DAVID & BOQUETE AREA, PANAMA
RECOMMENDATIONS from cruisers & others
Compiled by s/v ARGO,
For latest update:
Originally this was done for David only, but we have added a few
items for the Boquete/Volcan area under the Medical & Dental section
and at the end of this write-up. If not
specified, then it pertains to David.
Land phone numbers are 7-digits and start with a “7”; cell phones
are 8-digits and start with a “6”
Jubliado discounts are for “senior citizens” - men aged 60 and over
and women 55 and over. You’re suppose to have a Panama
pensionado/residency card to present, but we find that if we ask for
the jubliado discount, sometimes they give it to us. In particular,
we’ve received 15% and 20% discounts at the pharmacies (Arrocha,
Revilla, Hospital Chiriqui, Mae Lewis Hospital), Hospital Chiriqui
(mammogram, bone density), Laboratorios Raly, sometimes at Hotel
Castilla. It doesn’t hurt to ask! (Have proof of age with you.)
adjacent to Central Park
Very clean, hot
showers, cable TV, telephone, wifi in rooms, restaurant. $40/night
double occupancy Mon. thru Thurs. Best value are “interior” rooms
w/ window but no view. Nov – Mar is high season. Ask for
retiree/jubliado discount (in 10/10 got room for $30). Telephone
– 3 blocks from Central Park
Similar to Hotel
Castilla – very clean, hot showers, cable TV, telephone, free Wifi
in room, restaurant. $40/night double occupancy (single-bed rooms
may be small). Telephone: 774-9018, 774-9019, 774-9020, Fax
- $78/night - 775-2221
Nice swimming pool
and good restaurants. 4-plex movie theater located next to the
hotel – latest movies in English with Spanish subtitles. Casino
- Approx. $34/night (promotional rate as of Nov. 2008), Wifi -
– brand new, high-end business hotel and conference center. $115
and up for very comfortable rooms and suites. D. Norte St. 2nd East
Ave, Tel. 774-3333, email@example.com.
730-3491, Ave Central between Banco HSBC and Banco Continental.
Argentinean parrilla-style grill. Good steak and
great pizza (pizza after 4PM). Covered outdoor and A/C indoor dining
Country (Tamburelli’s) -
steaks and seafood, great Sangria; indoor and patio dining
– Cafeteria-style restaurant located next to Hotel Castilla. Good
food and excellent prices. 25% discount for retirees. Lunch
includes meat, veg, salad and drink for two for less than $10.
– Good Italian food at medium prices. Located on Pan American
Highway just before the overpass.
– Great Chinese food, best for lunch
– Next to Arrocha Shopping Center; you’ll think you’re back in the
USA! For your fast-food fix there’s Subway, also in
Arrocha next to Conway’s. MacDonald’s, Pizza Hut and
Kentucky Fried Chicken also in David.
– at Ciudad de David Hotel; very nice ambiance, food and service.
– Excellent Lebanese food (probably one of the best restaurants in
David). We shared one of the “samplers” which had about 20
(for both David and Boquete area)
Ask for the
“jubliado” discount if men are 60 or older and women are 55 or older
– see NOTE C above.
The primary medical
centers in David are:
- Centro Medico
with clinic attached. Receptionist speaks fluent English. Tel.
with attached doctors’ offices. This is a larger and newer
facility. Tel. 774-0128
Dr. Manuel Len
In town of Volcan,
See below Orthopedic / Dr. Solis
774-2453 in Mae
Dr. Matt Verstraete, D.C. (“Dr. Matt”)
David and Boquete (about half hour drive from David) in Hacienda Los
Molinos development. HIGHLY recommended by myself and friends.
Works (by referrals only) out of his condo, $20/session. Tel
6754-2569 (new), 6828-8785 (old). firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Matthew A. Holstein
Located across the
street from the emergency entrance of Chiriqui Hospital. Tel.
775-7119, cell 6700-1917,
Speaks English and Spanish.
Dr. Velkys Beitia Montes
775-4646 x 315,
6690-2236 in Mae Lewis
Dr. Franklin M. Halphen
Hermanos Halphen - General Dentistry, Periodonics, Oral
Dr. Halphen and his
staff speak good English. Facilities are very clean and modern.
Prices are extremely reasonable.
