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Hacienda del Mar, Isla San José 

Isla San José
Tel: 507 269 6634's insider take:

You could say this hotel is off the beaten path—if there was a path. Set on a private, 22-square-mile island in the middle of the Gulf of Panama, it can only be reached by boat or plane. Needless to say, it's the top choice for those who like their peace and quiet. There's not much to do here besides hike in the nearly 5,000 acres of virgin rain forest, snorkel the offshore reefs, or head to the pool or one of the dozens of secluded beaches that ring the island. The 14 cabanas are basic, but the timbers of caña blanca wood and the red-clay tile floors give them a simple elegance. All have private terraces with views of the Pacific and a trio of rock formations called the Three Monks. The open-air dining room is lovely, with an angled thatched roof that maximizes the water view.

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