Category Archives: Panama

Recently Announced Condos at Red Frog Beach, Panama Are Attracting Many Americans Ready to Move Internationally in Uneasy Sociopolitical Times

Trending: More North Americans than ever consider moving outside the U.S., while Panama continues to be one of the top places to go. The Red Frog Beach Island Community in Bocas del Toro Panama announces the start of construction for its Beach Condos called La Perla Azul to Provide Luxury Island Living alongside Panama’s Economic Benefits.

BOCAS DEL TORO, Panama, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Panama has become one of the hottest spots for Americans seeking a 2nd home. A recent poll by Morning Consult/Vox showed that 1 in 4 Americans would seriously consider leaving the U.S. if a particular candidate wins the presidency. Continue reading

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.

Souvenir Savvy

People spend a lot of money on souvenir purchases that fill their travel bags and their bookshelves as soon as they are unpacked at home. It is hard to resist the urge for knick knacks that will just add clutter! The good news is that it’s easy to improve your souvenir-buying savvy! Here are 7 ideas:

  • Furniture and Home Decor. Think of how the treasures from your adventure would add to the charm in your home. By remembering the places you saw, sat and stayed, you can bring that feeling with you and incorporate unique pieces into your decoration.
  • Local Art. From its history to its landscape, art is a special way that a culture can express itself. Shop local art displays, grand and roadside, and you’ll be surprised at what you find.
  • Handmade Clothing. This is a lightweight and an easily-packed way to pay homage to those who made a destination come alive on your vacation.
  • Curiosities. Find something that you would see at home? Pick it up. Pieces like this create interest and help tell the story of your experience.
  • Children’s Toys. For the a child or grandchild in your life, toys are always a winner. Even simple trinkets that spark imagination, along with your story of adventure, will be sure to please.
  • Packaged Foods. Don’t forget the power of the sense of taste! Take a box of delicacies with you and you’ll delight in how one bite unlocks the little moments that meant so much.
  • Found keepsakes. Oftentimes, what will mean the most to you is something with little monetary value, but it is rich with sentiment. You’ll know this souvenir when you see it.

Another helpful tidbit…tie the souvenir to your vacation location. The items might include national colors or depictions of a famous icon or be made of well-known items endemic to the locale. With some things you find and buy, specifically fresh fruit or meat, check customs requirements on transporting across country boundaries.
With that, let’s talk about BOCAS DEL TORO SOUVENIRS! Maybe you have a favorite? We’d like to hear about it below! Our top three…drum roll please…are:

  1. Molas. Intricate, colorful fabric designed and worn by Panama’s indigenous Kuna Indian women. You’ll spend between $10-$40 dollars. These can be bought on street stands or small shops and come in many forms- a purse, pillow cover, wallet, framed art. Designs are unique to the maker and best of all, lightweight and packable.
  2. Tiny Frogs Toys. Who doesn’t love cute and colorful little things? These “smaller than a penny” frogs are seen mostly in Central America. They come in an array colors on the islands of Bocas.With the island named after them, who wouldn’t want a toy to remind them of their trip?
  3. Oreba, or chocolate in Panamanian, from the Chocolate Farm. Panama’s chocolate is known for being as good as the Swiss make! There are a few chocolate farms on Bocas. The chocolate nibs are always a favorite.

Whether it be for yourself or another, you’ll probably know the best souvenir when you see it. Go with your gut and remember….
DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO BUY YOUR SOUVENIRS…. Because neither you nor anybody else wants another key chain!
Have a favorite souvenir category that you turn to? Ever received a terrible souvenir? A great one? Please share your souvenir savvy (or not!) in the comments section.

Have a favorite souvenir category that you turn to? Ever received a terrible souvenir? A great one? Please share your souvenir savvy (or not!) in the comments section.

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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7 Frequently Asked Questions When Traveling to Panama

Here are 7 of the most frequently asked questions about traveling to Panama to help you make plans and enjoy your trip! Please contact us with any questions you have about traveling to Panama or Bocas del Toro.

Is Panama safe?

Yes! Panama is safer than most big U.S. cities. It is the safest country in the region and one of the safest in Latin America.  That said, use common sense and don’t wander in poor areas at night, use only authorized yellow taxis, and do not leave your valuables unattended at the beach.

7 Tips for Panama tripsWhen is the best time to book my visit to Bocas del Toro?

Panama is a year-round attraction. The temperature hardly varies, hovering at about 80 degrees fahrenheit.  The sun shines everyday, all year-round.  We like to say October thru November is the “green” season for bringing the most rain to nurture our thriving ecosystem, but there is still some sun everyday, and possibly some rain, too. Contact us to discuss how the best time for you might vary based on particular activities such as sport fishing or surfing.

