Rockin’ the “Green Season” at Tranquilo Bay

While people may call our green season, the low season, we’ve been busy here at Tranquilo Bay on the lush green island of Bastimentos surrounded by mangroves, rainforest, beach and the rich Caribbean Sea. 

Nothing really stops here at the lodge, even if there happens to be a lull in guests. In fact, this time of the year (we call it winter, here in the tropics) is the time of some of Tranquilo’s hardest, most intense work. Jay runs his team of wildly strong and tireless workers: our own Sanchez, Alvaro and Gustavo, our indigenous N’gobe muchachos who double as captain and triple as landscapers, builders and all around renaissance men. These are the same sweet guys who you’ll see on their knees in the sand, shoulder to shoulder with our youngster guests, helping dig holes and build sandcastles on any Zapatilla beach day.

Some of what they have been working on includes many projects around the grounds and one of which includes preparing a space, sifting, hauling and tamping tons of sand, and installing the 20-some thousand gallon bladder, which was a backbreaking achievement that will give us more rain catchment and put us in a good position for the next drought. Who do we have to thank? 

These guys! 

As far as the the rest of us, Everyone has gone on some pretty wonderful adventures, in some cases wanderings abroad because we use the low season to travel. Guides Ramon and Natalia spends a couple months traveling to see their families in Valencia, Spain and Medellin, Colombia. The Kimballs, (Jim, Renee, Tres and Boty) visited the states and their ol’ homeland Texas, road-tripping all over to see friends and family.

Luis of Quebrada Enrique

Together with the Violas (Jay, Scott and Patrick), back here at the lodge, we have gone on various adventures, including a reconnaissance excursion to a little-trodden section of trail owned and maintained by Luis, a local restaurant and landowner. Luis invited us and guided us onto his stunningly beautiful property. We had toucans and trogons peer at us from the greenery overhead and countless tiny, brilliant strawberry poison dart frogs hopped on the trail around us, yet another array of beautiful color morphs and patterns. Beautiful flowing marañon trees dropped their wispy, vibrant pink petals as ground decoration, a small bodied, large eyed ruddy tailed flycatcher wagged on a branch above us and even a rufous and green kingfisher fished in the same secret forest pond that we cooled off in. 

Hugo Santa Cruz, Lic. in Tourism and Protected Areas Management

Since going with the Kimballs before they left, we’ve been back to this new trail twice, the Violas and I along with intern hailing from Bolivia, Hugo Santa Cruz. We had a blast, as each visit we saw new and different wildlife. This is definitely going to be a new favorite to add to our array of off-site adventure excursions!


In addition to all that’s gone on, our “low season” has also resulted in about six weeks straight of visiting guests! We’ve had families (including my own parents and longtime family friends of the Kimballs, the Moseley’s who visit annually), birders, wildlife photographers and even a huge multi-family reunion that chose Tranquilo Bay for their special event. Some might think that since it’s so hot up north where it’s summertime now, it must be boiling down in the tropics, but we truly only endure a range of about five degrees difference in temperature year round! While we’ve had some rainy adventures (as is possible during anytime throughout the year), our gung-ho guests know that this beautiful rainforest would be nothing if not for the precious moisture that makes the lush greenery of beautiful Isla Bastimentos the true wildly productive and biodiverse rainforest that it is.



Hanging out at the dock

Among all of the activities the seven children running around here last week partook, the one they enjoyed the most was hanging out at the dock.  Each day of the week the children spent at least a part of the day at the dock.  After each excursion they went swimming at the dock before calling it a day.  These photos are from one day in particular, but they could have been any day.

Boys taking turns jumping off th dockThree girls posing for a photo at the dock

Vaya con Dios, Amigo


All of us here at Tranquilo Bay will miss our dear friend, Frank Hilson, Sr. He has gone on to a better place. We are forever appreciative of the support he and his wife Joyce have shown us over the years.

