The Pacific side of the former Canal Zone comprises two of the Panama Canal ’s three sets of locks and the beginning of the approximately nine-mile (14-kilometer) Gaillard Cut  through the Continental Divide, the toughest part of the canal to dig and the most dramatic to see.
It also contains most of the former zone “townsites,” which were home to the civilian employees of the canal and their families. These include Ancón , Balboa , La Boca, and Diablo. It’s home also to what were once its most important U.S. military bases, including Howard Air Force Base, Fort Clayton, Fort Amador, Quarry Heights, Albrook Air Force Base, and Rodman Naval Station.
Amador  has become a major nightlife and tourism destination. Albrook is now a fairly upscale suburban residential area (and home to Panama City’s domestic airport and bus terminal). Parts of Clayton have been converted into something called La Ciudad del Saber (The City of Knowledge), which attracts international academic and research institutions.
But much of the former zone has become a series of ghost towns awaiting a development plan, or are being plowed under to make way for suburban housing, port facilities, highways, and industrial complexes.
Taxis are the most convenient way to get from downtown Panama City  to most of the destinations in the former Canal Zone, though they’re easy to explore by rental car as well. Many tour operators offer day tours that include stops in Balboa , Miraflores Locks , and the handicrafts market  next to the YMCA. Exploring by bus requires a lot of connections.
By Taxi: Taxis from central Panama City to any of the former Canal Zone destinations should cost less than US$5. But to explore more than one, it makes more sense to arrange a taxi tour. Agree on a price ahead of time.
By Bus: There are many buses from Panama City to specific canal-area destinations, but trying to explore the whole area by bus is time-consuming, and the fares quickly add up. Taxis are a more practical alternative. Those who want to stick with public transportation can take one of the SACA buses from the Gran Terminal in Albrook.
By Car: The Administration Building is in Altos de Balboa (Balboa Heights), a short drive from downtown Panama City. It’s hard to miss. Balboa begins just down the hill from it.
Miraflores Locks  are about a 20-minute drive from Panama City, just off Gaillard Highway. The entrance to Miraflores Locks is on the left past Clayton, which is less than 10 kilometers from Balboa . Pedro Miguel Locks  are about five kilometers farther on. Just beyond Pedro Miguel is the beginning of Gaillard Cut , now sometimes referred to by its original name, Culebra Cut.
Amador begins near the east end of the Bridge of the Americas. Drivers coming from downtown Panama City can reach Amador by two roads. The older route is to drive through Balboa on Avenida Arnulfo Arias Madrid (also called Balboa Road) and onto the road between the YMCA and the huge statue of Arnulfo Arias. This leads straight to Amador.
A faster and more direct route is to take a newer access road that links Avenida de los Mártires directly with Amador near the entrance to the Bridge of the Americas; follow the signs and stay alert—the intersections come up quickly and can be dangerous. Once in Amador, stay straight to get to the causeway.