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David  //  Chiriqui Province

David is a city located in the west of Panama. It is the capital of the province of Chiriquí and has an estimated population of 144,858 inhabitants as confirmed in 2013. It is a relatively affluent city with a firmly established, dominant middle class and a very low unemployment and poverty index. The Pan-American Highway is a popular route to David.

The development of the banking sector, public construction works such as the expansion of the airport and the David-Boquete highway alongside the growth of commercial activity in the city have increased its prominence as one of the fastest growing regions in the country. The city is currently the economic center of the Chiriqui province and produces more than half the gross domestic product of the province, which totals 2.1 billion. It is known for being the third-largest city in the country both in population and by GDP and for being the largest city in Western Panama.


San José de David (official name) is Panama’s third largest urban area. It functions as a hub for the province’s commercial activities, mainly agriculture and cattle raising and supplies the rest of the country. It is the region’s chief financial center and most national banks have offices here, including international banks such as HSBC. It also serves as a port of exports and imports with neighboring Costa Rica. It is connected to the rest of the country by the Pan-American Highway, and the Enrique Malek International Airport. David is one of the most industrialized cities in the country and is a center of manufacturing, heavy industry and high technology standards and communications. It is also a popular tourist destination due to its nightlife, entertainment, cuisine, shopping and relative proximity to the Pacific coast and the Panamanian highlands.

Location and Geography

David is located in a basin in south central Chiriquí Province between the cities of Puerto Armuelles on the coast and Boquete in the mountains. The city lies below the water break on the David River, at the foothills of the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range. Volcán Barú, a dormant volcano and also the tallest mountain in Panama, is visible from northern parts of the city. David is roughly 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the Costa Rican border and is a vital center for trade between the two countries. Located some 434 kilometres (270 mi) from Panama City.