Skip to Content

The Absolute Best & Worst Times to Visit Panama in 2024

The Absolute Best & Worst Times to Visit Panama in 2024

What's the best time to visit Panama?

The best time to visit Panama is during the dry season from December to April, ideal for outdoor activities and exploring natural attractions without rain. This period features cooler temperatures suitable for hiking and the perfect conditions for beach outings in March and April. It also coincides with major celebrations like Carnival and Holy Week, bringing lively festivals and larger crowds to the country.

The Central American country of Panama is a nature lover’s dream, thanks to its pristine jungle landscapes and amazing national parks.

Hikers and trekkers will want to visit one of the country’s beautiful natural areas, such as the hot springs of Caldera, the coffee growing region of Chiriquí, or head to the tropical islands of Bocas del Toro.

Panama also has some great history, such as the old buildings of Casco Viejo in Panama City, or the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal.

Since so many of the country’s best attractions are outdoors, picking the best time to visit is crucial. We’ll show you this and much more in our complete guide below; let us show you the way!

Overall Best Time to Visit Panama

Image of the Spanish Fortress on a Summer day overlooking the coast for a piece on the best time to visit Panama


The best time to visit Panama is during the country’s dry season, from December to April, when the weather is the best for exploring outdoors. Like other Central American countries, Panama has a tropical climate, meaning that temperatures are warm all year round.

The year is divided into distinct dry and rainy seasons. Although there are some differences based on region (for example, the highlands tend to have cooler, rainier weather), these weather patterns hold for the entire country.

The dry season in Panama lasts from December to April. The least rain falls in January, February, and March.

Temperatures also tend to be cooler during this time, making this the best time to go on hikes or long treks. Thanks to the dry weather, even more remote natural areas are passable during the dry season.

It’s a lot easier to go on a hike when the trails aren’t covered in mud. This is the best time for excursions to areas such as Chagres National Park or the Chiriquí highlands.

March and April are the best months to head to the beach since there is low chance of rain and temperatures are very hot. In Panama, you can choose between the Caribbean Coast and the Pacific Coast for your beach vacation.

Expect crowds on the beach, but since there are so many islands and beach towns to choose from, you can find a way to get away from it all.

The dry season is also home to some of the most raucous public festivals. Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter are all popular times to travel, so expect plenty of crowds around the resorts and other areas.

Around Easter, you can see traditional festivities for Semana Santa, or Holy Week, which is celebrated with pomp in the Spanish-speaking world.

The biggest party is Carnival, whose date changes every year depending on the date of Ash Wednesday. Expect costumed parades, riotous street parties, and for basic services to be shut down for a few days as the entire country goes to party.

The rowdiest parties are usually in Panama City, while the Azuero Peninsula has more traditional celebrations that are a bit more family-friendly.

Cheapest Time to Visit Panama

Image of El Vale de Anton in Panama as seen from the dirt path leading to the mountain during the cheapest time to visit Panama

Jan Schneckenhaus/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Panama is during the rainy season, from May to October, when you can travel for less money. During Panama’s rainy season, which starts in May, the number of visitors drops drastically.

While there are a lot of Panamanian travelers during the national holidays in November, the demand for tourism is much lower from May to October.

That means the prices for hotels are also lower during this time. In Panama City, you can find hotels for 20-30% less than dry season rates throughout the season, with discounts up to 40% during the rainiest month of October.

Beach towns such as Santa Catalina also have discounts during the rainy season, with some resorts lowering prices to 50% of their high season rates.

The least expensive time to fly to Panama is during September or October, which are the rainiest months of the year. However, you can also find good discounts from April to July, so you can save money on your flight and still enjoy some decent weather.

Least Busy Time to Visit Panama

Big ship cruising through the canal during the best time to visit Panama, with green grass and warm weather


The least busy time to visit Panama is from May to August, when the rainy season isn’t at its worst yet. During this time, Panama tends to get fewer visitors because the weather isn’t as pleasant for exploring.

Some regions are less rainy than others. For example, the Azuero Peninsula is pleasant even during the rainy season, when there are just sporadic light showers that help to cool the day down.

It is far less crowded during this time, allowing you to really enjoy the unique culture. From May to August is the best time to visit Panama’s beaches to beat the crowds.

The weather still isn’t bad during this time. Even though it’s the rainy season, most places just get a short storm in the afternoon, while the mornings and evenings are pleasant. The Pacific coast tends to be drier than the Caribbean side.

For serious beach enthusiasts, this is the best time to visit, and not just because there are fewer people around spoiling your experience of Panama’s remote islands.

The early part of the rainy season is the best time of the year to go surfing because the storms bring swells and great waves on both coasts. Snorkeling is also a popular activity during this time.

Many marine animals, such as loggerhead turtles, orcas, and fish are most active during this time. The water also tends to have better visibility since it’s not as windy and there aren’t as many people around.

Worst Time to Visit Panama

Rainy day in Panama City pictured during the worst time to visit Panama with grey skies and the skyline underneath

Diego Grandi/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit Panama is during the height of the rainy season, which happens in September, October, and November. October and November are the rainiest months in Panama.

October is the rainiest month in the country by a wide margin, with an average of 357 mm (14 inches) of rain per month. Expect to get thoroughly soaked if you’re visiting Panama during this time.

The heavy rains make roads and trails sometimes impassable. Although Panama is located on the Caribbean Sea, it is too far south to fall into the path of hurricanes. However, the rainy season can cause other damage, such as flooding.

Check ahead for the weather forecast and change your travel plans if there are strong storms or floods predicted. Due to the rainy weather, a lot of outdoor activities aren’t possible during this time. It is too muddy to hike, and too rainy to work on your tan.

However, certain regions of Panama have less intense weather during this time. The Bocas del Toro islands have relatively dry weather during this time.

Visit to check out the unique biodiversity as well as the culture of the local Afro-Panamanian community. October is also the most popular time for Panama’s town fairs and festivals, when locals like to head out and party.

San Blas hosts the Feria del Rio Tigre, while Catholics flock to Portobelo for the Festival del Cristo Negro. These and other regional fairs are a great place to buy souvenirs from local craftsmen and dance with the locals, since tourists don’t tend to attend these events.

Frequently Asked Questions

Old buildings in the historic district of Panama City pictured during the best time to visit Panama

PANAMA CITY, PANAMA – june, 2019. Old buildings in the old part of Panama City/Brester Irina/Shutterstock

Here are a few of the most common questions people have asked about visiting Panama:

When is the best time to visit Panama?

The best time to visit Panama is during the dry season, from December to April. This season has the best weather, with very little rain, and great opportunities for exploring.

When is the rainy season in Panama?

The rainy season in Panama is from May to November. For most of the rainy season, Panama just experiences thunderstorms in the afternoon.

When is the least expensive time of year to go to Panama?

The least expensive time of year to go to Panama is during the rainy season (May-October). Just avoid the public holidays of November, when prices tend to rise.

Is Costa Rica better than Panama?

Costa Rica is better for those who want to spot wildlife, since it has more established national parks and conservation efforts. Meanwhile, Panama is better for an off-the-beaten-path destination.

Is Panama affordable or expensive?

Panama is one of the more expensive countries to visit in Central America (although not the most expensive). It is possible to visit for less if you budget carefully.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Panama?

The best time to visit Panama is during the dry season, from December to April, when the weather is great from the coasts to the highlands. During the beginning of the rainy season (May-July), you can find good bargains, better conditions for visiting the beach, and weather that isn’t too bad.

So, with so much to see and to and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Panama has to offer. Happy travels!