Oh, the Humidity: Living in the Tropics


The plants and animals living in Panama have had millions of years to adapt to the tropical climate of their jungle home. Humans haven't had quite as much time. Native Panamanians have lived here for thousands of years, and the first city was founded in the 1500s. Panama is a growing country. As its people adopt technology from around the world, they must adapt it to the hot, rainy conditions of the tropics.

What makes this environment special or different?:

Panama is much closer to the equator than anywhere in the United States, so it receives more sunshine year-round and is less influenced by seasons. Instead of having a winter, spring, summer and fall based on the tilt of the Earth, Panama experiences one long "wet season" from April to December, followed by a windy, sunny "dry season" from January to March. Having so much rain for most of the year, but no snow, allows the forests here to be green and lush. Trees grow tall to absorb all the sunlight they can, creating a canopy of shade over the forest floor.

What parts of this environment help people to live here?:

Because Panama stays warm all year long, consistently between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, there's rarely any danger of being too cold. The roads are never icy.