Playa VenaoTravel Guide Best Accommodation, Activities, and Eats.
On a tiny secluded cove off the Pacific Coast of Panama, there’s a dreamy beach town called Playa Venao. I’d never heard of Playa Venao before my trip to Panama, but after drolling over the pictures online I decided to gamble and book a two weeks stay. This Playa Venao, travel guide will cover what you need to know to plan your own tropical getaway.
About Playa Venao
Playa Venao is said to be one of the best surf spots in Panama but it’s still relatively unknown. The atmosphere is laid back and most travelers come to learn to surf or just enjoy the beach.
According to one of the many accomplished surfers working at my hotel, the shape of the bay makes Playa Venao a great place for both beginners and advanced surfers. While one side of the bay has waves that are way too scary for me, the other side has excellent newbie conditions.
It takes about five hours to get to Venao from Panama City and once you’re here, you get the feeling that you’re off the grid. There aren’t many shops or restaurants, though the ones you will find dotting the beach are delicious!
Where to Stay in Playa Venao
A big part of that “can I stay forever?” feeling happened because of our awesome accommodation.
Even though Playa Venao is so small you could walk the length of the entire town in about 10 minutes, there is an impressive selection of accommodation options. While it’s hard to go wrong with so many choices just steps from the beach, these were a few stand-outs.
Selina Playa Venao
My top recommendation for where to stay in Playa Venao is called Selina Playa Venao. Even though it’s technically considered a hostel, they have several types of rooms for all kinds of travelers.
You can choose to stay in a bunk bed, a glamping tent, a private room, or a family-style suite. Guests come from all over the world and from all walks of life. You’ll find backpackers, families with small children, retired travelers, surfers, and honeymooners.
El Sitio Hotel
El Sitio is another perfectly located Playa Venao hotel right on the beach. It’s a short walk down the beach from Selina and offers a delicious on-site restaurant, a lighthouse, a surf shop, and a large kids area.
At the Hotel El Sitio Playa Venao, you can choose from standard hotel rooms, suites, or family houses. Enjoy surfing lessons and tours during the day and entertainment at the outdoor bar at night.
Things to do in Playa Venao
Even though Playa Venao is tiny and relatively secluded, you won’t be bored. Below are some of the best things to do in Playa Venao no matter how long you’re planning to stay.
Take Surfing Lessons
Even though I tried surfing in Bali, I still consider myself a ridiculously inexperienced beginner when it comes to all things surf. For me, surfing usually looks more like a face full of sand after an ungraceful belly flop.
So when I saw the pastel-colored tiki shacks decorated with “Surf Lesson” signs, I was a bit nervous. I knew I needed to give it another go, but I worried about exactly how many sandy cartwheels I’d perform at break-neck speeds in the process.
As usual, I shouldn’t have been so worried. The conditions for Playa Venao surf were perfect for my beginner scared-y cat self and after one day, I was able to go out all by myself and even catch a wave or two!