Although located on Panama’s west coast, the Playa Venao beach is south facing and is ideal for south swells. When those hits, the result is a fast-breaking, hollow, sand-bottom barrel that encapsulates Central American surf perfection.
The surf is super consistent year-round, but you will find your larger surf from April through Nov. The surf from December through March can get super fun with excellent conditions. Usually, in January, the water cools down to the low 70’s due partly to strong offshore winds.
There are a few other good surf spots within an hour of Playa Venao like Playa Negra (right point), Cambutal (left & right beach break), and a couple secret spots that can be amazing on the right day!
Our fantastic location in Playa Venao, Panama, will have you snuggled right up to the beach, mere footsteps away from the Pacific Ocean. There is nothing like falling asleep hearing the soothing sounds of crashing waves only to wake up to that very same enticing sound.
Our hotel offers comfortable condos and rooms with first-class amenities so that your trip to the beach is always an exceptional experience. Unlike a resort, it is has a more relaxed, casual, and welcoming environment. You will feel like in a great beach house, with a professional service supported by one of the most renowned hospitality companies in Panama and the region. It also has a pool right in front of the beach, awaiting you to watch all the action and an excellent bar and restaurant to satisfy your appetite!
Safari Surf school
During your stay, Safari Surf school will help you with surf lessons, whether you are a beginner or advanced surfer. We will share a passion and vast knowledge for the art of wave riding, a fantastic community, the local people, and the culture behind Safari Surf School. All this while leaving a minimal carbon "footprint" behind. All rooms must be booked with an Intermediate Surfer or Advanced Surfer package - all-inclusive and customizable to suit your ideal surf vacation.
From fresh fruit for breakfast to the excellent catch of the day: we enjoy good, hearty meals prepared by our local chefs, who know their products better than anyone. There are always snacks and light dishes available, and we also have a bar ready to mix your favorite cocktails.
Everything revolves around the beauty of the ocean and nature. When not surfing, try deepsea diving, snorkeling, fishing, or even exploring the Panama countryside and experience their culture and nightlife. The entertainment options we offer have something for everyone, and the surroundings are also ideal for relaxing with a good book.
"Owning and running a surf school in Costa Rica or Panama had never been a lifelong dream. It just fell into my lap. But, growing up on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, I had long hoped to place roots in a peaceful, tropical environment, where I could share my love for surfing with my family and the community.
I have surfed worldwide in places like Australia, Bali, Baja, Maldives, Mentawai Islands, California, Fiji, Hawaii, Mexico, Tahiti, Panama, El Salvador, and Jamaica. However, it wasn't until I bought land in Costa Rica in 1995 that I could fulfill the pursuit of my dream… to live in an area with uncrowded surf and a peaceful lifestyle." Tim Marsh, Founder, and CEO.
Our approach to teaching others to surf is simple: patience and a sense of humor mixed with a vast knowledge of the ocean environment. Our instructors genuinely enjoy what they are doing. Come with an open mind and an open heart, and we guarantee that you will not only learn to surf and understand the ocean, but your entire outlook on life may change as well.
Safari Surf School hires and trains local surf instructors only. We do not "import" other instructors from other countries like many schools do. Being a sustainable, conscious business, we feel this is the right policy for us to adhere to, as guests coming to a foreign country on vacation are looking to interact with the local people and the local culture... it is a "win-win" for everyone involved!
All of our instructors are all International Surfing Association (ISA) trained and certified. In addition, many of our instructors are also certified lifeguards through the Royal Life Saving Society (Lifeguard Certified). Safari offers ongoing ISA and Lifeguard Certified training and certifications to all its staff.
In addition to hiring and training our local staff keeping in step with our sustainable practices and policies, Safari Surf School pays our instructors in dollars, in addition to medical insurance, social security and retirement, and vacation pay. Unfortunately, more than 95% of surf schools worldwide do not pay these benefits to their staff. We are a family and as a family, we take care of our own and make sure they and their immediate family are well taken care of now, and in the future.