Of the many infrastructure projects completed in Panama City in the last year, one is already having a dramatic impact.
Opened this spring, the third phase of the Cinta Costera provides a new highway over the bay connecting Avenida Balboa and downtown to the Amador Causeway and the Bridge of Americas.
On many levels, the highway is proving to be a huge success. Drivers heading west can now bypass Casco Viejo and the crowded city center, adding an important link to the highway system. It also creates a direct connection to the fast growing Amador Causeway, home to the newly-opened Frank Gehry biomuseum and the Amador Convention Center, scheduled to open next year as the largest meeting facility in the country.
Several luxury residential and tourist projects are planned for Amador Causeway, and the Cinta Costera makes it an easy drive from Amador to the heart of Panama City. For the real estate market, it dramatically boosts the appeal of the Amador market, which is attracting more and more interest from investors.
But the road is also succeeding on different, unexpected levels. The highway stretching over the water is a beautiful drive, offering spectacular views of the city and Casco Viejo. I know visitors to the city who have taken the drive, simply for the views.
The highway also connects to the waterfront park on the bay, the initial phases of the Cinta Costera project (which translates as “coastal beltway”). For bikers and joggers, it is a beautiful extension of the waterfront, creating a natural flow to the park and the bay. The parkway, which is easily accessible from Punta Pacifica, has turned Panama City into one of the best cities in Latin America for the athletic set.
Extending the highway over the water was an audacious and controversial plan. But it is clearly paying off. Not only has traffic improved, Cinta Costera is now one of Panama City’s newest tourist attractions.
Here is a promotional video that offers a glimpse at the goals and beauty of the third phase:
Duncan McGowan is president of Punta Pacifica Realty, a Panama real estate agency focused on Punta Pacifica, the exclusive neighborhood of 18 towers perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.