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 Panama Vacation Guide and FAQ 
 This is an aerial picture of Bastimentos taken looking southwest. Villa 54 is now built on the hillside on the left side of the picture. You can see the calm waters behind the island where the water is consistently glassy and the Red Frog Marina is now built. In the very top right corner of this picture you can see Bocas Town. 
  1. Standard Procedures
  2. What To Do In Case Of...
  3. FAQ
    1. How do we get to Red Frog Beach?
    2. Is there a general store at Red Frog Beach?
    3. What can of activities can I do while staying at Red Frog Beach?
    4. Is there a villa or resort pool?
    5. Is there a boat rental service to Bocas?
    6. What are our best options for food while at Red Frog?
    7. Is the Beach safe for swimming and how are the currents?
    8. Are there DVD players in the villas?
    9. Is there a washer and dryer in the villa?
    10. Are there beach chairs and beach towels at the villas?
    11. How can people reach me in the resort?
    12. Is there ongoing construction at the Resort?
    13. Do we need to get vaccinated or take malaria pills?
    14. Are there cribs available for babies?
    15. Do I need to bring an electrical adapter?
    16. Do you have a nurse/doctor on property?
    17. Can I drink the water?
    18. What is the local currency in Panama?
    19. Can I easily pay with a credit card or is there an ATM machine in Bocas town?
    20. How do I arrange transportation to the Resort?
    21. What kind of fish are in the Bocas area?
    22. What is the ocean temperature and visibility?
    23. Do you offer tours?
    24. Is the surfing good in Bocas?
    25. Is smoking permitted in the Villa?
    26. Do villas have a patio or balcony?
  4. Villa Operation Hints
  5. Things to Bring
  6. Possible Itinerary for Red Frog Renters

PANAMA VACATION GUIDES

  1. Panama Vacation Packages
  2. Panama Vacation Rentals
  3. Panama Vacation Resorts
  4. Panama Luxury Vacations


STANDARD PROCEDURES

  • Check-in and Check-out: Check-in will begin at 3:00 PM on the day of your arrival. On the day of your departure check out will be no later than 10:00 AM so that our staff will have sufficient time to prepare the villa for incoming guests.
  • Transportation: While construction continues, we will have limited transportation on site. For now, you may call resort management if you need to be transported to and from Bocas.
  • Supplies and Groceries: There are currently no stores on Bastimentos island. Bocas town on Isla Colon is the only place where you will be able to purchase groceries and supplies. "Tropical markets" and "Super gourmet deli" are the best spots to buy quality meats and poultry and the supermarket "Isla Colon" will have a large variety of grocery items. For other good such as toiletries, medication, and more "Rosa Blanca" pharmacy has a wide selection.

WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF:

  • Emergency: For all emergencies, fire, or other major injuries call Resort Management at 6671-8189. They will contact proper authorities.
  • For villa related problems: Things such as power outages, water outages, leaks, or other problems should be reported immediately to resort staff so that we may attend to the problem. (Resort management: 6671-8189)
  • If someone needs to reach you: Have them call Resort management at : (507) 6671-8189

FAQ

1. How do we get to Red Frog Beach?

  • To get to Red Frog Beach, you will first need to arrange a flight in to Panama City's only international airport, the "Tocumen International Airport." From there, a 30 minute taxi ride (depending on traffic) will take you to "Albrook National Airport" which has direct flights to Bocas del Toro twice a day (7:00AM and 3:00 PM) flying with either Aeroperlas or Air Panama. These flights can be booked at www.aeroperlas.com or www.flyairpanama.com Since most of the flights into Panama City arrive in the late afternoon or evening it will most likely be necessary to stay overnight in Panama. We can recommend places to stay in Panama and from there you would need to arrange transportation the Albrook national airport and fly to Bocas del Toro. We will arrange all transportation from Bocas Del Toro to your villa.
  • There is a possibility to fly to Bocas Del Toro from San Jose Costa Rica on Nature Air. It is also possible to make a long car ride from Panama City. Many eco-travelers often "back-pack" from Costa Rica to Bocas. Please ask for details if you are interested in one of these alternate routes.
  • To make your trip as easy as possible we have a VIP package in which we will take care of all your travel logistics in Panama including ground transportation, accommodation, and airfare. Make the process a breeze with this travel option!

