Known for its lush landscapes and bordered by two oceans, Panama has a tropical maritime climate. It is warm and humid at sea level, with airy cooler weather in mountain areas.
Unlike many parts of the world, Panama doesn’t have seasons, at least in terms of temperature. The climate stays relatively consistent due to the proximity to the earth’s equator. Here, rain is the determining factor of the seasons. You get the wet or “winter” season and the dry or “summer” season.
Summer usually starts in December and ends in April. From there, on the Pacific Coast in places like Panama City and Coronado, rains start gradually with frequent showers. From May through July these usually happen in the afternoons, and they tend to last an hour or two at most. So you can adjust your days accordingly as so many Panamanians do.
Apart from this hour or two of rain, the day is sunny! Truly overcast days are rare on Panama’s Pacific Coast. Even on the much rainier Caribbean Coast, you’re likely to see the sun in the morning or late afternoon.
The Pacific Coast receives about 50 to 70 inches of rain a year, while Caribbean and mountain regions can get 100+ inches. Temperatures at sea level tend to average about 88 F during the day and about 78 F after sunset/before sunrise. The mountains tend to be 10 to 15 degrees cooler.
There are very rainy areas on the Caribbean Coast that get about 130 inches of rain a year, nearly double the average on the Pacific Coast. Dry arc areas like the Coronado region and Azuero get even less, with places like Las Tablas and Pedasí often registering fewer than 40 inches. Boquete, meanwhile, gets about 150 inches per year.
Though flooding and major storms do occur, Panama is outside of the Caribbean hurricane belt. The country sits on its own tectonic plate – the Panama Plate – though major earthquakes are not common. The last major earthquake was in 1991 measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale. Tremors are a bit more common, the last one happening in 2019 near the Costa Rican border at a magnitude of 6.3.
Panama’s highest peak is the Barú Volcano (nearly 11,400 feet), which last erupted some 500 years ago. There are only two other volcanoes in Panama: La Yeguada and El Valle. Both had their last eruptions thousands of years ago. Natural Disasters aren’t common in Panama.
With trade winds every year, two coasts, and a flurry of mountains, Panama is known for its microclimates. Winds and rainfall can vary drastically from one neighborhood to the next.
Despite the rain, Panama is very sunny. Even in the rainiest months, from June to November, often mornings are sunny with an hour or two of rain between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. The rain can vary from a light drizzle to torrential downpour.
Many of Panama’s national parks and reserves protect rainforest areas. In fact, Panama has preserved a greater percentage of its forests than any other country, and it’s the only country in the world to boast a rainforest right in its capital city. Though humidity is high throughout Panama, there are “dry arc” regions that appeal to expats who prefer drier weather. Such as the case with Pedasí, Coronado, and Panama City.
Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 75°F to 90°F and is rarely below 74°F or above 93°F. The best time of year to visit Panama is probably the summer, from December to March. During this time the winds pick up and the humidity is less severe. Rain is less frequent and the skies are clear.
Overall, Panama’s weather isn’t perfect but it’s not terrible either, and some even prefer the tropical humid climate. It can be hot during the day unless you’re in one of the mountain towns such as Boquete. But even in Panama City, after sunset, until about 10 am, the weather is perfect. High 70s with a light breeze. Sunshine is abundant and afternoon showers aren’t too bad either. It’s a pleasant, warm climate.