Cell: 6673-3563, Email:
Dr. Guillermo Arosemena
General and surgical
dentistry. Speaks good English, very gentle (does cleaning
himself), small hands! 775-1301, 775-1672, near baseball stadium
(Direction for taxi: Estadio Keni Serracin, Emisora Blasch, estuda
“Calva”, 2nd piso)
Clinica de Piel
½ Oeste B
Sur, Phone 774-0032
Dra. Deyla Rodriguez de Vergara
Office in Chiriquí Hospital (main 774-0128, ext.
3120) Cel: 6527-3717
Dr. & Dra. Chen
Supposedly the only
doctors in Boquete - located down from Romero's. They
are "on-call" 24/7, ring door bell or call. Tel 720-2080 or
Family Practice &
Dra. Luz Vizuette (Quiel) (aka “Dra. Lucy”, aka “Dra. Clark” )
Good place to start
for physicals and checkups. Speaks good conversational English,
married to an American. She promptly responds to emails and phone
calls. Located in Mae Lewis Clinic.
Cel: 6612-4293; Lucila is secretary (no English) 775-4616 ext 298
Dr. Espinosa, nurse Rose Marie 6509-0810 or Medico Mae Lewis
775-4616. Speaks English.
Dr. C. de Leon
Arthritis. Understand most English but does not speak it. Located
in Chiriquí Hospital, Cel:6637 8494
Dr. Juan Llerena
Does not speak English. 775-4616, Cel: 6676-3793
Dr. Gabriel Arrocha
Dr. Porfina Quintero
At Mae Lewis, Speaks
a little English. Phone
Cel: 6673-3616, Main at hospital 775-4616.
Dra. Sonia Gordon,
English, at Mae Lewis Clinic
Clinica de Ojos Orillac - Calvo
Ernesto A Calvo
Postal 55-2533, Paitilla
City, Panama, Balboa
Plaza 201 –202, (507) 269-7475, Email:
Dr. Heradio Barria
English. Located across the street from Chiriquí Hospital, Cel:
Surgeon & Trauma:
Dr. Martin Solis (Jiron)
(Tower) 2nd floor. Specializes in arthritis, prefers
more natural approach rather than drugs & surgery. Speaks good
English. Tel. direct 777-8025, main 774-0128 ext. 3125, cell
6430-5506. Email: email@example.com.
Dr. Johny Juan Parra (Montes)
Dra. Lucy took me to
him to get my shingles (“varicella zoster”) vaccination, with no
waiting. $50 (compared to approx. $250 in USA). Don’t know if he
speaks English. At Mae Lewis Medico. Tel. 775-4616.
Dr. Oliver Candanedo
One of the top
Urologists in Panama. He is legally blind with glaucoma. Fluent
English - Very helpful his daughter is a Physical Therapist working
out of his office. Phone 775-1945 Cell: 6623-5037
Dr. Don Guerrero
Located at Mae Lewis
Hospital. Speaks fluent English. Tel. 774-1073
density and other diagnostic’s are given at the Hospital Chiriquí
(preferred by my doctor) and Mae Lewis Clinic/Hospital.
– Modern and efficient, on-line access (by you and your doctor)
to your test results. Supposedly the cheapest price – they have
great specials, discounts and give the jubliado discount. M-F
6:30am-8:00pm, S/S 7:00am-2:00pm.
www.laboratorioraly.com Labs throughout Panama City, too. Two
locations in David:
Laboratorio Clinico Bio-Medico
774-2164. Highly recommended by Dr. Oliver as being
the best in David
and Mae Lewis Clinic also have labs
Dr. Amulfo Guzman
758-9967. Located across from
immigration office and about a block up the street in the clinic
(Clinica Hospital Santa Isabel?). Jo on s/v Mystic Adventure highly
recommended – Dr. injected and prescribed powdered glucosamine
sulfate (1500mg 2x/day, I think) for her painful hip bursitis, which
gave her significant relief.