Will it be a problem if I don’t speak Spanish?

Not a problem!  Most Panamanians in Panama City and Bocas del Toro speak English, along with other languages.  Panama is an international crossroads where English has been established. Panamanians who cater to tourists are especially comfortable with speaking English.

Do I need a visa/passport to visit Panama?

Not typically.  A visa is required if you intend to work/study/live here.  A passport is required for trips of up to 180 days.  Note: a law requires people entering Panama to have at least 3 months before the expiration on his/her passport, so plan accordingly.

What’s the best way to get to Panama?

From the U.S. there are many direct flights to Panama: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, TX, Houston, Las Vegas, NV, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, NJ, Orlando, Tampa, and Washington D.C..  From Canada, Copa has direct flights from Montreal and Toronto.  KLM flies direct from Amsterdam, and Iberia from Madrid. There is also a direct flight from Paris. As of 2014, Southwest flies direct to San Jose, Costa Rica which is very close to Bocas del Toro by regional airline or chartered boat transportation.

What is the currency?

The U.S. dollar, also referred to as a balboa.  No currency exchange hassles!  It’s one of Panama’s great conveniences.

What is the number of the Tourism Hotline?

Just call 311. Operators speak English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. They will advise you if you are having a problem and give you general tourism advice.

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!

Panama Flag - Can't miss it on Flag Day

Panama is the Best Place for Your Well-Being

For the Life that You Will Feel Good About: Move to Panama

Should we credit it to our seco, over-the-top holidays, or our multi-cultural heritage? In a recent study where the United States, England, Japan or France didn’t rank in the top 10, Panama tops all countries as the best for your well-rounded physical and emotional well-being. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows that Panama is the most likely place for you to enjoy living your life.

The poll evaluates worldwide responses from five general areas:

  • Purpose
  • Social
  • Financial
  • Community
  • Physical

Not only does Panama have the best overall scores, but it also has a significant margin over runner-ups Costa Rica and Denmark for the percentage of people who are thriving in at least 3 categories, according to the poll.

Here are the top 10 results:

  1. Panama
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Denmark
  4. Austria
  5. Brazil
  6. El Salvador
  7. Sweden
  8. Guatemala
  9. Canada

USA Today broke down the numbers from the poll here.

This means that we would be happy to have you as our neighbors, and you wouldn’t regret it either.  If you aren’t ready to move to Panama, at least come visit as often as you can.  It is, after all, for your own good.

Reinventing an Island Bar & Grill: Punta Lava

New Owners and a Menu Makeover at Punta Lava Bar & Grill

We are excited to introduce two dedicated owners at Punta Lava Bar & Grill and a menu makeover!

With a location one of Panama’s favorite beaches, Punta Lava Beach Bar & Grill offers stunning views, beachfront access, and sea-to-table freshness that satisfies guests day and night.  Recently, Punta Lava has been reinvented by two innovative, dedicated and energetic owners.  We are excited to introduce Rich Littlefield and Kristie Craven, each with 20+ years of valuable experience from Tahoe restaurants to hot bars on Waikiki.  They are the ones bringing the goodness to your plate, and your glass, right here on Red Frog Beach.

Here’s the scoop from our Q/A with them about their love for Bocas, why they relocated here from Hawaii, and how they are making Punta Lava better for guests and the island community.

Inside Punta Lava Restaurant in Bocas Del Toro

Order a Coco Loco at the bar, or the day’s catch of Lobster–you won’t be disappointed

What attracted you to Bocas del Toro & Red Frog Beach?  What attracted us to Bocas and Red Frog is the natural and unspoiled beauty that exists here.   We were enamored by the panga boat taxis to get around, the clear warm tropical waters, the surfing, the diving and the variety of animals found in the jungle here.

We could also clearly see that tourism was relatively new to the area and growing and that Bocas was becoming a destination that people were discovering worldwide.   We thought that Panama was the new Costa Rica and very much like Hawaii must have been fifty to sixty years ago and that the timing was right to locate opportunities here.

When did you know you wanted to run a restaurant as a career? What is the best part?  Kristie and I [Rich] both knew that we always wanted to work for ourselves on a dream or project that we could have direct effects on.  The corporate mega hotels in Hawaii are too ingrained with red tape, bottom lines and corporate policies…  The “best part” we both believe is being able to create nightly exciting specials that we feel the guests will enjoy and then chatting with the guests to hear their feedback and stories about where they are from and how they, too, discovered Bocas.

