Brazil is a huge country, and as one can expect it has different climates, although it can be divided into three main climatic regions:
- equatorial, with year-round rains, in the Amazon Basin plus a small coastal area;
- tropical with a dry season in the vast central area, plus a small northern portion;
- almost Mediterranean, with temperate winters and hot summers, in the extreme south.

Northern Brazil is crossed by the Equator, so in much of the country (which is located south of the Equator), the seasons are reversed in comparison with Europe or North America. In the tropical zone, the rainy season is almost always the austral summer.

Index


Equatorial climate



Areas having an equatorial climate

Amazon rainforest

In a large area of northern Brazil, covered by the Amazon rainforest, the climate is equatorial, hot and humid throughout the year, with constant rainfall. The rains fall in the form of heavy showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon or evening. Total annual rainfall is considerable, from 2,000 to 3,000 millimeters (80 to 120 inches). The rains are more abundant from December to May, when they usually exceed 200 mm (8 in) per month, but they often even exceed 300 mm (12 in). Within the forest, the temperature remains below 30 °C (86 °F) even during the day, but relative humidity is consistently close to 100%. The cities built in the area, after removing a part of the forest, are a bit warmer because the sun's rays are obviously able to reach the ground.

Manaus

For example, in Manaus, in the middle of the forest, daytime temperatures are around 30/32 °C (86/90 °F) all year round, but they can reach 35/37 °C (95/99 °F) in the hottest days; the air is almost always humid. Rainfall amounts to 2,300 mm (90 in) per year, including more than 200 mm (8 in) per month from December to May, while from July to September, there's a drier period, with less than 100 mm (4 in) per month. Here is the average precipitation in Manaus.
Manaus - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)2602903153002551159060851251852152285
Prec.(in)10.211.412.411.8104.53.52.43.34.97.38.590
Days2120212019121079111218180

Belém

In Belém too, it's hot and humid all year round, but at least, the city is located near the coast, so it receives a bit of a breeze from the sea.
Here are the average temperatures of Belém.
Belém - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)222222222322222222222222
Max (°C)313130313132323232323232
Min (°F)727272727372727272727272
Max (°F)888886888890909090909090

Here, the rains are more abundant than in Manaus, but the trend is similar, although the least rainy period occurs later, reaching a low in October and November. Here is the average precipitation in Belém.
Belém - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)34040543534528517514512512090851752725
Prec.(in)13.415.917.113.611.26.95.74.94.73.53.36.9107.3
Days24242424241914121511915215

The least rainy period runs from August to November in the northern part of the Amazon, and from June to September in the south-central part. However, as mentioned, there is no real dry season because heavy rains in the afternoon are always possible, although this happens more rarely in the least rainy season. As a result, the hours of sunshine in this season increase a bit, even though within the forest their percentage is never so high on average (in Manaus, there is a maximum of 7 hours of sunshine per day from July to September), while on the coast, the amount of sunshine becomes good in the least rainy season, as can be seen from the data of Belém.
Belém - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours443468888876

Salvador de Bahia

The city of Salvador de Bahia is located in a relatively small area along the eastern coast (see the small circle on the map), where a hot and humid climate, with year-round rains, can also be found. Here, 1,900 mm (75 in) of rain fall per year, and the rains are frequent and abundant especially from April to early August. Here is the average precipitation.
Salvador - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)75115165280295225205115951001151251910
Prec.(in)34.56.51111.68.98.14.53.73.94.54.975.2
Days101215182120201613111211179

In Salvador, the temperatures slightly drop in winter, from June to August, when highs are around 26/27 °C (79/81 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Salvador - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)242424232322212122232323
Max (°C)303030292827262627282929
Min (°F)757575737372707072737373
Max (°F)868686848281797981828484

The reason why the rains in this stretch of coast occur throughout the year, is to be found in the trade winds, which pick up moisture over the sea before reaching the coast. However, downpours and thunderstorms don't last long, so the amount of sunshine remains high, especially from September to March, when there are about 7/8 hours of sunshine per day on average. Here are the average daily sunshine hours.
Salvador - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours887666677777

In Salvador, the sea is warm all year round, as you can see in the following table.
Salvador - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)282828282827262626262727
Temp (°F)828282828281797979798181

In addition, the sea breeze tempers the heat along the coast even in the warmest months. Therefore, the climate of Salvador de Bahia is better than that of the Amazon forest. If you want to explore this fascinating city and hang out at the beaches, you may prefer the period from October to February.

