Popa Paradise Beach

Panama Au Naturel - Panama's Only all-inclusive Nude Resort

Overview

Yes, we've been to the resort.

This tropical clothing-optional resort for adult singles and couples is one of the more unique destinations guests may experience “off the grid.”   It’s definitely out of the ordinary, the only clothing-optional resort in Panama but less than an hour from Panama City by air commuter that services the local airport at Bocas del Toro. A 30-minute boat ride will deliver you to this secluded island.

This property is so comfortable that guests may get the impression they’ve landed on Robin Crusoe's beach to find a new home away from home with a family atmosphere established by the owners of this 17-unit resort, Vince and Rosie who are also Castaways clients.   They bought the resort in 2012 from the original owners who built it about 2009.

Vince and Rosie are originally from Canada where they continue to maintain part-time residency during the summer for a few short months while the resort is in maintenance mode.  What keeps them busy in Canada? …. a herd of 250 bison and their grandchildren.

The resort is all-inclusive and comprises nine individual casitas, five attached lodge rooms, two Junior Suites and one Luxury Suite, most with ocean views.

The Casitas are free-standing, individual suites with King, Queen and a pull-out twin bed. All offer full private bathrooms with hot water, air conditioning, ceiling fan, DVD player, beautiful hardwood furniture and large shaded porches for enjoying beautiful jungle scenery, the ocean view and sea breezes.

Although the all-inclusive property includes most of the basic conveniences of home, you will find and enjoy diversions to keep you busy.  Guests who prefer a clothing-optional atmosphere are typically like-minded adults who enjoy the vibe among others that is generated by their common choice of vacation and lifestyle.

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Panama Au Naturel stands out as the sole all-inclusive Clothing-optional resort in Panama. The crystal-clear freshwater pool with a swim-up bar allows guests freedom to choose whether to wear clothing or not. The stunning, secluded beach, just a stone's throw away from your accommodation, offers a private oasis far removed from the hustle and bustle of Bocas Town and other developed areas. You can bask in the sun without clothes and without interruption, except for occasional visits from the staff offering refreshments.

For the more adventurous, a short walk or kayak ride from the resort leads to over a mile of untouched beaches waiting to be explored. While clothing is optional at the pool and swim-up bar, guests are encouraged to feel comfortable in their own skin. Whether you're a seasoned naturist or a newcomer to the lifestyle, the intimate setting provides the perfect opportunity to embrace nudity in a welcoming environment.  All they ask is if you're feeling frisky and romantic, visit your casita for your personal adventure as public sex is not condoned.

Although all tours currently available are textile, guests are free to enjoy their holiday experience of au naturel relaxation at Panama Au Naturel

One caveat and personal observation:  If you want a slick, all-inclusive tropical resort with all the conveniences, nightlife, little umbrellas in your tropical drinks, entertainment staff and camp counselors, big properties with all the bells and whistles of typical sun and sand locations, visit Cancun, Jamaica or other hotbeds of tourist activities in the Caribbean or Europe with mega-resort accommodations, theme nights and services to match.

You won’t find condo vacation club or timeshare salesmen hounding you either.

Otherwise, if you’re looking for a wonderfully relaxing authentic tropical environment without a hassle in a clothing-optional location shared by others looking for a friendly, laid-back style with a willing and enthusiastic staff, this is the place for you.

Getting There

To reach the airport closest to Panama Au Naturel island fly into Boca del Toro (Bocas) in the northwest of the country facing the Caribbean.  Two local options are to fly commuter airlines from Panama City’s downtown airport (PAC) to Bocas (BOC) via Air Panama with several flights a day or Fly Trip.   The other international gateway is to fly from San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) to BOC but flights are not as frequent as the Panama City options.

Long-haul flights into Panama City arrive at the Tocumen International Airport (PTY), about a 30-minute drive into town with light traffic or an hour or two during rush hour or during the day or night. During rush hour or weekends, expect bumper-to-bumper traffic inside the city itself so always plan to add extra time in both directions as cars and trucks can choke the fastest routes.  Although a tollway between Tocumen Airport and the city can cut travel time, you may have to deal with delays despite the hour when you're on city streets.  The surprise is the quality and all modern facilities of the Tocumen International Airport.  This rivals any airport in the world, especially Terminal 2 which is as cutting-edge as any airport internationally.

