Not far from the Costa Rica border, under an hour in fact, Panama's third-largest city can be found. David, which is a bit of a curious name, is found on a coastal plain in the west-Panamanian Chiriqui Province, of which it is the capital. It's about 275 miles from David to Panama City, and you can either drive or fly here. Serving as a travel hub of sorts, David Panama offers the Enrique Malek airport, which accepts flights from the capital, as well as from the country's Bocas del Toro region. If you are driving here from Panama City, the Pan-American Highway will help to make for a pretty easy trip. David Panama might be a bit low on attractions, but you just might very well end up here for a day or so. It's a prime jump-off point for adventures and tours throughout the Chiriqui Province, and hanging out at the new city plaza, known as Parque Miguel de Cervantes, is a nice treat for just about anyone. Found just 25 miles from David Panama, is the popular vacation destination of Boquete, which is surely worth checking out if you are in the area, if not for the Baru Volcano alone.
David Panama is in big part a market town, serving as a center for the region's rich farming industry. It was founded in 1602 under the Spanish governor, Juan Lopez de Sequeiro. Before the Spanish arrived, distinct population groups were found to be living in the area, some of which were pretty isolated. These groups had their own languages and cultures, but surely the Spanish would impress their Christian values upon them. A subsequent Measles epidemic wiped out many of these native groups, with the NgÖbe-Buglé people being among the only surviving group. Coincidentally, the NgÖbe-Buglé are the country's largest indigenous group, though they exist in much smaller numbers than they once did. In the latter part of the 1600"s, and also into the 1700"s, pirate attacks would become a big worry for those living in the Chiriqui Province. In 1732, a tribe known as the Miskito attacked David, taking what they could and leaving only a raging fire behind. Come the 19th century, David Panama saw a wave of incoming North American and European farmers, who found the nice area climate to be alluring. Descendants of these immigrants can still be found working the land, turning out choice coffee, fruits and vegetables.
Nowadays, visiting in Panama will reveal a very similar
trend. Only now, the North American and European
immigrants are coming to invest in Panama real estate.
Nearby Boquete in fact, has been deemed one of the top
retirement destinations in all the world, and there is
no shortage of foreign investment in and around David.
It can get quite hot on the coastal plain here, so if
you are visiting in David Panama, you can always head
to one of the nearby beaches to cool off. You can
always head to the aforementioned park to cool off when
visiting in David Panama, as the trees there provide shade,
while vendors supply the cold drinks. If you are
traveling with the family, you might coincide your trip
to David Panama with the yearly Childrens Day Festival,
which takes place in July. It's surely a top
family consideration for Panama festivals.
If you like surfing,
you might look to go visiting in David Panama, as the
waves found nearby can get pretty rambunctious.
Perhaps you can stay at the Morro Negrito Surf Camp, which
is one of the more interesting David
hotels, offering great all inclusive packages.
The David Panama nightlife also helps to bring visitors
in, and when it comes to food and entertainment, you will
find the city to again prove rewarding. Speaking
of the David Panama nightlife, the Fiesta Casino is open
around the clock, featuring table games and slots.
If you want to catch an American movie while visiting
in David Panama, you might head to one of the two movie
theaters found in town. If you want to go birding,
you might head to the Refugio de Vida Silvestre (Wildlife
Refuge), where you can also view other native wildlife.
David Panama might not be the country's best or most beautiful city, but it is nonetheless able to offer some interesting things to do. Since it is such an important travel hub, it has been doing a lot of growing up in recent years, especially as Panama tourism begins to find itself on the world radar. If you can, try visiting in David Panama during the middle of March, when the Feria Internacional de David is going on. This week-long festival is quite an interesting affair, featuring products from international countries, as well as a heaping spoonful of Panamania folklore. It's truly something to experience if you get the chance.