2. Is there a general store at Red Frog Beach?

As of now, there is no general store on Bastimentos. The short ride to Bocas town will give you access to everything you may need including grocery stores, meat and produce markets, pharmacies, general stores, restaurants, bars, tours, and more. Most of our guests go grocery shopping upon arrival in Bocas then bring the food items to their Villa. As well, our staff may be able to pick up small items for you in town and save you the hassle of a trip!

3. What can of activities can I do while staying at Red Frog Beach?

  • We believe that Bocas has some of the best "natural amenities" in the world. Our staff can arrange any of the tours offered out of Bocas Town. These tours include: Dolphin Watching Tour, Zapatillo Islands: Snorkel and Beach Tour, Starfish Beach and Bird Island Tour, Salt Creek Indigenous Village Nature Hike, Private Boat Charter, and more...
  • There are a total of five beaches to explore on Isla Bastimentos. The Island has beautiful hiking trails that lead through dense jungle canopy to secluded beaches. Those visitors that are interested in ecology and wildlife--we are located within a World Heritage Site as part of the National Marine Park. The Red Frog staff plans regular Community events where everyone is invited (boaters, owners, and renters) to the Marina Welcome Center to share food as the sunsets over the mainland mountains.
  • You can get a surf lesson, scuba dive, snorkel, explore caves, and try some exotic kayaking through native mangrove. We can also assist in arranging a private massage in your Villa.
  • Bocas Town provides just about everything you would expect from an eclectic Caribbean town. Restaurants, bars, shopping, bike rentals, and more...
    • Please ask our staff about availability and prices for the listed amenities above as they are subject to change.

4. Is there a villa or resort pool?

Each villa has a small plunge pool to which offer a great spot to cool off and relax after a day at the beach. A main resort pool has not yet been constructed.

5. Is there a boat rental service to Bocas?

Due to the many shallow reefs around the Bocas area, rental boats have posed a problem in the past. However, the stay at your villa will give you access to our Red Frog boat shuttle which comes and goes from the project to Bocas town throughout the day. If you need to arrange transportation at times other than our scheduled trips, there are 3 different companies (Taxi 25, Jampan, and Bocas Marine Tours) which can provide transportation. The cost is generally around $4 - 6 per person, although prices become more expensive at night due to the increased difficulty for boat drivers.

6. What are our best options for food while at Red Frog?

To make things as easy as possible for our renters we have the ability to buy groceries and stock them in your villa before your arrival. We strongly recommend this service to allow you the most hassle-free stay here possible. In Bocas town there are many great restaurants to choose from each with its own unique and tasty flare. Some of these restaurants even have take-out meals which can be brought to your villa. In addition, there are a few specialty meat markets and organic markets which will have the freshest meats and produce in town.

7. Is the Beach safe for swimming and how are the currents?

While Red Frog Beach is truly a paradise with access to a variety of beaches, there are times when the surf can get very large and the rip currents can become strong. Most days you will see people swimming and enjoying the perfectly warm water with no problems, however, it is important to be very cautious and know what to do in case of emergency. For children, Red Frog Beach will provide life jackets as an additional safety precaution in the chance that strong currents are present.

8. Are there DVD players in the villas?

Each villa comes equipped with a flat screen TV and a DVD player. These DVD players will play DVDs from the US, and our resort staff will be happy to let you choose from our selection of DVDs on the project. As well, Red Frog is working to provide iPod docks in the villas so that you may play music and also charge your iPod.

