Brazil travel guide



Brazil Travel Guide

When to go to Brazil?

Because of Brazil size, there is a lot of regional variation in climate. However, 90% of the country falls within the tropical zone, so it rarely gets very cold. Because it is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite those in the northern hemisphere: summer occurs from December to March. Summer is the best time to travel to the southernmost states (Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina) because parts of the region do get frost and occasional snow during the winter (June-Aug.). The coastal cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador are consistently warm all year round, and get downright hot and humid during the summer. However, if you're looking to really let loose, Carnaval celebrations are held throughout the country in February, although prices skyrocket during this period. The Northeast has beautiful stretches of seashore; during the region's dry season (May-Nov.), the heat is tempered by constant breezes on the coast. This is also a less expensive season in which to visit; many establishments all across Brazil offer reduced rates from April to June and August to November. Travel in the Amazon is best done when much of the region floods from January to June. While this means that the humidity is higher and the rainfall more substantial, the rivers become navigable, allowing visitors to see more wildlife than during the dry season. Most travelers visit the Pantanal toward the end of its wet season in April, when the area is flooded and fauna are stranded on the remaining spots of dry land, making them easier to spot.

Ninety percent of Brazil landmass falls within the tropical zone, as the country is crossed by the equator in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south. However, the nation's climate is far from homogenous and ranges from equatorial to semiarid to subtropical. Because most of Brazil is in the southern hemisphere (northern Amazonas and Roriama excluded), summer occurs between December and March, while winter runs from June to August.

Near the equator, there isn't a great deal of seasonal temperature change: occasionally, during the winter months, it may be cool enough to wear a jacket. Temperatures in the Northeast's lower interior and the Pantanal can soar to 40°C during the summer, while frost is not uncommon during the winter months in the subtropical climate south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Even snow is not unheard of in the mountainous areas of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. Precipitation, as well as temperature, can vary a great deal between regions: while the national average is about 1500mm per year, the coastal regions of Pará and western Amazonas often receive upwards of 3000mm annually. The amount of precipitation that falls in the Amazon means that areas of the rainforest (igapos) are flooded during the wet season (Jan.-June). Despite the huge amounts of precipitation the rainforest receives, much of the forest is relatively dry from May to August. However, throughout the rest of the year it is wet enough that the humidity usually remains above 97%. In stark contrast to the Amazon, the interior Northeast receives only about 500mm of rain per year and experiences severe drought in cycles of about seven years. The Northeast is not only the driest, but also the hottest part of Brazil: during the dry season (May-Nov.), temperatures of over 40°C have been recorded. The South and most of the Atlantic coast—as far north as Salvador—have no distinct dry season and receive an average of 1500-2000mm per year. Along the coast, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and Salvador have warm climates (temperatures average 23-27°C), and experience constant trade winds that moderate the climate, which may explain why these areas are among the most densely populated and most frequently visited in Brazil.

Travel in and around Brazil can also be difficult during the following annual events:
  • New Year: December 31 - January 1 - known locally as Ano Nove. Accommodation in Rio de Janeiro can be especially difficult to find during this period as up to 2 million people gather to party the night away.
  • Carnival Rio: late February - early March - when finding accommodation anywhere in Brazil can be difficult.
  • Independence Day: September 7 - fortunately, unlike carnival, this is only a one-day event as the whole country comes to a standstill!
If you are visiting Brazil with the intention of visiting some of Brazil pristine beaches, keep in mind that Brazil beaches are on the Atlantic coast and so you should try to avoid traveling during the months of June to August, when the sea can be notoriously rough and cold. Also bear in mind that a number of tourists to Brazil beaches each year drown in the coastal waters of Brazil as they haven't taken into consideration the local reefs, currents and under-tones.

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