On Saturday I went with Aude, a friend from the hostel, to Red Frog Beach. I was kind of reluctant to go because (I know this will sound stupid…) every day when I walk along Main Street, the guys in the boat houses shout “RED FROG, RED FROG?” at me just because I’m white and they assume that all white people are tourists who want to go to the beach every day (they shout it in the hope that you say yes and then pay them to take you in their water-taxi). It really annoys me when the local people are like this (I just want to be treated like a human not a tourist), so when they shout “RED FROG” at me, I shout back “NO!!!” in the hope that the next day they might leave me alone.
I’ve been shouting “NO” at the boat men for over a month now so I wasn’t really looking forward to having to actually tell one of them, after they shout “RED FROG” at me, that I’d like to go there on their boat. We went over to the first one who shouted at us and asked (in Spanish) how much it costs, and he replied (in English… so annoying) that it was $4 there and $4 back. I thought that sounded ok because it’s on Isla Bastimentos which is quite far away.
When we got there we paid him the $4 and he asked what time he should come to pick us up to go back (in English, and I did my tactic of pretending I didn’t understand his English in order to make him speak Spanish to me). I said I had no idea and I’d rather just find a random boat to go back on cos there isn’t exactly a shortage. He got a bit annoyed and on reflection later I realised it was because the $4 price was given because we were supposedly going to go back with him, so it was an $8 round trip price. If we’d told him at the boat house that we only wanted one way (although to be honest he never really asked and we never said we wanted a return trip), it would have cost $5 or something.
Before this trip, the only thing I knew about Red Frog was that you have to pay $3 entry and there are tiny red frogs on the beach. Little did I know Red Frog is actually the name of a resort, and the reason you pay $3 is to enter the resort and then walk through it to their beach. It was a 10 minute walk from the entrance to the beach and we passed signs to the different villas and the spa etc. I found it completely ridiculous because this resort is not a true reflection, in any way, of the rest of Isla Bastimentos (which I loved the one time I visited it before).
The beach is really long, there weren’t many people and the sea was really warm. At the back of the beach you can see where the jungle starts:
This is less than half of the length of the beach, so you can imagine how long it is:
There are one or two restaurants on the beach and a woman came over with flyers explaining (in English) that one of them has yoga in the afternoons and pizza until 5pm. There were no Panamanians on the beach except a woman selling coconut oil and a man selling coconuts to drink from.
Nature-wise, the beach is really nice, but personally I didn’t like the feeling of being closed off from the real Panama, and normally I like beaches with some atmosphere, like a little restaurant playing some local music or something. There are still more beaches I need to visit, and I don’t think I’ve found my favourite one yet, but I think it’s safe to say it won’t be Red Frog.