Parque Nacional Marino Golfo de Chiriquí is a 14,740-hectare marine park that encompasses two dozen islands and their surrounding waters. The park is a refuge for all kinds of wildlife, including howler monkeys, leatherback and hawksbill turtles, and tiger-herons. Humpback whales come here to calve between September and November.
This area was for years the well-kept secret of backpackers and deep-sea fisherfolk, but in just the last couple of years it’s begun to take off as a more mainstream tourist destination.
As this region becomes better known, the shorthand to refer to it is shaping up to be either “Boca Chica,” which technically is just the fishing village and anchorage that are the gateway to the islands, or “Boca Brava,” which is actually just one of the islands .
It’s still a bit of an adventure to get to the islands that start just off the coast east of David ; that’s half the fun of visiting this area. You get the sense of being in the middle of nowhere without actually being that far from civilization or having to spend a lot of money to get there.
The only population center nearby is the little fishing village of Boca Chica, which is more than an hour by road or sea from David. Accommodations and places to eat  are near Boca Chica and out on the islands a short boat ride away.
If all this sounds more like fun than hassle, you have the right attitude to visit this place. The islands and ocean here are beautiful and still feel like an undiscovered paradise.
Another plus about this whole region: Dry season tends to start earlier than in other parts of Panama , around November, and ends at about the same time, in April.
Some of the hotels  will help arrange transport from David. Transfers are included with stays at Panama Big Game Fishing Club. Cala Mia offers a scenic, hour-long boat transfer from Pedregal (David’s port) to Boca Brava for US$250 (up to four people; US$10 more per extra passenger). The Purple House Hostel in David  sometimes arranges transport for its guests.
By Bus: Any bus plying the Interamericana, including the long-distance ones that run between David  and Panama City , can drop passengers off at the Horconcitos turnoff so long as the bus runs past that point. From David, these include a few buses with Horconcitos as the final destination, as well as the Tolé, San Felix, Las Lajas , and Remedios buses.
The fare from David is US$1.25. Get off at the crossroads leading into Horconcitos, not Horconcitos itself, and hope there’s a taxi hanging about. Expect to pay about US$15–20 per ride, perhaps less. Show up early to improve chances of getting a ride. However you plan to get there, be sure to make return arrangements at the same time.
By Taxi: Taxi prices from David to Boca Chica are hard to predict, as the road keeps getting better but gas prices keep going up. Expect to pay US$30–40 for one or two people, a bit more for additional passengers.
By Car: For those coming on their own, the easiest access to the islands is through the little town of Horconcitos, the turnoff to which is about 40 kilometers east of David on the Interamericana. The turnoff is poorly marked; if you’re coming from David it’ll be on the right—look for signs advertising hotels and water sports. Horconcitos itself is five kilometers from the Interamericana on a good road. Then it’s a 16-kilometer drive south to the fishing village of Boca Chica.
This road used to be horrendous, but the last 16 kilometers were finally paved in 2008, turning what used to be a brutal trek of an hour to a spectacularly scenic drive of around 20 minutes on a good day. About 10 kilometers from Horconcitos, the road forks. The left fork leads to a beach, Playa Hermosa. Straight continues to Boca Chica. The road dead-ends at a pier. Parking by the pier is US$1 a night, though there wasn’t anyone to pay the last time I was there.
Beyond Boca Chica: Those heading to the islands  from Boca Chica usually hire fishermen to make the trip unless a hotel or tour operator has arranged to meet them. Rates are US$1 per person for nearby destinations, US$20–25 or more for more distant ones. There’s a pay phone at the pier in case you get stranded and need to call for assistance.