What can I say about Playa Venao? The place is amazing. We are renting the last condo next to the estuary at the far end of the crescent bay that is Venao. There is an island at the east end that blocks the swells from breaking in the first several hundred meters of the beach. From there you walk west and the wave size slowly increases until you arrive at the biggest surf spot about a half kilometer up the beach. So no matter how big the swell, you can dial up the size of waves you want by walking further from the house. Right in front it’s calm and easy to launch the paddle boards to head out and explore the bay.
The condo is luxurious and spacious with a big patio area facing the jungle between us and the estuary. You never know what’s going to emerge from the trees. The first day while I was paddling, PJ spotted a coatimundi strolling across the lawn. A pandemonium of parakeets keeps up a chaotic chatter in the trees. Not the smaller budgie types but more like lovebirds with green parrot coloration. Pericos they are called here.
The past few days a lone howler monkey has been cruising out exploring the neighborhood. A good sized male. I’d never seen a howler come down out of the trees before. Sunday, I was on a zoom call with a group of friends in California when I saw something moving behind me across the lawn on the screen. I turned and he was casually sauntering on all fours on the grass going towards a large tree by the pool. Yesterday, he ( I’m assuming it’s the same rogue wanderer) was cruising along the beach at low tide and crossed the beach rocks to the island and climbed up a bank and into the trees on the island. The island is only accessible at low tide so I’m not sure if he stayed there or came back before the tide came up.
We’ve been walking around town getting a feel for Venao. Lots of yoga, massage and surf lessons. PJ found some indigenous artisans at Selina and bought a few of the colorful sarongs that the Embera Drua are known for. They are also known for their full body tattoos done with a local plant extract that lasts for a week or so before wearing off much like henna in Indian body art.
We got in a long paddle out front. We hugged the island to avoid any current and stroked past the coast guard boat that seems to always be stationed just on the lee side of the isle. We crossed the bay and followed the shore back to the house. When we reached the smaller wave zone near home, I caught a few rides on the paddle board. The shoulder’s still giving me grief so some day soon it will have to be addressed.
It’s nice having a full kitchen again. I’ve been cooking up some home style grinds and making fresh Panamanian coffee in the morning. Internet is awesome so we make a couple meetings a day. The view out the all glass front wall is a panorama of the ocean, beach and island a few yards away. There’s always some kind of activity going on at the beach. We are paid up for a full month and are excited about settling in and getting to know this area. It is checking a lot of the boxes on our pros/cons notebook for ideal locations.