Updated: Dec 12, 2022
Most of the areas I'll cover are in Los Santos Province, yet I mainly stayed in the area called Pedasi. There are small villages that are very quaint in Los Santos. I will try to give the exact locations of the areas if you are wanting to visit. I would love to share my information as well if you have questions. Just inbox me.
Before I get into talking about how amazing the beaches are in Pedasi, Panama, let me explain how you can travel there, as it is a bit complicated.
Location: Pedasi, Panama is located between Las Tablas and Venao. It is about 4.5 hours from Panama City International Airport. So if you visit, make sure you do your research.
Ways to arrive in Pedasi:
AIR SHUTTLE: You can now charter a flight, for close to $80. It is used more for a commute for the locals as you are limited on your luggage you can fly with. This service started in mid 2022. I believe this flight takes about 45 min. It fills up quickly, and I believe it is only twice a week
BUS: You can also take a bus, which is around $12. Just know that you may be stuck in very heavy traffic if you leave during rush hours. The day my brother and I rode, we were stuck in traffic for 6.5 hours. The bus also had a flat, and amazingly, the guys who changed the tire, were faster than what you see watching NASCAR! *Be aware there are no bathrooms on the buses.
TAXI: You could also take a taxi which may run around $100.
HIRE AN UBER: Price will depend on the time of day, etc.
SHUTTLE SERVICE: There is Venao Tours that is a private service that would run around $50.
Best site for information: One of the best sites I found for receiving and sharing information is on Facebook. It is called "The Pedasi Post". You have to realize there aren't home addresses in certain areas and there isn't the typical mail delivered to your home. Just to receive mail, you have to have a carrier involved. You can receive packages from out of the US, if you are staying long-term. It usually takes about 8-10 days to arrive, if it is not during the holidays. It will be hard to find business information online like in the US.
So, let's get on with the good stuff - Pedasi!
When I first arrived in Pedasi, I noticed the town was so adorable. It was lined with mulit-colored homes and businesses on the Main Street and was not overpopulated. For me, it was the perfect sized town that was adorned with so much charm and the people were very nice and welcoming. There were tons of expats and lots of people who traveled to nearby Venao to surf. Pedasi is also a great area to see whales, and to go fishing. There were many times I could see whales just off the coast. If you have a pair of binoculars you can see them much better and I would find a place to sit and watch. You can also fish on the beaches. One time, I saw a mahi mahi right in a wave as it was crashing on the shore! It was about 4' from me and it was an amazing site! There is also an island called Isla Iguana that is very interesting. The waters were crystal clear there. It's a beautiful island where you can spend the day snorkeling and checking out the wildlife on land.
Every time I walked Playa Los Destilerados, Pedasi, Los Santos, and Panamana beach, I had a different experience, and vibe. As you walk on the beaches of Destilerados, you will find many colorful cliffs. If you visit, I recommend low tide as there are many tide pools to be found. If you choose to walk the beach, to the left, as you leave the pavement, you will find large rocks that are stunning. There are plenty of iguanas, hermit crabs and sea life.
Another location is a very neat beach that is called Playa Los Panamaes. Here when the season is right, some time in early March, you will find tons and tons of sand dollars. They are just sitting there waiting for you! Make sure to go during low tide, as this is when you will find them. This beach is usually very quiet. I've only seen a few people in the many times I went. Most of the time, I was the only person on the beach. It is a little hard to find, but if you know where Punta Franca is, you will be able to find it. I believe there was service there, so you could easily use GPS.
Speaking of Punta France, it is a fantastic place to visit and have a meal. It also is a great place to stay with many colorful rentals on a cliff. There are two swimming pools and at the restaurant, the views are spectacular! You will see where the ocean meets the shore and it is full of large rocks that give a splendid crash with a splash! Many times it is windy at this location. But most of the time you can sit right along the cliff by the sea or there is plenty of seating inside.
DRY SEASON VS. RAIN SEASON:
Pedasi for the most part was hot, and the temperatures mainly stayed around 85+ fahrenheit. Granted, that sounds like a nice temperature, but when the heat met the humidity, it was a brutal combination! You, for sure, can tell when it is getting ready to rain, as you will be covered in sweat even before the rain hits. I found myself taking barely cool water showers about three times a day to cool down. I do feel I had heat exhaustion on most days as the heat was unbearable and even the locals complained about it.
Dry and windy season runs through mid December to mid April. Be forewarned though that the electricity will go out on a regular basis. Sometimes it is for a few minutes, but other times it is for hours. I found it tends to be more frequent in the dry season. I heard that the transmitters for electricity have to be cleaned off due to the dust buildup and chances of a fire. I'm not sure how true that is, but I did see workers doing this. One thing you will notice in a lot of the Central American areas is that this is the season to burn off debris from the lands. You will find many times while driving, cattle being moved from one field to another. This was so neat and many times the cattle literally stay in one lane. Most cattle hands are on horses, but you will sometimes see them in trucks. It was not an unusual site to find people riding horses to the store. It was cute to see the horses tied up to a pole in front of peoples homes and stores. You will also see barbed wire fencing along most of the roads. Holding the fencing were live trees. During the dry season as the cleaning of the side roads occurred, you will see cuttings of fresh limbs of these trees. They use these limbs to mend the old fences or to make new fences.
On the back roads you'll find red dirt roads. They were generally not maintained. Even the paved roads and bridge were not mainted very well. As for the dirt roads, you will probably see the plumes of red dust that saturates everything before you actually see the road itself. The vegetation, as far as you can see, starts turning brown and dying. In this photo to the right, you will see how dry it is.
In the rain season, the dust quickly becomes red mud. There are usually difficulties driving as there are many pot holes with standing, or rushing water because there are not ditches for water to flow like you will find in other areas. Depending on which area you travel, like the mountains for instance, there is a lot more rain than in the lower laying lands. The rain is very serious at times, which makes it very hazardous to drive.
There are some really fine areas to visit near Pedasi and there are many hotels and ECO lodges. If you are looking for a cheaper version, there are many hostels as well. I’ve found in the areas closer to town it is more expensive, same as it is in most places around the world. The convenience of being closer to town is nice because you have local stores, restaurants and entertainment nearby.
If you like to surf, it's a surfer's paradise in Playa Venao! There are many packages you can buy for surfing school. But, it gets really pricey in those areas for hotels, food and shopping. There really aren’t that many gift shops throughout the area of Pedasi and Venao. It is fairly secluded as it has only a couple of roads to drive in and out. This area is mainly beautiful countryside with farm/cattle land. There are a lot of rounded small to large hills on the scenic drive as well as the ocean. It is so gorgeous in this area!
Another interesting thing I’ve noticed, is that it is rare to find ice machines/makers in refrigerator/freezers. When I would pull a drink out of the refrigerator, it would immediately lose its cool temperature. I had a cooler made of styrofoam, but it lasted no time in the hot conditions. My fix for this- I decided to use the sugar free powders with vitamins added that you can buy in packs from local stores. I would mix them with water, then I would use old gatorade bottles (due to the quality/thickness of plastic), fill them, and stick them in the freezer. I would also freeze water. If it weren’t for that becoming my regular routine, I’m not sure if I would’ve found any relief!