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“Great Place and getting better” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Red Frog Beach Island Resort & Spa

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Red Frog Beach Island Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Villa   |   Bocas del Toro, Isla Bastimentos, Panama   |  
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20% off room rate
Certificate of Excellence
Valley, Nebraska, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great Place and getting better”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

This is our second time visiting RedFrog Beach in Bastimentos. There is a new beautiful Marina. The roads are being improved and more importantly the staff is getting better. Hans is a great addition.It's a unique beautiful place and worth a visit.

Room Tip: These are villas not hotel rooms. They are first class.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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323 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 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 (71)
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Denver
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

The Red Frog "Resort" is actually youth hostel for surfers/hikers. I think the eventual intention is a resort, but they are not there yet, There is not even a main pool. The main restaurant, Kayukos, is a large open pavillion next to the hostel with a food counter that serves local fare and drinks. The staff is very friendly and efficient unless they are short staffed which appeared to be a problem when we were there over the Christmas break. The other small restaurant at the beach is very small, burgers and such and there were lots of inebriated customers that made us reluctant to partake, especially with our children. The villa was gorgeous and had a small plunge pool but it was far from the "restaurants" and beach. The roads were very rough and potholed which made driving around in our rented golf cart precarious, especially at night. Red Frog Beach was beautiful but there was a lot of trash visible and it was very crowded with visitors over from Boca. There were more isolated beaches but no amenities there. We had been told there were themed dinners at the beach restaurant during the holidays, but we could never get information about them (I called the activity desk every night) so only went to the New Year's buffet at the pavillion restaurant.
We arrived in Bocas at 7:30 am and were not able to check in at Red Frog until 3 pm due to flight times on Panama Air to Bocas from Panama City and apparently several groups were checking in at once so it was very disorganized. You could do activities but it was pouring off and on so we hung around for 4 hours at the pavaillion where there was internet . You could have your villa stocked which we did but groceries didn't arrive until the next day. There was also pizza and to go delivery from the restaurant to the villas. We cooked a couple of nights in the villas as planned.
It was a 10 minute taxi ride into Bocas which we did one day. There was little to do there but eat and very limited shopping, unless you were doing an excursion. And if it rained during the taxi ride, you got soaked.
We stayed at Red Frog for 6 days which was too long. We should have spent more time in Panama City and less here. If you visit, be prepared for a long journey and isolation.
Most of the time, the staff was very friendly and as accommodating as possible. We took the zipline tour which was very fun and the staff was very engaging and knowledgeable.

We are an adventurous traveling family but this was more adventure and much less luxury for the price ($$$$) than we had planned for this trip.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bastimentos, Manager at Red Frog Beach Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, February 28, 2013
Dear Guest:
Thank you for spending your adventure with us. We apologize that your stay did not meet your expectations. We take this feedback seriously as guests spend their hard earned money, take time off work and devote precious time with those they love. We know you have a lot of choices when it comes to where you will take your family on vacation.
We are glad you thought your villa and pool is gorgeous. Red Frog is not a hostel. These are some of the nicest accommodations in the country that happen to be located among the best beaches and an expansive primary rainforest (there are a few places in Costa Rica that are similar to the views from the villas, but in Panama, Red Frog Beach is unique for being on a Caribbean island). There is a hostel and educational facility near Kayukos that is only really busy during major holiday seasons. If being exposed to a younger international crowd is not your thing, we offer private chef services in your villa along with massages poolside and food delivery options. You could go out to North Beach, Cayman Coves or Turtle Beach just below your villa, you basically have your own beach for the day (well, you may see a turtle or two:-) We also can arrange private dining events at Punta Lava on the beach as well as scheduled events with themed dinners and catered wedding events.
We do have fairly busy holiday season where the amount of visitors more than quadruples. Not only are all the villas full but one should expect that Red Frog Beach proper will attract hundreds of guests from Bocas town (keep in mind there are several other beaches you can go to instead of Red Frog Beach from your Villa where there are very few people). Since we are new we will improve around the holiday seasons. We have rarely, if ever, experienced any issues with people drinking too much to make a family with children feel uncomfortable. That would obviously not be tolerated as we feel that Red Frog is ideal for adventurous couples and families such as your own.
You probably noticed that we keep our section of Red Frog Beach clean. During busy times, further down the beach can get messy. You should not have expected a public resort pool? We only have private pools to offer guests at their rented room or villa.
We hope you will come again.
Thank you
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Oxford, UK
Level Contributor
21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Red frog is effectively a private beach run by the resort with a 3 dollar entrance fee. The beach is lovely, with shade from the forest if you want, although dangerous for swimming due to rip tides. No life guard on duty though.

Main issue I had was the litter on and around the place. Local labour is cheap so how hard can it be to keep it clean?

Big beach, didn't feel crowded, there's a cafe at one end.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Roslyn, New York
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We are just back from 5 glorious days at Red Frog Beach Resort. We stayed in villa 5. Fabulous! The villas are absolutely gorgeous, and felt quite luxurious. Large modern kitchen, great living room, 3 patios, 4 bedrooms, and a private pool. We had a golf cart to get around, which was quite a lot of fun!