Photos above courtesy of Tocumen International Airport website and by Wilfredo Rafael Rodriguez Hernandez for Copa Airlines image.

From the USA, Europe or South America, below is a typical itinerary for arrival via an international air carrier.

Inbound Arrival Trip

  •      Arrive Tocumen International Airport (PTY).  Clear customs and immigration.  ALERT: Immigration lines can be long depending upon international arrival volume.
  •      Transfer by taxi, Uber or Lyft to the local airport (PAC).*  Transfer by taxi, Uber or Lyft.  ALERT:  The trip can require 30-40 minutes to 2 hours more or less depending upon traffic around Panama City.
  •      *TIP: Spend your first night in Old Town (called Casco Viejo).
  •      Local commuter flights to Bocas del Toro (BOC) depart from Marcos A. Gelabert Airport (PAC) also known as Albrook Airport) downtown.
  •      A commuter flight from PAC to BOC is about 45 minutes to an hour.
  •      A driver from the resort will meet you outside the small BOC terminal seen below for arrival transfer by boat, about a 30-minute trip to the resort.  TIP:  Take a rain poncho and/or umbrella as the boat is open air.

Return Departure Trip

  •      Your boat will return you to town for you shuttle to the BOC airstrip.  Expect to tip the drivers.  TIP:  Take a rain poncho and/or umbrella as the boat is open air.
  •      ALERT:  Although flights to Panama City are almost hourly, if the passenger count is low, the airline may consolidate your departure with the next flight.  Plan to depart BOC early for PAC if you are trying to catch your         international flight the same day.
  •      You may miss your connection at PTY for your trip home requiring you to stay an extra night or more.  
  •      ALERT:  The local airport security authority at PAC will X Ray all luggage even though it's a domestic facility.  This takes time for ALL bags to be unloaded and delivered to the arrivals hall.
  •      Transfer from PAC to PTY for your return flight.
  •      At Tocumen International Airport (PTY), check in, drop your luggage and proceed through security to board your return flight.  You may also experience a security check just before boarding at the gate.
  •      TIP:  If your plans permit, stay a night or two before and/or after your visit to Panama Au Naturel.  This helps avoid missing your departure flight due to delays by your commuter air carrier.
  •      First trip by James from Castaways Travel:  "I missed my only return flight to the USA because Air Panama's aircraft had a mechanical delay in BOC.  The bonus was enjoying another night in Old Town."

Unless you extend your visit with a few nights in the city, to reach Bocas directly after arrival at PTY, guests must depart from the local downtown domestic commuter airport, Marcos A. Gelabert Airport (PAC) also known as Albrook Airport as the locals call it.   Commuting between the two airports can require a significant time spent in traffic so plan accordingly but this varies by time of day or night.

Consider visiting Panama City 2 or 3 nights before or after your Panama Au Naturel adventure.  There is plenty to do and see in Panama City, especially the Old Town colonial part of the original site called Casco Viejo, a wonderful area filled with hotels, shops, boutiques, bars, restaurants, museums, plazas for drinks and people-watching.  A nice touch: Plenty of security is evident throughout the streets day and night.  Casco Viejo is easy to see and walking is recommended since the one-way streets are usually busy and choked with traffic.  TIP:  Take an umbrella or rain poncho when you visit the area on foot.

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This aerial shot is from Wikipedia, Garcia.dennis - Own work Casco Antiguo aerial view (Casco Viejo.)

One of the best stops is the Latino Shop just off the main square seen below.  Authentic hand crafts, clothes, shawls and Panama hat are on display and for sale.

Most of the handcrafts and clothing below are made by indigenous local women who live in villages in the countryside near Panama City.

For more sidelights about Panama City, the town, airports and the Canal, scroll to the bottom of this report for more images and info. about the city and Casco Viejo.

Services

Panama Au Naturel produces its own power and water supply and even grows some of its food on-site while importing the rest from Bocas.    Much of the daily usage of water is natural…it’s rainwater collected and stored for common uses such as restrooms, washing and cleaning.

Bottled water for drinking and coffee is available to everyone in the main reception area where guest can refill their containers supplied in each room or casita.

