Don't turn "right" (east) out of Panama
on a north bound passage
. 300 foot tuna boats unload their helicopters in Panama
for the trip from Colon to canneries in USVI because the 'copters sometimes get washed off the flight decks!
Instead of 10 to 12 or 15 foot on the beam, you will be punching into those seas right on the nose. 11 foot seas at 6 second interval is no fun at all.
Avoid the "Christmas Winds" when the trades are fully developed, summer might be better but then you are in hurricane
season once you get about 15 degrees north.
If you want to cruise
, start from Florida
and go clockwise to avoid too much beating into head