The Road To Boquete

If you're heading up to Boquete (p201), there are a number of interesting attractions to check out along the way. If you have your own wheels, you'll be able to go at your own pace and really explore the area, though all of the following places can be accessed via public transportation.

There's no doubt about it - David bakes in the sun virtually year round, which is why the locals have taken to cooling off in the nearby waterfalls. Along the road to Boquete, there are two popular swimming spots: just under 4km north of David is the Balneario Majagua, a stretch of waterfall-fed river that's been outfitted with a bar that serves refreshments.

Not to be outdone by its neighbor, Balneario La Cascada, just over 8km north of David, offers similar waterfall-side swimming, and also features a small bar. Both spots can get very crowded on weekends, though the atmosphere is always 'family fun in the sun.' If you don't have your own wheels, one of the Boquete-bound buses can drop you off at either swimming spot.

If you're in need of a good book, the small town of Dolega, about halfway between David and Boquete, boasts a fine second-hand bookshop. The Book Mark (S9am-5pm Tue-Sun) stocks mostly English-language titles (with a handful of Spanish books as well), including some old and rather obscure works. It's worth stopping in for a browse, especially if you've been rereading the same Harry Potter book for weeks on end. Once again, any Boquete-bound bus can drop you off in Dolega.

The area's most famous attraction is the Los Pozos de Caldera (admission US$1), natural hot springs that are renowned for their health-giving properties. The springs are located on private land near the town of Caldera, 14km east of Boquete.

To get to the springs, take a bus or drive to the town of Caldera (the turnoff to Caldera is 13km south of Boquete). From where the bus drops you off, continue to the end of town, where you'll see a sign indicating the turnoff to the springs. You'll turn right along this rugged dirt road, accessible by 4WD only. If you're walking it's about 45 minutes from here. Continue along the road until you reach a suspension bridge. Cross it, and take the first left leading up the hill. After 100m, you'll see a gate which marks the entrance to the property.

If you're driving, don't leave anything in the car as there have been reports of break-ins here. If you get overheated in the springs, the pleasant Rio Caldera is just a stone's throw away, and is a pleasant spot to cool off. Hourly buses run from both David and Boquete (both US$0.75, 45 minutes) to the town of Caldera.

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