9. Is there a washer and dryer in the villa?

Each villa comes with its own washer and dryer so that you may do laundry during your stay, and detergent will be provided. In addition, we offer a valet laundry services at $5 per load if you prefer not to do it yourself (subject to change).

10. Are there beach chairs and beach towels at the villas?

There are beach towels provided in the villas for you to use while you are here. In addition, there will be a number of beach chairs and umbrellas set up on the beach daily for you to use during your stay.

11. How can people reach me in the resort?

In case of emergencies, family and friends will be able to contact resort management directly at (507) 6671 -8189 to reach you during your stay. From there, a staff member will relay any messages to you at your villa.

12. Is there ongoing construction at the Resort?

The Resort is not finished and you will see partially completed Villas that need to be finished. Roads are still unpaved and most of the planned amenities have not been built yet. Some construction will be happening at Red Frog during your stay but only limited to a few Villas. Most of our visitors actually enjoy the primitive feel to the place. The raw beauty of the surrounding island property is stunning and hardly a person around.

13. Do we need to get vaccinated or take malaria pills?

You will not need to worry with vaccinations or malaria pills while you are here. Cases of malaria are extremely rare in Panama, with most being located in Panama City. As well, Typhoid and Yellow Fever are extremely uncommon and pose a very minimal threat to travelers.

14. Are there cribs available for babies?

We will be able to provide cribs in the villas for a small surcharge. Please notify us of any special requirements you may have in advance so that we may be able to accommodate.

15. Do I need to bring an electrical adapter?

All the outlets in the villas run off of a standard 120V electricity with normal 3-prong US plugs. No adapter will be needed.

16. Do you have a nurse/doctor on property?

We do not have a doctor on standby on the project. Resort management will have first aid kits for smaller injuries, and there is a hospital in Bocas town in case of an emergency.

17. Can I drink the water?

The water on the project is perfectly drinkable and is put through a purification system as an additional precaution before reaching the villas. The water in Bocas town is safe to drink, but large bottled waters can be bought while in town for one to two dollars just in case.

18. What is the local currency in Panama?

While the Balboa is the official currency in Panama, coins are the only Balboa that you will see. All prices are listed in dollars and everyone throughout Panama uses dollars. Large bills ($50 and $100) are harder to change and use in Bocas, and smaller bills are preferred around the islands.

19. Can I easily pay with a credit card or is there an ATM machine in Bocas town?

Some larger establishments in Bocas town have the ability to take credit cards, although most prefer cash and may not be able to accept credit cards. ATM machines can be found in Bocas town if you need to obtain additional cash during your stay. If you are planning on using your credit card here often, be sure to alert your card provider to let them know you will be traveling internationally.

20. How do I arrange transportation to the Resort?

From the Bocas airport, Red Frog Beach will take care of your transportation to the project. This includes a taxi to our office in Bocas town and a boat which will be waiting to take you to your villa. If you book your own flights to Bocas, be sure to notify of your time of arrival.

21. What kind of fish are in the Bocas area?

Panama actually means "Abundance of fish." In Bocas you will find numerous species of fish including Sea Bass, Snappers, Yellowtail, Tuna, Wahoo, and King Mackerel. As well, some of the rivers in the Bocas area can hold Tarpon and Snook during certain times of the year.

22. What is the ocean temperature and visibility?

The water in Bocas usually stays in the low 80's (warmer than Hawaii) and has great visibility year round. To complement the beautiful water here, the average temperature in Bocas resides around 88 degrees which is comfortable to be in for several hours at a time. Typically, a slight breeze comes in the evening which is very refreshing.

23. Do you offer tours?

There are many things to do while here in Bocas. We can arrange private boat tours as well as hikes, beach, and even a cave tours though the caverns of Bastimentos! This truly is a place where you can do it all, or simply relax on the beach and soak up some sun. We can provide you a list of things to do and a sample itinerary.

24. Is the surfing good in Bocas?

The Surfing in Bocas is excellent and the waves here can reach heights of 20' at their peak. Wave patterns vary throughout the year. There are multiple spots around the island which offer good waves for all types of surfers. However, most of these waves are reef breaks and are better suited for intermediate to advanced surfers.

