Santa FeJanuary 16, 2020 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 79 °F
Located at about 1400 feet in central Panama, Santa Fe also has a perfect climate. There's no need for aircon or heat. I read about a restaurant in the lonely planet guide book that is owned by a Khmer woman. She has a small hotel with the restaurant attached and that's all I needed to know.
There's an amazing garden on a hill overlooking the best view in the valley. She grows herbs and spices and peppers for her restaurant and there's a lot of flowers and trees with a path you can walk through.
It'ss misty in the morning and evenings and hot and sunny during the day and again it's cool at night with a beautiful breeze coming in from the Caribbean. Every day there's a rainbow at some point. We were pretty much in heaven because of this and the fact that we could walk 10 ft to an amazing Cambodian dinner each night.
The roads and paths are pretty steep here and we did a lot of hiking up and around the neighboring villages. We tried to climb to the top of a nearby mountain but the path was so muddy we couldn't. You need to buy those knee-high rubber boots all the farmers wear. Apparently they're more for snakes than the mud. So we found a neighboring trail through the cloud forest instead. It was lush and green and again, no bugs!
But the highlight was probably the horseback ride. We used Jungle Cat adventures for a three-hour horse ride and crossed three rivers and went even farther up into neighboring villages. It's a company owned by Lizzie, who's originally from Botswana but she's lived in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and New Zealand before settling in Panama.
And we met lots of nice people from different countries at our place. This town probably looks like what Boquete looked like 30 years ago. That's a tourism and retirement town we're going to soon. But right now Santa Fe is still a cowboy town with rural campesinos and a few foreign visitors. And that makes it pretty special.