What Does a Tourist do in David?

David is a working town. This is a mainly agricultural province, and the city of David is here to support the needs of the people living and working in the area. It is a great place to live with goods and services to meet all your needs. But, it is not a tourist attraction.

Martine, a French lady and one of my blog followers, spent a little time in David and we made plans to get together. Aside from visiting the downtown park and driving around a bit, what were we going to do? I did need to visit a Panamanian friend though, and I thought this would give her a look at the life and home of a local lady.

My friend Elizabeth is a lot of fun. She has parrots, plants, flowers, chickens, bees, fruit trees, medicinal plants, and is a wealth of information about plants, local food, where to shop, and all the things you would expect of a life time resident of the area. She is descended from a Danish man and an indigenous Panamanian woman on one side of the family, and a Spanish couple on the other side.  This day her sister Emma was also there. This was our first time meeting but we quickly became friends too.

We had so much fun! Martine speaks English well and understands quite a bit of Spanish, so with a little translation help now and then we were all able to get along very well. Since we were having such a good time, we decided to all pile in the car and go up to my house. My neighbor across the street was out so she also got involved in the conversation. Since she is a bilingual English teacher, communication was even easier all around. My friends love plants, so the first thing they wanted to do was walk around my yard and see what I had growing. We thought about going down to the river but nobody was wearing good footwear, and they needed to go home after a while because Elizabeth’s son was coming over.

Most of these photos are Martine’s, so thank you Martine for sharing all your photos so I could use them on my blog! 🙂

We headed back downtown and dropped off my friends. By now it was getting to be lunch time, and we decided that maybe lunch at the beach would be a good idea. Another friend, Tito, is always up for a ride to the beach and lives on the route out of town, so we stopped by to see if he wanted to join us (which he did).

It was a nice drive through the countryside, and we talked and laughed talked so much that the drive went quickly. In this area there is a lot of sugar cane, rice, and cattle, and everything is green and beautiful in the rainy season.


It was a Tuesday and we had the entire beach area all to ourselves. There is a little restaurant and they only had fried fish but it was really good! They take the whole fish (they said it was rabalo), make some cuts in the thick part so it will cook evenly, and as far as I could tell they just toss the whole fish in oil until it is cooked. It was great!

But like all good things, the time eventually came to head back and call it a day. We had so much fun that we plan to get together again on Sunday and go to Boquete to hear Joel’s band. Well unfortunately, not Martine since she has traveled on now, but we will think of her and send pictures.

Apparently, when you don’t know what to do, you hunt down some Panamanian friends and have a great time doing not much of anything. It was such a fun day! Martine and I got along wonderfully and she really enjoyed having a day with people after days and days of traveling alone. And, she also got a taste of life as a resident rather than a tourist. Since she is considering living here later on this was good. She has to keep working for a few more years but hopefully there will be other visits to Panama before then.

And, something totally unrelated… we have a metal roof on this house, and I heard what sounded like a heard of animals running around on the roof. I finally went outside to see what was going on, and spotted this iguana. It saw me and froze as flat as it could to the roof, but I was still able to catch it with my camera. You can just see him left of center, pointed out by the pink arrows.


Sunday is my birthday and I’m looking forward to another fun time with my friends, this time with music and dancing. Life is good in Panama!


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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28 Responses to What Does a Tourist do in David?

  1. Laureen says:

    Another good thing to do in David – find the pescaderia!
    Have a wonderful birthday dear Kris. May all your wishes come true 💫 L & J


  2. Sunni Morris says:

    What great pictures and so good of Martine to let you use them on your blog. I think pictures are always important to mix in with the story, if you have them. Sounds like a great time was had by all.

    And Happy Birthday on Sun! Mine’s on Mon.


  3. Rona True says:

    Iguana wish you a Happy Birthday!


  4. Great post, mi amiga – what a fun day! And John and I wish you the happiest of birthdays today. Another thing we like to do in David is go down to Pedregal and have lunch at the little cafe there. We love being around marinas because we can daydream about having another boat someday 🙂


  5. Linda says:

    Fun day in David! Thanks for sharing Kris. One day I’ll come visit and we can do it all over again haha.
    Sending hugs from Oregon and Happy Happy Birthday wishes! Hope you have a magical day!


  6. Happy Birthday Kris – and many happy returns of the day!
    Enjoyed reading this post – sounds like a very good day was enjoyed by all of you.


  7. ME BE in Panama says:

    Good piece, Kris, hello to Joel and happy birthday! We’ll see you in a few months.


  8. jim and nena says:

    Hi Kris, Happy Birthday!
    Great post, this is what Panama should always be like (and also why we are worn out after our visits). Since Nena has family spread all over we get to see about every different part of Panama there is, beach to mountain. However, regardless of surroundings, the best part is the people.


    • I definitely agree about the people! It’s a beautiful country but it’s the people who make it such a pleasure to live here.


      • jim and nena says:

        Oh, about that iguana. They fall asleep in the trees, and having the brain the size of a pea, they fall a lot. Since they have a skull like a coco, they seldom get hurt. I was on the golf course in Venezuela one afternoon, and we thought someone had hit a basketball into the trees above us. After hitting every palm on the way down, it thumped near us and laid there. Just about when we were thinking about walking over, it BLINKED, rolled over on its belly and crawled back to the same tree.
        Not bright animals, but extremely durable. 🙂


        • LOL yes, I’ve seen them fall out of trees too. We don’t have trees over the house so I’m not sure how this one got there, but it managed to jump off into the bushes eventually.


  9. Carole says:

    Love the post and pictures, nice to meter different people. We are leaving Bocas Del toro today, nice place to visit but not live. We are taking a bus back to David then switching to a bus to Puerto Armuelles, staying 3 days there. Then we will be back in David for 2 days. It would be nice if we could get together before we leave, would love to see the area you live in. Would it be possible for the man that got you the house to show us some houses for rent in the outskirts of David to give an idea what is out there? Happy belated birthday, hope it was a memorable one.


  10. Great post Kris and happy birthday. Loved your account of the day and the look into daily life there.



  11. Yolande Scotland says:

    This story felt like a trip back home (therapy for me)- the girls getting together on the beach which you had to yourselves and eating local simple fare nearby. Just like Motserrat where I grew up.


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