David City Guide
OVERVIEW: The third biggest city in Panama. It is relatively affluent with emerging banking, manufacturing and tourist sectors.
WEATHER: Hot (25-35 °C) throughout the year.
MUST DO: Gamble. I'm not sure why, but there are 3 or 4 casinos in David. Not as many as Culiacan, Mexico of course, but not bad for its size.
SAFETY: It is safe in David. People here seem honest and not too hard done by.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN DAVID: $400 will rent you a two bedroom house near downtown David. Look to spend between the $250-$400 range.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $13.00
NIGHTLIFE IN DAVID: 6/10
Choices are not plentiful; you basically have only one good bar in David: Opium Club. Fortunately, it's actually OK. If you're not into discos so much, there's a bar and casino at Gran Hotel Nacional.
I recommend: Opium Club. Mid-sized club. Always crowded on weekends. You'll be exotic here because any foreigners that pass through David are only doing so to get to or from Bocas del Toro so they never stay long. A high number of guys to contend with on most nights. The David bar scene will seem kind of bush league if you've partied in Panama City, but OK for a small metropolis.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $2.00
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN DAVID: 6.25/10
Chiricanas (girls from Chiriqui) are quite different from Capitalinas (girls from Panama City) The women you'll meet in David are more conservative, friendlier, and more family-oriented. Most live at home well into their 20s and get married young. My advice? Go to a casino bar or the Opium Club (Casino if you are 35+) and look for someone in their late 20s/early 30s. If that fails, hit one of David's strip clubs and shore. If you need to know where or what a "push button hotel" is, it's one of 'dem good problems ;).
***ONLINE DATING: Latin American Cupid allows you to talk with girls and set up dates before you arrive in the country. For this reason, I recommend it.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN DAVID?: 6/10.
Worse than Panama City but better than Boquete. Girls in David are short, sometimes heavier, and with indigenous features. You'll see some good looking girls while at Opium Club, but they'll disappear like ghosts during the day.
If you want to make the most of your time in Panama, you will need to speak some Spanish. Rocket Spanish is the best resource for learning Spanish quickly and easily.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.30 Loaf of Bread= $1.50 Eggs= $2.25 Water (1.5L)= $1.50 Cigarettes= $4.50
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: In David: not much. It's actually quite hard to get a work visa for Panama. And, if you want to start your own business you must hire Panamanians to work at it. Not many desirable under the table gigs as you can probably imagine.
TAXI: No more than $2.00
NOTES: A place to spend the night on your way to or from Bocas.
OVERALL RATING: 6.25/10
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