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

The first thing you should know is that Panama has only two seasons, the dry season from December to mid March, and the wet, or "green", season from mid March to mid December. As you might deduce from their names, the dry season means little or no rainfall, while the green season can mean rain almost every day. With the exception of the month of November, it typically rains just in the late afternoon and it is a often a hard rain.

man relaxes on beach

Dry season is the main tourist season, not so much for the absence of rainfall, but also because snow bird Americans and Europeans are looking to escape to a warm climate in the winter months.

But the "green season" is also a good time to come to Panama. Prices and availability are better. And the green season is much greener. Panama sparkles and comes to life after a tropical rain. Moreover the rain doesn't normally last more than an hour and evaporates so quickly you'll forget it was there.

If you're traveling to the Caribbean side of Panama to places like Colon, Bocas del Toro and San Blas, the dry season/wet season pattern does not neatly apply. There is some rainfall year round. Highlands destinations such as Boquete, Chiriquí and el Valle de Anton have the same wet and dry season but there may be some rain showers in the dry season.

You will never have to worry about hurricanes. Unlike the rest of Central America, Panama is blessed to be far enough south that hurricanes are never a problem.

decameron restaurant

The only month we don't recommend you come for tourism is November, when there are many national holidays. Locals fill the hotels, many places close up shop and on top of that it rains like crazy.

When to come also depends on what you are planning to do:

White Water Rafting: the best time is between May and December when the rivers are at high levels from the rainfall.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling: best from December-April when visibility isn't interrupted by the rains.

Surfing: the Pacific side is best in the months between April and November. The Caribbean side is best between December and March, but can get swells any time of the year except the time between September and November. We recommend you look at the swell history for individual surf spots on Magicseaweed.com for more specific information.

surfing panama

Sport Fishing: Ideal from December-April, but many places are great year round and some fish are seasonal. Consult a fishing lodge or tour operator for more specific recommendations.

Carnival and New Years: Carnival takes place in February, the exact date varies from year to year but reservations should be made many months in advance. The same goes if you are planning to spend New Years in Panama.

Birding: The best time for birding in Panama is during the dry season, as there is little rain and more migratory birds are in the area. But birding in the morning during the green season is also pretty good and it usually showers in the afternoon.