One of the best places in Panama City is the Amador Causeway – a long and narrow man-made island extending out at the southernmost point of Panama City. If you’re a resident, you’ve either been or at least heard of the Causeway. If you haven’t, we encourage you to free up some time and try out some of these fantastic weekend activities.
The Causeway is a perfect mixture of fresh air and lively energy, especially if you go on a Saturday. It’s known for some of the best views in Panama City. The 3-mile stretch is lined with clean sidewalks and bike lanes and lies parallel to the entrance of the Panama Canal. Lush grass and palm trees separate the freshly paved roads, and beautiful dark rocks line the edges. The only road, named Avenue Amador, leads to 3 separate islands and a host of activities.
For instance, tourists and locals share the delicious places to eat with ocean view patios. A park known for its colorful fountain is riddled with kids and street vendors. Here, lovers make romantic memories and families spend quality time. There are many different ways to enjoy the causeway and today we will go over 9 of the best ideas. First, we’ll start with a famous building designed by a world-renowned architect.
Go to the BioMuseo
This unique and colorful building doubles as half museum, half landmark for Panama City. It was designed by the illustrious American architect Frank Gehry, his first and only design in Latin America. The museum is focused on the natural history of Panama and how it reshaped the entire world. Explore captivating galleries showcasing the biodiversity of this beautiful country and its history. Exhibits vary from audiovisuals & sculptures to even an ocean gallery with multiple aquariums. Included in your ticket is the park of biodiversity – a set of outdoor walking gardens highlighting Panama’s living world. 291 species of butterflies and 153 species of birds can be seen on-site!
Currently, the museum is open weekends from late mornings to early afternoons. Admission for non-residents is $18 for adults and $11 for children, while residents pay $10 for adults & $6 for children. It’s located at the beginning of the Causeway accessible by car or public transportation. The multicolored walls tell the story of Panama in a way unlike any other. Your first stop on the causeway should be the Biomuseo!
Grab a bite at Mi Ranchito Amador
Mi Ranchito Amador, a locals favorite serving up Caribbean & Latin flavors. This Panamanian owned restaurant has a breezy patio with an ocean view. The best time to go is either Sunday mornings, when they feature an all you can eat breakfast buffet from 8 am to 11:30 am, or weekend evenings. If you decide to go on a weekend evening, prepare for live music and great energy.
Ranchito is famous for its seafood and traditional Panamanian dishes. Some options include Salmon in mushroom sauce, Sea Bass, and Seafood Casserole in garlic sauce. If you’re not a seafood fan, they also offer burgers, pasta, steak, chicken, and pork dishes with a friendly kids menu as well. We’ve highlighted Mi Ranchito here but the causeway has at least 10 restaurants worthy to be on the list!
Head to the Floor Fountain Park
The Floor Fountain is a lively park with playgrounds and a fountain play area. As with most things on the causeway, it’s bordered by the ocean with some insane views. Forewarning, children can spend hours here and never want to leave! It’s also located next to the main shops & eats, perfect for a weekend outing with the family. The area is safe, secure, and fun!
The park also features an outdoor gym, beautiful green areas, and plenty of places to sit. There are public bathrooms nearby and public transportation that takes you directly to the park, along with a designated parking lot. Weekends will bring street vendors selling tasty treats like Raspado, an ice cream cola float. Overall, this is a great place to relax and spend quality time with family and friends.
Take a jog
An early morning jog is a great way to start the day. What better way to do it than ocean views on either side! You might be wondering just how far the Causeway is and from start to finish, it’s about 3.5 miles. Fortunately, there are multiple parking areas so you can decide where and how far you’d like to run. One of the roundabouts is a safe bet and from there, you can get in your desired workout.
If you don’t have a car, public buses can transport you directly to the causeway from all parts of the city. It does get hot at midday so plan your jog accordingly. The mornings and evenings usually have the best weather for runners. Low 80s or high 70s with an ocean breeze. Can’t beat that!
If you don’t feel like running, take a bike instead! This is one of the most popular activities on the causeway. With designated bike lanes and beautiful views, a bike ride is a must. It’s a great way to combat the heat during the day as well. The breeze offsets the Panama sun and you can explore the entire causeway in a single day.
There are a few different bike rentals to choose from but Burke Bikes is a great option. They offer different styles like the 4 wheeled quadricycle – a pedal bike that seats 4-5 people. Most bikes are less than $10/hour and service is fast and responsive should anything happen. After you rent one, your next stop could be the next activity on our list!
Get a picture at the Panama Sign
The Panama sign is a colorful sculpture that reads “Panama”, with the city skyline and boats in the background. It’s a perfect setting for a photo and a major social media boost! The location is next to Flamenco Island at the very end of the causeway, just to the left of the Express Ferry. Don’t get it confused with its twin, an identical Panama sign on the Cinta Costera!
Take an Express Ferry to Taboga
The Amador Causeway has a ferry that takes you directly to Taboga Island, the closest beach to Panama City. Taboga Island, or the Island of Flowers, is a volcanic island characterized by rich tropical plant life, as well as beautiful beaches and soft sand. It’s only 30 minutes from the causeway and one of the best one-day getaways. There you can hike, explore colorful and historic Spanish-style architecture, or visit the second oldest church in the Western Hemisphere. After all the exploration, you can take a load off at the beach or grab a drink at one of the beach bars nearby.
The ferry is called the Taboga Express Ferry and departs at 8:00 am, 9:30 am, 11:00 am, and 3:00 pm on weekdays and one more 4:30 pm departure on weekends. You can book a reservation online here or in person. Foreigners must bring their passports and Panamanian citizens and residents must bring their Cedula. The ferry is at the very end of the causeway north of Flamenco Island. This is another must if you’re in Panama City!
GoKarting at Panama Karting
Located next to the Floor Fountain Park is an adrenaline-pumping race track, Panama Karting. This is another great day activity right in the heart of the action. Race your friends and family to see who can come out on top! The main karts are best suited for adults or teenagers and go pretty darn fast. Children, on the other hand, have the option of riding smaller ‘drifting karts’ that are slower and easier to use.
Races are about 8 minutes long with a range of price package options. Their best offer is 3 races for $35. Here they also accommodate birthday parties and even go-karting classes. There are comfortable places to drink and eat within the facility as well. Not a bad option on the causeway, especially for any adrenaline junkies.
Watch the sunset
If you find yourself on the Causeway around 6:00 pm, you’re in for a real treat. The sunsets over land in Panama but that doesn’t make the show any less impressive. From the Causeway, the sun sets on the cusp of the central mountain range to the west. You’ll see vessels from the Canal, birds preparing their final hunt of the day, and sparkling sunlight shining off the Panama Bay. The site is something to behold.
Forewarning, a sunset in Panama only lasts an average of 23 minutes. Set up on the west side of the causeway, on one of the hundreds of benches, and sink into the soothing sunset. You won’t be disappointed.
There you have it, 9 ideas for your upcoming weekend at the Amador Causeway. This is by no means the be-all-end-all, and we hope you explore more parts of this great area, particularly the restaurants. But this should be a great starting point for you. Thanks for reading and catch you in the next one!