While Jim and Jay were here building Tranquilo Bay, Frank, and later, Frank and Joyce, would come visit and check on progress. Frank and Joyce considered purchasing property in Bocas for a time, but then decided to buy a home in Panama City instead. They opened it up to us as our home in Panama City. We all spent a fair amount of time in our home in Panama City. We will always be incredibly appreciative of the hospitality that Frank and Joyce showed us.

Frank and Joyce sold the home in Panama City last year. During their last trip to Panama in March, 2011, they came out and stayed with us for close to a week. It was wonderful to see them again.

Frank’s battle with cancer continued and he passed away quietly at home last night.

As I think through our friendship with Frank and Joyce and what it has meant to all of us, I searched for a quote that fit because I am at a loss for words. I had a hard time finding anything that was right on point, but this is one seems to be one that Frank lived:

“Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.” anonymous

Frank was always doing little things for us. He and Joyce adopted us like we were their children and our children their grandchildren. They have been truly great friends to all of us at Tranquilo Bay. He and Joyce both occupy a special place in our hearts.

We will miss you Frank. Thank you for being a wonderful friend.

Second time around.

Over the holidays in 2007 we had several families come visit us for the first time. Ironically, of the guests that visited during that time frame, we have had more repeat guests than those that have visited at other times. Last week one of these families came for a second visit. We all had a wonderful time. You can read what they had to say about their stay here.

Here are a few of the photos taken by Robyn. Their son Gabe liked our place so much he has decided to stick around as an intern for a few months. Alexandra, in the top photo, is our new teacher for the children. She and her husband arrived at the same time as this family.


Happy Birthday Jim

Today is Jim’s birthday. I won’t tell you how old he is as age is a matter of the mind and he will always be younger than the years show him to be. Dalys, our new cook, is making him a coconut flan for his birthday tonight. It is one of his current favorites – so much so that he is forgoing chocolate for his birthday for the first time in years.


Looking for a teacher for our children

Our wonderful teacher is leaving us in May. We are looking for a teacher to begin working with us on July 1, 2011. Anyone interested in the position should send their resume and why they are a great fit for this job to info @ tranquilobay .com. This is a fabulous job for the right person!


• Deliver bilingual instruction given in English and Spanish
• Follow both U.S. and Panamanian curriculum standards simultaneously
• Plan and implement long-term and short-term lesson plans
• Implement plans for mixed grade level classroom based upon curriculum standards (currently 1st and 3rd grades, may support additional grades in the future)
• Plan and implement lessons for varying degrees of skills within the same classroom
• Provide lessons for all subject matter as well as specials suggested by the director (i.e. art, computer)
• Assess individual student needs or gaps in learning and address these appropriately
• Submit extensive written progress reports mid year and end of year
• Organize and submit assignments to director for Panamanian curriculum requirement due dates
• Provide weekly homework assignments and give feedback on completed assignments
• Research and plan field trips based upon standards
• Practice suitable classroom management and social standards
• Maintain appropriate behavior with students and serve as a role model
• Maintain classroom in an organized manner and be responsible for supplies
• Communicate regularly with director (i.e. concerns, needs, change of schedule, accomplishments)
• Follow morning and afternoon school schedules punctually
• Self-monitor and self-motivate

School Schedule:

Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Monday – Thursday 2:00 to 5:00 pm (approximate)
Vacation – June, One week every seven weeks (somewhat flexible)

Teacher Characteristics:

• Mature individual with an independent character
• Adaptability to live in a foreign country outside of your comfort zone
• Ability to dwell in a somewhat isolated environment
• Flexibility to coexist and share common and/or work space with other members of staff
• Adaptability to living in a tropical climate with basic accommodations
• Ability to pass several weeks at a time on site


Monthly salary at least $700 per month (dependent upon experience) plus room and board.

Updated to add more information…

Here is a link to some photos and videos to give you more insight into the position and our location: