When to go

Visiting Panama in December

Panama weather in December

Avg. temperature: 26.25°C / 79.25°FRain: 104.6 mm per month
Sun: 3.9 hrs per day (sunshine) / 11.6 hrs per day (daylight)Avg. Humidity: 75.5%

After months of rain, December finally sees a dramatic decrease in rainfall as the dry season fast approaches. For the best of the weather, we’d recommend visiting in the second half of the month, but be aware that with clearer skies come more crowds and, of course, it’s the Christmas holiday season meaning even more tourists!

Whilst this should by no means put you off visiting Panama in December, you should book early in order to secure the best deals, beat the crowds and ultimately, avoid disappointment.

The Panama temperature in December is ideal; not too hot, and certainly not nearly cold. For those looking to escape the typical harsh winters of the Northern hemisphere Panama is definitely a welcome respite.

As the rain eases, the benefits of months of downpours are evident in the natural surroundings of Panama’s many visit-worthy destinations. The trees are bright green, the wildlife buzzing and vibrant and nature is at its very best, awaiting your visit to explore.

Things to do in Panama in December

Get into the festive spirit in Panama City

If you’re in Panama for the festive season, one thing you shouldn’t expect is a White Christmas. But let’s be honest – that’s probably why you’re there!

We recommend that you head to the Panama City Christmas Parade, typically held around the 14th of December. The streets of Downtown fill with elaborately decorated floats, locals dressed in wild Christmas costumes and masses of lights and festive decorations.

Locals and tourists come together to attend the parade and enjoy dancing to traditional Christmas music while enjoying the smells and tastes of the delectable food on offer from any of the street vendors lining the pavements.

Read our guide: What to do in Panama in Christmas

Take a dive into the depths of the ocean

If you’re planning to visit Panama in December, toward the latter half of the month is one of the best times for diving, snorkelling and sailing in the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea. Thanks to the reduced rainfall, visibility in the waters is uninterrupted making for some of the best underwater experiences you’ll get in Panama.

Some of the greatest diving spots include the Bocas del Toro Islands, over on the Caribbean coast, The Pearl Islands on the Pacific side and the Coiba National Park, also on the Pacific coast. The best thing about the Coiba National Park versus the typical island dive, is that you’ll also have the chance to see humpback whales, orcas and whale sharks!

Have a wild time whitewater rafting

If you’re an outdoor adventurer, head to Panama in early December as the rivers of the Western highlands, in Chiriqui, are at a high level following the previous months vast rainfall. The rivers will be full of life with chopping twists and turns, making for a truly thrilling experience as you cascade through the water in a raft.

Surfs up in Central America

Again thanks to the rain, you’ll get to enjoy some of Panama’s top surfing spots! On the Pacific Coast, the surf is best during the rainy season as the downpours cause the waters to be rugged, choppy and just right for riding the waves. Thankfully, the first part of December still benefits from the previous months’ rain for surf.

Along the Pacific coast some of the best places for surfers (or keen observers) include Santa Catalina, known as the most reliable place for good surf, and Playa El Palmar, a less crowded version with three popular breaking spots.

Over on the Caribbean coast, December to March boasts the best time for surfing, the top spot is definitely Bocas del Toro, a real-life surfers paradise. The rustic beach towns have a laid-back charm, typical of the Caribbean, and boast plentiful surfing areas that are all located off the shores of the archipelago. 

Take a hike up Ancon Hill

If you’re an avid hiker and you fancy panoramic views of Panama City and the outstanding Panama Canal, we recommend ascending Ancon Hill, Panama City’s highest point. At 654 feet high, the hike takes only around 30 minutes to reach the summit and is not too strenuous.

From the top, you’ll be treated to some pretty spectacular views, ones that are even better at sunrise or sunset (though sunrise is probably a better idea, so it’s light for the climb back down!). If you go in the morning, you’ll also avoid the heat.

Once you’re done gazing at the city views, there’s plenty of jungle area to explore, too, and you may even be lucky enough to spot sloths, deer and more!

Best time to visit Panama: JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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