The 2-mile (3.5-kilometer) Amador Causeway unites the mainland and four small islands -- Naos, Culebra, Perico and Flamenco -- that... more » once guarded the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. Built by Americans in the early 20th century with rock dug out of the canal, the breakwater was heavily fortified from 1911 though World War II. But by the 1960s, Amador resembled a gated community for the U.S. Army serving in the Canal Zone with a yacht club, golf course, baseball field and bathing beach.
Since the Americans turned over the canal to Panama, the causeway has become popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists. It offers some of the best photo ops in the city with views of Casco Viejo, downtown Panama City, the Bridge of the Americas and ships awaiting transit through the canal.
It now has a cruise port, marina, conference center, hotels, restaurants, museums and duty-free shop. Weekends are particularly crowded as locals and tourists alike take advantage of the views and leisure activities.
Historical note: The causeway and the fort that guarded the mainland side were named for Manuel Amador Guerrero, the first president of Panama and former chief doctor of the Panama Railroad. Fort Grant on Flamenco honored US President Ulysses S. Grant, who as a Army captain led an infantry regiment across the isthmus in 1852 on the way to California. The 150 soldiers who died of cholera were buried on Flamenco. less «