Oh my, I didn’t realize this post was never published. Please accept my apologies and enjoy!!
We celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary by spending one night at a resort in Playa Venao, about an hour’s drive from our “Slice of Heaven”. We’ve often visited Venao, and in fact stayed there for a couple of nights in October, 2015. Venao is a large cove on the southern tip of the Azuero Peninsula. The scenery is simply spectacular, with black sand beaches and palm trees. The atmosphere is serene and peaceful, with the predominant sound being the crashing of the waves. In fact, area has long been recognized as one of the most popular surfing areas in Panama.
When we stayed there in October of 2015, the area was just beginning to be developed. We were told a company from Israel had purchased the entire cove and had big plans for developing it. The resort in 2015 was the only place to stay overnight (other than surfer camps and hostels). The story is not the same any more. The development of the cove has taken off with the construction of several more resorts, condos and small homes. We looked into several of the projects, but they are already priced out of our budget, even while under construction.
Playa Venao is truly one of our “happy places” and this celebratory visit was no different. We settled on the El Sitio Resort and had such a wonderful, relaxing time, we plan to return this October.
Getting to Venao is not easy. It’s about a 7-hour drive from Panama City, and about an hour to an hour-and-a-half or so from our Slice of Heaven. Since we own our car now, we didn’t have to take one of the local buses, nor a rental car. We packed up and headed out Wednesday morning (after I opened my anniversary present: literally the prize from a bag of cracker jacks 🙂 )
We arrived, after a long drive on a road full of paved-over potholes, exhausted and desperately in need of adult refreshments. We visited one of the newer developments, Salina, on the recommendation of our Panamanian friend William. However, the “vibe” wasn’t quite there for a couple celebrating 37 years of marriage. (In fact, this particular resort caters to a much younger audience – I doubt if any of the guests were even 37 years old, much less married for that many years!) As Jim says, “a younger, bohemian atmosphere, but a really nice resort”.
We then headed over to El Sitio Lounge and Restaurant, where we finally got to enjoy those adult beverages. While relaxing and enjoying the scenery, we decided to check out the condos associated with El Sitio. The very accommodating desk clerk showed us a second floor unit and we promptly fell in love with it. Jim wanted to rent it for the month of October right then and there, but I wanted to at least look at the options in the development nearby called Blue Venao. After making contact with the Sales, and then the Rental office, we made our way over to the designated meeting spot: the Beach Club at Blue Venao, to wait for our contact to meet us. Before we even received our first adult beverage, we were asked to move our car since it wasn’t parked in the right place. We asked if we could move it after our appointment and received a negative answer…it had to be moved NOW. So we promptly moved our car…back to El Sitio where we rented the condo for the whole month of October.
Back at the hotel, we checked into our ground floor room, with french doors that opened onto the terrace with a hammock, swimming pool and the beach. The room was very comfortable, with a stocked refrigerator, microwave and more. There was a sign indicating yoga classes take place on the beach every morning, but neither of us participated.
We spent the rest of the day simply enjoying the peace and beauty of the area…and each other. I found a few seashells, but not many. The El Sitio staff is very friendly and accommodating, the food is good (except for Jim’s dinner that evening. He ordered Pad Thai -and when it came, it was not the typical dish served in the US, but it looked awesome!)
We retired to lounge chairs on our terrace after dinner to do a little star gazing, with a really cool app I recently downloaded, call Skyview. All I did was point the phone’s camera to the sky, focused on a few different stars, and here’s some screenshots of what we saw that evening.
We headed back to our Slice of Heaven the next morning, after a delicious breakfast. We are really looking forward to coming back to Venao for a whole month later this year, and most especially looking forward to planned visits by friends!! However, there are several new adventures awaiting us as visit the Dominican Republic and then return to the US in May.