Category Archives: Nature

Protecting the Environment

In 2004, when the Red Frog Beach Island Resort was acquired, cattle grazing on the land caused a large amount deforestation on the island that was leading to problems with erosion, among other things. Because of the damage done to this beautiful island, Red Frog Beach has had a large focus on the environment, rebuilding the rainforest back to where it was, and maintaining its rich ecosystem.  

Because of this, there are now MORE trees and vegetation on Isla Bastimentos than 10 years ago. The erosion problems caused by the grazing have largely all been corrected on Isla Bastimentos.

Red Frog Beach has also invested in a state of the art waste treatment plant called a sequence batch reactor as well as one of the largest solar power plants owned by resorts in the world. Red Frog Beach works with other local business to make tourism here more sustainable both to the environment and the community.

To learn more about the practices used to keep the island healthy, check out our Environment page.

26 Adventurists Won a Trip to Red Frog Beach Resort. Here’s What Happened.

What happens when 26 proven adventurists come together at Red Frog Beach Resort?

Exploring the Panamanian rainforest with a great group of Adventure Hunt Winners

Exploring the Panamanian rainforest with a great group of Adventure Hunt Winners

One legendary week of fun, adrenaline, and unforgettable memories.

That’s what we discovered this July when winners of the nation-wide Adventure Hunt joined forces at Red Frog Beach. Adventure Hunt chose us as part of their grand prize– a 6-day, 5-night stay in our luxury villas , along with a free pass to our famed jungle canopy zipline.

Adventuring through the Treetops in Bocas del Toro Panama

Adventure Hunt is an epic American race to find buried treasure from hardcore brands like GoPro, KZ, Red Bull, Stance, GoScope, and Mission Belt. With 24 participating cities, the treasure is buried in each city’s most recognized or unsung adventure sites. Teams race between the sites, completing missions which range from heart-pumping to fun and goofy.

Adventure Hunt climbing palm trees in Bocas del Toro, North Beach, Panama

Who wins this kind of contest? Those with a passion for adventure, a love for nature, and a curious, fun-loving mind. It’s no wonder the winners had such a great time at Red Frog Beach, in the heart of a stunning tropical landscape and endless array of adventures.

Adventure Hunt on the Canopy Zipline at Red Frog Beach, Panama

You can’t exactly put 26 thrill-seekers on an island and expect them to sit still, so we hit up nearly all our activities at Red Frog Beachscuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, and hiking through the lush jungle terrain. There was plenty of time to relax, too– whether in the private infinity pools at each villa, our island spa, or lounging on our famous white-sand beaches.

Boat at Bocas del Toro Red Frog Beach

Though our 26 winners could not have been more diverse– different backgrounds, ages, vocations, and interests–-everyone got along famously. That’s what happens when a group shares a common passion for adventure and nature: differences tend to slip away.

Adventure Hunt Scuba and Snorkel at Bocas del Toro, Panama with Red Frog BeachWe decided to put their treasure hunting to the test–-Red Frog Beach style. It’s one thing to find treasure in your own city, but how about a foreign island of jungle, caves, towns, and beaches? Adventure Hunt at Red Frog Beach Panama

Unsurprisingly, our guests were up to the challenge. An incredible day of clue-deciphering and island exploration led our winners to a final treasure chest. Inside: GoPro toys, gift cards, and (everyone’s favorite) cold, hard, cash.

Thanks to our 26 winners for an amazing week, and to Adventure Hunt for choosing us as their grand prize location. We’re glad we got to show how we do adventure out here at Red Frog Beach Resort.

Life's a Beach

Thanks to our co-sponsor, Kameleonz!

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Find your own adventure to Red Frog Beach Resort.

BOOK YOUR ISLAND STAY NOW

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Dive Panama: 2 Oceans in 1 Trip

Dive at the "Galapagos of the Caribbean" in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Dive at the “Galapagos of the Caribbean” in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Panama is easily one of the top 5 diving destinations in the world.  Worldwide experts have called our region in Bocas del Toro the ”Galapagos of the Caribbean.”  Its rich biodiversity comes of its privileged geographical location. 1600 islands comprise Panama and from it’s mountainous interior flow 500 streams and rivers draining into both the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans. Bocas del Toro (one of the 9 main Islands) is the most popular dive destination in the country.

What You’ll See Diving Here

On the Caribbean side (our side), say hello to over 250 reef and gamefish, 52 kinds of different coral and more than a dozen species of sea turtles! You’ll fin past nurse sharks, stingrays, dolphins, lobster, starfish, seahorses and vase sponges–all thriving among the dramatic and diverse reefscapes of Bocas del Toro.

On the Pacific side, look for whales, dolphins, black marlin and even the 400-pound jewfish!  Enjoy amazing volcanic formations and abyssal drop-offs.

There’s more.  Weather permitting, it’s possible to dive the famous Panama Canal and see the first sunken trans-isthmian railroad and the 19-century trains that ran on it to build the Canal.

