During my spring break from UC Santa Barbara, my family and I traveled to Playa Venao, Panamá! My family, including my parents and my older brother (who attends UCLA), loves to travel to places that are generally off the beaten path. We always aim to find uncrowded surf destinations with interesting culture, and Panamá definitely fit this description! The capital city, La Cuidad de Panamá is only a six-hour direct flight from LAX – which was really convenient! However, after flying to Panamá, it was over seven hours of complicated driving – and a few wrong turns – to get to Pedasí, the town nearest to Playa Venao. While there are several other excellent surfing locations in Panamá on both the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts, we chose to go to Playa Venao because there are no large resorts nearby, and the surf is known to be fun, uncrowded, and consistent. Upon arrival to La Ciudad de Panamá, we realized that Panamá is slightly more modernized than other countries we have seen in Central America, such as Nicaragua and Costa Rica. However, once out of the city, the Panamanian countryside was very similar to that of its neighboring countries. The house we stayed in, named La Casa Mango, was also reminiscent of other Central American surf lodging. La Casa Mango was almost entirely open air, nestled into a jungle on the hill overlooking Playa Venao. There were plenty of strange insects to be seen, along with tropical birds, geckos, iguanas, frogs, and three varieties of monkeys!
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The big day had arrived- the day of hiking 10 miles to go surf. Once we set forth from camp, the CityWild crew wandered down Las Virgenes road for about half a mile before dropping into the Malibu Creek Canyon. While walking through an emerald green meadow just off the hot black pavement, I turned and asked Adam, “When does the trail start?” With a sly grin he replied, “I don’t know- you’re on it I suppose”.
Underwater photo Tip of the Week from photo contributor, Kelsey Finn…
Experiment with a weight belt. If you are having trouble diving under the surface and staying down, this can make the world of a difference. (But please remember to be safe and use the proper weight for your body, in addition to practicing in a controlled environment.)
Pictured: Acacia Swimwear