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(for both David and Boquete area)
Know several people
that have used and recommend her for immigration issues and to
obtain their pensionado/residency; also for real estate
transactions; they like that she’s direct and tells you the way it
is. Speaks fluent English and 2 staff also bilingual. Office in
David. Tel. 6671-6846, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juan Aguilera Franceshi
Know others who have used and recommend
him for immigration issues and to obtain their
pensionado/residency. Office in David but think he comes to Boquete
occasionally. Tel. 775-4967,
Eugenia Pinzόn, with Mossack Fonseca & Co. (a large international
firm). She runs their Boquete office, English speaking, "very
bright and knowledgeable . . . knows her stuff". Don Vidal
building, #15, East A Avenue in Boquete. Tel 720-2256,
Computer repair: Super
Stars Computer. Nima (owner?), who speaks good English, gave a
presentation at Boquete's Tuesday Market - several people in
attendance highly recommended his repair and other services, and as
the place for those hard-to-find computer parts and accessories.
In David, Obaldia Ave. near Rodelag and Romero. Tel. 775-7502.
& Lola Braxton (sisters)
rates to Bocas from David. Very reliable, speak English. Will do
personal shopping for you in David. Toby has a commercial truck
that makes deliveries couple times a week to Bocas on the ferry –
cheap to have her send stuff to you. Also will escort you to Dr.
appts. and interpret for you. And more, just ask. Born and raised
in Texas, has lived in David for 20 yrs.
6617-8629, Lola Braxton 6607-9423, email@example.com
Samuel, 6539-2925. He drives a car (sedan) taxi in David. We,
and our friend's family, use him a lot. He will drive to Boquete,
think he charges $20 or $25. He's taken us/picked us up at the
border (Paso Canoas) when we've done our immigration runs (from
David). Reliable, speaks understandable English. Have used him to
buy bus tickets, take luggage to airport, etc. When he's taking us
around to do errands and waiting for us, we usually pay $10/hr.
(His wife, Rosa, teaches Spanish.)
between Almirante and David:
Javier, 6440-1410. Double-cab pickup truck. $90 one way; $130 round
trip same day, takes you around David. Speaks English.
includes: Rey – large, new supermarket; DO
IT - a Home Depot-like store; Arrocha - a smaller
Target-like store with pharmacy, high-end cosmetics counters, lots
of office supplies, big toy section, great selection of seasonal
Christmas decorations; Lumicenter - for light fixtures and
bulbs; AudioPhoto a nice computer, home entertainment,
electronics and appliance store; SAR – impressive line of
industrial cleaning supplies; Melo – pet and garden supplies;
Movistar – a full service office; Conway - brand new
department store. Across the street is Super-Baru, a large,
gourmet supermarket; and the new, big Novey hardware
which is like Sams Club and Costco but on a smaller scale. You must
join to shop. Have taxi take you, or Toby or Lola (they have
- shoes, sporting goods, book store, small Super Baru market
- DO IT and Novey in/near La Arrocha Shopping Center
(see above). Clustered together on Pan American Highway are:
Cochez is largest, Franklin Jurado is medium size and
Hopsa is smallest.
– surrounding the park are lots of electronics, appliance, clothing
and shoe stores; Revilla and other pharmacies; Romero’s
department and grocery store; Libreria with office supplies,
art supplies, copy/printing services, more; nearby, the Shopping
Center, a 6-story(?) department store.
– Big store specializing in TVs, computers, large and small
appliances (bought window air conditioning unit), housewares,
garden, hardware, and impressively large selection of office
next to Gran Hotel Nacional
next to Gran Hotel Nacional – several theatres, new releases, most
are in English (ask)
COPYING & PRINTING SERVICES
also printing from memory stick. 2nd Ave & 3rd
Calle, near Hotel Alcala. Office supplies.
- great office supplies and services (including laminating): from
Hotel Castilla, cross the street, turn left and it is on the corner
by Central Park (see above)
– was told by taxi driver they have good office supplies and
y Tapiceria Peneco. S.A.
Good source for
Sunbrella and snaps, grommets, high density and closed cell foam
rubber. Upholstery fabrics, etc..
entre Ave. 2da y 3ra Este.
Bazar Tun Tun,
Foam Rubber for
Cushions. Zippers, snaps, grommets, upholstery thread, upholstery
material. Located across the street from the Hotel Castillo.
Xantrax Authorized Inverter Repair
4146 ? Fax: 774-1080,
shop. 775-3859, 775-8433
Starter Sales and Repair
Nelson Mojica –
Sales Manager and I think owner
Good selection of
OEM alternators and starters. Good people to deal with.