25. Is smoking permitted in the Villa?

There is absolutely no smoking within the villas, however, our wrap around porches and comfortable outdoor furniture will be a perfect spot.

26. Do villas have a patio or balcony?

Each villa has a nice patio. We have furnished the patios great outdoor furniture and full sized barbecue grills for you to enjoy during your stay.
A photo from Red Frog Beach 
A picture from Red Frog Beach. The Island Key you see on the right is Wild Cane Key. There are 6 other beaches on Bastimentos as well as a massive stretch of protected Marine Park (Wizard Beach, Turtle Beach, Pelican Bay, Polo Beach, Cayman Beach/Cayman Coves, and Long Beach).

VILLA OPERATION HINTS

  • Microwave: Sometimes the microwave may appear to be broken or displays an "F-2" error. To fix this simply press the "beverage" button in the top right hand corner of the microwave. This should clear the microwave and it will then be ready for use.
  • Showers: In order to get hot water from the showers it is necessary to turn the faucets so that they are pointing down. The further to the right you turn the shower handles, the colder the water will get.
  • BBQ Grill: We have provided a grill so that you may easily cook your foods while in the villa. Matches or grill lighters will be provided. Please contact resort management if you have problems with the grill or need a refill of propane. Please be sure to TURN OFF the grill as well CLOSE THE PROPANE VALVE.
  • Air conditioning: The remote controls for the A/C units will power all of the units throughout the villas. To conserve energy, please be sure to shut all doors and windows while the air conditioning units are running.
  • Smoking: Smoking inside the villas is not permitted. When smoking on the patio please dispose of all cigarettes in a correct manner. Please don't throw cigarettes in garden.
  • Cell Phone: We have provided a cell phone so that you may be able to contact resort management during your stay. The pin number of the phone is #1111 and may be necessary to activate the SIM card.
  • Bugs: While Red Frog Beach Club has very few mosquitoes, there are sand flies called "Chitras" which are most prevalent at dawn and dusk and are found close to water. These small flies are barely visible, but can produce small bites. Insect repellent works well to deter these bugs as well as things such as bug repellent incense coils.
  • DVDs: We have a few DVD's to provide to our villa guests during your stay. We will generally stock the villas with a few DVDs, but please feel free to ask if you would like to switch them out during the week.

THINGS TO BRING

Here are a couple items that may help you in packing for your trip:
  • Money: While the Balboa is technically the official currency of Panama, US dollars are used everywhere in Panama. All locations will accept US dollars, and while some locations will accept major credit cards, it is a good idea to bring plenty of cash with you. There are ATMs in Bocas Town that may be used with debit cards, although these have the tendency run out of cash during peak times so be prepared. Personal checks are not accepted. It is also a good idea to advise your bank that you will be travelling to Panama and will be using your credit card and ATM card there.
  • Medication: Bring all of your required prescription medications with you. For over the counter medications, there are a few pharmacies in Bocas town where you can pick up most medications.
  • Clothing: Think casual and comfortable. Shorts, T-Shirts and flip flops are the standard here. Make sure to pack your bathing suit as there are tons of fun things to do in the waters around Bocas del Toro. You may want to pack a light windbreaker/rain jacket if the weather should be less than sunny.
  • Camera and film: Be sure to bring your camera with you so you can document you adventures here in Bocas del Toro. As well, an underwater disposable camera is always fun and useful, but these can be purchased here in the local stores.
  • Document Copies: It is important to bring photocopies of your passport and drivers license in case of an emergency. Keep these in a separate place from your actual passport and license to ensure you will have some sort of documentation.
  • Bug Spray and Sunscreen: Due to our position close to the equator, the sun can be very strong here so make sure to bring adequate sunscreen. As well, bug spray with DEET can be very effective against the small sand flies that are prevalent near the water mostly around dusk and dawn. Also DEET can be purchased here in local stores, ask for the brand OFF deep woods, this is very effective
  • Books, music, and videos: For entertainment and relaxation, we suggest bringing books to read or DVDs to watch. Each villa will have a flat screen TV and DVD player for your enjoyment.
  • Adventure Gear: If you would like, you may bring your own gear for snorkeling, hiking, and exploring the island!

