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!