All in all, your diving experience exploring Panama’s underwater worlds should leave you astonished, amazed and “sea”duced!

How You’ll Get Here to Bocas del Toro

You decide:  Fast and convenient or slower and less-costly. There are 3 main options with Panama City as your start point:

  • a flight from Panama City to Bocas del Toro (45 minutes.)

  • a bus from Panama City to Almirante (10 – 11 hours) and a boat to Bocas del Toro (30 minutes.)

  • driving from Panama City to Almirante (10 – 11 hours) and then a Ferry to Bocas del Toro (2 hours.)

Experienced diving instructors and friendly local companies will help advise and design the perfect tour for you and your party.

 

Love to hear about what you are looking for when you dive! Underwater architecture? Swimming mammals? Bright coral and reef fish? Join the discussion!

Best of 2013 at Red Frog Beach Resort, Panama

Best of 2013 at the Best place in the Caribbean!

What a year it has been for Red Frog Beach Resort in 2013! By looking deeper into our connection with the island, its pristine beauty and rich history, we were motivated in many areas of growth.  Here are some of our highlights, all benchmarking the way to creating a more valuable guest experience.

JOIN THE 2013 MEMORIES!

Highlights of the Resort and Guests at Red Frog Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Highlights of the Resort and Guests at Red Frog Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama

We have shared these times and lifetime experiences with so many of you!  If you have a travel photo of these or another favorite moment from Bocas del Toro, Panama, please share it with us to add to the Best of 2013 album on Facebook!  We are collecting photos to remember what we all have shared, learned, and experienced this year.  Look up those photos on your phone, camera or computer file and put them to work—the more the merrier!

Without further paragraph, the Best of 2013 list!

  • Featured On Mundo Social TV show and Viajando en Pareja, among other TV shows & movies!
  • Finished hillside construction in Villa neighborhood!
  • El Susurro Spa opening!
  • Redesigned Resort Entrance!
  • Marine Fuel Station at the Marina!
  • Grand Open House celebration!
  • Opened our Bocas Airport office!
  • New management and menus at Punta Lava Beach Bar & Grill!
  • Facebook reaches 1000+ Likes! (how long ‘till 5000?)
  • New English & Spanish Websites!
  • Redesigned All-Inclusive Vacation Packages!

 Don’t forget to join our Best of 2013 Celebration with your travel photos and comments!

5 Beaches You Need to See: All on One Island

The Travel Channel isn’t keeping it a secret, but listed our whole island on their exposé of the World’s Best Secret Beaches.  Here’s a breakdown of the 5 beaches on Isla Bastimentos.  Being the best of Bocas del Toro, the best of the Caribbean, and even on Travel Channel’s world-wide list doesn’t surprise us.

If you’re making the trip to the Caribbean where there is a lot of coastline to be had, you have room to be choosy.

1.  Red Frog Beach—Where else could we start but with our namesake beach?  This is undoubtedly the most popular beach on the island as more are hearing it is the “Hottest Beach in Central America,” according to MSNBC.  Many travelers to the area come on water taxi to at least spend a day or an afternoon taking in the stunning, jungle-lined, white, soft-sand beach.  Join an impromptu volleyball or soccer game on the beach, enjoy the water, and lounge in the local mood.

Beaches- Turtle Red Frog Wizard

Left to right: Turtle Beach, Red Frog Beach, Wizard Beach

2.  Turtle Beach—Just on the other side of a lava outcropping from Red Frog Beach continues the stretch of beautiful sand on Turtle Beach (Playa Tortuga).  One bonus our guests can attest to: few visitors make it past Punta Lava Beach Bar & Grill and The Point lookout spot.  That leaves Turtle Beach just as close and just as lovely but giving you a lot more alone time.

3.  Wizard Beach—Also known as First Beach (Playa Primera), Lonely Planet says that this is actually the most beautiful beach on the island.  You’ll have to see for yourself.

North Beach and Coral Reef, Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro

North Beach and Coral Reef, Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro

4.  North Beach—This is a distinguished, long sandy beach that stretches out to a coral reef, offering great snorkeling.

5.  Playa Larga—Known to surfers and animal watchers, this is a 3-mile stretch of postcard-perfect beach within the Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park.  Several species of turtles nest here in the early spring. Access Playa Larga by hiking the marked trail through the jungle (great for animal spotters), kayak or consider a water taxi.


Columbus’s Discovery of Bocas del Toro

In 1500, Bocas del Toro was a quiet island group in the Caribbean.  Indigenous groups had lived on the mainland and among these islands for thousands of years.

Ageless scenery around Isla Bastimentos

Ageless scenery around Isla Bastimentos

The Ngöbe-Buglé people didn’t know they were about to receive their most famous visitor: Christopher Columbus.

Ancient towns and indigenous artifacts throughout mainland Panama have now largely been claimed by the thick rainforest in an ambiguity that continues to tempt historians and archaeologists.

