Turtle Beach, Isla Bastimentos

Another beautiful morning at the marina and it looked like a great day for the beach! IMG_9180 IMG_9181IMG_8008 Gavin was ready to go!IMG_8005 We took our jungle, “No, it’s a rain forest,” path toward the beach. IMG_8048






Turtle Beach was a long walk away from the Red Frog Marina. But once arrived, we had our own private beach scattered with tree-trunk playgrounds.IMG_8065IMG_8076IMG_8096IMG_8069IMG_8064 Inbetween making mud pies (mud cupcakes, mud cookies…Annika is an established sand baker), playing peek-a-boo around branches, and taking dips in the ocean we took a stroll down the beach to see what else we could find.IMG_8087

Trail to Polo Beach

Trail to Polo Beach

Then, it was time to head back toward Red Frog Beach for cold drinks and a bite to eat at the Palmar Tent Lodge.IMG_8120 IMG_8119 IMG_8118 The Palmar Tent Lodge is an eco-friendly, beachfront resort. This is camping with style! The lodge offers daily yoga classes, delicious meals, and opportunities for surfing, spearfishing, kayaking, and local tours. The accommodations are earthy yet lovely; the resort functions on solar power and filtered rain water. The guests here are travelers passing through, each with his or her unique story to share. IMG_8099 IMG_8102 IMG_8108 IMG_8098We enjoyed the afternoon at the lodge; eating lunch, playing cards, reading French comic books, and strolling along the beach keeping cool in the ocean. Then we headed back to Rode Trip where Brian and I cooked up pizzas while Darren, Katie, the kiddos, David, and Victoria freshened-up from their day at the beach. We spent the evening under the stars among new friends and old; getting acquainted with dock neighbors, sharing food, drink and good conversation. Annika even found a playmate, Donia (2 years-old), who’d arrived at the marina earlier that day with her parents in their motor trawler. Donia and her mother joined us while the girls played. We kicked back and enjoyed the cool night air under a starry ceiling. Ahhhh…I love vacations!

Though the Jungle and Over the Hill…to the Beach!

Isla Bastimentos is 20 sq-miles; an island within the Bocas del Toro District.  Isla Bastimentos houses a small town, an Indigenous villiage, the Red Frog Villas and Red Frog Marina, Bocas Bound Hostel, Casa Kayuka, and the Pal Mar Tent Lodge.  A portion of the island also encompasses a portion of Panama’s first national park; Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park which stretches from Playa Larga on Bastimentos across to neighboring Cayos Zapitillas and Coral Cay.  Isla Bastimentos is a quiet place where tourists come to bask in the sun or catch a wave on one of the five ocean-side beaches.  Brian, Paul, and I hiked along jungle paths toward the beaches…we were ready for a bit of FUN!IMG_9017 IMG_9015



Fabulous view!  Not a bad lookin' couple, either!

Fabulous view! Not a bad lookin’ couple, either!

At Red Frog Beach, the guys checked out the surf.IMG_8964 IMG_8961IMG_8976

'Jesus' Lizard - these critters have this nickname because they can run so fast on their back legs they can run across water for significant distances without sinking, essentially they can 'walk on water.'

‘Jesus’ Lizard – these critters have this nickname because they can run so fast on their back legs they can run across water for significant distances without sinking, essentially they can ‘walk on water.’



With a few hours remaining until sunset, still plenty of time to catch some waves!IMG_8978

These guys packed a bundle of energy after they were done surfing!  Good thing we had lots of open space to play.IMG_9000 IMG_8990

The Red Frog Marina at Bastimentos

The Bocas del Toro archipelago is a group of northwestern, Panamanian islands that separate Almirante Bay from the Caribbean Sea. This archipelago comprises the Bocas del Toro District; Bocas del Toro (or Bocas Town) the major city is located on Isla Colon. Numerous islands, much like a tropical version of Maine, are accessible by ferry, water taxi, and private boat. The archipelago is home to Indigenous people, Panamanians, ex-patriates, and ever wandering cruisers. At a glance, it seemed we would have months worth of cruising opportunities to explore islands.


First, however, more guests were due to arrive! To accommodate our guests we’d made reservations at a local marina, the Red Frog Marina on Isla Bastimentos. Roughly 5nm from Bocas del Toro on Isla Colon, the Red Frog Marina on Bastimentos boasted excellent water, clean facilities, and a water-shuttle service to/from town. These homey comforts were right in the middle of a tropical rain forest! We were anxious to get Rode Trip docked and explore Bastimentos in preparation for our guests. We were also anxious for a long, pressure-water shower and use of the laundry machines. And so, still with our good friend Paul, we hauled anchor and sailed a beautiful sail to Isla Bastimentos.





We found the entrance to the marina nestled behind a labyrinth of mangroves. One of our soon to be dock neighbors dinghied toward us in his skiff and met us upon our entry. Stephen (s/v Cinnimon Girl) directed us to our slip; he and another soon to be neighbor, Bob (s/v First Light) assisted with our dock lines. Within minutes Rode Trip was securely docked.IMG_9373IMG_9383

Brian, Paul, and I met with Dock Manager, Lee. Lee was fabulous! Not only did he welcome us to the marina and provide the usual run-down of information (pertaining to wifi access, bathroom door codes, water/electric hook-ups, etc.) but he took time from his busy day to take us on a tour of the area. Lee brought us to the local beaches and restaurants and shared with us what kinds of wildlife we might spot in the rain forest. We were anxious to start walking around the island in search of Sloths, Strawberry Poison-dart Frogs, Monkeys, Snakes…oh no, NOT Snakes!IMG_9376IMG_9378


These lovely facilities would be waiting for us later in the evening.IMG_9380And so, after getting acquainted with an unusual new neighbor…we were off into the jungle! This is a Rhinoceros Beetle and we hoped he wouldn’t visit us down at the docks!IMG_8958IMG_8959