Panama: Top Places To Visit

There’s plenty more to Panama than the canal! Find out the best places to visit including Bocas Del Toro, Boquete and the stunning San Blas Islands.

How much do you know about the Central American country of Panama? Before I went, I knew there was a famous canal and they had their own type of hat. However, what I found was a country with breathtakingly diverse landscape, friendly people, buzzing cities and relaxed desert islands. The climate was tropical with high temperatures all year round on the coast, and some welcome cooler temperatures in the mountains.

With two weeks, you can cover a lot of ground. A few months ago I fell in love with Guatemala, and didn’t expect another country to come close, but Panama really won me over. If you’re not convinced yet, perhaps this will help…

Bocas Del Toro

Bocas Del Toro is an archipelago of nine main islands and over 50 smaller islets in the Caribbean. They are beautiful and it’s very easy to settle into the relaxed pace of ‘island life’. On the main island Colon you’ll find several hotels, restaurants, bars and shops, but venture away from here and you’ll have a more authentic Panamanian experience.

I stayed on Isla Bastimentos (the second largest island) at the family-run Hotel Caribbean View. It was all hands on deck – parents in the kitchen cooking, the son driving the water taxi, small kids running around helping rent out kayaks. It was a really local experience! Other great places to stay in Bocas del Toro include overwater bungalows on Isla Colon where you can snorkel right from your own deck.

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REVIEW: Oh Lala Restaurant, Playa Del Carmen

Planning a trip to Oh Lala Restaurant in Playa Del Carmen? Find out all about my experience in my review of a dinner there. 

This fine dining restaurant is currently number 6 on Trip Advisor out of 1200+ restaurants in Playa Del Carmen, so just before I left the area, I just had to find out what all the hype was about.

Firstly, it’s not the kind of restaurant you can just walk into. It’s a small place with only 8 tables, so they operate a reservations only system. However, you don’t need to book months in advance – I booked a table 48 hours in advance, albeit I had to go for the late sitting at 9.30pm.

Oh Lala Restaurant – The Decor

The restaurant decor is sleek and modern, but with some old touches – a vintage telephone sits on a side table, while the chairs and tables are a mix of glass, Perspex, and bright coloured fabrics. A canvas of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ is displayed on one of the main walls, while a print of Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ adorns the wall in the toilet.

Oh Lala Restaurant – The Service

Service was exceptional. On arrival we were greeted by a friendly lady who recalled our email exchange and seated us straight away. A knowledgable waiter/chef appeared who discussed the menu in detail and highlighted the specials. He also helped us with the wine list. The menu is full of delicious ingredients – tuna steak, New Zealand lamb, steak, shrimps, scallops and lobster. I found it very hard to choose.

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REVIEW: Hotel Live Aqua LAT20, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Hotel Live Aqua LAT20 in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico is stylish, contemporary and luxurious.

*Please note, when I visited this hotel was named Hotel Cacao. For ease of reading I have changed the hotel name throughout this post to its new name.*

Hotel Live Aqua LAT20 is the new kid on the block. Stylish, contemporary and luxurious. The majority of the high end hotels in this area are all-inclusive beach resorts, but what if you want the freedom to eat out at a different restaurant every night and be in the centre of the action? This is the perfect place to stay. 
Wanderlust Chloe Hotel Cacao Tommy Hilfiger Art

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REVIEW: Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Grand Velas Hotel in the Riviera Maya is one of the most stunning, luxurious places to stay in the region.

I’ve lost track of how many people have recommended Grand Velas to me. I’m often weary of things with a lot of hype… Harry Potter – never liked it, Disneyland – not really my thing. Often expectations are not met!

When I visited Grand Velas it was straight after my stay at Grand Residences – currently the number one place to stay in the area. So how would Grand Velas shape up?

Wanderlust Chloe Grand Velas Entrance

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