Panama has a tropical climate, which is hot and humid nearly year round, but temperature will vary depending on location in the country. The lowlands and coastal areas are much warmer than the higher mountain elevations. The average temperature year-round on both coasts is about 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Average mountain temperatures range from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is also quite high in Panama and averages about 80% most of the year. There is little seasonal change in the temperature and the country tends to have hotter days and cooler nights.
Rainy and Dry Seasons
Rather than having substantial changes in temperature depending on season, the weather seasons are separated into two distinct periods, the dry season or summer (la seca) which occurs between the months of December and April, and the wet season or winter (la lluviosa) which takes place during the remaining portion of the year. The driest time of year is January-March. This is often an ideal time to visit the county weather-wise, but it’s important to remember that better weather means more tourists and high season rates. Traveling during the rainy season is not off-limits in Panama. You will encounter some heavy downpours during this time, but they tend not to last too long and the sun will still peep out. Fall tends to be when the county experiences its heaviest rains, so if you can’t make it to Panama between January-March, the summer months will probably be you best bet in terms of sunny travel.
Also, while Panama experiences a definitive dry and wet season (much like other Central American countries) some regions are exposed to different weather patterns than others. This is a result of their altitude and proximity to the ocean. Both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean serve as two important watersheds. Generally speaking, the rains along the Caribbean or Atlantic coast tend to be more constant and persist for longer periods of time, while the Pacific coast enjoy less rain.
Weather in Panama City and on the Pacific Coast
Panama City witnesses warm, or even hot, sunny days. With blue skies common throughout the dry season, the summer months (January-March) are synonymous with winds from the north and extended periods of sun with little or no rain. During the rainy season, however, the sky is often hazy and afternoon rains and thunderstorms are frequent. These heavy rains tend to be short in duration but quite intense. The region’s normal daily temperature is approximately 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), and it varies little throughout the year. One can expect higher temperatures during the dry season. However, the humidity during the rainy season often makes for much more uncomfortable living.
Weather on the Caribbean Coast
The Caribbean, or Atlantic coast, is made up of four provinces, San Blas, Colon, Veraguas, and Bocas del Toro. This region tends to be more inconsistent and less inclined to adhere to the typical dry/wet season months. The dry season is often accompanied by periods of sustained sunshine and fresh breezes. Unlike in Panama City, where afternoon thunderstorms are the norm in the rainy season, periods of rain tend to fluctuate between days of rain and sun. The dry season along the Atlantic coast, and more specifically near the Bocas del Toro area, normally occurs during the months of September-October.
Weather in the Chiriqui Province
The Province of Chiriqui runs adjacent to the Costa Rica border to it’s west and along the Pacific Ocean to it’s south. The largest community in this province is David, which is actually situated below sea level. A short distance from the Pacific coast, David is very hot and humid, perhaps even more so than Panama City. However, just north lies the Cordillera Central mountain range, where popular Boquete and Volcan Baru are located. A short distance from David, this portion of Chiriqui has the country’s coolest temperatures, and climatic patterns that differ from anywhere else in Panama. There exist communities settled at 2,000 meters above sea level, where the evenings in particular are very cool and damp; temperatures often reach 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), or cooler. It is in this region that coffee is grown and milk and cheese are processed.