It is August, and here in Panama we are now into our third month of the rainy season — or what we call “winter” in Central America. Winter in Panama starts when the rains start in May, and ends when they stop in December. I love the rainy season. We are not talking Seattle or England rain; the rainy season in Panama consists of an epic thunderstorm a few times a week. The mornings are clear and cooler (78F/24C) and the afternoons often consist of a shower or sometimes just overcast skies. The breezes come off the ocean and everything is green.
In December, the rains will stop. When I say “stop,” that means we will not see a drop of rain until April. The winds change and come out of the north, and they become stronger. The leaves on many trees fall and everything turns brown. This is what they call “summer” and it runs from the day the rains stop until the rains start in April or May.
This is what dry season, or “summer”, looks like in Panama
My favorite time of year is winter in Panama (May – November). I enjoy the cozy afternoons inside and I love the dramatic storms. I also enjoy not having to water our plants, and the fact that all is green and lush. The summer does have its advantages. It usually means family and friends are going to be visiting as we can guarantee them perfect weather and an escape from the harsh Canadian winters. It also means you can plan your day and we can pretty much fly anytime we want as weather is not a factor.
I am happy to say I have escaped six Canadian winters to date. Other than the week we travel to find snow for skiing, I have not had to endure a true Canadian-style winter in six years. I will say that although I miss autumn and June in Canada, I have not for one minute had the urge to head north to for another winter up there.
There are definitely times when I miss Toronto. Those moments have become few and far between as I have become more comfortable in my adopted country. Over the years my Spanish has improved, and we have adapted to the culture and the way of life in Panama. Today, the things I miss from Toronto are family and friends. The novelty of the tropics has not worn off. How can it? I wake up every morning to clean tropical air. I have the Pacific Ocean three kilometers away. My dogs really don’t know what a leash is, and bananas are nine cents each. Our hammock is our outdoor lounge 365 days a year, and we have parrots that fly overhead in seas of green at dusk. I have coconuts and papaya in my yard, and every year from May to July I am giving away mangoes as there are simply too many for our freezer.
There is no perfect destination, no utopia. However, with that said my life here in Panama is perfectly suited to our lifestyle today. Who knows about tomorrow: bananas may go up to 12 cents and the rains may never come. As I always say, it is part of the adventure and can only be experienced if you give up the life you planned and enjoy the life that is waiting for you.
Rainy season: lush and green!
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