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“Rustic cabins up the hill from the Venao beach”
Review of Eco Venao

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Eco Venao
Ranked #1 of 1 Playa Venao B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 27, 2011

We booked a private room with shared bath but the room was so depressing that we upgraded to a private cabin with a bathroom.

The first option was cheap (US$25) and the cabin was only about US$50. But compared to the other places we stayed as we zigzagged around Panama, this was the worst value for our money.

Unless you are travelling alone and on a very tight budget, avoid the private rooms. The cabins do have ocean views from high on the hills as well as air conditioning, but they are a long hike upwards from the restaurant.

The restaurant did offer good food at more or less reasonable prices (i.e. they did not abuse their monopoly power) as well as wifi for $5 a day. However, the manager changed the password, then took off for the beach, leaving laptoppers unable to connect.

I would give special kudos to one of the hotel managers. My wife is terrified of frogs and went into a panic at the thought of hiking back to the cabin from the restaurant in the dark. The manager was nice enough to drive us up the hill at night to our cabin.

The beach is a short walk away. It is not a good tanning beach as it is full of crabs scurring about. It did look like a great beach for surfing though.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Maskotas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicholas N, General Manager at Eco Venao, responded to this reviewResponded January 15, 2013

Dear Maskotas,
Before responding to your comments I must apologize for our very tardy response. I am sorry that the private room in our Eco Lodge was not to your liking. I must say it is perhaps a matter of taste as we do have recurring guests who are very happy with those rooms but I am pleased that you were able to find another one of our rooms satisfactory. In our experience most of our guests have found our lodging options superior to other options they have found in Panama, but again, this is certainly a matter of tastes, and I absolutely respect your opinion, and value your feedback. You may be interested to know we reinvest every cent back into our project.
Most of Eco Venao is indeed on hilly terrain, which is what allows our houses to afford the most stunning views of the bay of Playa Venao. Our model is one of shared use for our beachfront land - the guesthouses being positioned to afford maximum privacy and tranquility. We are very proud to be a low density project.
I am glad that you found the restaurant food good, and the prices reasonable, as we strive to provide affordable delicious food for our guests. Until very recently the only internet in the area was available through a satellite connection, which was very slow. Luckily now there are other options and we are happy to offer all our guests free internet connection.
It also pleases me to know that our staff was able to assist in sparing your wife the need to face frogs on the way back to your cabin.
Playa Venao is renowned as one of the best surfing beaches in Panama, the crabs and other little animals that live on the beach are part of the local ecosystem, which we pride ourselves in restoring and protecting. For tanning purposes we now have recycled surfboards as lounge chairs, which should avoid having to share your spot with crabs.

Kind Regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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177 - 183 of 250 reviews

Reviewed December 18, 2011

Very nice place, great chef though he is a perfectionist which is good. Only complaint is that you have to cross the street with your boards so its not on the beach. The surf break is a good walk from where you get on the beach so keep that in mind. Its very hostel-like so don't expect a nice family place. Perfect if you are 25 or under. I would stay at El Sitio which is on the beach if you want a little more luxury. Rubens restaurant next to El Sitio is also very nice place to eat.

Room Tip: most rooms are shared. communal bathrooms.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Elan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2011

My plan was to stay for 2-3 days at the Eco Venao, and I ended up to stay 8 nights and had a hard time to leave.
The hostel is a great place with good vibes and all sorts of guests.
The staff is really nice and the ladies, who are responsible for the cleaning, are working a lot to keep the rooms proper from the sand.
The 8-dorm bed has a lot of space and clean.
There is a guest kitchen, but I recommend you to eat at Aldo's Restaurant. He's a fabulous cook, which is open to any kind of special dish. Moreover, he's a good entertainer and can bring the guests perfectly together. Aldo's food was the best one I ate in whole Panama.
The hostel is build on a small hill, 4 minutes walk and you can reach the wonderful beach.

The hostel offers you everything, from surf rental, food to washing your clothes and dry them in just one morning!
However, if you're planning to cook for yourself, buy already some food before Pedasi. The village has a supermarket, but the offer is really basic and don't expect too much of fresh food.

The location and buildings of the hostel are brilliant. Everything made out of wood and the landlords created a protected area for monkeys, birds and deers. There is as well the possibility to have some nice walks around these area.

Last but not least, there is the option of working in order to have a free stay. Just ask the friendly hostel staff.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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Thank Daniela B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2011

We stayed in the Mango House but the hostal and the cabanas also looked great. There's an incredible mix of people here-- backpackers, surfers and luxury guests, too, of all sorts of nationalities. Mango House is stunning-- an open-air house that sleeps at least four people. Full kitchen, two bathrooms, two bedrooms, and main living and dining area with views of the ocean. The restaurant is exceptional, with fresh local ingredients all at a great price, and about twice per week local farmers bring their truck to the door to sell fresh fruits and veggies. We didn't get to try to yoga classes on the beach, but we did ride horses (recommended!), surfed, sunbathed, bodysurfed and hiked. We also drove the half-hour or so up to Pedasi to get a boat out to Isla Iguana, which was a real treat. Everything here feels so remote and natural, but the accommodations also feel very luxurious, which is quite a treat. Nico, the general manager, and Aldi the chef are great people.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank lizzardbethg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2011

I think some of these people must be travel journalists or aspiring to be. I'll try o write this so someone will believe it's a traveler and not an owner. I've been to eco venao twice. On both occasions I stayed in the Mango house. It was beautiful. The whole place is great. Well worth the price and the trip.

Stayed: May 2010, traveled with friends
Thank malibusey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2011

My boyfriend and I recently went to Eco Venao with the intention of staying 3 days. Two weeks later we reluctantly packed up and left. We could have easily and happily extended our vacation in Panama and just stayed there. Waking up to the howler monkeys in the morning was a treat! It signaled time to get up and go surfing for my boyfriend and time for me to roll over and sleep some more until I got up and went to the thatch roof restaurant for cafe' and breakfast or go down to the beach for morning yoga in front of the surf or even get a massage. This was simply the most relaxing and adventure filled simple vacation I could have asked for. The staff walks around with a smile on their faces all day.
The restaurant "Bobore" serves up the most delicious food, 3 meals a day. As an option there is a guest kitchen to cook in, if you are not in a private house. The private houses are lovely and breezy, comfortable and some are very upper class vacation homes.
The trails around the property takes you through the jungle where the monkeys laugh at you from the trees while winding along a river and ending up at a water fall. This is just on the Eco Venao property. The Venao beach is pretty secluded. It's a long stretch in a bay which lends itself to barefoot strolls, surfing and swimming when the tide is right. Simply put I cannot recommend this place enough!

Room Tip: all budgets can be accomodated
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  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank ahhhhrelaxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2011

Stayed at Venao with my wife and 9 month old and enjoyed every second of it. The staff are super friendly and helpful and the accommodation was superb especially for the price.

The beach is just a minute walk where you will find a great surf spot to boot. Venao offers an excellent restaurant as well as a cool hang out spot.

I wouldnt hesitate to recommend this spot to any type of traveler.

Thank you Venao

Stayed: February 2011, traveled with family
1  Thank monkeytrot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Eco Venao

Address: Carretera Principal | Playa Venao, Playa Venao, Pedasi 0000, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Los Santos Province > Pedasi > Playa Venao
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Playa Venao
Price Range: $19 - $121 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
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Also Known As:
Eco Venao Hotel Pedasi

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