Dear Luke and Leia,
Do you know the way to Santa Fe, Panama? We do! This weekend we took a break and found the way into the cooler, beautiful mountains that are the country's backbone, running down the center of Panama. Santa Fe is located about an hour north of the turnoff at Santiago, which is a town on the main highway about 2 hours outside of Panama City.
The scenery of mountain terrain in this part of Panama is breathtaking. The road winds around the hills, and it lures you to the mountains off in a distance, following a meandering river trailing upwards to its source. We loved how the mountains seem to poke out of the plains with such a rugged, majestic beauty. Each curve of the road built our excitement.
We stayed at a nice hostel we stayed at in Santa Fe and even had our own cabin. It had some beautiful gardens too.
We checked in and set out with our friends to explore the area, then walked down the main street in the village and veered off onto a dirt road. We came across several homes of the locals in Santa Fe, but the best thing we saw was this misplaced phone booth that looked like one out of the 60’s and just didn’t belong in the surroundings. It was a working phone too!
Next thing we saw just past the phone booth was a footbridge across a wide river. It might have looked to be overkill for the little river, but it wasn't. During the rainy season a sudden flood of rushing water could wash a smaller bridge away, leaving all the farmers stranded and unable to sell their produce at the local markets.
The beauty of this trail was incredible. It started leading us up a mountain and we felt the incline in our legs. Then, as we approached a bend in the road, a local cowboy came towards us driving a few cows along the trail. It was really cool to see them at work.
Swimming in Santa Fe
By the time we came up to the river again, we were sweating. We soon saw an inviting swimming hole, but the access was across the river and down from a waterfall that plunged about 20 feet into the swimming area. It didn’t look too bad to cross and the heat of the day was taking its toll on us, so we crossed. Our friends Farieda and Linda crossed over, and then Nana and I were next.
As we reached the fast-flowing area of the river where the water plunged downward over the rocks, it knocked Nana off her feet. I jump in just ahead of her and wedged my legs between the rocks to prevent her from going over the edge. The force of the water was so strong that Nana could do little to fight it. Farieda and Linda help me pull Nana up to safety and the only damage was a dented polarizer filter.
Organic farming in Panama
The next day we visited a local organic farm to see how they grew their foods. But the owner was amazingly inviting and wanted to show us her success with the orchids. The family invited us to stay for lunch as we readily agreed. The people are so warm and friendly here in the mountains of Panama.
We finally had to end our trek in the mountains and head back home to Panama City, but there was a local church in the town of Nata that we wanted to see on our way. We had heard it was gorgeous and thought that since it was on the way, why not? The church did not disappoint at all. The paintings and artwork lived well beyond its billing. We are so glad we took the time to visit.
That’s all we have for now. We miss you two and hope you are doing well.
Nana and Pap