There are only two seasons in Panama – the dry season and the rainy season. The temperature doesn’t change much but the amount of rain and wind do.
The dry season is from mid-December to mid-April. It is more windy during the dry season. By the end of the dry season, most people who live in Panama cannot wait for the rains to start. During the dry season, there is not much rain so everything looks dry and brown.
Starting about mid-April, we start getting rain again. Usually, the rainy season starts slow, with a little rain in the late afternoon (about 4pm) a few times a week. Gradually, as the rainy season progresses, the rains may start a little earlier in the day and/or rain a 3-4 times a week.
Rarely does it rain all day. Rarely is there rain in the morning. Panama mornings are absolutely beautiful with blue skies and birds singing everywhere. Morning air is especially fresh if we had rain the night before.
The big finale for the rainy season happens in November. In November, it could start raining about noon and rain the rest of the day – sometimes it rains really hard and fast in November. This is why we do not do tours in November.
So, the rainy season is not as bad as you might think. People in Panama learn to plan their day around the possibility of rain in the late afternoon.
The rainy season is my favorite time of year. Everything is lush and green. Flowers are popping out everywhere. And the sound of the rain is relaxing. Panama become alive!
- Always have an umbrella with you. Keep one or two umbrellas in your car. Have an umbrella by the front door of your house. The small compact umbrellas don’t take up much room. If you don’t like using an umbrella, use a poncho. Many “dollar” stores sell ponchos that fold up to 2” x 3” x 1/2”. Keep several ponchos in the glove box of your car too.
- During the rainy season, if we get a huge amount of rain, it could cause a power outage. Not always, but it could happen. So you need to be prepared. Have portable lanterns, flash lights, or candles readily available. A power outage is usually 15 – 30 minutes. But it could be longer. Just yesterday, I had power out for 15 hours at my house. The evening rains caused a tree to fall down on the road and taking power lines down with them at 10pm. Luckily, it was bedtime anyway. Finally, the electric company got the tree cut up and removed so they could replace the broken power lines. With no electricity, I also had no internet. So, I spent the morning at a local restaurant with good coffee and high speed internet access. There is always a solution!
- Matches! Always have matches available. You use them to light a candle. But mostly you use them to start the gas stove so you can still cook if there is a power outage. Most homes in Panama have a gas stove. In addition to your electric coffee pot, you should also have a French Press for making coffee when there is no electricity. I think coffee tastes better made with a French Press.
- Hang Damprid in your closet. DampRid is an amazing product that absorbs moisture. DampRid has a product with a hanger on the top so you can hang it in your closet or even on the bathroom door. This will keep your clothes from getting moldy. Damprid has other products in decorative bowls that you can sit around your house to absorb any excess moisture in the air. Of course, you could also use a dehumidifier but they use electricity. DampRid does not use electricity.
- In lower elevations, below 2000 feet, you will likely get a film of mold on your solid surfaces like counter tops or coffee tables UNLESS you have a dehumidifier or a ceiling fan going all the time. You may need to clean these surfaces daily with a Clorox solution mixed with water. We don’t have that problem at higher elevations like Boquete or Volcan.
- It is so wonderful to live in a place where I can have my windows open to get fresh air all day. But when the rains start, it is time to close the windows to keep the moisture out of the house. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on to keep the air circulating to avoid mold. In November I sometimes use my fireplace.
- Plan your day to get all your errands finished by 2pm. Go to the bank, pick up mail, meet friends for lunch, then buy groceries so you can head home before the rains start. Statistics prove that driving in the rain is more dangerous – everywhere, not just in Panama. There are more auto accidents when it is raining. So plan to be off the roads before the rains start. If necessary, get off the road, go to a restaurant, and wait out the rains over dinner.
The rainy season is only a problem if you are outside with no umbrella when it starts pouring down rain. Getting soaking wet is no fun. Driving in the rain is more dangerous too. You will learn to plan your day around the rain when you live in Panama.
Everyone I know in Panama prefers the rainy season to the dry season. Come see why!
Come check out what the rainy season is like it Panama. During the tours, our bus usually pulls in to hotels by 4pm…before the rains start.