When is Jellyfish season in Panama?

It’s Jellyfish season in Panama! Learn when and why they are here, how to avoid getting stung by one, how to treat a sting if you do. and some great things that come with jellyfish season in Panama.

So let’s start with the when. While it’s hard for us to pinpoint an exact date jellyfish arrive in Coronado Panama, we do know that their arrival coincided with cooler waters and dry season. 

 In Coronado and other beach communities in the "Gulf of Panama," we experience colder waters beginning in February due to a phenomenon called upwelling. 

Why is the water cold in Coronado Panama in the Dry Season? 

Scientists say that we are experiencing a "wind-driven upwelling during the boreal winter" this happens to correspond with the dry season in Panama. 

"The thermocline shoals during upwelling cool the surface of the sea promoting nutrient enrichment of the euphotic zone, driving extensive phytoplankton growth. As trans-isthmian winds weaken in the summer, the surface waters revert to a warm, nutrient-poor, and low in chlorophyll".  - (Legeckis, 1988; McCreary et al.,1989)

What’s interesting is that it’s not the whole Pacific Coast that experiences this said upwelling. 

"The Panamanian Pacific Shelf is naturally divided by the Azuero Peninsula into two large areas, the Gulf of Panama (shelf area27,175 km2) and the Gulf of Chiriquı´(shelf area 13,119 km2). Evidence suggests that these two regions experience considerably different hydrological regimes." 

What to do if you are stung by a jellyfish in Panama 

Jellyfish stings vary greatly in severity. In Panama, most often they result in skin irritations in rare cases or cases of multiple stings jellyfish stings may cause more whole-body (systemic) illness.

Most jellyfish stings get better with home treatment. For burning, prickling, stinging pain with purplish tracks on the skin, that kind of looks like  a "print" of the tentacles, you will want to treat swelling and pain

Signs and symptoms of severe reaction to jellyfish stings include Stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting
a headache or any muscle pain or spasms, weakness, drowsiness, fainting, confusion, difficulty breathing. 

Things that can affect how you react to a sting include the type and the size of the jellyfish, your age, size and health, your exposure to the stingers, and your sensitivity to the sting. 

How to avoid getting stung by a jellyfish in Panama

- Wear a protective suit and protective footware in shallow water.
- Get information about conditions from locals.
- Stay out of the water when jellyfish numbers onshore are high. Swimming at times when jellyfish appear in large numbers (a jellyfish bloom) is dangerous, multiple stings and stings in sensitive areas are not fun. 
- Avoid letting your kids play with or around jellyfish that are washed up on the beach, they can still sting. 

Snorkeling with Whalesharks in Panama

Cooler surface waters and nutrient-rich waters full of yummy phytoplankton make a whale shark sighting more frequent. Whale sharks have been spotted in the bay between December and April, they are best seen while snorkeling, as the noise and the bubbles of scuba tanks can scare them. 

Always remember when entering the water in an unknown are to check for undercurrents, and of course for jellies! There are several trusted guides from Punta Chame that can take you to the surrounding islands for day trips.

For more information on businesses in Coronado, Punta Chame and surrounding beach communities visit the Playa Community business directory here. 

For information on tides, in the Bay of Chame visit the Playa Community tide tables here. 

Connect with us on Instagram for daily updates!