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HERO El Otro Lado Panama


Across the bay from the UNESCO-listed Spanish fortifications of Portobelo town, El Otro Lado is a collection of stylish turquoise and baby blue villas set amid palms and the tangled roots of the surrounding jungle.

Sloths move slowly through the trees overhead and the nighttime chorus is almost as symphonic as the sunrise.

Inside, it’s a riot of Central American style. Vivid artwork and bright throw pillows on the super-king-size beds complement the pastels within (it’s no surprise to discover the hotel has ties to local art galleries). You’ll sleep beneath Egyptian cotton sheets if you can pull yourself away from watching the dancing fireflies on the brightly colored Adirondacks on your private veranda.


There’s a lot about this boho-chic haven that sets it apart, however, the food is some of the best Panamanian cuisine in the country. With the use of locally-sourced, top-quality ingredients, the kitchen puts together dishes like mango ceviche and plantain ravioli with seafood (although carnivores will find cuts like beef tenderloin are available also).

While the restaurant area within the charming gazebo—which also incorporates the lounge area—is as jazzy and enjoyable as the rest of the resort, it is possible to eat elsewhere. Find a remote Caribbean beach for a picnic, have a private barbeque at your casita, and enjoy some finger food alongside a glass of rum punch as you watch the sunset on the bay.


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