Central America: Panama – Adventure Hiking on Red Frog Beach

A painful and amazing day, all in one! We found ourselves adventure hiking on Red Frog Beach.

In the morning Rebecca and I checked with the front desk to see if there were any hiking trails on the island. The young woman at the desk says, “No.  But we can set you up with a package deal.”

Our view at the beginning of the hike

Oh, no.  Not again.  Kind of like La Fortuna, this place wasn’t looking so inviting.  Then Rebecca checked the guidebook and it mentioned a hiking trail, occasionally hard to follow, from our end of the island to the other, and that there was a coffee shop at the other end.  It had us at hiking, it definitely had us at coffee.

Adventure Hiking on Red Frog Beach

The two surfer dudes sharing our bunk room told us the trail was pretty muddy. We said, “No problem!” I was picturing standard mud, you know, just a little water and your boots squish down a little. Silly me.

We started off, our bathing suits on underneath our hiking clothes and boots. It wasn’t long before we were up to our knees in squishing, sucking mud. I just kept looking forward to the small areas of just plain dirt. Towards lunchtime, we stopped on a beach that we had completely to ourselves. What? you mean no one else was crazy enough to slog through the mud? Nope, just us.

Not the best swimming, but it was refreshing and all
our own beach!

All I know was it was so wonderful to have a whole beach to ourselves. We took our time swimming and sunning, and I ran off to take some photos of birds that were walking out and in with the surf.

Then we were off again, coffee on the brain. We slogged through a lot more mud until we came upon the best, handmade sign ever, “Coffee Ahead”.

I have to be honest. I had a very specific picture in my head of this coffee shop. In my head, it was on the edge of town, off a small road, with air conditioning and a view out to the street. Rebecca and I would sit at a simple table, look out the window and have some great coffee. I was almost right.

Wonderful coffee and chocolate!

When we reached Up in The Hill I was totally surprised. These enterprising people had made a coffee shop on their porch – it’s a big porch. They had a bucket of water to wash off the mud and it’s okay here if you take off your shoes – in fact, it’s encouraged. And after sitting in the shade, the ocean breeze was more than enough to keep us cool.

That’s right.  No shoes will get service here.

Rebecca and I started with a cool lemonade but our coffee addiction had to be taken care of. Coffee and a tray of organic chocolate. Yum!

We lingered as long as we could, but the sun was starting its descent, and it was time for us to go. I utilized the facilities. It’s a small latrine with the best view I have ever seen. Then we were off for more adventure hiking on Red frog beach.

Coffee, organic chocolate, and brownie. It was so good!

We soon realized we were having a little trouble following the trail back. We would find ourselves on side trails that then disappeared, then we’d have to work our way back to the real trail. Frustrating and time-consuming.

At one spot Rebecca had pointed the way, it didn’t feel right and I ended up falling. My boot got caught under a vine and I hit my calf on a huge tree root, I could feel the pain pulsating with every step. I insisted we go another direction and that was when we found the trail again.

Then in another spot, I was turning around to check out where we were and I moved forward through a small bush. Turned out the bush was hiding a lovely rock that smacked me right in my calf – right where I had hit it earlier. I’m sure my scream echoed for quite a ways. My leg was swelling up fast.

Rebecca spotted a tiny red frog!

Rebecca insisted on a direction this time and we followed it. I was so happy to start seeing familiar landmarks and get to the point where the trail stayed close to the beach. Whew!

We walked up the trail to the hostel just as the sunlight was completely disappearing. The lights from the hostel helping us find our way.

I put my leg up with ice that Rebecca picked up from the restaurant, and I yet I was smiling. Yeah, I was in pain and this bump will probably last awhile, but the amazing time we had far outweighed the pain. This adventure hiking on Red Frog beach was all worth it.

I love traveling.

Want to see more:
Day 13 from Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica to Bocas Bound, Panama
Day 15 Isla Bastimentos and Bocas Town, Panama


Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, travel, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers. I’m also a published author, Toy of the Godsand I’m always seeking adventure travel. I’m a Social Media Manager and consult with writers on creativity and social media.

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