Vista Cañas Nature & Book Retreat in Playa Venao, Panama | VISTACANAS.COM
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Vista Cañas Nature & Book Retreat in Playa Venao, Panama | VISTACANAS.COM

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about cañas & playa venao

The mountainside where the Vista Cañas Nature & Book Retreat will some day be perched is located halfway between the tiny community of Cañas and the popular surf community of Playa Venao.

This section of the Azuero peninsula offers a variety of landscapes, fascinating wildlife and abundant activities—mountains, jungle, farmland, monkeys, birds, beaches, surfing, fishing, hiking and more.


Cañas is a “corregimiento”—the smallest administrative subdivision—in the district of Tonosí and the province of Los Santos along the southern tip of the Azuero Peninsula. It’s population has hovered above and below 1,000 over the last several decades. Don’t blink as you drive through it or you might miss the two fondas (outdoor restaurants) and tiny market.

Cañas’ claim to fame is Isla de Cañas, a national reserve with a 14 kilometer stretch of beach that is the seasonal nesting ground of the Olive Ridley sea turtle. Although not technically an island, getting there does require the help of locals in boats. When the season hits, a guided tour of the mangrove and turtle nesting grounds is a must.

Playa Venao

About 10 kilometers up the road in the direction of Pedasi is the surf “town” of Playa Venao. At its center is a three kilometer long crescent-shaped sandy beach that offers some of the best surfing on the Azuero Peninsula. The waves are bigger in the center and calmer on the outer edges making it an ideal surfing spot for all skill levels—and the perfect place to boogie board, SUP and wind surf.

Playa Venao is a peaceful haven in this crazy world—even at its busiest, it’s blissfully uncrowded. It is home to a small eco resort, a few hostels, several restaurants and shops, and a handful of boutique hotels.

A trip to the grocery store requires a drive (or bus ride) to the quaint town of Pedasi, 34 kilometers down the road.

You can read more about Playa Venao in my Playa Venao Guide.

Those who will stay at Vista Cañas will have access to two virtually private beaches—Playa Madroño and Playa Raya—known for their surfing, lack of crowds, and natural beauty.