Travel + Leisure ~ Panama Archipelago Top Destination for 2016




© Getty Images Bocas del Toro, Panama

If you’re a nature-loving explorer looking for your next travel adventure, consider zeroing in on Panama, where Bocas del Toro – a collection nine tropical islands – was named the top destination of 2016 by editors of Travel + Leisure magazine.

Their description of the region evokes a paradisiacal getaway for nature lovers, minus the all-inclusive resorts and buffet lines: “dense tropical rain forests, wide savannas, coral reefs bursting with aquatic life, and delightfully deserted beaches.”

Likewise, the official tourist office vaunts the merits of the area for its hidden lagoons, secret beaches, lush tropical forests and surf spots.

Destinations that make Travel + Leisure’s annual Best Places to Travel list are chosen for fulfilling a variety of requirements: places that are under-the-radar; classic hotspots that are enjoying newfound popularity for timely and compelling reasons; and geopolitical factors that have opened up access to new destinations.

This year’s list includes the Andaman Islands off the coast of India, for example; Ghent, Belgium for its culinary revolution; Detroit for its ongoing rebirth; and Batumi, Georgia, an increasingly popular cruise destination.

Here are the top five destinations of 2016, as recommended by editors of Travel + Leisure magazine.

1. Bocas del Toro, Panama
Why? Just an hour away by plane from Panama City or San Jose, Costa Rica, Bocas del Toro is described as a quiet sanctuary and “home to some of the purest natural beauty in Latin America.”

2. Guadalajara, Mexico
Why? Described as a hotbed of creativity, the colourful city boasts a dynamic jazz scene, international book fair, film festival, thriving visual art scene, and a new “game-changing hotel,” Casa Fayette.

3. Richmond, Virginia, USA
Why? Urbanites are  catching on to the distinctive charm of one of America’s oldest cities and making weekend trips to Virginia’s capital with its Civil War monuments, distinctive architecture, galleries, and restaurants. Editors recommend taking a bike tour along the 52-mile (84 km) Virginia Capital Trail.

4. Lille, France
Just an hour north of Paris, the city of Lille has enjoyed a cultural boom in recent months with city-backed initiatives that have helped to foster fashion designers and artists with retail and exhibition spaces. Lille3000, for instance, brought the cultural worlds of Eindhoven, Seoul, Detroit and Phnom Penh to the cobblestone streets of the city last fall in an exhibit that continues into January.

5. Iran
Why? The recent nuclear agreement with the UN Security Council has opened the gates to the country as a tourism destination. With 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites – the most of any Middle Eastern country – Iran is a treasure trove of ancient Persian history.

Rounding out the top 10 list is Lanai, Hawaii, Hangzhou, China, Douro Valley, Portugal, Frankfurt, Germany and Ashbury Park in New Jersey.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: