Rain? In Brazil? You may think that this tanned slice of South America is all golden beaches and cold caipirinhas, but this massive country encompasses everything from the steamy Amazon Rainforest to rushing cascades of the Iguaçu Falls (actually nearer to Buenos Aires in Argentina than Rio), so you need to consider both seasonal and regional differences when planning a trip.
Here’s our guide to the best times to visit Brazil.
High Season: December to March
Best for festivals
Brazil’s high season coincides with the northern-hemisphere winter. It’s a hot, festive time – expect higher prices and minimum stays (typically four nights) during Carnaval. It’s particularly busy in Rio and popular beach destinations all along the coast.
Shoulder Season: April and October
Best for beaches
The weather is warm and dry along the coast, though it can be chilly in the south. Prices and crowds are average, though the popularity of Easter week jacks both up.
Low Season: May to September
Best for budget travelers
Aside from July, which is a school-holiday month, you’ll find lower prices and mild temperatures in the south. July to September are good months to visit the Amazon or the Pantanal.
Here’s a monthly guide to what you can expect through the year in Brazil. All events are subject to change.
Following the excitement of New Year’s Eve, Brazil starts off the year in high gear, with steamy beach days and the buzz of pre-Carnaval revelry.
Key events: Lavagem do Bonfim; Sommerfest
High season is in full swing, with people-packed beaches, sold-out hotel rooms and the unbridled revelry of Carnaval. It’s a festive and pricey time to travel, and advance planning is essential.
Key events: Carnaval; Festa de Iemanjá
It’s still high season in much of Brazil, with steamy weather and jacked-up hotel prices. Things begin to calm down in the last half of March with fewer crowds and lower prices.
Key events: São Paulo Restaurant Week
After Carnaval, prices dip, the intense heat subsides and the crowds dissipate, particularly in the north and northeast (when heavy rains continue through June). In Minas Gerais, however, Holy Week festivals keep things lively.
Key events: Semana Santa; Festa do Divino Espírito Santo; Comida di Buteco
May is a quiet time for tourism with cooler temperatures beginning to arrive (particularly in the south) and heavy rains still falling in the Amazon.
Key events: Festival Intenacional de Balonismo; Virada Cultural
In the south, winter arrives (with cold weather the norm through August). Tourism-related activities remain curtailed (also through winter) in the north, south and northeast, though it’s a good time to visit the Pantanal.
Key events: São Paulo Pride; Rio das Ostras Jazz & Blues Festival; Bumba Meu Boi; Boi-Bumbá; Festival Internacional de Pesca; Festa de São João; Festas Juninas; Festival Folclórico do Amazonas
After months of rain, the dry season arrives in the Amazon, making it a good time to visit. The weather is mild (cold in the far south), but Brazilians travel during July, which is a school-holiday month.
Key events: Festival Nacional de Forró; Festitália
The tail end of winter is a quiet time in Brazil, with fewer tourists (and limited services) in the south and north. Temperatures are pleasant in the tropics and cold in the south.
Key events: Festival de Gramado; Folclore Nordestino; Festival Literária Internacional de Parati
It’s a good time for wildlife watching with dry skies in both the Amazon and the Pantanal. The weather is mild from Rio north, but remains cool in the south.
The tourist masses and high-season prices haven’t yet arrived, though the weather is beginning to warm and cities are already livening up for the following year’s Carnaval.
Key events: Círio de Nazaré; Bienal de São Paulo; Rio International Film Festival; Oktoberfest
This late spring month can be a great time to visit, as the crowds are generally small and you can often score good off-season deals in flight and accommodation.
Key events: Maceió Fest
Summer in Brazil starts in December and it also marks the beginning of Brazil’s most festive season (through February), with hot temperatures and ideal beach days. The crowds are growing and prices are rising (but typically rise even more in January and February).
Key events: Carnatal; Reveillon