Spanish Discovery of Bocas del Toro

Map of the Caribbean

Map of the Caribbean

With 140 crewmen and 4 vessels, a worn Columbus set sail in May 1502 on his 4th and final journey to find a strait that connected the Atlantic Ocean with the Indian Ocean.  He ventured from the port of Cadiz to Jamaica and soon to Central America.  Traveling south looking for a waterway to take him to the Orient, Columbus and his crew skimmed the rims of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  Soon they found the islands we call home.

On October 6, 1502, Columbus sailed the channels around then-Caribaro, which was renamed Almirante or Boca del Almirante meaning Mouth of the Admiral.

He noted the deep, rock-free channels and the fragrance that came from fruits and flowers on the islands.  When Columbus anchored, the men were able to refill their provisions, which had been damaged from recent storms, and refresh their spirits.  With this, their island base was named Isla Bastimentos, meaning Provisions.

Refuge on Isla Bastimentos

For ten days the explorers took refuge on Isla Bastimentos, making friends with the native people through offering gifts and hiring translators to communicate. Columbus learned that the mainland was just a narrow isthmus, and over the mountains there was another large ocean.  This reassured his goal of finding passage to the Far East, which he never accomplished.  The people also told of rich gold mines far to the south which diverted later Spanish explorers away from these islands.

Sunset on Isla Bastimentos

Sunset on Isla Bastimentos

In the following weeks and months in 1502, Columbus led his crew south to other points along the banks of Panama and Central America, and the mainland later fell under Spanish rule in a conquest for gold and influence. In 1503, the ships had seen their share of traveling.  The Vizcaino sunk along this part of the trip, yet to be found, and Columbus retreated to Jamaica to await repairs and new ships before returning to Spain in 1504.

Columbus spent significant time of this 4th journey in Bocas del Toro relaxing, learning, and naming his favorite places, including Isla Colon, Isla Cristobal, and Bahia de Almirante.  While this is only one page in the rich layers of history and culture here, October is the month to remember this famous explorer’s visit to our favorite island retreat.

 

Birding Paradise in Bocas del Toro

From your private patio or on a jungle trail, Isla Bastimentos is an ideal place to spot tropical birds of all kinds. With the nature-centric community design plus the nature preserve acreage and bordering National Marine Park, the environment is rich with opportunity to see wildlife of all kinds, including over 65 lively species of birds.
Read here about how one new birder enjoyed his discovery of the unique birds, flora and fauna of Bocas del Toro right in our own back yard.

What birds and other tropical wildlife are living in there? at Isla Bastimentos

What birds and other tropical wildlife are living in there? at Isla Bastimentos

 

Bring your camera, your binoculars, and an eye for the trees and let us know what you find!
What are your tips for new birders? How do travelers take quality wildlife photos?

Global Interest in Nature-Based Travel is Increasing: Why We Are Designed by Nature

Designed by Nature Part 1: Resort Community & Villas

There is a movement in current resort design to be green and show visitors a good time without taking down the natural environment that inspired us in the first place.  Some of the most forward-thinking designers and developers are helping make the most, while leaving the most, of the best nature has to offer.

Bocas Del Toro Mangroves environment

Mangroves sprawling near Isla Bastimentos

Research from Cambridge confirms increasing interest in nature-based tourism.  For some travelers this brings images of packing your tent and needs on your back, trekking from hostel to hostel.  Couples, individuals and families all want to discover the natural world, but having modern comforts alongside the authentic environment enables more people to actually be able to, or want to, do it.  Sometimes called eco-tourism, this includes accommodations that are conscious of leaving a small local footprint.

In approaching the Red Frog Beach Resort project, the goal was to respect the values making Isla Bastimentos a World Heritage site while allowing worldwide visitors to savor the authentic culture, the clear and bountiful seawater, and the natural, inspiring wildlife all around.

Here is what they did that adds meaning for the island, the native communities, and the visitors.

Local Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro residents

Children from Bastimentos having fun at the dock

First, the Rana Roja Foundation became a primary partner/overseer to represent the interest of the natural ecosystem and the local people.  With more than a dozen environmental and community interest points, including improving education systems in two island villages, the Foundation keeps the Red Frog Beach Island Resort in close touch with what really matters most locally.

Red Frog Beach Island Resort proudly says that their community resort was Designed by Nature.  To them, this means that a multi-million dollar lobby was less important than natural rainforest and ocean views and the prevailing habitat.  Instead of constructing over-stacked hotel buildings, a modest network of private luxury villas is tucked into the natural landscape sloping towards the beach.

The Foundation and resort developers established eco-standards including setting buildings at least 150’ back from the beach to preserve the beach habitat and vistas, employing more than 500 local residents, as well as creating a protected turtle nesting area

Why the emphasis on nature?  After being there, it’s easy to imagine the developers working with community members to create the kind of vacation getaway that they would put their own work down for.  It’s the kind of authentic experience to dream of and take advantage of.  Luckily there are enough villas for the rest of us to enjoy it too.