Things to do in Santa Fe

The following articles feature activities you can do in Santa Fe Panama. For activities organized by Hotel Anachoreo, please go to ‘Our Tours‘ section.

Waterfalls and rivers
Santa Fe is surrounded by impressive mountains and streams, a valley of waterfalls. There are numerous rivers and waterfalls within walking distance of the town where one can enjoy a refreshing swim: El Salto, El Bermejo, and Alto de Piedra to name just a few. We have maps and route descriptions to guide you there.

Santa Fe is home to several rivers, most notably the Santa Maria and Rio Bulabá. Clean unspoiled rivers that offer a refreshing swim. You can find plenty of good swimming holes and walking paths along the river bank.

One popular way to enjoy these pretty waters, is to rent an inner tube for $7.00, and float down the Rio Bulabá & Santa Maria until you reach the beginning of town. The trip lasts about 75 minutes and passes through a series of rapids, and ends at a footbridge over the Santa Maria. It is possible to continue, the next disembarkation point is the main bridge into Santa Fe, 2 hours further down. Next to this bridge is a bar, El Puente, where you can enjoy  a cool beer before heading back.

For inner tube rental, contact William Abrego (tel. 6583 5944). His rental place is about a mile outside of town.

Hiking, bird watching and horseback riding
Close to Santa Fé lies the 70.000 hectares Santa Fé national park. This pristine tropical forest contains all the rare animals and plants to satisfy any nature lover, including the jaguar, harpy eagle and over 300 types of orchids and about an equal number of bird species. You can hire a guide in the village and explore the park on horseback or conquer the unknown on your own. This is a literally unexplored wilderness, with very few maps available.

Fortunately there are plenty of interesting sites on the edges of the park that are more accessible. Consider for instance a trip to Cerro Tute, the highest peak in the area. During this 10 kilometer trip you get to see plenty of tropical flowers, orchid, birds and butterflies, plus an amazing view from the top. The unpaved road that leads you there is well maintained all the way. Plenty of other options are available, from short 3 hour hikes to full-day programs.

Tour guide Cesa Miranda (Avonturas Césamo) can take you by foot or horseback to this largely untrodden area. Cesa is one of the most knowledgeable tour guides in Santa Fe, as well as the most reliable. In spite of many attempts, he never mastered the English language, but that does not discourage him from communicating with hands and feet to get the message across.

If you like to arrange a tour with him, tell us and we call him to come over to discuss the options with you. He usually charges around $25,- per person

Off-road enthusiasts can rent a serious all terrain vehicle with driver in town and explore the many native communities and natural treasures that lie hidden in the jungle. The most well-known trip is to the village of Calovébora on the Caribbean coast, a 40 mile long off-road challenge, especially during the rainy season. The rewards are unspoiled sandy beaches and surfing waves. We can arrange a 4×4 vehicle for you with driver for prices of around $200 per day. A trip to the Caribbean will cost you in the range of $500. Learn more about the tours we offer in-house at the ‘Our tours‘ section.

Coffee Tours
Santa Fe is home to the locally produced coffee, Café El Tute, which is run by the local farmer’s cooperative. We brew this rich and flavourful coffee in our hotel. The tourism cooperative in town offers tours of a local organic coffee farm, followed by a guided tour of the coffee processing plant. Tours  cost around $5 per person and can be arranged by contacting the Tourism Cooperative at 954 0737, but it is usually better to show up early morning in person.

Organic farm of Chong and Maria
A popular tour is a visit to Chong and Maria’s farm, two native Santafereño’s who decided to farm organically many years ago. On a relatively small area near the Santa Maria river they produce an amazing number of fruit, vegetables, rice and potatoes. Tours usually include lunch made from their organic produce.

Casa de Orquídeas
Santa Fe is well known for its orchids: the area is home to more than 300 species. The annual orchid festival in Augustus draws a small but dedicated crowd of botanists to Santa Fe. The main organizer, Bertha Castrillion, grows an innumerable amount of orchids at her house, which you can visit on appointment.