The Greatest Natural Amenity of them all- the Unique Ecology of Bastimentos IslandThe location of our project affords a unique opportunity for our residents and visitors to explore the natural treasures of Bastimentos Island. Simply stated our project's preserves combined with the adjacent Bastimentos National Marine Park maintain some of the greatest diversity of plant and animal life that can be found anywhere on earth. This marine park and a large portion of the Amistad/Bocas Del Toro region, has been recognized as both a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. The marine park is contiguous to the project site, covers an area of 13,226 ha (32,682 acres), and was primarily established to protect the abundant coral reefs in the region, but protects a swath of the island's interior as well.
In order to delve into what makes Panama and this region so unique, a bit of background information is necessary. In biological terms, the fact that Panama linked the landmasses of the two Americas helps explain its incredible biodiversity. The Bocas Del Toro region has often been called the "Galapagos of Central America". Since the area has been isolated for 10,000 years by geologic activity, each of the islands has evolved its own unique ecosystem. It is no accident that the nearby Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) chose this as one of two sites in Panama to house its research and teaching facility. There are currently over 25 full-time research scientists cataloging this diversity. To date Over 6300 species of plant and animals have been described and photographed in this database:
This institute provides a tremendous resource for visiting scholars and the general public as weekly tours, lectures and other field programs are readily featured. The Director of the institute has placed conservation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems in Bocas high on its priority list: "It is critical that homeowners, divers, retirees, investors, sports fishermen, tourists-all of the different interests in Bocas Del Toro-realize that they depend upon and benefit from the sustainable management of natural beauty and biodiversity."
Not only is the above sentiment a cornerstone of our development roadmap, our goal is to preserve 70-80% of our phase II lands in perpetuity. We will plan on achieving this by a combination of initiatives including working with the government of Panama to add to the size of the Bastimentos Marine Park, and working with the local and international NGO's for land bank donations. We hope to not only facilitate scientific research in the area but also develop revenue producing programs for the conservation agencies which we partner with. The Marine Park and surrounding project lands provide a springboard for activities and adventures that invite us to learn more about this ecology. Nature walks or more extensive jungle hikes are a great way to get in touch and learn about the indigenous red frog, giant morpho butterflies, wild orchids or the myriad of other species in the region. Activities such as sea kayaking, and docent led canopy tours are other great ways to learn about the islands flora and fauna.
Those who wish to explore our project's preserves and the neighboring Marine Park will be stunned by the diverse topography that they have to choose from. Both Red Frog Beach and the more remote Wizard Beach and Playa Larga offer sweeping beaches and a healthy beach break. There are several quiet cove beaches that provide a more intimate setting as well. These beaches and the expansive coral reef, provide important habitat for leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles. The leeward side of the island features smooth, glasslike waters that harbor our marina and are ideal for exploring the delicate ecology of the mangrove swamps. The terrain on the island is diverse as well, and features secondary and primary rainforest stands on hills and small mountains based on ancient basalt rock formations. Much of the first phase of our development took place on re-claimed ranch land and teak plantations. These areas include gentle upslope and meadows that are quickly reverting to their natural state. The marine park also features the largest island lake in all of Panama. A journey to this lake would also afford the opportunity to explore a large network of caves that exist within our preserves. We feel that our project's "Natural Amenities" are the most compelling feature of our development. There is something for everyone at the Red Frog Beach project and we hope that you will take the opportunity to visit us soon.
Resources for those interested in the regions ecology can visit both Smithsonian International and The Nature Conservancy's description of the area:
Regional Climate. Bocas Del Toro lies 9 degrees above the equator in the wet tropical zone. The average annual rainfall and temperature are 4000 mm (157 inches) and 30°C (86°F) respectively. In general, the wet season extends from May to December and dry season from January to April. However, rain occurs at all times of the year, only less in the dry season.