Fuerte Amador Cruise Port

Port of Fuerte Amador: An Overview

Fuerte Amador (Balboa), Panama, is the port closest to the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. It's a district of Panama City, located at the entry point to the canal; cruise ships anchor out in the ocean and tender passengers to offshore islands, across a causeway from the city.

The main attraction here is, of course, the Panama Canal, which ships are either just exiting or about to enter. Tours take cruise passengers to the Miraflores Locks or on boat rides through the canal's Gatun Lake. Other tours focus on attractions within Panama City, such as the Frank Gehry-inspired Biomuseum or walking tours through the heart of the city.

If you're planning on touring independently, know that Panama City has fairly bad traffic and getting from the tender pier to and from town may take longer than you expect.

Don't Miss

The marina at the tender pier contains several restaurants and souvenir shops, but most of the area's attractions are in Panama City proper.

Biomuseum: The Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseum, a brightly colored, modern-style building, is an easy cab ride across the causeway. The Smithsonian-affiliated museum tells the story of how the isthmus of Panama came to be.

Casco Viejo: Casco Viejo -- included on tours or accessible by cab -- is the old part of the city where you can walk narrow streets lined with flower-filled balconies, view cathedrals and historic sites and purchase local souvenirs (such as molas, colorfully designed fabric panels).

Miraflores Locks Museum and Visitor Center: The Miraflores Locks museum and visitor center gives engineering enthusiasts a view of the locks in action, as well as presents the history of the canal's construction. Some lines offer evening tours here, dependent on the itinerary, with the possibility to watch ships go through the locks after dark.

Wildlife Rides: Wildlife-lovers can take an aerial tram into the jungle canopy of Soberania National Park, or choose a boat tour through the islands of Gatun Lake, in the center of the canal; both trips offer chances to see wildlife.

Other tours include a trip to an Embera village to meet local Panamanian tribespeople or a ride on the Panama Canal Railway from one coast of Panama to the other.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Currency is the Panamanian Balboa, which is tied to the U.S. dollar. There's an ATM in the shopping area by the marina by the tender pier. U.S. dollars are widely accepted. For up-to-date currency exchange rates, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com.


Spanish is the official language. Some vendors will speak English.

--By Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor

  • Fuerte Amador: Island Princess
    We did Panama's Rainforest Aerial Tram through the ship. Beautiful!!!! We saw Toucans, Howler monkeys with baby, sloths, orchid area, green frog area, & butterflies. Stopped at Gamboa Resort for punch. This tour was $30 cheaper than the one in ... Read more
  • Fuerte Amador: Island Princess
    Panamataxi send Oscar and Felix to guide us 6 though the museum at the locks and the old and new city. We wanted some stops along the way and they made it possible without any complaints. The restaurant in the old town was nice and we had great day. ... Read more
  • Fuerte Amador: Island Princess
    We booked a private tour through Panama Your Way. For eight hours we toured all over Panama City. Enrique is an excellant guide. We highly recomend this company. ... Read more
  • Honestly it was such a short visit, it was a blur. The only memory is the stifling hot transfer boat. The operators should open all the windows below deck especially when the temp is in the upper 80s. ... Read more
  • Fuerte Amador: Regatta
    We took a taxi to Metropolitan Park. We enjoyed a stroll through this large "city" park. We were able to see a fair number of birds, but no sloths. ... Read more
  • Fuerte Amador: Regatta
    We did our own thing here, taking a taxi from the cruise ship tender dock to the Casco Viejo, the old colonial town. It has undergone significant amounts of renovation & re-building, but there is more to do. We really enjoyed ourselves, walking ... Read more