The beach is stunningly gorgeous! Absolute heaven! There's plenty of excursions and adventures that can be booked at Red Frog. But we were quite content to relax at the beach, and take an occasional water taxi to Bocas.

We had the most lovely time dining down at Punta Lava Beach Bar. During the holiday week, there was a wonderful dinner buffet served there nightly. The manager, Hans, was amazingly accommodating as several of us are vegetarians. Lunch and cocktails during the day were great there too! (I recommend the fish tacos!) We also ate a few meals at Kayukos, which was terrific - casual, inexpensive and great food. And, Hans was incredible there as well, when he came out with a specially baked birthday cake for my husband on Christmas Day.

It was an amazing vacation at Red Frog. Would love to go back there again!!!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

We stayed in Villa 9 (shared villa) in one of the queen bedrooms in November 2012.

The villa definitely exceeded our expectations. The private pool was a great spot to have a dip after a day at red frog beach and the villa was spacious and great to relax in. The kitchen was more than large enough and the laundry machine was useful. Everything was clean and we really couldn't think of any complaints. As it was a shared villa, we were concerned of the noise from other guests, but after our 6 night stay we were never bothered once due to noise.

Red frog beach was beautiful and was never too crowded when we were there. I imagine the beach does get busier December onwards. Isla Bastiementos was a great place to get away and a good escape away from the business of Bocas Town. We were careful with our stuff on the beach but didn't feel like there was any threat to our belongings. There are sometimes local kids that come around with the "red frogs". Worth a $1 just to snap a picture.

We found the food to be at Kayukos and and Punta Lava great. Kayukos is more dinner fare, whereas Punta Lava is more burgers, nachos, etc. And local beer is cheap - $2/beer at Punta Lava! Panama, Atlas, Balboa are all very tasty. I personally enjoy eating local food while on vacation and Kayukos catered to my tastes. While we were there, Hans, the Resort Manager hosted an "Italian Night" at Punta Lava. We had an amazing time and couldn't believe that Hans actually sang (I swear that we actually thought it was a CD at first, but it was actually him!). We also found it very easy to go to Bocas Town for dinner. There are a few great dining options there for a change of pace. Pick up some food at the grocery store prior to coming over to cook some meals in the villa.

There is a "red frog taxi" at designated times, but essentially a lot of water taxis stop by the red frog dock so you can take any taxi. I believe the standard rate is $5 each one way, and then after 10pm it is $10 pp for all the taxis. We never had to wait for more than 5 mins for a taxi. Maybe could get it less with more people. If going at night, make sure the taxi has a pilot light as it gets quite dark. Taxi to bocas town from red frog is about 10 minutes.

For the comments about construction, Villa 9 is located in an area where the construction is primarily complete, and it was not a bother at all. From what we saw, much of the construction is in specific areas - perhaps inquire beforehand to see if villas getting constructed are nearby.

There is constantly resort staff cleaning around the villas (trimming shrubs, adding chlorine to the pool, etc.) and the condition of the villa was great.

Our one knock on the resort is that unfortunately the spa wasn't open when we were there. From what I understood it would be open sometime soon - best to check if this is something you are looking forward to do. The roads are unpaved but wasn't any hassle in our golf cart. We recommend getting a golf cart, but we are of the lazy type.

Lastly, I just wanted to say that Hans, the Resort Manager, helped make our experience one of the best vacations we have had thus far. He has tons of interesting stores and if you're lucky enough to be able to run into him at Kayukos or Punta Lava definitely try to have a chat! His hospitality is phenomenal and went above and beyond to make our stay wonderful. We had an early morning flight at 8am to Costa Rica and had to leave red frog by 6am. Hans woke up and was at the dock at 6am making sure that we were able to get a water taxi that early.

We really can't wait to come back to Red Frog sometime in the future!!

Room Tip: Villa 9 is the shared villa. The queen bedrooms in Villa 9 are well appointed, but the king room is...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Wilmette, Illinois
Level Contributor
89 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

