Article on David

Joel found a good article about David. You can read it at

It looks like the article is about three years old, judging by the comments. The airport expansion is now finished but there are still no direct flights to the USA. If there were it would be convenient for those of us who travel to the USA, but it would also bring in more people and probably raise prices which might not be a good thing. The article was right that David is a booming area, and is probably is even more so now. There is a new bus terminal under construction, and a mall that is supposed to rival Albrook in Panama City. There are houses and commercial buildings under construction everywhere you look.

I believe tourism is encouraged even more now under President Varela’s administration. Tocumen airport in Panama City has a large new wing and yet another is under construction. There are more flights to more destinations every year. There are also more flights from Panama City to David from Albrook, and also from Tocumen now that Copa is offering that service. The article is right in saying David is not a tourist destination. It is a busy, working city in an agricultural area but there are so many wonderful places in Chiriqui that it’s a great home base.

Under fast facts at the bottom, the temperatures only reach upper 90’s at the height of summer, around March. Most of the time the highs are in the mid-80’s which though too warm for some, aren’t bad as long as you stay out of the hot afternoon sun. At this moment it is 4PM and the temperature on my terrace is a balmy 82 with a light breeze. If you prefer something cooler you can go up the mountain until you find the elevation and climate that is just right for you.

Anyway, good article. Check it out if you want to learn more about David.

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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8 Responses to Article on David

  1. ME BE in Panama says:

    Good piece, but it does seem dated at this point. As for the David International Airport, it can already lay claim to the title, if not the expansive meaning of the term. From my former career in aviation, I can attest that Enrique Malek in David is nowhere close to certification for U.S. or European flag carrier operations, and will not be anytime soon. The approval rests on upgraded instrument landing systems, the associated infrastructure for that, airport security, improved customs screening, an additional runway and much more. I’m no expert on airport construction & engineering per se, but the needed improvements are likely in the billion dollar range, at least. What should happen, but probably won’t, is a new airport from the ground up.
    Thanks, Kris! Thanks, Joel!


    • Is this Byron writing? Thanks for your opinion. It sounds like there won’t be flights to the US anytime soon, if ever. It’s probably more feasible to continue flights to PTY and catch international flights from there. If they did spend a billion+, would it pay off? I don’t see how.


  2. Rudy Neufeld says:

    Read the article. All sounded good or okay until I got to “high humidity and temps in upper 90’s.” I suppose, worst case, that’s the time to travel elsewhere or return to the States.

    Still, it does seem David may be a good place to settle in first. Less adjustments to “Panamanian culture.” I’m willing to give it a go.


    • I just responded to another comment about the heat here. I think summer in Florida is much more uncomfortable than the weather here. When it does get hotter in the summer it’s also drier because that’s the time when it doesn’t rain. And, an AC unit is easy to get if there isn’t one already wherever you land. You can always give it a try, and if it isn’t working you can move and try something else. I know someone who started in Boquete (too cold), then came to downtown David (too noisy) and now is happy in a residential neighborhood in David. But, wherever you go keep in mind that flexibility and patience are called for because it’s all Panamanian culture, many things are done differently, and in Spanish.


  3. Ken Kimsey says:

    I saw Joel’s posting when you sent me a list of blogs by ex-pats in Panama. Very interesting.
    A question keeps coming to mind as I read about the heat: how widely used and available is air conditioning in David?

    Having grown up in Miami and lived in Atlanta for many years, I can’t easily imagine living without a/c, especially during the Georgia summers. For this reason, I’m especially drawn to the relative cool of Boquete and other highland towns. But I like the idea of living in a city. For me, Panama City wouldn’t be practical, given that I want to live more economically than in the U.S. But, David has a certain amount of appeal.

    I know you’re a Florida transplant. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about a/c.

    Thanks again for the list of blogs. I was familiar with most of them (largely because of your various mentions I’ve seen on your blog), but I did discover a couple of blogs that were new to me.


    • Yes, AC is widely available here, some window units and many split units like these The part you see is inside, and the compressor is outside. We couldn’t manage without AC in Florida either. We would try to keep costs down but as summer drew near it was impossible to be OK without it. Here though, we rarely use our AC. I’m happy with temperatures in the 80’s as long as I’m not out in the sun. When it gets hotter in summer it’s also drier because there is no rain for months. We spent our first summer in David without AC and did fine except for a few of the hottest days when we took more showers and sat in front of fans. Our house is also surrounded by trees which helps a lot, and we painted the roof white which made a difference. Come and visit, and you might find it’s not as bad as it sounds. And, there are options between David and Boquete if you want an elevation a bit higher.


  4. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    Good article with the usual measure of foreigner errors. The 145,000 population is not the town of David but the district of David as reported in the 2010 census. La ciudad is about 85,000. And the statement, “an internationally-renowned mountain paradise (Boquete)” seems like a phrase from Panama Real Estate, the real reason for the blog. When discussing medical costs, “And, since the Panamanian society is not a litigious one,”, they failed to mention that law degrees are the top income producers for the universities.
    Moving to the mountains for with much cooler temperatures and less rainfall is half true; the rain and humidity in the mountains must be experienced to be believed.
    As is common with all profit-based blogs, they left out the intermittent nature of services and infrastructure common to much of Panama.

    I’ll take David over the highlands or Panama City any day.


    • This is why we need people like you who have the real information!
      Anytime I see the word “paradise” I figure they are trying to sell something. The water is never out and there are no potholes in paradise.
      I know there are tons of lawyers here, but are the medical people in fear of being sued like they are in the US? I know there so much is done to cover the backside and I haven’t seen that here.
      Less rainfall in the mountains? ha! I missed that one. Lots of times there is more rain, and fog, and humidity, and wind up there than down here.
      We are happy in David too. It’s good though that in this small country there are so many options so people can find a spot that suits them.


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