Employees are dedicated to grounds and beach keeping, wait staff, boat transportation, fishing, cooking, bartending, cleaning, maid service plus general maintenance and repair.

TIP:  Brush up on your Spanish a bit.  The employees are local natives and citizens, many of whom are indigenous and speak only their own language at home and some Spanish but only a few phrases in English.  Vince and Rosie's goal is to employ as many local folks as possible to enhance their livelihood and well-being.  They also maintain temporary job positions as part of the Workaway network for volunteers for cultural exchange internationally.  Below, Fannie is from France and Eduardo is your local "maître d'hotel" who is learning English and always has a smile to greet you.  Vince and Rosie shared group photos with us, too.

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A group of people are posing for a picture in a room .Resortfannie rotatedResorteduardofannie rotated

The resort is all-inclusive which includes:

  • Air-conditioned accommodations in both lodge rooms and suites.  The remainder of the property is open-air so dress comfortably or enjoy the grounds nude or clothing optional.
  • When inside the clubhouse, dining area and reception, a cover-up or some clothing which is expected.
  • WiFi available in the reception area, dining and patio, pool deck
  • Cell phones:  Due to lack of a cell tower in range, most cell phones will not connect unless your equipment and plan includes WiFi calling.  WiFi is usually dependable unless there is a power outage.
  • All meals
  • Local Panamanian beer (usually 3 brands), red and white wine
  • Mixed Drinks and most popular liquor types both local and imported such as vodka, gin, whiskey, scotch, rum plus champagne and prosecco
  • Filtered drinking water
  • Coffee self-serve in the reception bar area
  • Boat transfers between Bocas boat dock and the resort
  • Power, lights, water and fully operational bathrooms and showers in each unit
  • TV Screen in each accommodation and DVD players but excludes cable or satellite feed
  • Concrete walkways throughout the property
  • Clothing-optional Beaches and boat docks
  • Fishing
  • Snorkeling
  • Snorkeling equipment – fins, masks, snorkels and more
  • Fishing gear and fishing boats for the local catch
  • Boat transfers for optional site-seeing and shore excursions
  • Complimentary book library
  • Pool table, ping pong, darts
  • Complimentary DVD collection
  • Limited sundry shop and a few fashion items such as T-shirts and sundresses

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Clubhouse

The focal point of the resort is the spacious 5,000-square-foot clubhouse. Featuring a striking red tile roof, high ceilings, plastered walls, and rich native hardwoods, it combines modern and traditional Panamanian architectural styles. Complimentary Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the clubhouse. Within the building, you'll find a reception area, gift shop, pool table, 56-inch flat screen HDTV (internet-only TV: Netflix, Roku, YouTube, etc.), DVD library, book exchange, and ping pong.  StarLink Wi-Fi is provided free of charge in the Clubhouse and pool area. For those seeking relaxation, the spa offers massage and yoga sessions with a view of the grassy valley and rainforest. Spa services are subject to availability and require booking. A contemporary kitchen and dining area, along with  lobby bar is the heart of the clubhouse. The central lobby offers a laid-back, airy ambiance with comfortable chairs and couches. The clubhouse includes cool tile floors and large folding hardwood and glass doors crafted locally.

Ambiance

The resort feels like home….it’s that comfortable and welcoming.   In a couple of days, guests will see or meet just about everyone on the front side and back of the house (like cooks, dishwashers, chefs and maintenance folks).

Vince and Rosie are present almost everywhere from daylight to sunset and into the night.  They and their staff are an extremely hard-working team and their compatibility is evident.  Many of the staff are indigenous local citizens who speak their own language, some Spanish and maybe a few words of English.   They all try very hard to please every guest they meet.

If they’re somewhat reserved around you or other guests, it’s most likely they only speak a few words of any other language but their own or a little Spanish.  Before you visit the resort, brush up a little on your high school Spanish.  Always try to tell them your name and offer to hear their names.  But don’t be surprised if they don’t answer or engage you in a lengthy conversation.

You will usually find nice and easy-listening music in the main clubhouse, reception and dining areas.  You can expect more lively tunes around the swim-up bar at the pool.

