What's New in Panama

From the unveiling of The Westin Playa Bonita Panama’s new spa to the launch of four new flights, June is shaping up to be a big month for the already hot Central American destination of Panama.

Travel Agent recently sat down with representatives of The Westin Playa Bonita Panama and learned that the hotel, which officially opened in January, will be unveiling its 17-treatment room spa in early June, says Herman Bern Jr., director of promotion for the resort. We were told the new spa will focus heavily on hydrotherapy.

The Westin Playa Bonita Panama is a roughly $100 million project. Flanked by rainforest and stretch of Pacific shoreline just 20 minutes outside Panama City, the Westin Playa Bonita is a secluded escape featuring 611 luxury rooms and suites, six fine dining restaurants, four bars and an ultra chic, open-air VIP Lounge on the 19th floor, which offers views of the Pacific Ocean, rainforest and Panama Canal.

The Westin Playa Bonita also features 65,000 square feet of meeting and event space comprised of 22 multi-purpose spaces. Additional facilities include a Westin WORKOUT gym, three freshwater infinity edge pools, a dedicated children’s pool and Westin Kids Club.

In celebration of the hotel’s grand opening, The Westin Playa Bonita Panama is offering guests a complimentary fifth night when four nights are booked, plus daily breakfast and a free room upgrade. The Sunsational Savings offer is valid through December 31, subject to availability. Rates start at $300 per night based on double occupancy and do not include tax and service charges. 

To book the Sunsational Savings offer, visit www.westinplayabonita.com or call 877-800-1690 and refer to promotional code SNFREE.

As far as flight news goes, Copa Airlines, subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A., recently announced that it will begin non-stop service in June from Panama to four new destinations: Recife, Brazil; Liberia, (Guanacaste), Costa Rica; Las Vegas, and Curacao.

Passengers who depart or connect to these new flights through Copa's Hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport will have access to a network of 63 destinations in 29 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

As part of the airline's strategic plan, Copa will add 10 new Boeing 737-800s Next Generation aircraft this year, for a total of 83 aircraft equipped with cutting-edge technology.

Copa announced the new destinations at a press conference in January in Panama during the reveal of its new corporate campaign and highlight the airline's 2011 achievements. Last year, the airline transported 8.8 million passengers and experienced a growth in capacity of more than 20 percent over 2010.

The airline also will reinforce its position as a world-class Panamanian company when it joins Star Alliance in April 2012. As a result, Copa expects to increase codeshare agreements with additional airlines, especially in Asia and Europe. In addition, Copa will reaffirm its alliance with Continental Airlines and its frequent-flyer program, MileagePlus. Visit www.copaair.com.

Meanwhile, Panama also had some recent news from the technology front. Packed full of useful information for expats living and working in Panama City, Panama now has its own, local AngloINFO website – the essential free-of-charge resource for Panama City’s international community.

Over the past 12 years, AngloINFO has built one of the world's largest networks of websites for English-speaking expats and residents. It operates in many regions around the world providing vital support and information to the local international communities. Its local websites provide detailed day-to-day support to people living in a particular region, while its national websites are specifically geared to addressing the needs of those who are in the process of moving, or looking to move.

Expats and English-speaking residents in Panama City can now:

• Choose from dozens of daily events and hundreds of events scheduled for the year in the What’s On Guide

• Search the directory of thousands of local, English-speaking businesses

• Get advice from other Panama City expats in the local discussions

• Buy and sell essential items through the classifieds

• Browse hundreds of pages of carefully-researched, factually correct information covering topics ranging from finding accommodation and employment, to understanding the school system or registering a car.

AngloINFO Panama City and its new sister site, AngloINFO Panama, offer the definitive in-depth resource for any expat living in, or moving to, this Central American hotspot.

AngloINFO is planning a rapid expansion into the Central and South American markets.

“Central and South America is an exciting market for AngloINFO with a lot of growth potential," said Tony Salter, AngloINFO’s chief executive, in a written statement. "We now have websites covering and providing support to the São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Panama City expat communities as well as new sites in San José (Costa Rica) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) under development. We are actively looking for new franchisees across the region and other key regions will follow over the coming months”.

Visit www.panamacity.angloinfo.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all the latest Panama news.