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playa venao

Selina - best people

Running from Playa Venao – where the map ends.

Each story and adventure has its beginning and its end. After many perturbations in the job, while living in a jungle without possibility for any other better option than being a receptionist or a bartender, we decided to leave. So why is Playa Venao and probably most of the other ‘paradises’ a good place to rest, but not to live?


Remote village is like one organism

It’s like going to a big restaurant, or visiting any medium size company. Playa Venao has 150-200 locals, and everybody knows everybody. People talk, gossip and spread rumors about everything. It’s like having this annoying old lady from the house in front that tells your mom what time you came back home. This lady is everywhere!
Any examples?

  • Your boss rebuking employees for what they said/did on the party in another restaurant.
  • Old ‘kissing-ass’ employees inciting new ones to report later what they said to the boss.

Living in a place like this is a struggle:

  • You can go shopping once per week on Saturday morning, almost 5h in buses both ways to spend in the ‘city’ up to 4h.
  • Yes you can surf after work, you can also spend a lot of money in one of the 8 restaurants, but that is all.
  • You better don’t get bitten by anything, because you won’t make it in less than 1-2h to any hospital for an antidote.
  • t is hard to relax as you have to check your bed/chair/hammock before using it for any type of spider/scorpion/snake. Same with using anything, like a kitchen, it looks like this. Come closer, check under the table, chair, oven, dishes and any space you cannot see from the standing point, than proceed with whatever you want to do. It sounds silly but this is what locals told me to do. If snake hides next to the wall, he will feel attacked if you will stand next to him and won’t give him a way to run. Then if you are lucky and you have a helicopter, you will be transported to a hospital for a 1000$.
  • Running from European/US racism? Choose wisely, some places may shock you.. This is what I have seen in a couple of places:
  1. Israeli people
  2. Europeans/North Americans
  3. Latino Americans (without Panamanians)
  4. Thick layer of shit
  5. Panamanians together with dogs as their living conditions are often similar

I won’t point here companies that have been doing it like this, and not all of them are so bad, however I have never seen such a racism before. Some investors are coming to Panama not because of its growing economy, but because they can treat people as they want. You can make a business in Panama without being smart, it is enough to pay people much less than they want or need, and charge customers for using Panamanian earth while destroying it to make more profit.

Those are the reasons I wouldn’t recommend Playa Venao to anybody.

I won’t describe more as I’d feel disgust blacken this place in Internet just because I didn’t like it. You have to know that customers like this beach- most of those things you cannot see from the outside and some of them you don’t want to. I know that it is not like this everywhere because people who have been quitting jobs every week (literally every week somebody was leaving) have been talking about good places in Columbia, Peru or Costa Rica.

Maybe it’s a good habit to read about a place before going to vacations? Who and what do we support with our money?


Selina - best people

It is all about people

It always was. Paradise can be a hell, if wrong people treat others in a wrong way. Best regards and good luck to every nice person I met there, to everybody that decided to run as we did, and to everyone that decided to stay. Best regards to people from Selina Hostel – Brandy and Antonio who make this place awesome. The most positive bar on the beach that saved my life and my memories from there. Good luck to Dean – The Lost Alaskan! and many others, see you in a better place, where people value what is really important: not money or their inventory, but other people.


Good luck, see you around the world, and meanwhile I’m going to Panama City!

Turtles in Panama

Time flies fast in Panama – turtles and surfboards

“When I was fifteen, all I wanted was to go off to some other world, a place beyond anybody’s reach. A place beyond the flow of time.”

-Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore


Like in every good place where we have fun, here in Panama time runs very fast. It’s been already a week since last post and it seems to be 2-3 days.

Now I have a surfboard! The only one in the area was broken and glued (35$!) however I broke it yesterday 😛 Still worth it to buy. I found a carpenter that may fix it. Fortunately this monkey bought another one so I can keep surfing sometimes!

Ana surfboard  - Panama



We also had an amazing night when turtles tries to leave the sea, we found them between people in the bar and everybody tried to help them by carrying them back to the water 🙂



Turtles in Playa Venao - Selina - Panama

Apparently this event was very rare as locals were asking us for the photo and where did we see it.


