fbSafari Surf Panama — Thermal
Accommodation
Private rooms
Duration
7+ nights
Nearest major airport
Alonso Valderrama Airport (CTD)

Hidden treasure

"Unique surf spots on both coasts with minuscule to no crowds in the water. Super friendly local people and gorgeous beaches."

The surf

Peak swell
Variable swell
jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec

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!

The lodge

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.

Restaurant

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.

Activities

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.

Location

Getting there
Fly to Chitré Alonso Valderrama Airport. From there, transfer to our hotel. It's a two-hour drive.

"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.

Sustainable philosophy

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.

Languages: English, Spanish
Response rate: 100%
Response time: Within 24 hours

Choose your accommodation

Our beach suites are comfortable beachfr... more
From $448 / night
These beach suites are comfortable beach... more
From $480 / night
If you prefer your private accommodation... more
From $499 / night
This is the perfect option if you prefer... more
From $531 / night
For dates and accommodations not listed, or if you want to book further out

Questions?

What's included?
Seven nights accommodation at the Villa Marina hotel, wifi, bike rental, daily breakfast and surf package of your choice (Intermediate or Advanced).
What's not included?
Flights, airport transfers, alcoholic beverages, lunch, dinner, extra activities at the hotel.
What's included in the Intermediate surfer package?
2-hour surf session daily in the morning with all equipment included, use of all surf equipment anytime during your stay, three video review/analysis sessions with our surf coaches and complimentary s... read more
What's included in the Advanced surfer package?
One daily boat trip to various hidden surf spots with local surf guide, three-day trips via 4X4 with surf guide to the best surf spots for the current swell and tides (lunch, beers, waters, sodas & sn... read more
What's the cancellation policy?
Cancel and get a full refund within 48 hours of purchase, or at least 90 days before the trip starts.
Risk-free booking
Cancel any trip within 48 hours of purchase for a full refund.
Change of plans? No worries. Cancel any trip within 48 hours of purchase for a full refund, no questions asked.
Best price guarantee
If you find a lower price for the same trip, we’ll match it.
Booking with Thermal never costs more. If you find a lower price for the same trip, we’ll match it.
Connect directly
Speak to the team on the ground, instead of a travel agent.
Instead of a travel agent, we connect you directly to the team on the ground for the answers you need.
Exclusive experiences
We have a roster of amazing, one-off trips in the works.
Each week brings something new to discover. We have a roster of amazing, one-off experiences in the works.