Best Places to Travel in 2016

Bocas del Toro
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Ian Allen

The 50 biggest, buzziest destinations to visit this year include France’s new culture hub, a revived Hawaiian hideaway, and Mexico’s next great arts city.

1. Bocas del Toro, Panama

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The Isthmus of Panama is home to some of the purest natural beauty in Latin America: dense tropical rain forests, wide savannas, coral reefs bursting with aquatic life, and delightfully deserted beaches. The latest idyllic spot to emerge on travelers’ lists is Bocas del Toro, an archipelago made up of nine islands and hundreds of cays and islets. In the country’s northeastern corner—a one-hour flight from either Panama City or San José, Costa Rica—it’s a sanctuary where the main mode of transportation is a wooden motorboat, dolphins swim through crystalline waters, and dockside restaurants serve the local fishermen’s catch of the day. Bocas Town, the archipelago’s main village, is equal parts rickety and charming, with tin-roofed wooden houses converted into colorful boutiques, guesthouses, and restaurants—head to Ultimo Refugio for the best food in town. And while Bocas isn’t losing its ruggedness anytime soon, a new hotel is likely to redefine tourism there. Sarani Resort, scheduled to open this summer, will bring unprecedented style to the area. The 35 hardwood bungalows, on 75 acres, were designed with the quiet mood of a Balinese resort in mind. There will be an infinity pool, an outdoor bar crafted from old wooden boats, and a restaurant serving organic Caribbean food. —Paola Singer

Bocas del Toro

Best Places to Travel in 2016

1. Bocas del Toro, Panama

The Isthmus of Panama is home to some of the purest natural beauty in Latin America: dense tropical rain forests, wide savannas, coral reefs bursting with aquatic life, and delightfully deserted beaches. The latest idyllic spot to emerge on travelers’ lists is Bocas del Toro, an archipelago made up of nine islands and hundreds of cays and islets. In the country’s northeastern corner—a one-hour flight from either Panama City or San José, Costa Rica—it’s a sanctuary where the main mode of transportation is a wooden motorboat, dolphins swim through crystalline waters, and dockside restaurants serve the local fishermen’s catch of the day. Bocas Town, the archipelago’s main village, is equal parts rickety and charming, with tin-roofed wooden houses converted into colorful boutiques, guesthouses, and restaurants—head to Ultimo Refugio for the best food in town. And while Bocas isn’t losing its ruggedness anytime soon, a new hotel is likely to redefine tourism there. Sarani Resort, scheduled to open this summer, will bring unprecedented style to the area. The 35 hardwood bungalows, on 75 acres, were designed with the quiet mood of a Balinese resort in mind. There will be an infinity pool, an outdoor bar crafted from old wooden boats, and a restaurant serving organic Caribbean food. —Paola Singer

Ian Allen
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