Panama’s New Highland Hideaway

There’s a highland village in Panama you probably haven’t heard of yet—a handful of North Americans are only beginning to establish a bohemian community.

Pines and flowering shrubs, beautifully paved roads and neatly painted houses, where no-one locks their doors and everyone has reliable Internet. And, the climate is wonderful.

In the province of Veraguas, the little mountain village is called Santa Fe.

The drive there from the provincial capital of Santiago—just an hour and 15 minutes away—is a breathtaking glide over rolling hills with a postcard-perfect mountain backdrop. Residents here enjoy sleepy village life and outdoor activities that showcase the rugged natural setting.

Go horseback riding, birding, hiking, inner-tubing…or have a “spa day” at one of the many swimming holes or waterfalls. The Santa Fe National Park is always worth a visit and El Tute organic coffee farm is one of the best places to take visiting friends and family.

In this video of my recent trip, I’ll show you footage and photos of the scenery that has captivated the hearts of the expats living here.

The tiny expat community is growing slowly. New arrivals tend to be the adventurous bohemian sort; people who want a quiet, simple lifestyle and who enjoy living like and among the locals. The village is so small that everyone seems to know everyone. There’s no need for last names—the butcher is Geraldo, the guitar-maker is Orlando, the pizza guy, Ed and his baker wife, Maureen.

Not only are people on a first-name basis, but they’re friendly to all, locals and foreigners alike. You will get a greeting from every single person who passes you on the street or walks into an establishment. It’s just that kind of town.

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