What you probably won’t find is loud EDM music

Depending on the crowd and guest preferences, you may see the fun sprout up at the pool, the swim-up bar, the plunge pool or at the beach with hundreds of feet of shoreline to entice you.   Easy beach entry and exit plus a sandy beach bottom are all available all the time so enjoy it, especially in the morning when a nude walk on the beach is a great way to start the day.

Vince said there is a Karaoke unit on call so just ask when you're ready to belt out your best rendition.

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Popa Paradise Beach

 

 

Dining

Your room rate includes all meals:  Breakfast, lunch and dinner served in the open-air dining room.

Most meals are plated and individually served.  When occupancy is high with limited staff, some meal service may be available in a buffet setting for salads, appetizers and desserts.  Typically, al a carte service with the main course served plated is the norm.

Breakfast is usually available off the menu and offers a wonderful variety of tropical choices and local favorites, always a fun experience to try new things.  Otherwise, why travel.  You can always depend on eggs as ordered in any form, meat choices such as ham, bacon or sausage plus wonderful coco bread, toast, real butter, local jam and breadfruit, mango, papaya, bananas, watermelon, pineapple as well as pancakes and waffles your way.

Lunch and dinner may vary depending on supplies and availability. Usualy a couple of choices which may be variable from day to day are offered.  You may be asked you preference in the morning for your choices of lunch and dinner.  Simple standard stand-by choices may also be available depending on supply of a main course, but this is not guaranteed.  During a visit for example, we enjoyed mahi mahi one evening and a choice of tuna or beef on another plus our last night featured lobster in need of saddle plus a killer dessert with homemade vanilla ice cream slathered over the local version of key lime pie. Yum Yum  With advance notice, certain menu items can be provided for vegan, dietary needs or medical preferences but substituted options are not always guaranteed or available.

 

Mealtimes are somewhat set but can vary depending on the crowd.

Breakfast 8:00 - 11:00 AM

Lunch 1:00 – 2:30 PM

Dinner 7:00 – 9:30 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Accommodations and Rates in USD $ (subject to change and seasonal offers)

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All guest quarters are either lodge rooms (like hotel rooms adjacent to each other) or separate casitas in configurations of full suites, jr. suites and even a 2-bedroom luxury suite.

Accommodations total 17 units:

Lodge Garden    5
Casita Garden    3
Casita Ocean     6
Junior Suite      2
Luxury Suite      1

Guest Quarters:

5 Lodge Garden Room

Lodge

3 Casita Garden Room

Casitagarden

2 Junior Suites

Casitajrsuite

6 Casita Ocean Suite

Casitaocean

1 Luxury Suite 2 bedroom configuration with a small second bedroom

Penthouse

Each unit includes:

  • Separate wall-mounted inverter air conditioning units with separate, independent temperature and fan controls
  • Coffee maker, hot water jug, fresh ground coffee and tea packets plus service utensils and cups
  • Closet
  • Bed netting
  • Beds in various configurations
  • Fridge with freshwater containers
  • Full private bathroom
  • Wall mounted big screen TV with CD/DVD player (but no satellite or cable service is available on the island.
  • Seating area and table in some units and suites
  • Balcony or porches in some units and suites
  • Safe with coded security
  • WiFi is available in the clubhouse only
  • Cell phone service not available unless you use WiFi calling service if available on your cell phone

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Rates

         Rates above are subject to change and seasonal specials. Cancellation penalties apply to all transactions.

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Sight Seeing

The resort is situated amid 25 acres of lush tropical forest. Hike the trails with  experienced indigenous guide, and spot toucans, sloths, green tree frogs, and an abundance of exotic flowers and plants.

There are many things to do on shore without leaving the resort. Bird watching is outstanding.

For those less active days, there are board games, ping pong, a pool table, a DVD library with a huge television to play them on (or in your room), and a selection of books and magazines. No satellite TV at the present time due to lack of service provider support or internet TV (Roku, Netflix, etc).  Rates below are not guaranteed will change without notice.   Check with Vince the seasonal tour rates.

