Santa Fe is the capital of the District of Santa Fe in the province of Veraguas located 56 kilometers north of the city of Santiago.   The town has a population of around 3,000 and lies at an altitude of about 460 meters. The climate is a comfortable 85 degrees  year round with temperatures falling at night to ensure comfortable sleeping under a light blanket.  There are two seasons, wet and dry.  Both are lovely.  Santa Fe lies close to the continental divide just 60 km from the Mosquito Coast on the Caribbean Sea.  A road connecting Santa Fe with this part of the Caribbean Coast is under construction. The Pacific Coast is approximately 100 kilometers to the South on paved roads.

Santa Fe is known throughout Panamá for its orchids. The cool air and pristine forests make the surrounding mountains ideal for hiking and birding.  Parque Nacional Santa Fe, which is the newest of Panama’s national parks, consists of 70,000 hectares of virgin forest.  In addition to the hiking and birding that can be done around Santa Fe, there are many waterfalls, or saltos, which are perfect for swimming in on a hot day. From the center of Santa Fe there are signs and roads that lead you to the different waterfalls and trails.

The Artisan Market in the center of Santa Fe sells the traditional hat, sombrero pintado, which is made from the fibers of a local plant and is durable and inexpensive. In addition to hats the artisan market also sells handmade indigenous style dresses and woven purses, called chakaras, made by local Buglé women.  These dresses and handbags are characterized by bright colors and geometric patterns.

Santa Fe is still off the tourist trail.  The town does not have a bank, ATM or a gas station.   Local businesses and hotels do not accept credit cards.  Be sure to fill up your gas tank and bring adequate cash from one of the many ATM machines in Santiago.

Directions to Santa Fe

Most people fly into Tocumen International Airport (PTY) and take a taxi (cost $25-$30) into Panama City.   Rental car companies offer car rentals from Tocumen International and tend to be expensive.  Bus service within Panama is excellent and cheap and everybody uses them.  The National Bus Terminal is at Albrook Mall.   Buses leave Albrook for Santiago every hour.  Santiago is 3 hours from Panama City.

Santa Fe by Bus.

Buses depart every 30 minutes from the main terminal in Santiago from 5am-7pm. The cost is US$2.90 per person and you pay when you get off at your destination. The ride takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Santa Fe by Car

The turn off to Santa Fe is easy to locate as it is the only car overpass across the Pan-American Highway in Santiago. If driving from Panama City, once you reach Santiago (252 Km from Panama City) you will pass the McDonald’s, a Delta gas station, and then turn right under the overpass. If driving from the opposite direction, you’ll pass Hotel La Hacienda & Casino and then the baseball stadium, which is just before the overpass. Turn left. It should take about 1 hour to drive from Santiago to Santa Fe.

Santiago is 3 hours from Panama City (252 Km), and 2 1/2 hours from David, Chiriqui (190 Km).