Chiriqui: Panama’s Pacific Coast

Chiriqui’s highlands are deservedly famous, and most visitors heading straight for the province’s cool cloud forests of Baru and Boquete.

Far fewer have explored south or east of the provincial capital, David.

Those who do venture to the Pacific Coast are rewarded with crystal clear waters, secluded island retreats, and miles of sparkling shoreline.

Pedegral: Fishing Charters and Scuba Expeditions

The port of Pedegral is a mere five minutes south of David’s airport.

From here, fishing charters—targeting black marlin, sailfish, wahoo, and cubera snapper—can be arranged for half, full and multi-day excursions.

Full-day diving cruises are also available.

Black, yellow, neon green, red and orange Fiery-billed aracari perched on a branch near Chiriqui Panama

Manglares de David and Playa de la Barqueta

Pedegral is surrounded by the Manglares de David, Panama’s largest contiguous mangrove forest.

This vibrant estuary covers 25 miles of coastline and extends to more than a dozen neighboring islands.

Part of this habitat is protected as the Playa de la Barqueta Wildlife Refuge—an important sea turtle nesting beach.

Cerro Batipa

Cerro Batipa, a hill on the eastern edge of the mangroves, is the only site in the country where Yellow-billed cotingas are regularly sighted.

Other resident species include Cherrie’s tanagers, Orange-collared manakins, and Fiery-billed aracaris.

Coiba Island National Park

For those with more time, multi-day cruises to Coiba Island National Park are available from the coastal town of Boca Chica, one hour southeast of David.

Boca Chica is also the launching point for nearby Isla Boca Brava, a 373-acre island, famous for its forest trails, howler monkeys, and sport fishing.

Tan sloth hanging from a tree branch in National Park of Panama. Photographed on private wildlife tour in Coiba National Park, Panama

Chiriqui National Park

Farther offshore, the Chiriqui National Marine Park protects a clutch of 25 islands and over a dozen separate reefs.

Here you can observe monkeys, sea turtles, humpback whales (July to October), hammerhead sharks and manta rays.

Playa Las Lajas

If you’re traveling overland from Chiriqui to Azuero, Playa Las Lajas presents a welcome diversion from the Interamericana.

Located 45 miles (one hour) east of David and 75 miles (90 minutes) west of Santiago, this wide golden beach stretches for miles.

Here you can swim, ride horses and dine seaside on delectable local cuisine.

La Casa de Artesanal

Before heading on to your destination, stop at La Casa de Artesanal, near San Félix.

Three dolphins sighted on a private boat tour of the ocean around Bocas del Toro, Panama

This cooperative market features the country’s best selection of Ngöbe Buglé handcrafts.

One of our favorite island lodges is found in coastal Chiriqui.

Whale and Dolphin Watching

It welcome visitors to comfortable cabanas and seven crowd-free beaches. Guests can visit the mangrove habitat, island hop, observe whales and dolphins, and fish.

By air, David is approximately 45 minutes from both Panama City and San Jose, Costa Rica.

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