When to go

Visiting Panama in May

Panama weather in May

Avg. temperature: 27.8°C / 82°FRain: 225.1 mm per month
Sun: 3.5 hrs per day (sunshine) / 12.5 hrs per day (daylight)Avg. Humidity: 71.7%

The wet season has officially started, but don’t let that put you off visiting Panama in May! Did you know that the wet season is also known as the green season?

This is thanks to the stunning effect the excessive rainfall has on the natural environment. The rainforests glow a spectacular green, indigenous flora come to life and pop with vibrant, vivid colours, and the wildlife thrives as its natural habitat is revitalised from the skies offerings.

Thankfully, though it is known as the wet season, while the downpours can come down heavy the rain rarely lasts more than an hour. Thanks to the heat the water quickly evaporates, so if you go indoors for an hour or two to shelter there may be no sign of the rain by the time you come out!

While some travellers may be put off by the rain, we think it’s a great opportunity to experience some of the best of Panama’s cultural and historical sites, some of the greatest restaurants and seek shelter in one of many great indoor activity centres. 

On the flip side, the rain causes water to rise and even localised flooding. Since Panama is a country whose tourism industry is based largely around outdoor activities, this is no bad thing! In fact, it opens Panama up to plenty of water-based activities, which are more popular than ever during the wet months.

Things to do in Panama in May

Check out the best of Panama City’s museums

The Biomuseo is focused on the natural history of Panama and an interactive place dedicated to the evolution of biodiversity. Set across 4,000 square meters are 8 galleries that house permanent exhibitions as well as additional temporary exhibition spaces, and even a beautiful botanical garden.

You’ll learn about biodiversity, the evolution of Panama and its people and how the isthmus of Panama formed the Pacific and Caribbean seas and more. A plethora of sculptures, models, artworks and educational displays await to immerse yourself into the history and culture of Panama at the Biomuseo.

The Panama Canal Museum does exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak. It is a non-profit establishment dedicated to the impressive history and construction of the Panama Canal, a vital link in the world shipping trade.

You will be taken on a journey through time as you see the Canal in its various stages, from the original French attempt to the later United States attempt before control was transferred to Panama.

The Museo de Panama Viejo… Ok, this one is outdoors so it’s no escape from the rain, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless. It features the ruins of the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the Americas, and the archaeological site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. The museum traces the history of Panama from pre-colonial times to today. There are exhibitions showing religious art, ancient maps and even pirate history! Plus, you’ll have the option to climb the impressive lookout tower, Mirador de la Torre.

The Natural Science Museum features exhibitions with specimens of geology and palaeontology, and has a strong focus on research and conservation into endangered plant and animal species. There is a taxidermy laboratory where biological material is preserved, and a Vertebrates Room which showcases a variety of mammals, birds and reptiles.

Also read: What to do in Colon

Take a boat tour along the Panama Canal

This might not be your first thought when you’re wondering what to do during the wet season, but trust us, your boat tour experience will not be dampened by a little rain. Rather, you’ll sail through the natural landscape surrounding the canal on a covered pontoon boat, yacht or a ferry as the trees and foliage come to life.

The landscape thrives in the rain, so during the wet season it is at its most vibrant and colourful making for some spectacular views during your trip on the Panama Canal. Not only is this a beautiful setting for a boat tour, but an educational one as you’ll learn about the canal operation, observe cargo and cruise ships bound for the ocean, and see how the tug boats operate as they navigate the passage of the huge ships that stand in their way.

It is a fantastic opportunity that simply cannot be missed from your Panamanian itinerary.

Visit one of the world’s largest artificial lakes that services almost two thirds of the Panama Canal

This vast artificial lake is one of the worlds largest, providing 32.7 km of the waterway that services the Panama Canal. It provides the millions of gallons of water necessary to operate the Panama Canal locks each time a ship passes through, and even provides drinking water for nearby Panama City and Colon.

Not only is its construction and use impressive, but its surroundings are hard to rival. Monkeys, sloths and tropical birds fill the trees that are densely packed on the outskirts of the lake. For nature lovers, Lake Gatun is simply paradisiacal as you can observe the abundance of bird species, the vibrant vegetation and also the aquatic life housed within this beautiful section of rainforest.

Tours and activities are available here that include zip-lining through the forest, taking an aerial tram about the canopy and boating and fishing and hiking tours. During the wet season the landscape thrives from the rain, which falls for only around one hour a day, so the outdoors can be enjoyed at their very finest during the month of May.

Booking your Panamanian stay

If you can handle a little rain during your vacation (which we think you can, given the many benefits of travelling to Panama in the wet season!) your wallet may be pleasantly surprised by the cost of travel and accommodation.

Thanks to fewer crowds, the cost of travelling to Panama during May is significantly less than in the few months preceding. We always recommend booking in advance to secure the best deals, but we’re sure that you’ll bag a bargain on your Panamanian May adventure.

Best time to visit Panama: JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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