Eat at Punta Lava on Red Frog Beach, Bocas del Toro

Get five-star service at this beachside bar and grill

Who is in the kitchen on a typical night? Our executive Chef Kinga Samudia is in charge with his Sous Chef Yasir creating incredible food combinations and sauces.    Kinga is from Bocas and has owned his own restaurant here in the past.   He also has cooked in Italy for four years, Thailand for two and Malaysia for one year before returning to Panama.    With this wide variety of cooking knowledge coupled with his incredible ability to speak five languages he is truly an asset and superstar that we are proud to have and showcase here at Punta Lava.

What’s Chef Kinga cooking tonight?  Though we change up our nightly menu every night here we strive to have Lobster on the menu as much as possible.   In addition to that we also have local caught octopus (pulpo) and sashimi grade yellow and black fin tuna on the menu most nights of the week.

What is it like behind the scenes at Punta Lava? A typical day and night at Punta Lava is much different than most restaurants in the states or surrounding developed areas.   We work with over 25 different local fisherman, farmers, bread bakers, and jungle fruit collectors in order to write our menu daily and keep our guest coming back for more.

What has impressed you about Bocas del Toro? What has impressed us the most about Bocas Del Toro are the friendly people: local people as well as the array of tourists from around the world who also love Bocas.  In addition to that is the bountiful availability of seafood and produce found in the surrounding ocean and jungle.

What do you hope to add to the island? We hope to bring … consistently great food and five star service.   This combination back in Hawaii, coupled with the aloha spirit, has made the Hawaiian islands a legendary destination location…We hope to see happen here in gorgeous Bocas Del Toro.

Restaurant in Bocas del Toro Red Frog Beach

Refresh at Punta Lava

What is the Fan-Favorite drink at Punta Lava? Our most revered drink here at Punta Lava would be a toss-up between “Snappers Rum Punch,” which has six fruits and two different rums in it and has a phenomenal balance and texture to it, and our famous “Coco-Loco Surprise,” which is one fresh coconut opened, the water blended with coconut puree, Malibu rum and Seco Herrano (local sugar cane liquor) and then poured back in the coconut and topped with a garnish of toasted coconut.  Yum!

Celebrate Carnival 2014 with Panama!

Celebrate Carnival 2014 with Panama!

It is a 5-day event unlike any other in the country, and Panama City hosts the 2nd-largest Carnival celebration in the world.  Think you can dance party non-stop with the best of them? Keeping pace with this crowd would be proof.

Like to party non-stop? Join us for Carnival 2014 in Panama

Like to party non-stop? Join us for Carnival 2014 in Panama

Doing business in Panama?  Don’t think about it for another week while locals are donning costumes, turning up their speakers, dancing and dancing some more–then recovering from Carnival.

Hotels and restaurants host musicians and special events in order to draw the crowd their direction; check your favorite spots for what they have scheduled through the weekend.

History of Carnival

With its roots in Catholicism, the premise of Carnival is getting rid of your sins and preparing to start the Lent period.  Through time it has evolved to an opportunity to indulge before Lent and then just an excuse to let loose like never before.  Panamanians and visitors dancing in the streets have little worry about anyone’s religious practices through the modern Carnival festival.

Carnival 2014 Schedule in Panama

Panamanians in every city will be celebrating.  Panama City hosts the largest Carnival in the country, and each region loosely follows the same schedule.

FRIDAY: Carnival starts the Friday before Ash Wednesday, which for 2014 Carnival is February 28.  Friday night, expect an opening ceremony of sorts.  In Panama City there will be a Carnival queen and attendants presented to symbolically look over the following days’ parades and parties.  Dancing in the streets begins!

SATURDAY: By afternoon, people begin to join the street festival again.  There is a small parade and all day and night you’ll find pockets of various music and crowds moving from one stereo to another.  Vendors set up early with goods from crafts to food, drinks and water balloons.

SUNDAY: Traditionally, the Sunday festival and parades honor Panama’s colorful national costume called pollera.

MONDAY:  Ready for more parades, music and dancing?

TUESDAY:  March 4 will offer the biggest party of all.  Over-the-top parade entries show the competitive spirit within the town to put on the most elaborate show.  Spectators from all backgrounds wander through town with festive costumes, masks, tossing confetti of their own and drink and dance all through the night.  The festival is symbolically over when someone burns a sardine on the beach on the morning of Ash Wednesday.

Expect the Carnival vigor to last until sunrise on Wednesday, even if you don’t.