David On a BudgetIn the Pacific West of Panama, David is the capital city of Chiriqui province. The city's population of almost 150,000 is among the wealthiest in the country. There is a well established middle class and unemployment remains low in the area. The area has grown rapidly in recent years with growing commercial and banking sectors. The city is well connected to the rest of the country by the Pan American Highway.
Chiriqui province continues to grow as a tourist destination, and David has expanded its tourist facilities to meet the growing demand. There are a range of hotels in the city including a couple of backpacker hostels.
The temperature in David stays relatively consistent throughout the year. Average highs in January and February are in the mid to high 90s Fahrenheit. Average highs in September, October, and November are in the high 80s Fahrenheit. The rainy season is from mid April through mid December and the dry season is from mid December through early April.
SightsOne enjoyable day trip from David is to visit the Los Pozos de Caldera hot springs. These hot springs can be reached by taking a Caldera bound bus from the David bus terminal. Just tell the driver you'd like to go to the hot springs and you'll be let off about an hour later. From there, its about a 2.5 kilometer walk on a paved road to the entrance.
NeighborhoodsCentral David is laid out as a grid. The streets are numbered and easy to navigate. Most residential areas are in the outer parts of the city and are made up of detached single family homes. The population density of the city is relatively low. In the center of town, buildings are usually between two and five stories high.
The northern parts of the city are where the wealthiest neighborhoods are found. These areas also have commericial zones with many stores and restaurants.
The Chiriqui province continues to grow as a tourist destination and David is growing to meet these demands. The city's hotels are concentrated in the city center near the banking and business district. The city also has a couple of hostels where backpackers frequent.
In the middle of the city is Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Park. This area is a pleasant place to relax with a lot of shade as well as ice cream and handicraft vendors.
ActivitiesDavid has no shortage of activities for travelers. There are plenty of nightclubs, bars, and a couple of casinos if that's your style. If you're in the city in the early part of the year there are likely to be some festivities around town related to Carnavales. If you're more the outdoor, adventure sport type, then there are many places to explore within only an hour's drive of David.
Food and DiningThere are a variety of different dining options in David. If you're looking for cheap food, head to a Chobeca's Burgers, which is basically Panama's version of McDonalds. They don't offer burgers, however, but instead you'll find Panamanian food that's worth sampling at least once. There's a Chinese restaurant in town as well so if you're looking for something different head to Restaurante Chiriqui. You'll find plenty of other options around town as well so explore and try something new with each meal.
TransportationIt's possible to fly to David from either Panama City or San Jose, Costa Rica. The bus ride from Panama City is about 7 hours and the buses usually stop in the city of Santiago on the way. It's also possible to travel to David from the Paso Canoas border with Costa Rica, as well as Boquete, and Almirante. If you're looking for a more comfortable transportation option and you have some money to spend, you can check out the Costa Rica Executive Transportation, which will offer luxury transportation between David and Costa Rica. They also provide airport transportation.
Once you're in the city, you can travel around David by bus. It's easy to pick up a bus at the terminal, as every bus route passes through there. You can catch a bus by waiting on the side of the road almost anywhere. Simply wave down the bus with the destination written on its window. If you're driving in David, make sure you proceed with caution and remain a defensive driver as traffic can be a bit crazy.