Primera Oeste y B Norte
Don Jesus, Local 5, Tel: 774-4515,
About 3 blocks from
Castilla Hotel. Contact is Tomy Man in the Departamento de Pesca
(fishing department) upstairs. Speaks fluent English and Chinese.
What he does not have he can order from Panama City and receive in a
few days. He has many catalogs, including the big Centro Marino one.
(Prices in catalog are PC prices, David prices will be
higher). Focus is on fishing but many boat items are there as well.
Avenida 2da Esta y
Calle C Norte (across from Cable & Wireless bldg; same block as Raly
Tomy's cell is
6207-1421 and his email is
Casa del Turbo”
– injectors repaired, popped, etc. New for most all diesels
Tel. 775-9087, Cel.
– Filters of all sizes and makes, if they don’t have it they will
get it for you.
Tel. 774-5468, Cel.
Lola says there are
two other stores selling boat stuff as well in David.
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(also see Medical &
Dental and Professional Services sections above)
Boquete’s “911” Emergency
telephone is 6477-6662. For crime, medical emergencies,
roadside assistance, language translation (e.g., car accident with a
non-English speaking person). They can dispatch police, ambulance,
fire department or other. Bi-lingual staff. Sponsored by Alto al
El Oasis Hotel
situated along the river opposite town (easy walk across bridge).
Very nice and clean B&B. Standard rooms start at $70/night.
Recently built 2-story “apartment” suites (nicely furnished, full
kitchen, balcony) starting at $110/night, big discounts for extended
stays. Breakfast included. New, lovely open-air restaurant & bar
areas. Anayansi Menendez is owner. Tel. 720-1586, 720-1827.
Vista Grande – 2
apartments for short-term or long-term stay.
We know a very nice Canadian couple, Jim & Lesia, who have a
multi-level house high up on the hill over-looking Boquete town.
They live on the upper floor and have 2 one-bedroom apartments below
that they are just starting to rent out. Each has a full kitchen,
wifi, TV/DVD, balcony, washer/dryer available. There are fold out
couches if you wanted to sleep more than two. Rate is $35/night,
$400/month. The draw here is the peaceful seclusion, incredible
view and kitchen. It is a 30-minute walk down into town, or a
couple dollar taxi ride. Jim might give you a ride down, too.
Contact Jim or Lesia at Tel. 6909-9283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends Randy & Jamie have a new, separate guest suite (bedroom,
bath and breakfast/lounge area w/ frig and TV/DVD) with big windows
to take in the great high-up view, and exclusive use of the ranchito
for relaxing. Breakfast is included, serving their very own Mañana
Madera coffee. Situated in the middle of their small coffee finca,
10 minutes above Boquete (in Alto Quiel), it is very secluded and
quiet. $80/night for two; airport pickup in David upon request;
guided hikes available. Randy's cell 6423-2930,
Hotel Refugio de
is a brand new hotel (same owners as Hostal Refugio del Rio,
below). It is located a little out of Boquete central in Santa
Lucia, maybe a 5-10 minute drive. Very clean rooms, nice grounds.
$43/night. Tel. 730-8355 or cell 6676-5786,
located on the river next to the new bridge. Saw decent private
room (#7) w/ private bath, cable TV, wifi, balcony over river for
$38/night ($34 w/ jubliado). Lower priced hostel options
available. A backpacker place with excellent location. Tel.
newly reopened after the November 2008 floods, is located across the
river from town. Appears very nice although have not seen rooms;
bar/deck overlooks stream; restaurant is more formal, although you
can eat in the bar area. Understand restaurant is now (Aug. 2010)
under a new chef, and food has improved. Per website rooms start at
$75/night; apartments available. Tel. 730-9000,
The Riverside Inn is
a very nice inn with 6 guestrooms/suites, comfortable common areas,
deck and outside sitting areas. Attractively nestled alongside the
rushing Palo Alto River. Less than a mile outside downtown Boquete. The Rock restaurant shares the same grounds (see below).
Website says starts at $275/night but think we were recently quoted
a lower rate (maybe $80, low season) when we had a look. Tel.
