In this tropical country, you'll find the temperatures on the Pacific side are lower than on the Caribbean. There are breezy evening across most regions.
The rainy season in Panama generally runs from April to December and can sometimes last for up to nine months. The rainfall is heaviest on the Caribbean facing side of the country.
The dry season, mid-December to mid-April, is probably the best time to visit Panama and is the time of year that most people visit. The temperatures are high and don’t fluctuate much. However, if you want to fully appreciate the lush vegetation, visit after the rains.
It's best to avoid visiting in November - national holidays see most hotels fully booked by locals and heavy rains can mean many attractions being closed to visitors.
The Best Time for...
If you’re spending time on the coast there are a lot of activities to keep you busy. Keen surfers can head to the Pacific side between April and November for good waves, or the Caribbean side from December to March. If you’re hoping to try snorkelling or diving, aim to visit between December to April when visibility is at its best. That’s also a good time of year for fishing. And if you’re after a little white water, then aim for when the rivers are at their highest thanks to the rains, between May and December.
Bird-lovers will see the most action over the dry months, when various species of migratory birds are making the most of the good weather. However, if you’re visiting during the rainy months, you could still spot some birdlife early in the day. If you are visiting over September and October, you may be fortunate enough to witness the arrival of thousands of olive ridley sea turtles when they come to lay their eggs on the beach. Keep your eyes on the sea between July and October when migrating humpback whales stop by to mate and give birth off the Pacific coast. No matter what time of year you visit, keep a look out for other wildlife like sloths, jaguars, iguanas, tapirs, deer, wild boars, howler and squirrel monkeys and bats.
Every year in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday (usually around February), the streets come alive with costumes, floats, music and parades for Carnival. For the biggest celebrations, head to Panama City or the Azuero Peninsula.
Exploring the City
The capital, Panama City, is an advanced social and financial hub with excellent restaurants, bars and lively salsa clubs. Spend time wandering down the cobbled streets of the historic centre where you will find colonial-era landmarks as well as welcoming plazas. To enjoy the city with little to no rain, aim to visit between December and March, but prepare to be surrounded by other visitors, as it's a popular time of year. If you don't mind accommodating afternoon showers for the sake of fewer people and greener scenery, then visit between April and October.