Iglesia de San Francisco de la Montaña

Veraguas Province

This simple stone church, built in 1727, contains nine elaborately carved altarpieces, including the ornate main altar of ash and cedar. Although most colonial altars in the Americas were brought over from Europe, this one was carved by local indigenous people. The eight side altars contain images of the crucifixion and the Virgin Mary with saints as well as portraits of the artisans themselves and prominent indigenous people. Their faces are inserted into religious scenes and onto the bodies of cherubs.

The Retablo de la Pasión de Cristo (Altarpiece of Christ's Passion) includes both symbols with a religious significance – a chalice, a wine pitcher, a pelican piercing its breast to feed its young, and a skull – as well as items with special meaning for local people (three dice, a Spanish sword, a lantern and an hourglass).

The church's original belfry, used by the Spanish as a lookout to monitor the indigenous people and slaves, survived until 1942, when it collapsed without warning.

Nearby Veraguas Province attractions

1. El Salto

18.03 MILES

The impressive waterfall known as El Salto lies about three hours southeast of Santa Fé along a 4WD road that is usually only accessible during the dry…

2. Cerro Tute

18.84 MILES

With excellent open views of the valley, Cerro Tute is home to the area’s famed bird life and features a cliff blasted with up-currents that seem to…

4. Feria de Santa Fé

19.66 MILES

The town's fairgrounds are where all important events and celebrations take place.

5. Alto de Piedra

20.19 MILES

There are three waterfalls in Alto de Piedra northwest of town. Though you can visit on your own, access can be difficult and affected by recent weather…

6. Río Bulaba

20.26 MILES

There’s a lovely swimming hole on this river about a 20-minute walk from town. Head northeast along the road past the Coffee Mountain Inn on the way to El…

7. Cascada de Bermejo

20.28 MILES

An excellent half-day road and trail walk (five hours round trip) leads to this tall waterfall with a delightful swimming hole in the dry season. Follow…

8. Azucarera Nacional Ingenio Santa Rosa

20.77 MILES

From mid-January to mid-March this sugar refinery 15km southwest of Aguadulce processes more than 6500 tons of raw sugarcane daily. The process involves…