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“Paradise in Panama” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Red Frog Bungalows

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Red Frog Bungalows
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808 Red Frog Beach, Isla Bastimentos 96779, Panama   |  
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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
California
1 review
“Paradise in Panama”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2009

Just off the plane, we were greeted by Scott from Red Frog Bungalows. A short boat ride later through the mangroves we arrived at the site. The service was great the whole trip. The best part of staying at Red Frog was the very friendly atmosphere. The site is beautiful and takes you back from life in the city in a second. Unless you are extremely high maintenance, Red Frog is more than you could ask for in a beautiful jungle atmosphere. The bungalows are very cool. They are three stories and have a very comfortable feeling. Falling asleep and waking up to the sound of the caribbean ocean crashing on the shore us unbeatable. One of the things that I judge my stay on anywhere in the world is the food. THE FOOD WAS EXCELENT! Mike and Leanna are great chefs. They make a variety different types of food catered to your liking. Breakfast was perfect and made fresh every morning at the time we asked. During our stay we had lobster bisque, lasgna, fish plates, gyros, and more. All of the food was very fresh and filling. I can't say enough about the atmosphere; eating dinner every night outdoors in the warm Panamanian air surrounded by friends and family was the best. If you are coming for the surf, it is fabulous. There are always uncrowded waves. One thing that everyone was worried about going to Red Frog was mosquitos. The mosquitos were NOT an issue. The jungle was very vibrant and full of life. For example, we saw monkeys, parrots, lots of birds, and fish snorkeling. Red Frog Bungalows is a great way to jump into paradise right off the plane.
Thanks Scott, Mike, Leanna, and Chato!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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153 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2009

My wife and I stayed here three nights. The gardens and surrounding area are beautiful. We didn't find any red frogs on our own so on our last day there we hired the housekeeper's grandchildren to find one. They found one within 30 minutes! Well worth the $2 we paid them.

Nice beach with the waves crashing on shore. However when we were there the beach was littered with downed trees. There was very heavy rain about a month before we got there, so I assume that was the reason so many trees were on the beach. I'm not sure if anyone will clear the trees off the beach anytime soon.

If you go I'd reccomend wearing long sleeve shirts and pants. We were covered with bug bites by the time we left.

The bungalows are made of very dark wood. At night it really seems dark in the bungalow. I ended up tripping on the last step on the stairway. I survived (bruised) with minor injuries, but it could have been much worse. They should have white paint or strips along the edges of each step.

The first night we were there we had another problem. I was awaken at 5am by a rat trap falling on my head. I turned on the light to discover a rat crawling back and forth along the rafter above my head between the mainroom and the bathroom. After several minutes of trying to get it out the front door, it went under the stairway and disappeared.

We looked around the bungalow and discovered pink pellets in a couple of spots. We are assuming this was rat poison. Good thing we didn't have any small kids with us!

We told Scott (the owner). Luckily the other bungalow was empty and we were able to move. Scott insisted it was an agouti (marsupial from the jungle). It was not an agouti. It was definitely a rat with a long tail.

A couple of other annoyances: It's expensive ($250 / night) and all tours are extra. Also bottles of water / Diet Coke cost $1 per bottle. These items we had to pay for just before we left, so that left a negative feeling as we were leaving. They should come up with something different to pay for the tours and provide water / pop for free.

We were brought to the airport to leave and we had to pay the $3 taxi fare! They didn't pay the $3 after spending $250 / night staying at their bungalows!

Red Frog Beach might be a better day tour destination.

Stayed December 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2009

This was not only one of the best surf trips of my life it was also an invaluable cultural experience. The service that was provided by Red frog team was incredible.

Scott is without a doubt the best surf guide in the area. If there is swell then he will find you good waves with little or no crowds, guaranteed. We scored fantastic waves every day and we rarely surfed with more than a couple of other guys. The waves can get as heavy and scary as you want but there are also a few more playful waves in the area.

