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Climate and Weather

Panama - Climate and Weather


Panama is located in Central America, between Costa Rica and Colombia. It has a tropical maritime climate with a hot, humid and cloudy rainy season which occurs from May to January, and a short dry season that lasts from January to May. Panama experiences very few natural disasters as it is placed completely outside the hurricane belt. The major part of Panama's territory has only two seasons: wet winter and dry summer.

Summer is roughly from December to April. In May, the rains start to appear gradually with frequent showers. However, most of the rains last no more than an hour or two. The wet season generally has its peak in November, when major downpours occur. Even though the afternoons can be quite muggy, hours of continuous rain are very rare, especially in Panama City and the Pacific coast area, known as the Arco Seco, meaning "dry arc" in English. Regions like Bocas del Toro and other less developed areas on Panama's Caribbean Coast have twice as much rain as the areas on the Pacific Coast.

Although the official rainy season lasts from December to April, frequent rain can occur during the rest of the year as well. For those who don't like hot weather, it is best to seek out the highlands of Panama. The highlands have more tropical weather conditions and some cool and misty showers that are quite common during the rainy season. The humidity tends to bother people less in the mountain ranges, which is probably because of the absence of sea-level heat. Many would say that Panama's climate is good for the skin, keeping it moisturized and smooth.

As this country has a mild tropical climate, a large number of retirees move to Panama, planning to spend their free time in warmer weather. Due to the proximity of Panama to the equator, the weather is warm even in mountainous regions, but it fluctuates depending on the part of the country expats are considering living in. The majority of tourists visit the country between December and April to take advantage of the driest weather and most of them generally visit the Pacific coast during this period.

Weather can vary from town to town because of the influence of two different oceans. Panama only has a narrow land mass, which means that the temperature is easily affected by the conditions across both the Pacific and the Atlantic. Temperatures remain mostly warm all year round, usually varying between the average of 21 degrees during the evening and 34 degrees during the day. The mountain regions have lower temperatures of 10 degrees to 19 degrees on average, although the humidity there is still high.

As Panama actually has only two seasons, visitors may experience the dry season which tends to run between December and April or the wet season which is between May and November. It is important to know that the humidity is high all year round. The dry season is mainly dry, but some heavy rainfall and thunderstorms can still be expected. The same can be said for the wet season, where heavy rainfall is a common thing, but during which it is not rare to see periods of hot and dry weather. The rainfall usually occurs in the form of short, heavy bursts, which is typical for many countries with a tropical climate. During the wet season it is advised that people wear wet weather clothes and carry umbrellas to avoid being caught in one of the tropical showers that can soak them very quickly. Some areas have an inch of rain each day when the wet season is at its peak. The Caribbean side of the country experiences more rain than the Pacific coast, even during the drier season.

Most areas in Panama have average high sunlight of 9 hours per day in January, which drops down to almost 5 hours per day in June. The annual average number of sunshine hours in Panama is 6 per day, so no matter where which part of the country people visit, they will see some sunshine, even during the wet season.

Wearing lightweight clothing made from fabrics such as cotton and linen is strongly advised all year round, because of the humidity in this part of the world. Wearing waterproof clothing such as coveralls is a good idea for the wet season, but as the temperatures remain high and the humidity hovers between 50% and 100%, those waterproof clothes should also be lightweight. Warmer clothing is only advised for those who wish to visit mountain regions, where temperatures can drop particularly during the evenings.

The lower regions of Panama have the warmest weather during the year while the mountainous regions tend to be much cooler, although these temperatures are still relatively mild when compared to UK or most of the EU temperatures. The mountainous regions generally have more rainfall due to the higher altitude. On the other side, places such as Panama City see very little rainfall during the dry season and temperatures tend to be very high.

Temperatures in Panama can be quite consistent during the whole year. For example, the temperatures in the areas of lower altitude can easily reach 32°C during the day, while evenings tend to be cooler with the average of 21°C. The mountain areas have the temperatures of 19 degrees on average with evenings that can drop to around 10 degrees.

Panama is a relatively windy country, so the wind speed rarely falls below 9 miles per hour throughout the year, which is mainly affected by the two oceans. This also means that the conditions are perfect for those who enjoy surfing, especially on the Pacific Coast during the drier periods. Frost and snow are very rare in this country while mountain areas can see some snow occasionally. However, the snow does not stay long enough for sports such as skiing.


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