Las Lajas beach
Between Santiago and David there's a place that really worth a visit during your journey on the Pacific coast: Las Lajas beach. Just 10 minutes driving from the Pan American Highway and you'll reach a huge palm-lined beach almost empty except during holidays and weekends. Anyway you'll find for sure a private space for you because is long about 15 km!
Furthermore the beach is very flat and there are not strong currents, so it's one of the safer in the country and it's perfect to play with the Pacific Ocean waves and learn surfing. Consider it, if you are looking for a break on your trip along the Pan American.
Approaching the beach you will see a wonderful lagoon, paradise for bird watchers.
Las Lajas village is 4 km from the turnoff and 10 km from the beach and offers accommodations, restaurants, supermarkets and an Italian ice-cream shop.
2 km north from the same intersection, known as San Felix cross (cruce), there is the homonymic village, that have ATM, local restaurants, laundry services, pharmacy and hospital.
Lodges and bars are available also on the beach.
It's possible to dive and snorkel booking a trip to Secas and Silvas islands, in front of the coast and to Isla Coiba.
Furthermore Las Lajas is 1 hour drive from the National Marine Park of Chiriqui and 50 km from Las Palmas waterfall.
There are direct busses from David but you can catch any bus to the nearby destinations as San Felix, Tolè, Santiago and get off at San Felix cross.
From Panama City or eastern locations take any bus that goes to David and drop off at the same cross. From there take a taxi.
The closest airport is David E. Malek (1 hour drive).
Driving on the Pan American turn south at San Felix cross, 78 km from David and about 120 from Santiago: you'll see an arch saying Las Lajas and after 4 km you'll reach the village and following the main road after 10 km, the beach.
Things to do and see
These 2 tiny islands are located in Chiriquí province in front of Las Lajas beach: Silva de Adentro is the closest to the coast and has wild dark beaches, while Silva de Afuera is offshore and has gorgeous white sand beaches whit scattered smooth black rocks.
Colourful coral reef and fishes invite you to enjoy snorkelling here.
The easiest way to visit this lost paradise is whit the tours organised by the diving centre in Las Lajas beach.
Comarca Ngobe Bugle
The autonomous region of the Indian group of Ngobe Bugle takes part of Chiriquí, Bocas del Toro and Veraguas provinces. This is the most numerous “tribe” of Panama, with about 200.000 persons and it is politically independent thanks also to the fact that many of their villages are scattered in the highlands. They maintain their traditional culture, language and habits, living of agriculture and handicraft, like their ancestors.
The most popular products made by Ngobe are Chacara, a bag done with woven fibers of different plants and Nagua, the typical woman dress and also beaded necklaces and bracelets.
The region presents wonderful mountain landscapes, waterfalls and gorgeous beach on the Caribbean side.
On the road between Veraguas and Chiriquí provinces you can stop for a while in the nearby village of Nancito for a cultural break. There' s a nice pre-Colombian petroglyph site with a small museum (Monday close) where you can try to figure out the meaning of these weird carvings and how big stones like those are located on the top of a high hill.
The village is tiny but very charming and on the way there's a panoramic point that offers a stunning view on the Pacific coast and the ocean.
There also a hidden waterfall reachable whit a 30 minutes quite strenuous hike through private properties. Ask the museum or your lodge if they can arrange the visit.
Nancito is located after the migration checkpoint close to Guabalá, travelling west: turn at the sign on the Pan American and drive a few km up. It's very close.
Mangrove bay tour
Explore a pristine mangrove bay by boat where you can spot turtles, birds and monkeys. You can also fish.