If there’s a beach with a scene to watch in 2013 it’s on Panama’s Azuero Peninsula, a 40-minute flight from Panama City. The flip-flop feel of the place is currently nurtured by several boutique hotels in and around Pedasi town, such as the seven-room Villa Camilla (www.mantiscollection.com/villa-camilla; from $225).
There is much to love in this rapidly developing Central American nation, including Frank Gehry’s first building in Latin America: the new Biomuseo (www.biomuseopanama.org), opening later this year at the canal’s Pacific mouth, featuring exhibitions on natural history and science.
Casco Viejo, Panama City’s colonial-era, Unesco-protected old town, is looking equally energetic. In this half-derelict neighbourhood, awash in edgy Graham Greene romance, small hotels are now popping up, such as the six-suite Las Clementinas (pictured;www.lasclementinas.com; from $308), where a new chef is raising the game in contemporary Panamanian cuisine.