The bungalows are incredible and they serve there purpose perfectly. The wood work is beautiful and there is plenty of room for a couple of people to sleep comfortably in each bungalow. If you’re looking for an absolutely sterile environment with manicured lawns, A/C and room service go to Club Med. You shouldn’t be staying in the jungle of Panama anyway. The sounds of the jungle at night time are incredible; it’s a truly unique experience. I never had any trouble with bugs; I didn’t even have to use my mosquito netting. The Chitras don’t really effect the bungalows because the sea breeze blows them all away and unlike most of Bocas Red frog is not built in the Mangroves or overhanging the water.

Mike and Leana are absolute gems. They live on the property, cook the food and run the bar. I was never not impressed by the food and the amount of effort that was put into each meal was obvious. They are fun, articulate and full of amazing stories about travel and adventure. If you’ve never had one; ask Mike for a Yellow Fever, you won’t want anything else. At night we often watched movies on Scott’s solar powered movie projector and talked about our travels and experiences with the Red Frog Team. After 8 days they became more like friends than hosts. I was sad to leave them.

Scott is an absolute animal both in the water and on land. I have no idea where he gets his energy. We’d watch him drop into heaving double overhead barrels all morning and then without skipping a beat he would pick up a rake and begin meticulously grooming every path on his property. Seriously, the guy never rests!

Red frog Beach is gorgeous and the people watching is truly entertaining. The waves are not great for surfing but it’s definitely a fun place to flip your fins and body whomp a few. It’s true that a couple of visiting knuckleheads leave beer bottles and trash on the beach but the Red frog Team does a heck of a job keeping it clean. If they didn’t do it, then nobody would and it would be trashed just like all the rest of the well used public beaches in 3rd world countries.

In short; go to Red frog Bungalows if you’re hoping to truly experience Bocas Del Toro. As you can see it made quite an impression on me. Obviously due to Red frogs seclusion it doesn’t cater to the all night drinking binges and debauchery that you’ll find on Colon , so if you’re looking to womanize and blow out your liver there’s a great place on Carenero where you can rent a hammock for 5 bucks a night. Don’t mind the bugs…………

  • Liked — The staff and the friendly enviornment in general.
  • Disliked — Scott didn't get any of my best waves on film.....He missed every single one but I swear it happened.
  • Stayed January 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Earth
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2009

I can't say enough wonderful things about Red Frog Bungalows. The owner, the staff, the food, the landscaping, and the surf is excellent.

everything is super unique from the Balinese Bungalows to the solar panels, water recycling and serene outdoor showers. I'd go back in a minute and next time I will bring the family so the kids and play on the beach while dad goes surfing with Scott!

Super Stoked.

  • Liked — Rooms, food
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san diego
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2008

My wife and I stayed at the bungalows for four nights. We were greeted at the airport by Scott, who immediately made us feel welcome. The path to the bungalows was beautiful, and we even saw a crocodile on the way. The Bungalows were warm and cozy and were decorated with beautiful paintings. The shower was huge and super nice. There were gorgeous flowers all around the bungalows. Every morning we would see hummingbirds feasting on them right outside. The quality of the meals was exceptional and the presentation of the food made us feel like we were eating meals in paradise. We went on excursions through the mangroves and hiking through the jungle and into bat caves. We saw two sloths on the way. We went snorkeling, and saw tons of beautiful fish. We were never bored because there were always things to do. Scott was so helpful in every way. From helping us with our tickets to taking us on these killer adventures, he not only felt like a guide, but a good friend. Falling asleep every night was a treat because we could hear all the animal noises outside, playing their different songs. It really felt like we were part of nature out there. We chose the bungalows because we wanted to be out of the city and in a beautiful place with all the privacy you could ask for. It delivered in every way. From insane food, to the first class service and hospitality of the staff, I would recommend it to anyone. Thanks Scott for making this trip so memorable.

