Playa Venao is a beach town on the south coast of the Azuero Peninsula in the Los Santos province of Panama.
The beach itself is a 2.8km (1.8mi) long crescent-shaped beach, mostly sandy but with some smooth pebbles. There are often large waves at the center of the beach, making it a popular destination for surfers. The surf is calmer as you move away from the center of the beach.
For mobile phone service, there is good coverage (both 2G and 3G) provided by the networks Movistar and Claro. There is no coverage by Digicel or +móvil (Cable & Wireless Panama).
- By Local Bus: Local van-sized buses run from the nearby town of Pedasi 3 times daily, at 7am, 12pm and 2pm, less times on Sundays. The ride costs $2.50 and takes 20-40 minutes, depending on how often the bus stops to drop or pick up locals on the way. Ask locals where to catch the bus. It may be the one headed to Cañas, and you'll have to ask the driver to stop in Playa Venao.
You can also catch a bus in las Tablas, with goes directly to Venao. It leaves once a day at 1:30pm and does not run on Sundays.
- By Direct Shuttle Bus: A private shuttle bus operator offers direct VIP shuttle buses equipped with WiFi from Panama City to Playa Venao. It runs daily during the high season, and every other day during the low season. It offers 2 pick up locations in Panama City: 1) in the intersection of El Cangrejo, Obarrio and Punta Paitilla, 2) in Casco Viejo. There is also the option of getting picked up straight from Tocumen International Airport. It drops you off wherever your hotel or hostel is. The only way to reserve a seat on it in advance online is through Panama Bus Tickets.
Playa Venao is small enough to get around by foot. Most places can be reached within 20 minutes of walking, no matter your location. Some resorts offer bicycles.
Visit the waterfall which can be reached by a 30 min hike through the jungle.
You can also spot some howler monkeys, which are often spotted at the road side or during the jungle hike.
Surfboard rentals are available, generally priced at $10 per hour or $20 per day.
Stand-up paddleboards (SUP) and kayaks are also available.
Some of the resorts only rent to their guests.
There are two small mini marts in Playa Venao, which are both amazingly overpriced. You will pay around 5$ for a package of pasta. If you stay there longer, consider going to the supermarket in Pedasí.
- On the more eastern end of the beach, located on the road between the beach and the main road behind Beach Break Surf Camp and El Sitio. It has a selection of goods including snack foods, drinks, dairy including yogurt, frozen meats (chicken, beef), but practically no fresh fruits or vegetables (only apples).
- On the more western end of the beach, located just off the main road at the entrance to Eco Venao. They seem to carry a better selection of fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, a fruit and vegetable cart/truck apparently comes twice a week.
Meals are available starting at $5 to $7.
The cheapest restaurants at the beach is "La bicicleta". They have a plate of the day, which will cost you 5$. They also have wonderful orange juices for 1$ and various things for breakfast.
- Pizza Gavilan, Playa Venao (30km from Pedasi), . Delicious Pizza and Salad as well as Fresh fruit juice are always available in this beach-front restaurant. Pizza is, of course, fantastic. There are a variety of other very nice meals. The Hotel pool is also available for guests. edit
- Venao Cove. This is a hostel at the far end of the beach. They are directly on the beach and have a wonderful garden with a lot of hang out possibilities. They also have a small shop where you can buy some food. They also rent surf boards ect. Dorms start at 12$. To get there tell the taxi driver you want to get out at "la última entrada". $12. edit
- Beach Break hotel and Surf camp (Beach Break Hotel), Playa Venao (30 minutes drive from Pedasi), ☎ +507-6245-2342, . 14 rooms, beach front hotel, shared kitchen and restaurant, Wifi, Hammocks, Swimming pool, Surf lessons and board rental. Staying at the Beach break hotel is not only enjoying the confort and relax next to the pool, it's experiencing the surf community and its amazing way of life. Surfers from all around the world, backpackers and family come to discover Playa Venao and live a one-in-a-lifetime experience. Don't miss the Gavilan Pizza Restaurant. $109-$153. edit