Friedlander Beach Getaway

Isla Palenque / Courtesy of Isla Palenque

August 10-18, 2024 | 5 People

Here’s the research I’ve compiled so far based on our conversation. All of the top places have good connectivity to New York and Miami, but I’ve included a few alternate ideas at the bottom as well. Let me know what is resonating and I can provide more details.

Thanks! –Scott

Isla Palenque, Panama

I still like this option because of the direct flights and because it’s south of hurricanes. There will be tropical showers in the afternoon, but they shouldn’t ruin the trip. It does require an additional 1hr flight from Panama City north to David, Panama and another 1hr boat and car to the resort.

There are two casitas available on 8/10-8/17 for $643.50/nt (includes tax), or the Beachfront Villa is available for $1,559.25 (includes tax). The villa would be more comfortable as the casitas have king beds, but they can add a cot to one of them. Note that food is not included in this rate. Also, I got clarification on the diving. The resort only organizes snorkeling trips, but we can work through a third party from a nearby marina to organize dive trips.

Turneffe Island Resort, Belize

Belize has the direct flights you want, the blue Carribbean water, and August sees a break in the rainy season with less disruptive afternoon showers. Belize is less hurricane prone than the Yucatan and didn’t see a storm last year. A category 1 hit in 2022 and they see something more major every 10 years or so.

Here I like Turneffe Island Resort, a private island that specializes in diving – including the famous Blue Hole. They have their own dive, boats, etc as well as fishing guides if you are interested in that. It’s accessible from Belize City via a 45 minute boat transfer. I’ve reached out about availability. Their rates for two start at $5,290 for a week.

Another luxuy option is Cayo Espanto private Island, where a two-bedroom villa costs around $3,000 per night.

Florida Keys

The keys are conveniently close to Miami and have access to good beaches and diving. I just had clients back from Isla Bella Resort who loved it. It’s not remote – on the southern edge of Marathon. However, it’s well done and has it’s own marina. They have their own boats for diving trips. Rooms start at $450/nt.

If you want something more exclusive there is also Sunset Key Private Island off Key West. You would have to take a ferry to town and work with a dive shop there as the resort does not offer it. Winslow’s Bungalows are also a good boutique option in Key West town but aren’t on the beach.

I also mentioned Greyfield Inn in Georgia. It’s a really interesting hideaway, but I would only spend a few nights there. It could make a good combo with the Keys if you had the appetite for a road trip along the Florida coast.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a good option for connectivity and no hurricanes, but late July and early August are better to avoid the rain. Nantipa is the best luxury hideaway on the drier north Pacific coast. It’s a great laid back beach destination, but diving options are more limited.

The most exciting diving in Costa Rica is at Cocos Island in the Pacific if you’re into deepwater with hammerhead sharks – it’s only for advanced divers. The company I like to work with only has three spots available on their August trip, but I can look around for something private if this is appealing.


I’ve checked with colleagues and have gotten good feedback on Bonaire. However, I can’t find any good resorts that meet the out-of-the-way requirements. I’ve started looking into villas as an alternative.

Other Ideas

I’ve done a lot of searching and have a few more ideas that don’t quite fit but are including them in case they are appealing.

  • August is a great time to swim with whale sharks in the Gulf of California, and I know of a good private charter sailboat that has a spotter plane to find them. However, there are no direct flights from San Jose del Cabo to Miami.
  • Secret Bay in Dominica does have a direct flight to Miami, but not NYC. It’s also more hurricane-prone, so I dropped it from the main list.
  • Roatan, Honduras, offers good diving and direct flights to Miami but not NYC. Ibagari Hotel has a multi-bedroom villa for $1,904/nt (including taxes).