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Marine life in Bocas del Toro

When is the best time to visit Panama?

Marine life in Bocas del Toro

The best time to visit Panama is between January and mid-April, which is the driest part of the year and generally considered the time to see this tropical country at its best.

Consider travel during the rest of the year if you’re not bothered by a bit of rain. Temperatures stay at an average of 30°C, these times can offer great value, and you may have the chance to experience several well-loved Panamanian events and festivals.

There are short, heavy bursts of rain almost daily on the Caribbean coast, while the Pacific coast has a pronounced wet season from May to November.

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Month-by-month guide for traveling in Panama


Visiting Panama in January - March

With plenty of sun and only rare showers, January to March is a popular time to travel in Panama, with visitors from around the world descending on the country (so it’s best to plan your trip well in advance). Minimal rains will also give you excellent visibility if you wish to snorkel or dive.

Events & Festivals

  • The town of Boquete in western Panama holds its annual Feria de la Flores y del Café (Flower and Coffee Festival) in mid-January, showcasing the region’s produce and traditional dancing.
  • Costumes, music and decorated floats parade through towns across the country during March’s carnival.
  • The Panama Jazz Festival, held each January in Panama City, is quickly becoming one of the best of its kind in Latin America.
Old Panama City

Visiting Panama in April

April is a midpoint between Panama’s busy dry season and the less popular, rainier green season. Temperatures and humidity begin to rise, but this month also offers the opportunity to experience the country through the eyes of a local at several major festivals. Traffic can be busy, and availability can still be limited for some areas, so some forward planning is required.

Events & Festivals

  • Boquete once more shows off its flora with its Feria de las Orquídeas (Orchid Festival) in mid-April.
  • Easter is an important national holiday in Panama, celebrated with processions, services and feasting throughout the country.
Cathedral in Chitre

Visiting Panama in May - August

From May to August, the tropical rains begin in earnest. This doesn’t always deter visitors, with many North Americans and Europeans choosing to visit Panama during their summertime. While you can expect typically short, tropical thunderstorms during this period, adrenaline-seekers can take advantage: heavier rains swell the rivers and create excellent conditions for rafting.

Events & Festivals

  • The small city of Chitré and Los Santos Province celebrate Corpus Christi, and Los Santos’s idiosyncratic celebrations include costumed dancers dressed as ‘diablicos sucios’ (‘dirty devils’), a tradition dating back to colonial times.
Bocas del Toro

Visiting Panama in September - November

To experience Panama with as few visitors as possible, this is the time to go. If you accept rain as an eventuality, you’ll be able to witness a number of festivals, culminating with three riotous Independence Day celebrations in November. Travel conditions are only for the hardy, with roads becoming muddy and sometimes closed for repairs due to strong thunderstorms.

Events & Festivals

  • The area of Bocas del Toro celebrates its fishing heritage with the Feria del Mar (Festival of the Sea) in mid-September.
  • November 3, 4 and 28 are all celebrated as national Independence Days, and see huge parties throughout the country.
The crumbling architecture of Panama City's old town

Visiting Panama in December

At the year’s end, the rains give way to bright sunshine throughout most of the country. This can be one of the most rewarding times of year to visit, though visitor numbers start to pick up again leading into Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We advise avoiding the coastal beaches of Bocas del Toro, which experience unusually heavy rains in December.

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Travel advice

Practical tips for traveling to Panama, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest Government of Canada travel advice.

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