Sustainable Luxury: An Eco-Friendly Getaway on a Panamanian Private Island

© Images Courtesy of Laabs Creative LLC

By Allie Murray

Nestled on a private island in Panama sits Bocas Bali, a luxury resort dedicated to sustainable practices, unforgettable culinary experiences, and providing guests with memories that will last a lifetime.

The getaway allows guests to unplug and relax on a private island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. Once arriving in Bocas Del Toro, the resort is a 15 minute boat ride away, and then you’ll arrive in pure luxury.

The resort is owned by Dan Behm, who purchased the island in 2017 and brought on the expertise of architect Andres Brenes, who designed much of the luxury resort. Recently, the team built the world’s first aerial beach—a boardwalk lined with sand that is built on stilts over the water.

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Bocas Bali Kupu-Kupu Beach © Photo Courtesy of Laabs Creative LLC

“We have the most picturesque private island retreat at Bocas Bali and the only thing missing was the beach,” Behm said. “We wanted to create an experience in a class by itself that pays homage to the incomparable natural setting while providing our guests the luxury of a private beach experience on our exclusive island.”

The beach took nine months to build and is now called Kupu-Kupu Beach. It sits at 90 feet long and twenty feet wide and has white sand, lush palm trees, stylish lounge chairs, a bar, and a boardwalk.

A Sustainable Stay

At the resort, they focus on not only providing guests with a one-of-a-kind stay, but also protecting the planet. Bocas Bali operates 100 percent off the grid—using solar energy, purified rainwater, and an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system that was specially engineered for mangrove islands. Since the resort is based on a mangrove island, the team at Bocas Bali has conducted many environmental studies to ensure they are being kind to the land and the water.

“We are now on our fifth study, which will take up to two years to complete,” Behm explained in a blog post. “These studies have helped us to place our water villas in areas that do not disturb the coral, replace any mangrove removed with ten times the amount of mangrove plants in other areas of the island, and build on the island without disturbing the natural habitat.”

The journey to create a sustainable resort was one that Behm knew would be difficult when he purchased the mangrove island, but one that he was ready to embark on.

“We have learned to keep the island free of garbage and waste, place ocean and coral friendly soaps, hair products, and sunscreen in our guest villas, avoid disturbing the coral with our boats, exercise caution when painting or staining near the sea water, remove any waste accidentally dropped in the water, leave the larger trees on the island, and replace any small ones we remove with more and larger trees,” he shared.

bocas bali
© Laabs Creative LLC
© Laabs Creative LLC

Exploring the Luxury

The villas are suspended over the water and offer luxuries like a private pool, stairs to the sea, snorkelling gear, and so much more. The over-water villas make it easy to explore the Caribbean waters via kayak or paddleboard, or get up close and personal with the sea life with snorkelling gear.

Opening later this year is the IBUKU Island Treehouses, a new villa at Bocas Bali. The villa is a beautiful bamboo treehouse that reaches a height of 40 feet, allowing for a unique experience of the island.

The design for the treehouse was done by Elora Hardy from IBUKU entitled. Behm knew he wanted Elora to design the treehouse after watching her TED Talk “Magical Houses, Made of Bamboo”.

The resort allows travellers to enjoy a luxury getaway in Central America, while travelling responsibly and working towards making our planet a better place.

© Laabs Creative LLC
© Laabs Creative LLC
© Laabs Creative LLC

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