Turtles in Playa Venao - Selina - Panama




Turtles in Playa Venao – Selina – Panama

I found out that it is very important to have a hobby in a place with such a small population, far away from the city. It might sound like a paradise, but after some time we miss diversity in our everyday life – at least I do. Maybe it is easier for people who grew in rural areas, for such a townsman like me it was a shock. So I also started playing guitar again, hopefully it will show some effects pretty soon.



Buses in Panama, Transportation, Traveling

Traveling from Panama City to Playa Venao

Buses in Panama, Transportation, TravelingTraveling in Panama can be tricky, a specially if we want to change between buses or any other type of transportation which has a schedule. I Europe where I’m from everything is more or less on time. Few months ago I had a chance to visit Budapest – Hungarian capitol. Metro was coming every 3 min with no delay. So how does it look in Panama?


Panamanian Transportation – Traveling

Panama is a small country and so the infrastructure should be easy to make. Everything is in theory connected with the Panama City, however often we have to change for other bus to arrive somewhere. We have a variety of ways to travel from place to place. We can rent a car, travel by public buses, ferries or private transfers including hitchhiking. It’s important to consider the length of your travel to don’t waste too much time, and eventual stops.


Buses between cities leave often every hour between a morning and afternoon. Prices are small, for over 300 km I have paid 9.70$, it was with an air condition and TV. If you think like I did that 300 km in a bus with an average of 80km/h would take around 3.5 – 4 hours.. you are wrong. Prepare yourself for rather 50km/h or less. It took me 6.5h to travel from Panama City to Playa Venao.
Tip: Take with you some warm clothes, temperature in my bus was lower than in the fridge.

Domestic flights

Locals told me that there is only one domestic airline: Air Panama. As you can imagine, prices without having any competition are very high. There aren’t also too many domestic airports around, Air Panama flies to Bocas del Toro, David, the Darién, and some islands in the Guna Yala and Pearl Island archipelagos. I would suggest this type of transportation only if your time in Panama is very limited.

Car rental

This is a good option, many companies can offer quite low prices starting with 9-10$/ day for a small car, ending on 60-80$ for a big van. Fuel is also very cheap in Panama, so count your money and think won’t it be easier to pay 70-100$ for own car for few days, instead of spending hours in buses or each time 2-10$ on a taxi. Only for traveling from Tocumen Airport to the city and back we’ll spend 60-80$ if we won’t take a public bus.

Private Transportation

Rent a bus

We can rent a small bus for us, which will take us in any destination, which will of course cost but we won’t take any risk of being late: just enter and relax.
Tip:Every bus has included 1h of stop during the travel, so you can take some pictures or eat something in a restaurant on your way.

Take a local bus

I’ll write about those in another posts, but remember that if you are not on the starting station be sure to be there before time and be ready to wait even 30min. Cheap and always late, but with a great local atmosphere.


Most of people will stop and take you, a specially in the rural areas. Sometimes there might be no car during 30min of waiting, but unless its full it will stop for sure. It’s also a great opportunity to learn some Spanish and meet locals. I wouldn’t recommend it if we have any schedule for our trip. No risk no fun 🙂


If you want to see one of the Panamanian islands and you didn’t or couldn’t choose Airlines, you should consider a boat. Here you can find one of the companies and its schedule: Sea Las Perlas.


Be ready to stay in a small city during a night or take a taxi for sometimes even 50km. Local buses are often going once or twice per day, so if you will be late for the last one like I did, you’ll have to pay. I took a bus at 11 from Panama City, arrived in Las Tablas at 17 and last local bus was going at 13.. Adventure! 😉


Panama City – Playa Venao

Take a bus from the bus station (Albrook Bus Station) to Las Tablas (to save money take a bus at 8!). Than in Las Tablas you will catch a direct private bus to Playa Venao. If you will be late, you can take one to Pedasi and change there for Playa Venao or take a cab. Taxi from Las Tablas to Playa Venao should cost between 35$ and 40$.