The Big Six: Panama retreats

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Tropical forest, beach-facing suites and luxury tents

Tantalo Hotel: Panama City

Packed into a peninsula with views of Panama City's skyscrapers across the bay, Casco Viejo feels far removed from the city centre. The old town has 17th-century churches, peaceful plazas and immaculately restored colonial buildings, one of which hosts the newly opened Tantalo Hotel. Each of the 13 suites has been designed by a local artist. The rooftop bar serves cocktails against a dazzling backdrop, while the Tantalo Kitchen has anything from coconut cashew chicken to Cuban-style pulled pork.

Tantalo Hotel, Avenue B and 8th Street, Casco Viejo, Panama City (00 507 262 4030; tantalohotel.com). Doubles start at US$129 (£81), including breakfast.

Resort at Isla Palenque: Gulf of Chiriqui

Set on one of the larger islands in the Gulf of Chiriqui, The Resort at Isla Palenque has just unveiled its take on colour-splashed luxury amid sparkling ocean, tropical forest, mangroves and lagoons. Spot (or hear) howler monkeys, armadillos, coati, racoons, hummingbirds, toucans and parrots, as well as dazzling marine life. Estate rooms are tucked between the trees, while tented suites will open in the summer.

The Resort at Isla Palenque, Isla Palenque, Gulf of Chiriqui (001 855 777 9260; amble.com/IslaPalenque). Doubles from US$353 (£221), with breakfast.

 

Panamonte Inn: Boquete

Pitched in the cool Chiriqui Highlands, this luxury inn has offered a refined sanctuary to guests since 1914. Tiled floors, wicker chairs, teak furniture and plump beds set the scene, with Jacuzzi baths and fireplaces in some rooms. It's a place to unwind after hiking amid lush coffee plantations, listening for songbirds and howler monkeys in La Amistad National Park, wallowing in hot spring pools or rafting on the Río Chiriquí.

Panamonte Inn, Avenida Central, Boquete, Chiriqui Highlands (00 507 720 1324; panamonte.com). Doubles start at US$138 (£86), including breakfast.

 

El Otro Lado: Portobelo

This colourful retreat is on the "other side" of the bay of Portobelo, opposite the city once prized by the Spaniards as a silver port and attacked by Henry Morgan. The hotel's four villas burst with tropical hues, set against the lush forest backdrop of Chagres National Park. Inside, Arte Povera meets mid-century Modernism, with patterned tiles and local artwork. Caribbean fusion cuisine is served at the poolside Gazebo.

El Otro Lado, Portobelo Bay, Colón (00 507 202 01 11; elotrolado.com.pa). Doubles start at US$490 (£306), including breakfast.

 

Palmar Tent Lodge: Bastimentos

The Bocas del Toro archipelago has gone from dreamy backwater to desirable hideaway. On the island of Bastimentos, the Palmar Tent Lodge lies between the white sand of Red Frog Beach and dense forest where minuscule strawberry poison-dart frogs hop about. Fall asleep in the luxury tents, listening to the jungle, then take a rainwater shower and grab a snorkel to explore the offshore marine park.

Palmar Tent Lodge, Red Frog Beach, Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro (00 507 6880 8640; palmartentlodge.com). Tents start at US$50 (£31), room only.

 

Villa Camilla: Pedasi

The sleepy town of Pedasi, on the tip of the Azuero Peninsula, attracts surfers in search of big swells, off white- and black-sand beaches. Sybarites, meanwhile, come to Villa Camilla, a tranquil hotel overlooking the Pacific breaks. Conceived by a French couple who set up an artisans' workshop in the area, it has seven suites in the main house, beach-facing suites, split-level lofts and a private three-bedroom villa.

Villa Camilla, Playa Los Destiladeros, Pedasí, Azuero Península, Los Santos (00 507 994 3100; villacamillapanama.com). Doubles from US$225 (£141), room only.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

    £Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence