You have a few options to get here, depending on your appetite for budget, duration, etc. Here’s a list from most to least expensive. Best options? I usually just drive (rent a car or share a ride), or take a $10 bus from PC-Las Tablas, then catch a cab from LT ($35-40) as that minibus connection can be cumbersome with lots of bags.
- Charter helicopter: ~$3000. Will get you door-to-door from Panama City to Playa Venao in ~70 minutes. The most scenic option for sure. The trip will total around $3000-3500 as the 4-seater (R66) prices around $1250/hour, 2-seater I believe is around $900/hour (you pay for 2.5-3 hours for the round-trip flight even if only flying one-way).
- Charter plane: ~$2300. Will fly you from Albrook Airport (Panama City) to Pedasi Airport in about 35 minutes. The Kodiak can seat about 8 persons + pilot, about 1200 lbs. ~$1300 each way and you need to pay roundtrip even if flying one way. If you need the plane to wait, the extra charge is usually ~$80/hour. From Pedasi, you will need either a hotel shuttle for pickup, rent a car in Pedasi, or hire a taxi ($20 to Venao).
- Taxi : ~$300 one way from PC to Venao. The drive is about 4.5 hours. I’ve been quoted as low as $180-200/one-way (Jose Angel 6231-9913 speaks English) or $200 (Algis 6406-2469).
- √√ Commercial flight to Pedasi: ~$220 RT (per person if traveling in a group of 2). Fly into Pedasi (flights $200 RT), then take a taxi from Pedasi to Venao ($20). More options on how to get between Pedasi/Venao here: how to get from Pedasi to Venao.
- √√√ Commercial flight to Chitre : ~$150 RT (per person if traveling in a group of 2). Fly into Chitre (flights $113 RT), then 1. take a taxi from Chitre to Venao ($45-60) or 2. connect on minibuses (Las Tablas -> Pedasi -> Playa Venao). Detailed directions here on how to get from Chitre/LT to Venao.
- √√√ Car Rental: ~$50. You can rent a car in Panama City for as low as ~$25/day (I believe daily rates are as low as $6/day but you are required to purchase insurance at $17/day). You can also rent a pocket WiFi for $15/day (Thrifty). If you’re only driving one-way (dropping off in Pedasi at Pedasi Tours), be careful as a drop-off fee applies ($145 +7% tax) .
- √√ Shuttle : $40 one-way Playa Venao-Panama City, runs approx. twice a week (there is a minimum passenger requirement for the shuttle to operate). Usually leaves Venao early in the morning. Book with E.T Shuttle +972-54-235-0094 (whatsapp) or +507-6317-7054 (cell)
- Drive : $20 for a tank of gas. If you own a car, drive! I use about 3/4 tank for the round-trip. Directions below.
- Bus : $15 one-way. There are hourly buses to either Chitre or Las Tablas for $10. From Chitre/LT you can catch a taxi ($45-50 from Chitre, ~$35-40 from LT) or connect to a minibus. Detailed directions here on how to get from Chitre/LT to Venao.
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Overview: On a bus you will need to get from Panama City (Albrook) -> Chitre/Las Tablas -> Pedasi -> Playa Venao.
From Panama City, take a bus from the Gran Nacional Terminal de Transporte in Albrook (right outside the Albrook Mall) to either Chitre or Las Tablas for $10.
At Albrook: There will be ticket counters as you enter the bus terminal – the terminal is usually packed with people. The person at the counter can tell you which rotary the bus leaves from. The schedule is below but usually the bus leaves earlier or later depending on when the occupancy fills up. Generally it leaves every hour. The trip is about 3-4 hours with one rest stop. In the entrance area you will need either a card or 10 cents to get through the turnstile. Have small change ready and give it to the man checking tickets as he can scan you in in exchange for 10 cents (He won’t have change).
Once in Chitre or Las Tablas, you can either take a door-to-door cab ($35-40 from LT, $45-50 from Chitre), or connect on minibuses (Las Tablas -> Pedasi -> Playa Venao).
From Chitre: a minibus runs to Las Tablas approx every 7-10 minutes from the same bus station. The trip is about 30 minutes and costs $1.50. The minibus can drop you off at the shuttle stop for Pedasi if you tell the driver. Otherwise you will need to walk as the LT-Chitre bus stop is different from the LT-Pedasi stop. Check map below.
From Las Tablas: The Panama City bus will drop you off at the COOVETRAS bus stop. You will need to take a taxi or walk to the bus stop for the Pedasi shuttle. Check the map below.
From Las Tablas to Pedasi, a minibus runs every 45 minutes. ($2.40/one way). The trip is about 45 minutes. Finally from Pedasi to Playa Venao, there are 7 shuttles daily. If you miss these, you may need to catch a taxi ($20), hitchhike, or stay overnight in Pedasi.
Panama City (Albrook) Bus Terminal
Gran Terminal Nacional de Transporte / Albrook Bus Terminal.
Located between Albrook Airport & Albrook Mall.Map here
Chitre Bus Terminal
Terminal de Transportes de Herrera. Bus to Panama City, Las Tablas, Santiago, and everywhere else. on the big new paved highway, Via Circunvalacion (1km south of downtown, near AutoCentro & Spiegel). Chitre. (996-6426)
Las Tablas to Panama City
COOVETRAS station. On Calle 8 de Noviembre (on Av. Emilio Castro by the big hospital). The bus stop for the minibus to Pedasi is a different bus stop.
Las Tablas to Chitre
Parking area between Mailboxes etc. and Supercarnes
Las Tablas to Pedasi
Located a few blocks from Supercarnes. Minibus leaves from the taxi stand on Paseo Carlos Lopez (the main street) between C. 12 de Octubre & C. Agustin Batista.
Pedasi Bus Stop
Behind Super Centro, across the street from the post office.