Panama City, Panama
Why you should go: American tourists haven't yet caught on to the country's beaches and exotic wildlife, and historic Panama City is a good jumping-off point.
Where to sleep: Most of the city's hotels are in the financial district, where you can find well-known chains. Or try the Canal House (canalhousepanama.com), a restored 19th-century colonial home with just three charming bedrooms, in the cobblestone-lined Casco Viejo section.
Where to eat: Get ropa vieja at Las Tinajas, where folk dancing serves as dessert. The Hotel DeVille (devillehotel.com.pa) has a modern restaurant with nouveau French food.