The Points Guy: Destination of the Week Series, Panama

This week on The Points Guy, we head to Central America for the first time in our Destination of the Week series and visit: Panama.

Now, this little Latin American country might not be on the top of everyone's list, but as we discovered while researching all the options out there, it's just a short flight from the South and Eastern US, there are tons of direct flights from major gateways on US carriers, and it can be an excellent use of points (not to mention a great earning opportunity). The country uses the US dollar as its currency, so that takes some of the extra stress of international travel off, and there are also a bunch of hotels in Panama City where Americans (or anyone, for that matter) can earn and redeem hotel points--plus several just about 30 minutes away in the beachside resort of Playa Bonita where the vacation really starts.

As for Panama City itself, there's a ton to do, from visiting the Canal, shopping, touring the old city, and getting out on the water, so if you're looking for somewhere a little offbeat, this could be a good destination for you.