Why David Panama Should Be On Your Radar

David is the capital of Chiriqui province which is in far western Panama, next to Costa Rica. It usually ties for the second largest city in Panama with a population of about 170,000.

David has a developed infrastructure yet a much lower cost of living than other places in Panama. Tour clients are renting furnished houses or condos in the $350 to $650 range in David. You can buy a new small house for as low as $50,000 in David

David has an international airport and a major bus terminal with connections throughout Central America. You can even catch a bus from David to the Caribbean side of Panama. With your Pensionado discount, it is only $10.60 to take a bus from David all the way to Panama City (a 7 hour drive) or go to San Jose Costa Rica.

There are two large private hospitals in David plus a large modern public hospital. Every specialist is available in David, including cardiologists. You are never more than 15 minutes away from a 24-hour hospital in David.

The city has several shopping centers and malls. In early 2020, the Federal Mall with 400 stores will open. There are two movie theaters with movies in both English and in Spanish (about $2 for a movie).

There are also countless restaurants (with air conditioning), bars and casinos around the city.  American fast food restaurants are readily available in David too.

You’ll never be far from a 24-hour grocery store.  There’s a daily farmers market with fresh fruits and vegetables.  And there is an amazing fish market with fish that was just caught that morning.  David has car dealerships, furniture stores, clothes stores, electronic stores, wine stores, gyms, office supplies, fabric stores and much more.

For you sports enthusiasts, there is even a huge new baseball and soccer stadium in David.

Everything you need is available in David and it’s all so close. Because public transportation is so good, you could get by without owning a car.

David is an ideal location only 30 minutes to the beach or 30 minutes to the mountain town of Boquete.  You can fly to Panama City in about 35 minutes.  David is 45 minutes to the Costa Rica border.

Panama Rentals
beach community near David

Sport fishing is nearby in the Gulf of Chiriqui with fishing trips from the marina in nearby Pedregal or Boca Chica.

David’s climate is in the 90s during the day, so you will need air conditioning (or a swimming pool). Evening temperatures get down to the mid to high 70s.

Several churches offer services in English.

There are weekly expat get togethers in David too.  US military Veterans get together for lunch every Wednesday.  Of course, there is the live music and dancing available at multiple venues too.  And don’t forget the Panamanian fairs and holidays.  There is always something to do in David.  Estimates are that 1500-2000 expats living in David plus you’re a short 30 minute drive to Boquete where there are many more expats and daily social activities.

david panama central park

In the last couple of years, there has been an explosion in both commercial and residential construction in David including retirement communities.

Jackie Lange

Jackie Lange is the founder of Panama Relocation Tours and lives in the highlands of Boquete Panama. She has helped thousands of people relocate to Panama.

Reader Interactions


  1. Dan Hammack says

    Many people, myself included, don’t like extreme heat or humidity, and David, Panama has both. I think very few would find it a comfortable place to live.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Dan, the 170,000 people who live in David absolutely love it. And many people love living near the 1500 miles of coastline in Panama too. However, I agree with you completely. I don’t like hot weather either. That’s why I live in the mountains at 4600 feet elevation where the weather is in the mid-70s during the day. There is something for everyone in Panama. During a Panama Relocation Tour, we show all the VARIETY of what’s available in Panama. And you should know, that even when you live in the mountains in Chiriqui province, you will likely go to David at least twice a month so it’s good to see what’s available in David.

  2. Eva Montalvo says

    Jackie, we took your tour many years ago and spent a little bit of time in David. The climate sounds very similar to what we have in south Florida in summer (but mixh more affordable), and for us it’s livable. Plus being in a bigger city with a decent-sized group of expats, will give me the option of teaching yoga (if I decide to have a business)! We will put this on our list to explore when we visit Panama again within the next year or so. Thanks so much for all the information you share!

    • Jackie Lange says


      Yes, David is really improving a lot. There is a lot of opportunity there

  3. Kate A Waters says

    I am scheduled to come in January 2020, and I would definitely like to see David. I am not big on super humidity either (prefer the 80’s), but no place has everything. And I am interested in a more active retirement with plenty to do. I am even interested in Panama City. I am keeping an open mind and like the fact that we will be exploring various environments.

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