucks) and then you’re free to bounce from place to place. Most of these clubs don’t charge to enter, and you’re welcome to hang out at the bar or on the dance floor, but if you’d like to have a table, you’ll usually need to buy a $30 bottle of vodka or rum (a bottle that would cost about $9 in the store).

The Biodiversity Museum was designed by Frank Gehry

Most of the other entertainment provided on the strip consists of outdoor activities. Aside from the jogging and biking and all the other stuff I’ve already mentioned, you’ll also find a small paddle ball/tennis court and a new enclosed futbol or soccer field. Plus, you will find the Biodiversity Museum and even the Figali Convention Center, which is where most artists perform when they visit. Justin Bieber was just there last week (and it’s all I heard about from my daughters).

Justin Bieber was here…and I definitely wasn’t

Behind the Zona Viva area, the government is building a brand new convention center that looks really cool. It’s taking the place of the ATLAPA center. I’m telling you, when Panama City finishes all of its additions and renovations, this place is going to look totally different. From the Metro train system being built, to all the new malls and shopping centers, to the brand new plaza on its way to the center of Costa del Este to this new convention center, Panama City is being completely transformed. 

This convention center looks like it will be awesome

One other sight you might want to check out while you’re in the area is the Culture and Ethnic Communities Plaza. This interesting looking monument was built to celebrate Panama’s first 100 years of Republican existence. Plaques there tell you all about the heritage of all the nations that have played a role in Panama’s growth and development. 

The Culture and Ethnic Communities Plaza

One other form of entertainment that you’ll find on the causeway (not something that I’d usually consider entertainment) is shopping. However, most of the shopping that you’ll find is for souvenirs. There’s definitely no shortage of souvenir shops. They’re in nearly every plaza and you’ll even find a handicraft market near the Figali Center.

This way to a shady, souvenir-filled rest stop

This place has everything from beaded jewelry to Panama hats to hammocks. You can find just about any kind of Panamanian souvenir you might be looking for. There’s even a small lunch counter. It’s definitely a nice place to escape the sun for a little while and check out the vendors’ wares. 

Vica and Stefy were happy to rest awhile

If you’re planning a trip to the causeway and you’re considering staying overnight, I saw four hotels in the area. Only three of them have websites though. I’ll list them below.

Country Inn & Suiteshttp://www.countryinns.com/panama-city-hotel-pa-8001/pancanal

The Beach House La Playita Resort and Marina:  http://www.thebeachhousepanama.com/

Amador Ocean View Hotel & Suites: http://www.amadoroceanview.com/

Fuerte Amador Resort & Marina (couldn’t find a website for this one)

And if you happen to travel around on a yacht, or just need a place to park your boat, Amador Causeway is home to Balboa Yacht Club and two great marinas. At Balboa Yacht Club, which is located near the beginning of Amador Causeway, over by the Country Inn & Suites and Friday’s restaurant, you’ll find a popular expat gathering place. During most holidays you’ll find foreigners gathered together to celebrate the festivities. They’ve even hosted rib contests and chili cookoffs. Check out their website at http://www.balboayachtclub.com for information on using the marina and upcoming events.
Parking at the Balboa Yacht Club
The two other marinas are the Flamenco Marina and La Playita. If you’re planning to stop by, whether to drop off supplies, make a quick pit stop, or to stay awhile, it’s a good idea to give them a heads up and make sure they have space for you. You can do that by emailing the marina of your choice. Email Flamenco Marina at marina@fuerteamador.com or La Playita at laplayita@siwireless.com.
Flamenco Marina
 
Speaking of boats, Amador Causeway is the place you want to go if you have plans to travel to Isla Taboga or Contadora (The Pearl Islands). Tour companies are everywhere on The Causeway and the port to head out to these islands is behind The Beach House La Playita hotel.
La Playita Marina
Whether you arrive at the causeway by car, taxi, bus, or even boat, you’re sure to have a great time.
 

What would it be like to live there? 

Living on Amador Causeway would be awesome. It has some of the best dining options, some of the best nightlife party spots, and one of the most relaxing places in Panama City. The best part is you’re set apart from the loud noise and the hustle and bustle of the city, but you’re still so close that you could easily take a ten minute taxi to downtown.

If you have kids, they could attend school in nearby Albrook at St. Mary’s or in Clayton at Balboa Academy. See my school post in the More Nuts & Bolts page above for other nearby schools. If you need to be near a hospital, Hospital Punta Pacifica (www.hospitalpuntapacifica.com) is very close, as is Centro Medico Paitilla. The banking district is right around the corner, and if you just need quick cash, I saw two ATM machines in town.

A Banistmo (HSBC owned) ATM near the center of town

Safety isn’t something you’d need to worry about living here (or visiting). Cops are everywhere at the Amador Causeway. If they’re not parked on the side of the road either in cruisers or on motorcycles, you’ll find them cruising up and down the boardwalk on bicycles. And they randomly stop and ask people for their identification too, just to make sure everyone is on the up and up. I’ve never been hassled by the cops, but I’ve seen them check out other people hanging around the boardwalk.

The local Ponch and Jon

The roads on The Causeway are smooth, electricity, cable TV, and Internet are all very dependable, and water is drinkable from the tap. Infrastructure is sound along the causeway. This is a tourist’s playground and a great, safe neighborhood for some of the city’s elite. So you know everything is in tip-top shape.

As far as real estate goes, you won’t find a large variety of homes and condos to choose from, should you choose to settle down in this breezy area with amazing views, but what you’ll find is extravagant. This is some of the best living you’ll find in or around Panama City.  

Rent here for $2,000 per month 

At the entrance to the area you’ll see a sign for Amador Heights, which is one of the few neighborhoods located on The Causeway. From this neighborhood, most houses and condos have a clear view of the Bridge of the Americas and the Panama Canal. The houses and condos are pricey though. I did some checking and the cheapest condo I found was in the building in the photo above, and it was renting for $2,000 per month.

Condos for around $350,000

The homes here are large, nearly mansions. I’m no real estate expert, but I think it’s safe to assume these homes are going for well over $500,000. I looked online and couldn’t find any for sale, but I found a condo going for $350,000. The link to that listing on www.compreoalquile.com is here, but you know how real estate goes, it might be gone before you reach it. Either way, that condo for sale is located in the photo you see above. That should give you an idea of what’s on hand in the Amador area.

Big beautiful homes in Amador Heights

Well that’s it for this written report on Amador Causeway. I hope you’ve learned a little bit about the area. It’s a great place to visit and a would be an amazing place to live.

Don’t forget to check out the Amador Causeway Video Report here.  

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2 Responsesso far.

  1. Jeff Crace says:

    Chris,

    Great report! I have not been to the Causeway since the early 90’s when I was in the Army. By the way did you know that about 1/2 of the Causeway, well the mainland part was a US Military installation? I use to stand gate duty at the entrance but since it was both Panamanian and US the cars were not stopped. Back then a lot of Panamanians would park out on the Causeway and party…the GI’s would hit the Yacht Club, is that still there?

    • Chris says:

      Hey Jeff,

      Thanks so much, man, and thanks for checking out the site. Half of Panama City seems to have been part of a military installation at some point. That must have been a cool assignment. I did pretty much the same thing, but in Anchorage, Alaska. Not the same…at all, ha. If you’re talking about what’s now the Balboa Yacht Club (near the entrance to the causeway) then yes, it’s still there. That’s probably the same one as it’s still used as an expat gathering spot (mostly for ex-military members from what I hear). Thanks again! If you haven’t already, make sure you watch the Amador video too.

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