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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of Panama

Geography

Panamanian Geography - Coconut trees along the coastline
Coastline

Panama is in the far south of Central America and to its south sits South America. Panama borders Costa Rica in the west and Colombia in the southeast. To the north of Panama is the Caribbean Sea and to the country's south is the Pacific Ocean.

Panama is a twisty, rocky isthmus. There are mountains in the country as well, but for the most part the country is very livable as people live evenly throughout the country on both coasts and inland. West of the Panama Canal are the Serrania de Tabasara Mountains and to the east of the canal are two additional mountain ranges. There are also hundreds of low-lying islands just off the coast of Panama.

Weather

Panama's weather is more based upon seasons than anything else, although mountains can be cooler and each coast offers varying weather patterns. Rainy season lasts from about May to November, while dry season tends to go from about December to April. The Caribbean Sea coast tends to receive about double the amount of rain than the Pacific Ocean side receives. The second major weather factor is elevation, however the mountains in Panama aren't too significant so the extremes are fairly close, particularly compared to other Central American countries. Daily highs in Panama City, and throughout much of the country are about 75-85° F (24-29° C), while nightly lows dip about 5-10° F (3-6° C) lower. Panama is outside the Caribbean Sea hurricane zone, however when hurricanes pass to the country's north there is a chance for high winds and rains.

Wildlife

Panamanian Wildlife - Manatee
Manatee

Panama may not be an incredibly large country, but it contains great diversity in its wildlife. The puma (cougar) and jaguar are among the largest animals, but most of the mammals present are much smaller, like the tapir, monkeys, sloths, anteater, armadillo, and bats. The nearby seas are also teaming with life, from mammals like the manatee and whale to fish and shellfish including rays, sharks, and more.

Many of Panama's birds are either water fowls or woodland birds, including the toucan, macaw, quetzal, and egret. Among the reptiles and amphibians present are crocodiles, turtles, frogs, toads, snakes, and iguanas. Among other animals present are numerous insects and spiders.

This page was last updated: November, 2013