Here is a great tip while waiting on export paperwork that is taking literally 75% more time then you expected: Chill the F*** out and surf. We are currently on day 14 of chilling out and surfing at Playa Venao. Seriously, life could be worse. We’ve gotten really good at getting bad news or hearing set backs. As experts in waiting now, we have found the best possible place to do it and we recommend it to others – Venao Cove. Its located at the farthest (west) part of the relatively small and uncluttered beach. If you come for a visit it has luxury rooms, privates, dorms, and camping. Unlike Santa Catalina, our last location, which seemed like a surfing ghost town due to the beginning of the low season on May 1, Playa Venao in the low season seems perfect. Just enough people to be interesting, not enough people to start fighting for space.
All the towns along the Pennisula de Azuero are small, feeling like out posts. They get progressively smaller as you drive down towards the ocean so make sure you stock up on beer and food before you arrive. We also highly recommend the road sausages and fruit stands between Chitre and Las Tablas. Stock up on the awesome chorizos man!
Pedasi is pretty much the last place to visit a Mini Super with reasonable prices. It also has a pretty excellent French bakery. Although if you are to believe the realtor offices and billboards it’s the new up and coming beach resort town, its sort of seems that it was a dream that died after the announcement. Its still extremely relaxed. We checked around outside of town for a camping spot and were directed to an Italian Restaurant named Villa Libera.
“Do you have camping here?”
“No, but you can spend one night no problem”
“Free! But we start dinner at 6”
So for the price of the finest pizza Pedasi has to offer (with Bacon and Rosemary, made by a real Italian), we camped.
Playa Venao is about 45 minute drive west, and here, the beach town boom has definitely hit. There are giant construction sites popping up everywhere and honestly a huge eye sore. In 2 years we bet this place is going to be a shadow of its former self, so hurry up and get here before everything turns into expats and cocaine. At the moment there are only a few places to get a few supplies (at absurd prices) and about 4 budget hostels. Selina’s is too expensive (18.50 to camp!?), Eco Venao is too far from the beach, La Choza had an MIA reception and Venao Cove is perfection.
About 3 times a week the vegetable man drives through town, the fish man comes on Fridays and if you are lucky the langostina man comes on Saturday. Some of the best seafood we have had on our trip so far, we roasted them over the fire.
Every day we surf, and everyday we get better. This beach is perfect to learn on. The mentality here, at least off the big break, is less competitive. We met some really amazing people here, including a couple from Brazil and Argentina who were so encouraging with us to Surf. They would make everyone go out at once, get everyone surfing a party wave and yell Spanish encouragements from the beach “ VA CANADIENSE! GO GO GO!” Really boosts the self-confidence.
We have offered our services and Brett has designed them a light up surf board sign. Now we stay for free with a few other bonuses.
This is a baby Boa we found in the sign
We’ve had a really good crew of people to be with here, including some old friends from other Panama locations. Eventually we’ll likely all leave together at least as far as Panama City.
The beach here is run by Ridgebacks, an amazing yet giant breed of dog that has basically taken over the local breeding pool. Their family tree is quite complicated and is the basis of most conversations. There are 4 main ones that live here now, and follow us everywhere. This is Linda. One local dog (small to medium size) gave birth to 13 ridgebacks. EVERYONE SURVIVED.
Paperwork update – we’ve had a few set backs. We’ve had to make the trip into the city 2x now, and hopefully not again until the end. We hope, but again based off experience… we are afraid to think about it too much. A plan has slowly been hatching that if the paperwork doesn’t work out, and then we’ll just move here permanently. See ya later!