We enjoyed our trip but did not expect to feel so isolated. The villa was nice and there was a small pool. We used the golf cart which is a must as there is still a lot of construction and some of the villas are far away. The kids found the golf carts to be a lot of fun though and it made the trip feel more adventurous, but be prepared for potholes. The beach is very beautiful and the surf was very strong, my kids had a lot of fun playing in the water. The people working there are VERY friendly, especially the Manager and the hosts and the people working at the restaurants. But there are limited dining options and if you are there for a bit you will get tired of it. (very good pizza). It is a bit of a backpacker atmosphere but we felt that lent some charm to the place. We liked to hang out there, have coffee, play ping pong etc. The food was reasonably priced and of a decent quality. We enjoyed a few of the themed dinners at the restaurant by the beach which is generally only open at lunch (hamburgers etc) There were a lot of hard panamanian partiers at the beach during a few of our days, drinking a lot and out of control which was disappointing. (it was holiday time and I guess they all go to that beach in particular) We also felt that there is little concern for the environmental impact of this place. There was visible garbage scattered and the beach definitely had garbage laying around. There is a bit of a feeling that the panamanians just don't care what they are doing to the world and are looking to make a quick buck. The restaurant there was allowing styrofoam for take out from the restaurant. Not sure where those were going to go. You will see a lot of garbage as well in Bocas town. We felt the zipline was the best activity we did- my kids loved it and we felt it was fairly priced. We unfortunately felt we were taken for a ride with some of the other activities. The Red Frog needs to do a better job of controlling their vendors for the activities from the outside which are not cheap and are CASH only. Be prepared that it is expensive to go back and forth from the Red Frog resort to Bocas Town, but it is the only way to get food and money. Overall a good place but just stay for 3-4 days, have cash and be a little bit flexible on the food options.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bastimentos, Manager at Red Frog Beach Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, February 28, 2013
Dear Guest:
Thank you for coming during the holidays with your family! We think Red Frog Beach is an ideal place for families that want a beautiful peaceful setting with things to do and experience.
Glad you liked the zipline and enjoyed our friendly staff. Red Frog is a 10 or 15 minute water taxi ride away from Bocas town. Getting to Bocas during the day is $7 round trip on Jampan (sometimes less if you have more people). If you want to go at night, the water taxi boat driver will charge more.
Our staff and management care very much about the environmental impact on Isla Bastimentos. The resort has allowed for the reforestation of the island and has one of the best water treatment facilities in Central America. We can find suitable substitutes for recyclable materials and we keep our beaches clean. Note that the surf can range from larger waves to no waves at all during the year - check with our staff ahead of time if you are interested how the waves look during certain times of the year.
There are several food options at Red Frog. Villa guests can order food directly to their villa or have a private chef come and cook them an authentic meal. Punta Lava on the beach has a typical lunch menu with occasional theme night dinners and Kayukos offers many inexpensive options as well as some nicer dishes.
The geography of the island is very spread-out which makes it unique. We do have regular events at Punta Lava on the beach as a gathering spot for guests – You need to check with resort staff before arriving to know about the schedule for these events.
Thank you for coming – we hope you will come back again after our Grand Opening in 2013 and see all the improvements.
Thank you
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
37 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Having just spent eight days at Red Frog Beach in Villa #13 (which is the best two bedroom unit available), I leave with mixed feelings. While the villa was everything we had hoped for, there were some other negatives worth considering before you plan a stay at Red Frog Beach.

Having researched the property extensively online, I knew that the dining options on the island were limited, however, I had anticipated that we would go "off island" and try some other places in Bocas for dinner. We arrived from the airport in a rainstorm, and I can assure anyone that we were completely soaked despite wearing rainwear and taking a large water taxi with a rain/sun canopy. While the time of our travel was during the supposed "dry" season, it rained everyday and was overcast approximately 70% of the time. Since the rains were rather intense, it was virtually impossible to leave the island without getting completely soaking wet which would have made for a rather miserable dinner. As such, we did not leave the island (although we would have liked to) for the entire week. While the food at the restaurants on the island was reasonable (sometimes good, other times not very good at all), it became repetitive over time. Fortunately, we had stocked up on food and drinks upon our arrival at Bocas town, but this was not really sufficient to round out all of our meals.
I also realized that the roads are under development as are some of the villas, but it would seem to me that the gravel roads could be grated to smooth out the rather extensive potholes. I will add that you should definitely rent a golf cart as the distances from the villas to the beach and dock are significant.
I was positively impressed with the Manager and the staff at the property, but felt that they were short staffed, especially for the peak season between Christmas and New Year's. At the beach bar, Punta Lava, there was typically only one server at the bar who had to do the work of at least 3 or 4 people, taking orders, making drinks and saving food all at once. While it may not make sense to have that many staff all season, it would make sense to hire some additional people to cover the peak holiday season.
The zip line tour was a great experience, however, we did not go snorkeling or fishing given the poor weather/visibility. When we did our zip line tour, it was pouring rain, but that did not detract from the experience and even made it a little more exciting/interesting.
All in all we had a relaxing trip and loved our villa. I can't fault the place for the poor weather, but potential visitors should be aware that rain can negatively impact their experience as it negates the ability to take a water taxi (unless you don't mind arriving to your destination soaking wet). My suggestion would be to plan your trip in late January or February to mitigate the chances of rain negatively impacting your holiday.

Room Tip: Villa 13 has great views and a nice plunge pool
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Additional Information about Red Frog Beach Island Resort & Spa

Address: Bocas del Toro, Isla Bastimentos, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Isla Bastimentos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Red Frog Beach Island Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Red Frog Beach offers upscale villas to rent with private pools and so much adventure to enjoy on Isla Bastimentos. If you like nice beaches and exploring jungle--this is the perfect place. Two restaurants, 4 beaches, Zipline, surfing, snorkeling, hiking, sailing and famous cave tour. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Red Frog Beach Hotel Isla Bastimentos
Red Frog Beach Island Resort & Spa Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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