  • Staff can arrange the following off-site excursions for you and your group:
  • Dolphin Bay - Located next to Isla San Cristobal, this bay is famous for hosting pods of dolphins. Watch them play in the sea from our boat! We recommend this tour in the morning, when the dolphins are most active. Tour includes boat, local guide and refreshments. Add a snorkeling stop to a protected coral reef surrounded by mangroves – starfish are abundant.
  • Organic Chocolate Farm - Visit a beautiful cacao plantation: a garden in the middle of the jungle where you can see how chocolate is grown and manufactured, from its fruit to the finished product. The owner/operator is Gary shown below.   His passion is eco-friendly activities, cultivation and more.  Gary is one of the most accomplished professionals you will meet in Panama.  Tour includes boat, tour, refreshments and entrance fee. Tours start from the farm at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, every day except Wednesdays.ResortchocolaefarmResortgary rotated
  • Dolphin Bay + Chocolate Farm Combo - Combine these tours and add the snorkeling stop.
  • Indigenous Village - See how local indigenous people live, visit their village and browse their Panamanian handicrafts. Tour includes round-trip boat transportation, village tour and entrance fee.

 

 

  • Jungle Hike to Indigenous Village - A boat will take you through a narrow channel in the mangroves, dropping you and your guide at a point where the tour will continue on foot through the rain forest, where you can observe plants, birds and animals seldom seen by tourists. It is about a 20-minute walk, along a sometimes slippery and steep trail to the village of Popa Dos. The boat will be waiting there to take you back to the hotel after a tour of the Village.
  • Zapatilla Keys (Cayo Zapatillas) - Two islands, part of the Bastimentos Marine National Park, just five miles off Popa’s Beach; these are the world-renowned Zapatilla Cays. They are known for their blue water, white sand and great coral reef.  Tour includes boat, refreshments, snorkel gear, beach towels and Park entrance fee.
  • Cayo de Agua - One of the best-kept secrets in the Archipelago, Cayo de Agua is the location of a stunning undeveloped beach. Outside of the Marine Park, it is seldom visited by tourists… you can expect to spend a few hours in a stunning and nearly undiscovered setting, meeting perhaps only a local fisherman.  Tour includes boat, refreshments, snorkel gear, beach towels
  • Crawl Key (Cayo Coral) - Snorkel in the pristine water of Cayo Coral and observe its amazing coral reef.  Tour includes boat, guide and snorkel gear.
  • Red Frog Beach - Visit Red Frog Beach on Isla Bastimentos, home to sloths and the infamous red frogs! Walk through the rainforest or relax on the white, sandy beach of this protected area, part of Bastimentos National Park. There is a conveniently located beach restaurant. Tour includes round-trip transportation, Park fee and beach towels. Beware of the rip currents at Red Frog Beach!
  • Red Frog Beach and Zip-Line - Experience Red Frog Beach and fly in the sky on Ziplines!  Tour includes transportation and the 3-hour Zipline Canopy Tour: 13 platforms, 7 ziplines (1,000 ft total), Tarzan Swing and much more.
  • Urraca Private Island Monkey Tour - Situated between Isla Popa and Cayo de Agua, Urraca Private Island is an “over-the-water” eco-resort in an unspoiled mangrove setting. Wild and captive monkeys include the mantled howler, the Panamanian night monkey, Geoffroy’s spider monkey and the white-headed capuchin. Tour includes transportation, guide and entrance fee.

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Scuba and Dive Equipment

Vince can help organize this activity with Dive Operators on Bocas, a 30-minute boat ride from the resort

Beaching

For us "beach bums" who enjoy a nude stroll along the shoreline, don't just spend all your time at the pool.  Grab some coffee in the morning and enjoy greeting the sunrise beachcombing in front of the resort on their deserted beaches in either direction.

Best Time to Go

Just about any month is a good time to go.  However, during low season when demand is less, the resort usually closes for a few months which may vary but it's usually summertime - July to August or September but may vary based on demand.  Those dates are variable depending upon occupancy and group takeover weeks.  The highest demand and most active months are December through April.   For a good reason, the region is called a tropical location:  Temperatures rarely vary below 70 or above 90 degrees F.  What does vary is the precipitation. It may rain without notice for an hour or half a day or maybe more or none at all.  It's rare to have continuous downpours as weather moves across the country quickly.  The best part is that there are NO HURRICANES since the region is outside the storm season.

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Photo Album