Panama Trip 2016

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Panama Trip 2016

Postby skysareblue » Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:05 am

Planning a trip to Panama in April 2016 (good to finally have a trip to look forward to and plan for).
Been to Peru twice and Costa Rica in the last five years and have surfed (badly) for the last fifteen years but would rate myself decent intermediate.
Anyway, I'm close to 45 now and will be travelling with my missus for a cheeky week away from work and the kids. So I'd like some advice on decent places to stay and surf, which are not too far away from Panama City. Planning to rent a car to be able to get about but don't envisage driving ten hours to Boca or 6-8 hours to Santa Catalina. Any recommendations of place up to 4-5 hours drive. Playa Venao? Thanks.
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Re: Panama Trip 2016

Postby poulet » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:31 pm

There are loads of waves about an hour away from Panama City heading north up the Pacific coast but a car or if possible some kind of 4x4, is really useful (not essential though) to access a couple of the spots. Car rental is not so expensive in Panama though so you can usually pick up some kind of deal.
I saw most spots working on semi-big swell so everywhere was pumping but not sure how good they are with less swell. As the area is near Panama City it can get a bit crowded but if you're not a dick Panamanians are really nice people and vibe is generally chilled. Accomodation can range from usual surf hostels to mega pimping hotels and condos in that area too.
Are you really sure you don't want to go to Bocas? I went with my wife and she loved the place, we went there for a couple of days and ended up staying for a week, its a pretty good couple destination. It has a super mellow vibe with waves all around and you may still be in luck for some hurricane swell in April. You can hire a bike, taxi or quad bike to get to the beachbreaks on Bocas or catch a boat to get to the spots on the islands or reefs. Its only 9hours by bus (wear warm clothing, they pump on the AC and it gets mega chilly!) from Panama City which you can do overnight. Loads of non-surf stuff to do as well as there are natural parks, diving, fishing, good restaurants, etc...
Playa Venao is on the Azuero peninsula which also has quite a few spots too and is pretty beautiful. I personally loved the place but managed to get good surf and was escaping the UK during a particularly wet and flat summer. Its about 6 hours drive from Panama City mind, so not a short drive. With a car you can drive around and check most spots but a 4x4 really opens up your options if you want to explore some of more remote breaks. The Azuero peninsula has a chilled vibe with a few natural parks and loads of colonial villages to check out if you like that kind of thing and always good option to keep the wife entertained!
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Re: Panama Trip 2016

Postby skysareblue » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:50 pm

Hi Poulet, thanks for that great reply. I would love to go to Bocas but thought it would eat into my time there too much. Did u fly straight there from Panama City?
Budget is also a factor. What sort of price range am I looking at for a flight and hotel up there?
Playa Venao looked like a slightly easier option but having never surfed the Caribean Bocas has a strong pull.
skysareblue
 
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Re: Panama Trip 2016

Postby poulet » Sat Oct 17, 2015 4:36 pm

Nah, I took an overnight bus from Panama City. Flights are super expensive normally so were out of my budget. Think the bus was $30 and got you there in the morning, just have to get the water taxi to Bocas Island. Hotel options range from expensive to super cheap depending on what you want, me and the mrs rented a room in a house with a kitchen for about $25 and then hired bikes to get about.
Don't let me put you off Venao though, that area is really nice too. I stayed at Eco-Venao (without the mrs that time but she would have loved the place) which is an amazing hostel tucked in the jungle so you have loads of howler and capuchin monkeys, iguanas, land crabs around. Its about 20 mins walk from the main break with hiking trails and a good restaurant, cannot recommend that place enough. The drive to Venao is definitely 5-6 hours though and almost a day's travel by bus.
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Re: Panama Trip 2016

Postby skysareblue » Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:15 pm

Thanks for that. What about the waves at the 2 places? Do you remember what the breaks were like? All my trips seem to have been predominantly to left breaks so would prefer to invest sometime in head high rights if at all possible.
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Re: Panama Trip 2016

Postby poulet » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:03 pm

Bocas has both depending on where you go, beachbreaks with both, left hand reefs and right hand reefs
Venao is a beachbreak so you normally get to go both ways (from what I remember), think different parts of the beach had lefts and rights
know what you mean about lefts, I live in the land of the left pointbreaks although luckily round my area there are quite a few decent rights too!
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