Tropical climate



Areas having a tropical climate
In this vast area, which includes most of central and southern Brazil, the climate is tropical, with a dry season (usually from May to August) and a rainy season (typically from October to March, with a peak in mid-summer, between December and February). In the areas where the dry season is very short, the forest can grow in the same way as in the equatorial zone, otherwise the vegetation is less dense and savanna-type, with more or less pronounced aridity (presence of shrubs, cacti, etc.). For example, in the interior of the states of Bahia and Pernambuco, precipitation decreases to 400/500 mm (15/20 in) per year, and there are many days with intense heat, especially between August and November. However, the rains in the inland areas of the Nordeste are very irregular, in fact, even though the average is not very high, during some years there may be even torrential rains in the period from November to March.
Anyway, in many areas, the altitude, which ranges between 500 and 1,000 meters (1,600 and 3,300 feet) in many eastern areas, tempers the heat a little.

In the far north of Brazil, where the Massif of Guyana is located (see the circled area on the top of the map), we find another area covered by savannah, north of the vast Amazon rainforest. Here we are, albeit slightly, north of the Equator, so the driest period is reversed, and usually corresponds to the Northern Hemisphere winter. In the nort of the state of Roraima, on the border with Venezuela and Guyana, the least rainy period is from October to March.
Here is the average precipitation in Boa Vista, the capital of the state of Roraima.
Boa Vista - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)2020501302703603302201006060301650
Prec.(in)0.80.825.110.614.2138.73.92.42.41.265
Days5349191920147555115

In Boa Vista, the heat is felt throughout the year; in the dry season, the temperatures are higher, but the humidity is lower. Here are the average temperatures.
Boa Vista - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)232324242322222323242423
Max (°C)333334333130303233343333
Min (°F)737375757372727373757573
Max (°F)919193918886869091939191

Further east, in the northern part of the state of Amapá, the least rainy period is shorter and runs from September to November.

Let's now move down to the greater tropical area; we will follow the rainfall pattern along the coast, which in comparison with the interior is more variable, and determines the best time to visit the different areas.
In the Northeast, east of Belém (which, as we said, is still part of the equatorial zone), we find the city of Sao Luis, where the dry season is from August to November, but after all, the rainfall in December is not heavy and doesn't exceed 90 mm (3.5 in), and the city of Fortaleza, where the dry season is from August to December, while in both cases the rainfall exceeds 200 millimeters (8 inches) per month from February to April.

Fortaleza

In Fortaleza, in the state of Ceará, the year is curiously divided into two, the first part being dry and the second rainy. Here is the average precipitation in Fortaleza.
Fortaleza - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)1202053253552551409520251510451610
Prec.(in)4.78.112.814105.53.70.810.60.41.863.4
Days1115222119141055436135

The temperature in Fortaleza is high throughout the year, but the heat is tempered by sea breezes. The humidity is higher in the rainy period. Here are the average temperatures.
Fortaleza - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)252324232322222323252425
Max (°C)313030302930302929313131
Min (°F)777375737372727373777577
Max (°F)888686868486868484888888

The sun in Fortaleza shines very often in the dry season, while in the rainiest months, March and April, it shines for a few hours a day.
Fortaleza - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours7655789109998

In Fortaleza too, the sea is warm all year round.
Fortaleza - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)282828282828272727272727
Temp (°F)828282828282818181818181

Further to the south-east, in Natal, the dry season is from October to December, but the amount of rainfall is usually acceptable also in September and January. On the contrary, from February to July, more than 300 millimeters (12 inches) of rain fall per month. A similar trend is found in Recife, where the least rainy period runs from October to January, while in Maceió and Aracaju, it goes from October to February. Further south, the coast of the state of Bahia, where Salvador and Ilheus are found, should be excluded because it's part of the equatorial climate zone, of which we have already spoken.

Rio de Janeiro

Further south, we find the area of Rio de Janeiro, where the dry season runs from June to August, that is in winter, as happens also in many inland areas of this tropical climate area. Here is the average precipitation.
Rio de Janeiro - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)135130135957045404555851001351070
Prec.(in)5.35.15.33.72.81.81.61.82.23.33.95.342.1
Days11789664579101193

