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Preferred months to transit Panama Canal

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Greetings, experts.

I tried to use the forum search on this question. Found a ton of non-related posts. So...

I saw one comment indicating the season was September to May. Sounds like Alaska in reverse.

Is there a preferred time in that span? 

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The September to December months are generally wetter, the other months are generally drier, but the Canal is in a tropical rain forest, or jungle, and gets a lot of rain. So you can never rule rain absolutely out. Otherwise it is always hot and humid in the Canal.

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If I were going to plan a transit only on the "best time", I would choose January thru most of February.  The reasons is by January the Dry Season is usually well established along with the accompanying trade winds, the foliage is still very lush and green, the temps are not really too bad and the humidity is about as good as it is ever going to get.  Of course planning like this takes out of consideration your schedule, being able to shop for airfares and cruise fares and the like.  Honestly I would go ahead and schedule your cruise when it is best for you, the differences I pointed out are not deal breakers in my mind.  I have been through the Canal at various times through the "season" (Sep-May) with the majority of transits in October and November.  A time or two we had to deal with liquid sunshine, but no means a washout.

Edited by BillB48

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Been through the Canal well over 20 times, at all times of the year. While the dry season is considered January to April, it really should be drier.


Even in the dry season, I have experienced afternoon showers most afternoons. In the wet season, I don't recall a day where it rained continuously. However, all days are hot & humid. 

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Thanks for the info, Heidi.

For the moment, we are looking at a departure in late February and one in mid-April (2021).

It will most likely go to Feb, as the DW does not want to miss any of her tulip blooming season.

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