February is in the middle of Panama's dry season (December - April) so the weather is generally hot and dry. As a tropical country not far north of the equator, temperatures in Panama are hot year-round. The annual average temperature is 86°F (30°C), but this can rise to 90°F (32°C) during the dry season.
Panama really has two quite distinct climates: that of the Pacific coast and that of the Caribbean coast. The Pacific coast is definitely dry in February, but you may still encounter some rain on the Caribbean coast, as well as in the highlands. The Western Highlands in particular can get quite cool (45°F / 7°C is possible) and wet, even in the dry season.
Crowds & Costs
February is peak season for travel in Panama, especially when Easter is earlier and Carnival falls in February. You'll be contending with both domestic travelers and international ones escaping the cold winters of North America and Europe. Book accommodation and transport as far in advance as possible if you're traveling in February, especially to popular beach areas or if your visit coincides with Carnival. Expect to pay the highest prices at this time of year.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Where to Go
Panama's Pacific coast is dry in February and although you might encounter some rain on the Caribbean coast, the conditions are generally great for time on a beach. Panama's beach resort towns aren't as developed as in many places in Central America and the Caribbean, which makes for an authentic, chilled-out beach vacation. Among the highlights are the Pearl Islands (southeast of Panama City), Isla Palenque (near the western city of David), Bocas del Toro (on the northwest Caribbean coast), and the San Blas Islands. These Caribbean islands are always popular, with some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the country and fascinating indigenous cultures. They're busy in February, even though the Caribbean coast isn't completely dry.
If you're interested in a more active vacation, the dry season is the only comfortable time to travel into the rainforests, especially the Darien National Park in far-eastern Panama. The Gulf of Chiriquí National Marine Park and Bastimentos National Marine Park are aquatic alternatives, while the Soberania National Park is more accessible from the capital if you're looking for an easy day trip.
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). Bring a sweater and rainwear, even in the dry season.
To experience Panama's Carnival festivities, you can't go wrong in Panama City, which puts on quite a show. The cultural center of Las Tablas, in the southern Azuero Peninsula, is also a good option as it hosts one of the biggest Carnival parades in the country.
What to Do
Visibility for diving and snorkeling is good in February, due to dry-season conditions on the Pacific coast. Although winds and some rain mean conditions aren't quite so good on the Caribbean coast, it's still not a bad time to try these activities there. Consistent breezes on this coast also make kite surfing an appealing activity at this time of year.
Away from the coast, bird-watching and hiking in the national parks are ideal in February. The Darien National Park, an ecologically-diverse rainforest at the tip of Central America, is home to rare species of flora and fauna. Hike through the jungle and to remote beaches in the day, and sleep at simple jungle camps at night.
Traveling to Panama in February? Check out these great itineraries
Family Adventure in Panama - 7 Days. Spend time in Panama City, sail down the Panama Canal, and head to the Caribbean paradise of Bocas del Toro for beach time and wildlife encounters.
Panama Self-Drive Adventure: Coast to Coast - 17 Days. Discover dazzling diversity, from lush national parks and mountainous regions to the buzz of Panama City and the dreamy beaches of the Caribbean and the Pacific, while self driving.
Panama Island Tour: Panama City, Pearl Islands, & Bocas del Toro - 10 Days. Visit the world-famous Panama Canal and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Casco Viejo in Panama City, then venture to the Pearl Islands and Bocas del Toro for relaxing time on the beach.