Here, however, we are quite to the south, that is, away enough from the Equator, to experience a drop in the winter temperature. In Rio, highs from May to October go down to around 25/26 °C (77/79 °F). This can be considered as the best time to visit the carioca city because it's warm but not hot, the sun frequently shines, and the rains quite rare, even though they are still possible. However, the sea at this time is a bit cool (see below), so the best season for a beach holiday is the summer, from January to March, when the heat is intense, with possible heat waves (during which the temperatures can reach 37/38 °C or 99/100 °F), and also heavy rains in the afternoon, but the amount of sunshine is still fairly good and the sea is warm. The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro takes place in the summer, although the main events take place in the evening.
Rio de Janeiro - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)232423222019181919202122
Max (°C)293029282625252625262729
Min (°F)737573726866646666687072
Max (°F)848684827977777977798184

In Rio de Janeiro, after all you can swim all year round, even though the sea becomes a little cool from July to October, when the water temperature drops to 22 °C (72 °F).
Rio de Janeiro - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)252626252423222222222425
Temp (°F)777979777573727272727577

Rio de Janeiro

Continuing along the coast, the climate to the south-west of Rio de Janeiro begins to be rainy all year round (see Santos), however, here we enter the area that has a sub-tropical climate, where winter is cooler (see below).

Brasilia

As regards to the interior, nearly 900 km (550 mi) away from the sea and about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level, we find the federal capital, Brasilia, which has a pleasantly warm climate all year round due to the altitude. The daytime temperatures range between 25 °C and 28 °C (77 °F and 82 °F) throughout the year. Night temperatures are more variable: they are higher from October to March, while they become quite cool in winter. At times, from May to August, short outbreaks of cold air coming from the south can lower the night temperature to around 5 °C (41 °F) or even below.
Brasilia - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)171718171513131516171818
Max (°C)272727272625252728282726
Min (°F)636364635955555961636464
Max (°F)818181817977778182828179

The rainy season runs from October to April, and in particular, the period from November to February is very rainy. The best period is the winter, from May to August, which is dry and sunny. Here is the average precipitation.
Brasilia - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)24021519012540101015501702402501550
Prec.(in)9.48.57.54.91.60.40.40.626.79.49.861
Days191616953346141820133

In Brasilia, the sunniest period is clearly the winter, while in the summer rainy season, the sun shines on average for a few hours a day.
Brasilia - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours566788987554

In Goiania, located at 750 meters (2,450 ft) above sea level, and at no great distance from the capital, we find a similar climate, though the temperature is slightly higher, and it can be a little hot from September to April.
Belo Horizonte has also a similar climate, since it is located at 850 meters (2,800 ft) above sea level, but its southern location makes it a bit cooler in winter, in fact the daily average in June and July is around 20 °C (68 °F) .
At lower elevations, the heat is felt in inland areas: for example, in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, the temperatures can reach 40 °C (104 °F) from August to October, ie in spring, before the rainy season.
South of Cuiabá, we find the Pantanal, a vast wetland area, with a large biodiversity.
About 350 kilometers (215 miles) away from the coast, north-east of Natal, lies the Fernando de Noronha archipelago: here it's hot and muggy throughout the year, with a rainy season from February to July, and a dry season from August to January.

The south



Area with a subtropical climate
The southernmost part of Brazil (known as "South Region", composed by the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul) has a subtropical climate, and the winter temperatures remind of the Mediterranean climate. Rainfall is well distributed throughout the year: in winter, it is more common and abundant than in regions having a tropical climate, though they are typically not too heavy, but it rains even in summer, so we cannot properly speak of Mediterranean climate.

São Paulo

The megalopolis of São Paulo, which is located a bit to the north of this area, at 800 meters (2,600 feet) above sea level, is in the boundary between the tropical and the subtropical climate zones: its average temperature ranges from 23 °C (73 °F) in January and February to 17 °C (63 °F) in June and July. The rainy season runs from October to March, so the best time to visit this city is from April to September. The period from June to August, as well as being the coolest, is the least rainy of the year. Here is the average precipitation.
Sao Paulo - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)2402151607575554540801251452001455
Prec.(in)9.48.56.3332.21.81.63.14.95.77.957.3
Days181613996779111316134

From May to September, sometimes at night the temperature can approach freezing (0 °C or 32 °F), while from September to March, it can sometimes be hot, around 33/35 °C (91/95 °F). Apart from that, temperatures in São Paulo are generally pleasant, but it is a polluted city, and it's often trapped in a pall of smog that can veil or obscure the sun.
Sao Paulo - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)191918161412121314151718
Max (°C)272827252322222324252626
Min (°F)666664615754545557596364
Max (°F)818281777372727375777979

In Sao Paulo, the sun shines on average for a few hours a day all year long, but there is no very sunny period.
Sao Paulo - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours665666665555

Further south, in Curitiba, in the state of Paraná, 900 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level, winter is cooler, in fact the average in June and July is 13 °C (55.5 °F). From May to September, sometimes at night the temperature can drop to the freezing point.

