Home Cover Story Santa Fe de Veraguas, the New Natural Paradise that Attracts Expats from...

Santa Fe de Veraguas, the New Natural Paradise that Attracts Expats from All Over the World

Located on the Veraguas highlands, Santa Fe is an authentically Panamanian town where you can find lush green hills that stretch towards the horizon. It is a region where you find friendly people and traditional style houses with angled wooden roofs. A place where the international community has been growing and is diverse. North Americans, Europeans, South Americans and South Africans, among other nationalities, have chosen to live here.

Photo: Elizabeth Wilkinson

A Quiet and Serene Life
Life in the isolated but vibrant city of Santa Fe is calm and serene. The warm and humid climate as well as the amazing biodiversity that surrounds this place are relaxing and exciting at the same time. This is one of the reasons that attracted Elizabeth Wilkinson who, after living 3 years in Bocas del Toro, began to long for the open spaces, the cool weather and a more rural lifestyle like the one she had in her native Botswana. Upon arriving in Santa Fe, Veraguas in 2016, found what she was looking for, a quiet town, rivers with crystal clear waters, access to the Caribbean and plenty of space to explore.

Likewise, Micaela Schmidt from California, arrived in Santa Fe with her husband who grew in this region of Veraguas. She expresses that the environment, the clean air and the cool climate are what attracts her the most to this paradise full of greenery, as well as the fresh and natural food that is produced locally.

Photo: Micaela Schimdt

Here Expats Grow and Feel Surrounded by Family
Expats who live in this region love how friendly the locals are. Their timeless culture remains intact and they are happy to have expats from all over the world who have made this town their home. Some have built their dream retirement houses and others have created small businesses, from farming to online freelancing to hosting Bed & Breakfasts.
Elizabeth Wilksinson says she always feels safe, even when hiking alone on the trails, and this is because the local people are so welcoming and willing to help. This makes her feel at home and has motivated her to learn Spanish better and talk more with her Panamanian neighbors. Micaela Schmidt was surprised by the sense of community of the local people when having foreigners, a positive attitude far above other communities where expats reside in Panama.

Photo: Elizabeth Wilksinson

Santa Fe, Full of Comforts and Opportunities
Restaurants, bars and shops are located here, the Internet service is reliable and Santiago City is Just one hour away by car. Buses run between Santa Fe and Santiago frequently, providing safe and affordable transportation.
The expat community is dispersed, since many people live outside the Sant Fe center. People stay happy, busy working in their homes, gardens and caring for animals. Some have integrated into the local community and have opened their own businesses mainly in tourism. This is the case of Elizabeth Wilkinson who was a competitive rider in Botswana and found the central highlands of Veraguas the perfect place to ride world-class horses. This allowed her to open a horseback adventure tourism company called Horseback Panama. For her, it is the best way to reach some of the most beautiful and remote areas of Veraguas.

Photo: Micaela Schimdt

Micaela Schimdt and her husband, who is a tour guide, opened a tourism company called Isthmian Adventures in 2008 in Panama City, but they moved it to Santa Fe de Veraguas when they acquired a property in the surrounding area, allowing them to save a lot of money on rent and utilities.

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