POSSIBLE ITINERARY FOR RED FROG RENTERS

Prices Current as of September 2009
  • Day 1: Start the day early and head to Bocas town for a half day of exploration and potential grocery shopping (Produce here is fresh and very inexpensive.) Have lunch at one of the buffet style Panamanian restaurants for a cheap and authentic lunch. A big plate of food at one of these places will cost $3 - 5 (La Chitre on the main road is a favorite.) Then head back to the project and enjoy an afternoon on Red Frog Beach. As the sun sets, you can cook dinner in the comfort of your own villa and watch one of the DVDs that will be provided on the property.
  • Day 2: Enjoy a good breakfast and some relaxation and then go on a hike or a guided tour to the either Playa Caiman or Playa Larga. (This will be a great opportunity to get see the Famous Strawberry Dart Frog that has given the island its name.) It would even be possible to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a meal in a secluded cove or on a great lookout point on the property. Playa Larga is one of the longest and most pristine beaches in the area and for those who are willing to make the 1.5 - 2 hour hike, this is a very beautiful beach experience within the Bastimentos national park. Spend the rest of the afternoon on Red Frog Beach, kayaking, or lounging at your villa. Cook dinner or catch a ride into Bocas del Toro for dinner and drinks at one of the local restaurants.
  • Day 3: Head into Bocas town and rent bikes ($10 per bike) or take a taxi ($10 - 20 per car) to explore the other regions of Isla Colon. There is even a bus that costs only $3 for a round trip which will take you to Bocas del Drago (the first real city on Isla Colon.) You will be able to explore some great beaches there including Bluff, Paunch, and las Estrellas, a calmer beach that is full of large, colorful starfish. Head back to the property around 3 or 4. Boat tours to the area are available as well. Later that night, resort staff could prepare a beach bonfire for you and set up chairs for your enjoyment. Relax by the fire with waves crashing in the background. A great way to spend an evening.
  • Day 4: A boat tour to Dolphin Bay, Zapatillo Keys, and Cayo Coral will make for a full day of sightseeing, snorkeling (great reefs full of fish, lobsters, and corals) and exploring. Private boat tours can be arranged for $40 per person, or you could catch an early ride into Bocas town and get on a tour with one of the local tour operators for around $25. There is a $10 dollar charge in order to enter the Zapatillo keys but it is very rare that the authorities come to collect this (only pay this to authorities, as boat drivers may try to collect.) Cayo Coral is a great restaurant for lunch, but if you would rather not pay the $12 - 15 per meal, it will be necessary to grab a sandwich at the local Subway or prepare a lunch before you go. A must see while you are here in Bocas!
  • Day 5: Spend the day relaxing by the beach and catch some sun. For those who want to include more adventure into their trip, there are tours guided by people from the local community of Bahia Honda. $13 will get you a guided tour up a river and into the Bastimentos caves! You can see huge stalactites and stalagmites, and afterwards you can eat at their community restaurant for $5 - 6 per meal. This is true authentic food from the region and will be as fresh as anywhere on the islands. Often, you will be eating the fish and natural plants that indigenous people have gathered earlier that day! Later in the evening you could go out for one last meal and drinks in Bocas Town. Check with staff to see if there is a late night shuttle running to the property as the rides to Bastimentos at night can become rather expensive (up to $40 - 50 per boat.).
  • Day 6: Upon your return to Panama City, ask a Red Frog Staff member to help you arrange a tour of the City and the famous Panama Canal.
Please contact us if you have questions about your stay. We look forward to seeing you at Red Frog Beach. 
 
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