You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather. ~Pema Chödrön
Hands down, my favorite thing about living in Panama is the weather. Of course it helps that I love, love, love the heat and totally prefer to sweat than shiver with cold. For 12 years I lived in San Francisco and, truth be told, I never got used to the cold dampness there. I wore jackets year-round — heavy ones, like for skiing — and fell in love with my Bikram yoga studio because the heat greeted me like a bear hug.
If you’ve never visited San Francisco, it’s hard to imagine how chilly it can be considering it’s not only in California but also surrounded by warm areas like Oakland, Marin and the Palo Alto. Tourists regularly arrive in shorts and leave sporting $10 sweatshirts purchased in a desperate, trembling moment visiting Fisherman’s Wharf. Walking over the Golden Gate Bridge requires a windbreaker.
Here in Panama, numb fingertips, goosebumps and daily scarf wrapping are no longer part of my experience. My new challenge is to keep cool which means I wear sundresses and flip-flops most days and keep the sun off my face with a wide-brim hat. SPF is my new BFF. I look forward to going to the beach, swimming in my gym’s outdoor pool and enjoying the delicious breeze on nightly walks with my dogs. While friends complain about shoveling snow from their sidewalks in February, I plan a day trip to the San Blas islands.
Weather in Panama varies by location but basically we have two seasons — the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season lasts from December through May with temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees; our summer is winter in the United States, Canada and Europe — perfect for snowbirds. Mountain areas such as Boquete are cooler and windier and the Caribbean side of the country is more humid and rainy than the Pacific. The driest part of Panama is the Azuero Peninsula, where Mom and I attended the pollera festival, on the south coast. The hottest part of the country is around David, close to the Costa Rican border.
The rainy season lasts from May to November. Temperatures are about 10 degrees lower and we get rain most days — but usually just for a bit, like in Hawaii. At 1:00 pm I might think an evening bike ride will be canceled only to be pleasantly surprised by 6:00 pm that streets are dry and bikeable. Due to ample rain, vegetation here is lush. Trees and plants thrive. Panama never goes on Daily Savings Time as all days are the same length and we never gets hurricanes which is awesome.
Mom loves the blue sky. Each morning she gazes out her bedroom window and thanks the Universe for another beautiful day. Sometimes I walk in during her blue sky meditation and she shares her grateful thoughts with me. When affirming what is good here in Panama, warm weather and blue skies certainly are certainly at the top of my list – and Billy’s, too. Here he is sunbathing on the terrace. The heat is on, amigos. Come join us.