Weather: Panama

Like a microcosm of Central America, Panama's length is far greater than its breadth. The country snakes its way from west to east, putting the Atlantic to its north and the Pacific to its south (if you're sailing from Europe to Asia, you actually end up further east after going through the Panama Canal). The intersection of the prevailing winds with this contorted topography makes for a number of local climatic effects, with the big picture somewhat more uniform. Panama's low latitude means that it gets relatively few seasonal variations in temperature, even compared to, say, Costa Rica. Overall, it's consistently warm and humid at sea level. The worst heat builds toward the end of the dry season, which extends roughly from January to April (except on the soggy northwest coast, where northers can trigger heavy rain even in mid-winter). In general, the west and east ends of the country are the wettest regions, and the heaviest rains fall in October and November, although not from hurricanes – they aren't a serious risk this close to the equator. At higher points along the Cordillera Central, expect cool nights and mild days, as in Costa Rica's highlands. The main variation at altitude is between the soggy, cloudy wet season and the sunny mid-winter.