Reopened 10/29/10 after being heavily damaged in 8/22/10 flood)
There are other
hotel options in Boquete that fall into the moderate price range,
but we haven't seen them and therefore cannot comment.
restaurant is an elegantly casual restaurant with glass walls and
outdoor terrace to take advantage of the pretty grounds and it's
location at the edge of the rushing Palo Alto River. (It is located
next to and owned by The Riverside Inn (see above), less than a mile
from downtown Boquete.) This is a favorite lunch (and dinner) spot of ours not
just for the relaxing setting but for the great food. They serve a
custom artisan-brewed craft beer that we really like (their dark is
very much like a Guiness!), and a nice selection of wines. Open for
lunch and dinner, closed Tuesdays.
(NOTE: Reopened 10/29/10 after being heavily damaged in
excellent Italian & pizza, nice ambiance, situated where 2 creeks
come together, get to by car or taxi. Tel. 720-2728
(NOTE: As of
10/10, heard that it has been sold and is undergoing renovations so
cannot comment on current status.)
a.k.a. Olga’s. In town, great breakfast, gringo hangout. Open for
breakfast only, 7 days/week. Guestroom also available, $50.
Restaurant & Lounge,
located at the entrance to the cemetery across from the Texaco
station, is situated on a creek, with indoor and outdoor seating,
live music some nights. Serves authentic Israeli dishes (e.g.,
tabouli, hummus, kabab, eggplant salad) as well as hotdogs, great
flame-grilled burgers, salads, sandwiches. Tel. 6676-8846,
Caffe Pomodoro /
located in the Hotel del Rio at the entrance to Valle Escondido
(several block walk from downtown Boquete) serves up great Italian
fare and pizza; indoor seating, but better outdoors under cover to
enjoy pleasant grounds and creek.
located about 10 minutes south of town, is hard to miss under a big,
round thatched roof. Great food at reasonable prices, casual
atmosphere, and we hear a gringo hang-out on Friday nights; live
music/entertainment sometimes. We've only been there for lunch -
and always have had their beer battered fish 'n chips which is
excellent. Owned by Craig, a former executive chef from the USA.
Art Café La Crepe,
located on the main street just before the "Y" going towards the
Panamonte. Great crepes and other fare in a brightly decorated
Bistro Boquete Restaurant is
located on the main street. This popular restaurant just
re-opened in Sept. 2010 after renovations which now includes a 2nd
floor section. Closed Tuesdays.
cheap prices, located in town: Nelvi's (known for their
fried chicken), Sobrason (tipico, cafeteria style, very
popular with the locals), Culturas (gringo hangout since
Taxi pickup truck
(double cab) #1108 is the only one we've used (pre-arranged by
phone) to come up to the house we're staying at, because they will
always come up the very steep hill and sometimes-slippery carriles
and badly trenched/muddy road to get us or bring us back. There are
Johnny, 6780-5729, works
Wednesday - Saturday afternoon. Nice, young guy. Speaks good
English. Reliable. We've used him a lot.
works Saturday night - Tuesday. Doesn't speak much English.
Reliable. He once drove us to the Costa Rica border for our
immigration run (from Boquete to Paso Canoas, think it cost us $40).
NOTE: Esteban also drives a sedan
taxi, #1113, Wednesday - Friday.
NOTE: Danilo, 6469-2588
- he owns the taxi but doesn't drive it anymore. However, one night
when I needed a ride late at night I pre-arranged and he brought me
home (Johnny doesn't drive after 8 or 9 pm., family man with new
baby at home). Speaks a little English.
Boquete and Bocas del Toro (not sure if it includes the water
taxi from Almirante to Bocas Town). As of Sept. 2010, this is
supposedly available for $38/one way. Check with Adventours,
located in Plaza Los Establos on the main street in Boquete. Tel.
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(on west side of
Hotel Dos Rios,
nice rooms and pretty grounds situated along a creek, $42 (2008),
(Cerro Punta/Guadelupe) – nice grounds and views, good lunch stop;
pricey rooms include all meals, sightseeing/birding tours, and
real Greek food, Tel. 6624-9687. Call ahead to make sure open.
home to one of the world's largest and most complete collections of
rare American orchid species. They have over 2,200 different orchid
species. Open for tours Monday-Friday, Tel. (507) 771-2070,
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If you have
additions or changes please let us know. Email to:
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