To take the private island experience to the next level this year, head 30-odd kilometres off the Pacific coast of Panama to Islas Secas, a resort spread out over a privately owned, 14-island archipelago dotting the Gulf of Chiriquí. While the resort is currently closed in adherence with Covid-19-related restrictions, it’s planning to reopen in high style this December by offering the chance to buy-out the whole place, for rates starting around $26,000 a night. The resort will also be rolling out new private jet transfers from Panama City’s international airport which, when added to the host of included services and amenities, will help ensure a getaway that’s both memorable and the ultimate in social distancing.

Islas Secas Panama private island

Seventy-five per cent of the archipelago has been left untouched, making it a natural haven Courtesy Islas Secas

Following a soft opening in early-2019, Islas Secas re-emerged as a full-service resort last December, complete with a new, conservation-minded design by award-winning South African-based firm LIFE Interiors & Architecture, four spacious casitas (each with plunge pool, deck, thatched-roof cabana and ocean views), facilities like a bar, lounge and ocean-to-fork restaurant, and a Tented Spa highlighting organic and natural products. (In a unique touch, each casita bathroom also comes with a mixology case filled with essential oils, so guests can customise their bath products.) When the pandemic hit a few months later, however, the resort closed again—but used that downtime to create three jungle-view tented casitas with canopied roofs, four-poster beds, deep-soaking tubs and outdoor lounges.

Islas Secas Panama private island

Relax on your casita’s thatched roof-topped deck Courtesy Islas Secas

With three-quarters of the archipelago left untouched, the resort is the perfect base for connecting with nature. Go swimming or paddle boarding around the islands, head further out for a day of fishing, spot Humpback whales during migration season, or venture to the bio-diverse Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, for some snorkelling or diving. On-property experiences like nature hikes, yoga, beach scrabble, barbecues, “floating” pool brunches and outdoor movie nights round out the fun.

Islas Secas Panama private island

The new design is inspired by nature and Panamanian artisan traditions Courtesy Islas Secas

When the resort re-opens on December 16, guests will be able to book this entire paradise for themselves, with buy-outs starting at $26,000 per night for up to 24 guests, including meals, most alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, numerous activities (including select boat trips), laundry, a private islet picnic and one spa treatment per day, per guest. (Additional guests can be accommodated for an added fee.) Also, new for the 2020-2021 season are private plane transfers between Panama City and the archipelago, which will eliminate the need to take a commercial flight to a regional airport and a boat transfer to the resort. (Rates for the private flights are yet to be determined.) VIP meet and greet services at Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport can also be arranged.

Islas Secas Panama private island

Enjoy private movie nights on the beach and other bespoke activities. Courtesy Islas Secas

Individual room rates start at around $3,000 per night, buy-outs at approx. $26,000 per night; contact the resort directly for details and to book. Islas Secas will re-open on December 16, 2020.