When to Visit Panama

Panama has a rainy and dry season. The dry season lasts from mid-December to mid-April, and the rainy season lasts from mid-April to mid-December, but the country is lovely any time of year. The dry season is the equivalent of summer in Panama, and as such is the high season for tourism. This is the best time to lounge on beaches or go hiking in the mountains. Hotel prices and airfares, however, are generally higher than the rest of the year.

Your Panamanian adventure begins with reaching your destination. Assuming you're an international traveler outside of Latin America, you'll likely find it easiest to fly into Panama. However, once you arrive, you'll have plenty of options for navigating the country by land, sea, and air. Keep in mind that once you step off of your plane, you'll have to meet the country's entry requirements. Unhelpfully, the most up-to-date information about entry requirements can vary, but in general, many tourists will need little more than a passport and proof of $500 USD in their bank account. For exhaustive information, we recommend reading our entry requirements article.

Like most countries, Panama's weather is influenced by its geography. The 'best time to visit' is largely a matter of what you want to do and where you want to go throughout your holiday. During the rainy season, storms tend to come and go relatively quickly. Most days start with sun, see rain during the afternoon, and clear up at night. The earlier months of the rainy season tend to be less wet than the later months, when storms can last longer and make it difficult to go on hikes or drive along country roads.

Some parts of the country see scatterings of rain throughout the year. These include the western highlands, the islands of Bocas del Toro, and much of the Caribbean coast. The best time to visit Bocas is in February-March and September-October. The islands of Guna Yala, which are spread along the eastern Caribbean coast, are considered best in late February-March. Be sure to pay attention to where you're going in relation to the time of year, because you may need to pack for several different regions or activities.

One other thing to bear in mind is Carnival, Panama’s largest holiday. This annual festival takes place on the four days leading up to Ash Wednesday and is biggest on the Azuero Peninsula and in Panama City. Aside from Carnival, there are a number of national holidays and festivals throughout November.

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