When is the Best Time to Visit? Weather in Panama, High Season and Low Season

Panama has two seasons: the dry season or summer, which extends from January until April, and the wet season which runs from May through December. As you might have already gathered, during the former there is little rainfall while the latter offers plentiful precipitation. Like everything else in Panama, these do not play out precisely as expected; the two seasons easily bleed into each other.

The weather-split does not neatly apply along Panama’s Caribbean coast: Colon, Bocas del Toro, and San Blas all get year-round rainfall. Mountain destinations such as Boquete, Chiriquí and El Valle de Anton tend towards dual seasonality, but with more showers in the dry season, which ignite the sky with rainbows. Both the uppermost and the southernmost parts of the country have virtually no dry-season.

You won’t need to worry about hurricanes or earthquakes. Unlike the rest of Central America, Panama is blessed to be far enough south to avoid both. This makes the country an excellent location for a real-estate investment, long-term stay, or retirement.

If possible, avoid coming in November. A long string of national holidays send locals are flocking to hotels and restaurant, many places simply close or don’t have enough staff around to help, and it will be seriously pouring.

When you should come depends on what you are planning to do.

Dry Season (January through April)

decameron restaurant

Early December marks the beginning of the tourist high-season, not so much because of dwindling rainfall, but rather because Westerners are looking for a warm escape in the winter months.

Bird watching: There are more migratory birds in the area during Panama’s summer months. Specific species mature during this season which makes it easier to spot them. The swoon-worthy Resplendent Quetzal, frocked in a vibrant collection of emerald, for example, is easier to spot around February when the Bambito tree is laden with fruit.

Celebrating - big time: Carnival is in February, the exact date varies from year to year. Make sure to make reservations many months in advance. The same applies if you are planning to spend New Year’s in Panama.

Coffee tasting: You will want to be dry as you tour coffee plantations that produce many of the world’s leading beans which include the tea-like Geisha varietal.

Climbing: Boquete, Panama has a number of pitches that are sufficiently trying without being slicked by laps of rain. The city’s perennial bajareque, or light mist, will refresh you as you grip, pull, and hoist yourself upwards along volcanic basalt formations.

Hiking and Golfing: Whenever you decide to trek, the earth will be less muddy in the summer, which means you will be more sure-footed. Panama’s highest peak, Volcán Barú, is best attempted in February when winds are less aggressive.

Sailing, Scuba Diving, and Snorkeling: Plan to come sometime between late December through April when visibility isn't as interrupted by the rains.

Wet Season (May through December)

It is well-worth visiting Panama during the wetter months. Prices will include fewer greenbacks while the scenery bursts with more color.

Rain Worshiping: Tropical tantrums break excitedly, but resolve themselves quickly. Turning into the air pulsing with wait before, witnessing that first draft fall, and gazing out at the water plunge its way into relief will leave you feeling giddy with catharsis. These tropical melees are truly exquisite performances.

Whitewater Rafting: You will want to aim for when the rivers are at higher levels from the rainfall. By early December when the rivers have become full of life, there are particularly thrilling rapids to run down.


surfing panama

Here are some activities that you can enjoy throughout the year.

Digital Nomading: Come during the high-season if you are looking to find fellow-wanderers, stay for the low-season so your budget reaches further.

Photography: Enthusiasts will find innumerable subjects any time of the year. During the summer, you will be able to capture elements an abundance of glittering light; during the rainy season, you will be privy to the treasures that most of the country’s visitors miss.

Surfing: Surfing in the Pacific is best during the rainy season.The Caribbean’s waves are ideal between December and March or June and July, but can you get swells any time of the year except between September and November. We recommend you look at the swell history for individual surf spots on Magicseaweed.com for more specific information.

Sport Fishing: Lodges along both coast offer unparalleled saltwater fishing experiences all year-round; most of the coveted locations are along the Pacific. Since some fish are seasonal, it’s a good idea to consult a fishing lodge or tour operator for more specific recommendations depending on what you are looking for.

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