This Private Island Resort in Panama Has a Stunning New 'Aerial Beach' — and Overwater Villas With Plunge Pools

Bocas Bali has opened an elevated overwater beach — and it's absolutely gorgeous.

Lounge chairs and bar on the aerial beach at Bocas Bali
Photo: Courtesy of Bocas Bali

Bocas Bali, a luxury private island resort in Panama, wants to elevate your beach experience — and they mean that literally.

In April, the resort, which opened its doors in September 2021, announced the completion of its overwater beach. According to the hotel, it's the first elevated beach in the world.

An overwater bungalow at Bocas Bali
Joshua Laabs/Courtesy of Bocas Bali

"We have the most picturesque private island retreat at Bocas Bali and the only thing missing was the beach," Dan Behm, the owner and founder of Bocas Bali, shared in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure. "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. We don't want to be everything to everyone, but we really have something special and it's undeniable from the moment our guests arrive at Bocas Bali."

The beach, lovingly named Kupu-Kupu Beach, which comes from the Indonesian word for butterfly, clocks in at approximately 90 feet long and 20 feet wide. It features velvety white sand and lush palm trees all around. Guests can relax in style on its plentiful lounge chairs, or grab a drink at Tipsy Bar, its idyllic watering hole with a wood shake roof that also serves light bites for peckish guests.

Aerial view of the aerial beach at Bocas Bali
Courtesy of Bocas Bali

On the beach, guests will also find a 10-foot-wide wooden boardwalk, which acts as a natural extension of the island, along with stunning green quartz-tiled stairs that will take visitors down from the elevated beach to the crystalline waters below. Once in the water, guests can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, or a refreshing dip before heading back to their private oasis.

Beyond the beach, the hotel features 16 custom overwater villas all constructed using natural materials to mimic the gorgeous landscape outside. The rooms each come with plush white bedding and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow the breeze to flow in. Some even have dipping pools, while others feature windows overlooking the ocean below.

The pool at Bocas Bali
Joshua Laabs/Courtesy of Bocas Bali

On the island, guests will also find a shared 70-foot freshwater pool, as well as the 100-year-old Elephant House restaurant, which sources as many local ingredients as possible, including seafood caught right outside its doors.

And, in case you needed one more reason to book, Bocas Bali is also a sustainable paradise and 100% off the grid. It employs both solar energy and an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system engineered specifically for a mangrove island. It also has catchment basins that can store up to 100,000 gallons of rainwater, which is then purified for guests.

Aerial view of the aerial beach and resort at Bocas Bali
Courtesy of Bocas Bali

"Sustainable luxury is the core of Bocas Bali and protection of the natural elements and sea life were crucial when we decided to create Kupu-Kupu Beach," Scott Dinsmore, general manager of Bocas Bali, added in the statement. "We are very proud of what we have created, and we are very excited for our guests to experience the world's first overwater beach."

Rates for the resort start at $1,100 per night during peak season and $900 per night during the green season and include all meals. For more information or to book, visit the Bocas Bali website.

Updated by
Stacey Leasca
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Stacey Leasca is an award-winning journalist and co-founder of Be a Travel Writer, an online course for the next generation of travel journalists. Her photos, videos, and words have appeared in print or online for Travel + Leisure, Time, Los Angeles Times, Glamour, and many more. You'll usually find her in an airport. If you do see her there, please say hello.

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