  • Liked — The location, service and food
  • Disliked — Everything was great, nothing bad to say
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hawaii
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2008

This place was insane! I was in panama with my wife and we wanted to find something a little more off the beaten path. While in Panama city someone suggested checking out Bocas Del Toro and if we do we have to say at Red Frog Bungalows the nicest place in Bocas. I was not getting much surf on the pacific side so we decided to fly over. We actually checked out other spots in town to stay and they really were not that appealing. A quick water taxi over to isla Bastimentos and we found Red Frog Beach. The beach was absolutely beautiful. We walked up to the bungalows to check it out and see if they have room for us to stay and they did. I was very surprised to find the price included three amazing meals a day, much better than the food found anywhere in town. These guys were top notch and very professional. I took a couple of surf charters and scored really fun waves as well as a fun beach break right on red frog beach. I saw the review the other person wrote and I don't really agree with what they were saying about the place. I have traveled all around the world and have stayed at many different hostels and surf camps. Red frog bungalows was by far one of the nicest, cleanest,friendliest, relaxing places I have stayed. The nice thing is it is much cheaper to fly here than indo and the waves were simply uncrowded. If your looking for a great time, fun waves, in a beautiful tropical rain forest setting check this place out. Thanks Scott and the rest of the guys at Red Frog you guys Rock! I hope to see you again soon.

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2008

We have had great luck in the past with Tripadvisor Reviews. Both my husband and I have traveled the world extensively and love an adventure. We were really fooled with Red Frog!
The bungalow is more appropriate for backpackers and surfers that are looking for a place to "flop" for $25.00 a night. It is NOT a $250-300.00 a night resort! The walk to the bungalow is through the mud. To get to the actual property you walk on ONE 2 x 4! (In the rain) It is not a fun task. They moved our luggage, in a dirty wheel barrow, rolled over a 2 x 4! As far as the garden, there is not a garden. It is over grown and simply as nature left it. We never saw anyone work on the property the 4 days we were there. Not on the grounds or in the room. It is not clean. To be blunt it was filthy! We understand that it is in the jungle but the floors were covered with mud when we arrived. The bath room had not been cleaned. It honestly looked like they had never been cleaned since the place was built. The bath mats were filthy and needed to be in the trash. We had to ASK for bath towels. There were no hand towels, wash cloths, etc. NADA. We had to ask for a clean towel every day. After you bathe ants cover your towel. One night the ants were so bad my feet were covered and I had hundreds of bites covering both feet. The towels we were given looked like they had been used to clean cars in the past. We had to ask for the small garbage can to be emptied daily. You can not flush toilet tissue. It has to go into the garbage can near the toilet and that gets gross very quickly! The bungalows are near RED FROG Beach, not on the beach. There are no beach chairs, and it is clearly NOT A GREEN place. The beach is covered with trash. Eco lodge does not mean dirty, we drop you off and you are on your own. There are piles and piles of garbage a few feet from the bungalows. It is solar. There are a few dim lights on the ceiling but basically you are on flash light after 7 PM. To get to the "beach" you walk over more 2 x 4's down a mud path and you have to go through palms and sticker bushes. There are no walk ways, no bridges or pathways. There is a sweet couple that does the cooking for you and the food is very good. We asked them about cleaning and we were told there is a person but she was not seen while we were there. The jungle does try to take over as do the animals and bugs. With no one to maintain the bungalows it is simply miserable. We wanted to dive in the area and asked Scott, the owner, about diving. We were told he would contact someone. That too never came to fruition. We had reservations for 4 nights. We lasted 3 nights. 2 of those nights were sleepless due to the heat, no breeze, animals on the roof, .... There is also a safety issue. You are very isolated and I never felt safe. The place has potential and if someone put some time, money and energy into the place it would be interesting to stay in the area. If it is in a start up mode the price should reflect it. We were excited to stay at the bungalows. We got there and were more excited to leave! We booked through a Panama travel agency. If they represent properties that are this misleading...beware...I must admit the other 2 properties we stayed in were great and exactly as reported on tripadvisor.com.
Unfortunately we were in Panama to celebrate my 50th birthday over a Panamanian holiday. We would have left after the first night if we could have gotten a room somewhere else. If you do go to this area pack Lysol, toilet tissue, soap, towels, flash lights, hand sanitizer and take ice an ice chest! This is camping gone wrong NOT a cozy green eco lodge!

  • Liked — Food
  • Disliked — Filthy
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
redfrogman, Owner at Red Frog Bungalows, responded to this review, November 30, 2008
I would like to respond to the ONLY negative review of our resort Red Frog Bungalows. First and foremost, I have the utmost respect for Tripadvisor and all that it represents. These types of websites are necessary for travellers and for the most part I believe they are a essential part of planning a trip to a unknown destination.
They can also be deceptive. Postively and negatively! I have worked in the tourism trade for 13 years in Maui Hawaii. This has been the #1 rated tourism destination in the world for many years running. I understand the business of tourism. I suggest if you travel anywhere, contact the resort directly! With this traveller, this was never done. Because this was not a direct booking, I am not sure what they were promised but our website spells it out pretty clear.
We are a totally green Eco-resort. Red Frog Bungalows is located steps away and I counted yesterday! 112.... 18 inch steps from Red Frog Beach. We never claimed to be on Red Frog Beach but you can throw a frisbee to the sand. We do not provide air conditioning because this requires massive amounts of electricity. We do provide strong fans above all beds and in the case of this couple we had 3 fans on 1 bed.
I really do not care to refute every claim that this traveller experienced. Most of which is a complete lie. Red Frog Bungalows is not the Kapalua Ritz Carleton. We do not provide pedicures, maincures, or mud baths. We also do not claim to!. We do not sacrifice cleanliness or customer service to be Green and eco-friendly. Our staff at Red Frog Bungalows is professional and experienced and onsite at all times. We have direct communication with police, fire and saftey officials if there is any kind of situation that
may arise. It never has!! However, we are in the jungle. If you do not like to be alone in nature and do not like monkeys, sloths, butterflies, parrots, frogs, and the sound of ocean, I suggest you stay in Panama City.
Red Frog Bungalows provides a safe, clean and unique experience. I built the resort and onsite everyday. I urge all of you that have taken the time to read this response
to call me directly in the United States at (408) 868-4060 and in Panama at 011 507 6626-6734. I will personally answer all of your questions and organize all of your activities. I look forward to showing you around this beautiful part of the world.

Scott Balogh
Red Frog Bungalows
www.redfrogbungalows.com
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Additional Information about Red Frog Bungalows

Address: 808 Red Frog Beach, Isla Bastimentos 96779, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Red Frog Bungalows in an all-inclusive eco-resort on the world famous Red Frog Beach. Located 15 minutes from Bocas Del Toro, Red Frog Beach is a mile long white sand beach. Red Frog Bungalows are Balinese bungalows rebuilt on this gorgeous beach. Our maximum capacity is 12 guests in 3 units. We are a small resort which allows us to tailor your entire stay. The amenities include private outdoor showers, exotic Balinese furnishings, private chef, beachfront palapa with hammocks and beach chairs, surf board rentals and private professional tours. We have our own guides and boats to make sure all of your tours are safe, informative, and enjoyable. We specialize in making sure you have the most enjoyable vacation of your lives. We offer 3 gourmet meals a day in the tranquility of the Panamanian rain forest, hiking, surfing, beach combing, fishing, Standup Paddle-boarding, and snorkeling. Basically anything that has to do with the ocean. Red Frog Bungalows would love to show you around this beautiful place in the world! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Red Frog Bungalows Hotel Isla Bastimentos
Red Frog Bungalows Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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