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!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Red Frog Beach offers upscale villas, rooms and Jungle Lodges to rent with private pools and so much adventure to enjoy on Isla Bastimentos. If you like nice beaches and exploring jungle. Awarded at Panama's most beautiful beach and resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Red Frog Beach Hotel Isla Bastimentos