Panama's dry season lasts from December to mid-April. The weather conditions you're likely to experience will depend on how late in the month you travel to Panama, and where you go. Earlier in April you'll find mostly hot and dry weather (with an emphasis on hot!), especially on the Pacific coast. The Caribbean coast is always a bit wetter, with a chance of rain even in the dry season. The annual average temperature is 86°F (30°C), but this can rise to 90°F (32°C) during the dry season, especially in March and April. The main exception is the highlands, particularly the Western Highlands bordering Costa Rica. This area is at a higher altitude and can get quite cool (45°F / 7°C is possible) but wet, even in the dry season.
Crowds & Costs
April is peak season for travel in Panama, especially if Easter falls in April in the year you're visiting. Travelers from colder northern climes travel to Panama to escape the bleak tail-end of winter, while locals travel around Panama and flock to beach resorts on both coasts around Easter. Book accommodation and transport as far in advance as possible if you're traveling in April, especially if you're traveling earlier in the month and if Easter falls in April. Expect to pay the highest prices at this time of year.
Where to Go
The dry season is the best time to hit the beaches along both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, and on off-shore islands. If the primary reason for your trip to Panama is the beaches, aim to travel earlier in the month. Panama's beach resort towns aren't as developed as in many nearby places but are still ideal for spending a blissed-out time in beach paradise. Among the highlights are the Pearl Islands, Isla Palenque, Bocas del Toro, and the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean.
To get away from the heat elsewhere, head to Boquete, the Volcan Baru National Park, or the La Amistad International Park in the Western Highlands, where Panama's highest mountain, Volcan Baru, sits at 11,400 feet (3,475 m). Just be aware that the dry season doesn't mean that much in the highlands as there is almost always some rain.
If you're traveling later in the month, expect rain showers and building humidity. You can still enjoy general sightseeing, especially in Panama City. The capital has great museums, markets, shops, and restaurants that you can enjoy whatever the weather.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
If Easter falls in April, Easter/Semana Santa festivities should feature on your itinerary. Holy Week processions and re-enactments of the crucifixion take place all around the country. Many travelers like to be in the countryside (the "interior") at this time, to see the most authentic local traditions. Las Tablas, which puts on an especially vibrant Carnival, is also a good place to check out traditional Easter processions.
If bird and wildlife-watching in the Panamanian rainforest are a priority, try to fit these activities in earlier in the month. The biodiversity of Panama's jungles is extraordinary—particularly in the Darien National Park in the far east—but the forests are only accessible in the dry season.
Events in April
Easter. This religious festival is a big deal in Catholic-majority Panama. At Easter, see re-enactments of Christ's crucifixion throughout the country.
Feria Internacional de Azuero, Villa de los Santos. Held in mid-April in the town on the southern Azuero Peninsula, this festival is all about animal displays, food stalls, and drinking.
Orchid Festival, Boquete. See thousands of varieties of orchids at the fairgrounds of this mountain town in mid-April.
Traveling to Panama in April? Check out these great itineraries
Panama Rainforest Adventure - 8 Days. Ideal for hikers, birders, and lovers of wild nature, this off-the-beaten-path trek takes you to Darien National Park, an ecologically-diverse rainforest at the tip of Central America.
Best of Panama City - 7 Days. Melding colonial history and bold modernity, the cosmopolitan capital of Panama is a thriving hub in Central America. Explore the city's best neighborhoods, boat through the Panama Canal, and take day trips to nearby national parks and indigenous villages.
The Wonders of Panama - 7 Days. Explore the capital, venture out into the countryside, and tour Caribbean beach towns.