A Local's Guide to Playa Venao

A Local's Guide to Playa Venao

Photo by Sapir Cosa

Tell us about yourself in 3 sentences
Hello girls! My name is Alexia, I am 29 years old, I was born and raised in Paris, did all my studies in London, and I am currently living in a small beach town in Panama, on the Pacific coast, called Playa Venao.

Your work and passion?
I have always been passionate about fashion, but more specifically trend forecasting & buying for multibrands & concept stores. I have now opened my own beach boutique here in Playa Venao, called Merci Venao.

What is your relation to this city?
I arrived in Playa Venao in August 2019, so a bit more than 3 years ago now. I came here for a work/holiday/experience trip with Selina (digital nomad hostel chain in the world). What was supposed to be a 2 month trip turned out to be a game changer life experience. It was instantaneous. Love at first sight for this super wild, black sanded beach. It just clicked. From the first week I got here, I just knew there was no turn back. My life was about to change drastically, and for the best.

Best experience?

Wow, it would be impossible to only list one. The friends and community I met, the immensity of nature and its animals, the ocean and its waves, the opportunity to open my own business, it's a combination of all these that make Playa Venao so unique.

Photo by Katherine Barker

Your top 3 hangout spots?
La Barca for your sunset drinks on the beach. Swell beach bar for the best latin parties, good vibes, and delicious coktails! La Playita (avoid week-end), a paradisiac hidden beach a few min away from Venao.

Favourite restaurants?
Sol Venao for a healthy and delicious breakfast, offering smoothie bowls and cold pressed juices! Coleos, delicious israeli/asian fusion food for lunch. Motek for your 4pm sweet craving! La Quincha, panamanian/spanish fusion restaurant!

Best date place?
Los Naufragos, a restaurant located in Eco Venao hotel. Delicious food, menu changing every day using only fresh and locally sourced ingredients! All in wood, hidden in the jungle of the Eco Venao hotel, super romantic!

Photo by Sapir Cosa

Best Sunday spot?
La Barca, or Blue Beach Club to chill around the pool!

Where do you go shopping?
Homies Surf for a very cool LA vibe, you can shop brands from LA while drinking a coffee and eating a bagel! For all the rest... Merci Venao! Come and say Hi to me, or my store manager Veronica!

Where is your escape place from this city?
When you are not in the mood to see anyone, just escape to Playa Cambutal, 1h away from Playa Venao, Another gorgeous surf beach, but without the tourists and the developments! Best place to recharge, eat a fried fish on the beach under a rancho, and drink a local beer!

Photo by Sapir Cosa
Best 5 local advices?
1) Playa Venao is 5 hours drive away from Panama City, you can either rent a car (Autos Panama), book a shuttle (through Panama Heavens) or take a 40min flight (Air Panama).
2) Almost all businesses accept card payments now, and there is an ATM on the beach but often being empty quickly, I would recommend bringing cash.
3) Don't be shy and Surf! Even if it's your first time. Playa Venao has amazing conditions for both beginners and pros! You can book your surf classes either at Shokogi (ask for Gigi!) or Safari Surf (ask for Trico!)
4) If you are looking for quiet nights, I would recommend you to stay at Eco Venao Hotel to avoid any noise disturbance! We love to dance, have fun and enjoy life in Playa Venao, especially on weekends ;-)
5) Come, relax, enjoy nature, the surf, and the beautiful community living here!

What’s your favorite This Way product?
The baby sunscreen! I'm addicted to the texture and the smell.
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