Playa La Barqueta, the closest beach to David, is a long ribbon of dark-gray sand that's popular with local surfers. The area behind the beach is deforested, and the sea is often murky due to a nearby mangrove estuary. Nonetheless, it's a pleasant spot to spend a day or two, and you can stroll for miles without seeing a soul (except during holidays). The beach is public, but a day pass ($10) from the resort, Hotel Las Olas,
includes pool, gym, and bar access. There are also several simple restaurants with inexpensive Panamanian fare. La Barqueta's sand can get hot enough to burn your feet. If the sea is rough there's a risk of rip currents, so don't go in any farther than waist-deep.