West of Balboa, the Calzada de Amador, originally designed as the canal’s Pacific breakwater, runs 6km out into the bay, linking the mainland with the tiny islands of Naos, Perico and Flamenco. It’s a popular weekend escape for the city’s wealthier residents, who come here to jog, swim, stroll, rollerblade or cycle – you can rent bikes – and to enjoy the sea air and the views of the city and the canal. The northern sector of the causeway is being redeveloped into a complex – still under construction – which will comprise luxury bars, restaurants and hotels, and a marina, as well as the much vaunted Museo de la Biodiversidad (wbiomuseopanama.com), a “biodiversity exhibition centre” designed by architect Frank Gehry. Building began in 2004 but has been plagued with controversy, and there is still no opening date in sight.
At the southern side of Punta Culebra, a small promontory at the end of Naos, 4km along the Causeway, and next to the unexciting Punta Culebra Nature Center, is the departure point for passenger ferries to Isla Taboga and for some of the canal transit tours. Beyond, Perico and Flamenco are home to more shops, bars, restaurants and a marina.