Red Frog Beach Island Resort & Spa
What We Love
- Daily breakfast on the beach is included in the Jetsetter rate
- More than 60 percent of this eco-friendly resort is a dedicated nature preserve; look out for wild animals like dolphins, monkeys and sloths
- Spacious villas have full kitchens, private pools and large patios
- Eight miles of jungle trails leading to five isolated beaches and the rainforest spa
What To Know
- The resort has a private plane to take guests to/from Panama City and Bocas del Toro; airport transfers (including a water taxi) take a scenic route through the nature preserve
- The island, Isla Bastimentos, is off the mainland, but the many tours and activities (ziplining, surfing, snorkeling, kayaking and more) make exploring Bocas del Toro simple
- No room service, but private in-villa chefs can whip up superb meals
- Punta Lava Beach Bar & Grill is closed for dinner on Mondays
- A 10 percent service charge per night will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
- Free WiFi
Located on Bocas del Toro, a serene island commonly referred to as the Galápagos of the Caribbean, Red Frog Resort is comprised of 41 private villas that sit on a hillside overlooking the turquoise ocean and lush rainforest. Here, Caribbean-chic decor melds modern elegance with tradition. Expect a tropical yet sophisticated vibe thanks to airy open floor plans and fully equipped kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Each villa also features a spacious patio with BBQ equipment and a private plunge pool. A 10-minute walk from the villas brings you to five pristine beaches where you can catch waves on the north shore or snorkel in the glass-smooth water on the south shore. The activity center arranges cave tours, canopy zipline rides, dolphin and bird tours, visits to indigenous communities and more. El Susurro Spa, just off the resort’s Marina Village, blends seamlessly with the natural landscape and offers a variety of amenities, like the massage casita, which hovers over a bubbling spring in the middle of the rainforest. Punta Lava Beach Bar & Grill specializes in fresh seafood dishes with a menu inspired by the catch of the day and local ingredients.
In the Area
Get personal with the wildlife on a hike, and keep your eyes peeled for marine life when you take a water taxi to go to any of the surrounding islands. Bocas Town is the center of the island chain and has more than 20 restaurants — we recommend open-air eateries like Capitán Caribe for mouthwatering burgers, smoothies and burritos (try the coconut rice, grilled pineapple and sweet plantain wrap) and El Ultimo Refugio for upscale Caribbean fare including seared sesame-crusted tuna and ceviche with local aji chombo peppers and fresh lime. Expect sides of live jazz and reggae music. Visit Bastimentos National Marine Park, the largest in Central America (it can accommodate megayachts up to 250 feet long!), then head to La Amistad National Park to check out one of the great World Heritage Sites.
How to Get There
"Eco-resort" is pure greenwashing. It's a gated-community development, with an incentive "investment income" that nervous strata owners get, by letting the "resort" rent out (manage) their units. There is very little "eco" about the place: a few token signs, some solar panels, and outrageously expensive (diesel generated) electricity and water. First and foremost, this is a property development. The "resort" is a property management concern, not a hotelier.
The landscaping is astonishing! The local flora and fauna have been effectively eliminated. Unfinished, or abandoned, construction is prevalent. Roads are made of loose pavers, rock and gravel, or mud track. There is NO grocery store on the property! Haul all your groceries with you! Guest transport around the development is in the back of diesel trucks, hang on tight, and try not to breathe; exhaust fills the tarpaulined truck boxes (guest seating area). Jungle land, including old-growth, is being clear-cut, and parceled off to defaulted on lenders.
Can't gauge the food: as vegetarians, there was nothing we could eat at either of the Red Frog eateries. The only vegetarian item, a "vegetarian" burrito at the beach club contains lard. The pizza's at lava point contain animal rennet. If you are stranded on the Red Frog property without food, there is a backpacker lodge "Palmar" just up the beach (off the Red Frog property) from Lava Point. It serves real food, (with ingredients listed) for vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and other diners -- at very reasonable prices.
We had a beautiful 3 bedroom villa home fro 2 nights, not inexpensive at $550 per night but there were 7 of us, villa needed some small repairs but was overall well kept and featured all the amenities including a small dipping pool. Property was huge, but service was lacking. Took a long time to get picked up. People at the one restaurant (of 2) was very good. The private beach is gorgeous with some amazing driftwood. Kids had a blast seeking out monkeys, a sloth, and the famous tiny red frogs (don't touch!). Negatives: felt too much like a big resort at times, loud dance music at the pool that we could do with out. But overall a nice luxurious end to our Panama trip.
While we didn't spend the night at this gorgeous resort, we were lucky enough to experience a day pass ( you can buy those at the red frog shop front in bocas town) which included zip lining, a massage and chilling at their infinity pool over looking the ocean! Since it was relatively empty (apparently a large party the night before took place), it was beautiful and we had the whole place to ourselves. The ziplining was great fun, especially for us new comers, but I imagine it being a bit tame for the more experienced zip liners. Out guides were amazing and friendly. The resorts seem like the perfect place for large groups/families - a bit too much for us to splurge on two people. The spa was located deeper into the forest and just the walk up there was surreal and beautiful - the massage itself was not as great for me, but she was very sweet and I had a relaxing time listening to the rain while being massaged.
I wanted to please my girlfriend and I with a 8 nights villa rental the little paradise that we had visited a couple of years ago. I even dreamed of buying a condo or a house here.
Well, as we arrived a few days ago, we ve been taken to a remote hiden villa with a tiny pool and zero view on the sea. I knew from my previous trip what to expect and that most villas had views! After being very upset and explaining that we didn t cross half of the globe to be hidding in the jungle the receptionist took us to a better villa where we could enjoy the views... Had to insist to be treated as if i was given a favour... we were told that it was low season and that most villas were under maintenance. I was a bit surprised as i had to pay the full amount for the rent not reembursable two weeks in advance as if the place was going to be overbooked. The bedroom sheets smelled humidity, the bedroom lights didn t work. Asked the reception for lights to be fixed. Yeah yeah... not fixed after four nights. The next day we went to see the old beach restaurant, we felt the place was abandonned and were very disappointed with the services, no menu, just pizza or a few salads... You can get a coconut with it s water for 3,5 usd + tax.
Oh, the supermarket was closed for our stay also, i forgot which reason it was, so we had to get a taxi boat to bocas town if we needed anything, such as drinking water for exemple... there is a shuttle programmed a few times a day but you need to reserve it in advance otherwise it’s complicated or you can wait 45 minutes and if you want to return from bocas town with that shuttle be sure you tell the staff and that there is no group arriving that might fill the boat... Instead of resting I need to plan water refill...you might need to raise the voice again. Or beg... I mean seriously? The gym is not built, it was planned two years ago. Nothing. The spa if you need, you must reserve at least a day in advance so the staff comes for you. I am here to spend say almost 5000 usd a week (no breakfast included) for that treatment? It s been 4 nights we ve been here, we re supposed to leave after 4 more nights... I learned that the resort management was being replaced soon so that would explain it i suppose. I am still very disappointed and feel scammed. I still like the place, the villas are beautifull the nature is incredible, but that management is a shame. LAST THING there was a black scorpion by our door inside the house on the second day!!!! I killed it! Better him than me!
We visited Red Frog Island resort in May 2019.
The villa was great...all the amenities of home in the most beautiful place I have ever been. The beach is great with great sand and warm Caribbean water. The local staff were very friendly and attentive to our needs. I would highly recommend the resort.