Florianópolis

In Florianópolis, in the state of Santa Catarina, further south (at a latitude of 27 degrees south) but on the coast, the average temperature ranges from 16.5 °C (61.5 °F) between June and August to 24.5 °C (76 °F) in February. Here are the average temperatures.
Florianópolis - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)212221181613131415171920
Max (°C)282828252321202121232527
Min (°F)707270646155555759636668
Max (°F)828282777370687070737781

As mentioned, precipitation in the south is quite common even in winter. In Florianópolis, 1,500 mm (60 in) of rain fall per year, with a maximum in summer and autumn, from September to March, but with 8 days with rain and no less than 90 mm (3.5 in) per month even in winter. Here is the average precipitation.
Florianópolis - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)165195175959590100951351101301351520
Prec.(in)6.57.76.93.73.73.53.93.75.34.35.15.359.8
Days1213128788811111111120

Since there is no dry season, the amount of sunshine in Florianópolis is not great all year round.
Florianópolis - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours676765554566

In Florianópolis, the sea is a bit cold in winter, while it is warm enough for swimming from November to April, and particularly warm from January to March.
Florianópolis - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)262626242220191920212324
Temp (°F)797979757268666668707375

At the Iguaçu Falls, on the border with Argentina and Paraguay, the average in July is 15 °C (59 °F), and the rains are frequent throughout the year, with a relative minimum in July and August. Summer, from December to March, is hot and muggy, with sunshine, but also thunderstorms.

Porto Alegre

Further south, at the thirtieth parallel, we find Porto Alegre, the capital of the Rio Grande do Sul, where the daily average temperature ranges from 14.5 °C (58.5 °F) in June and July to 24.5 °C (78 °F) in February; therefore, summer is still hot (actually, it is a bit warmer than in Florianópolis because of the distance from the sea), but winter is a bit cooler. Here are the average temperatures.
Porto Alegre - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)212020161311101113151719
Max (°C)303029262220192122252730
Min (°F)706868615552505255596366
Max (°F)868684797268667072778186

At this latitude, thunderstorms in summer are a bit less frequent, while disturbances in winter pass more often over the region, so the winter is even the wettest season, though not by much, as you can see from the average rainfall in Porto Alegre.
Porto Alegre - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)110105901051201401401151401401101001425
Prec.(in)4.34.13.54.14.75.55.54.55.55.54.33.956.1
Days98899999101088106

Near Porto Alegre the sea is warm enough for swimming (though it's not very warm) from December to April, while it becomes quite cold in winter.
Porto Alegre - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)242525232018161617182123
Temp (°F)757777736864616163647073

Rio Grande

In Rio Grande, at a latitude of 32 ° S, the average temperature in July is 13.5 °C (56.5 °F). However, summer is still quite hot.
Rio Grande - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)212120161411111113151719
Max (°C)272726232017161718212326
Min (°F)707068615752525255596366
Max (°F)818179736863616364707379

In the far south of Brazil, in Porto Alegre, but even more in Rio Grande, the sun often shines in summer.
Rio Grande - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours987664455789

In Rio Grande, the sea temperature is also similar to that of the Mediterranean and is warm enough for swimming only in summer, while in winter, it is cold.
Rio Grande - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)232423211816141415171922
Temp (°F)737573706461575759636672

In the southernmost part of Brazil (see Porto Alegre, Rio Grande), the nighttime temperature in winter can drop to 0 °C (32 °F) even at sea level.
In the southern tip of the Rio Grande do Sul, the winter averages are around 11/12 °C (52/54 °F).
In the interior, in cities located at higher altitudes, such as Lages (950 meters or 3,115 feet) and Sao Joaquim (1,300 meters or 4,250 feet), even snowfall can occur at times from June to August.

Hurricanes



Typically, Brazil is not affected by tropical cyclones. In fact, Northern Brazil is not affected by the hurricanes of the North Atlantic (which pass much further to the north), while hurricanes do not normally form in the South Atlantic because the sea is not warm enough. However, from November to March, tropical storms may occasionally form, usually not intense, in the coastal area around the Tropic of Capricorn (see Vitória, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Santos, Curitiba, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre). In the last few decades, only once a true tropical cyclone has formed, that is, Hurricane Catarina, which affected the area of Porto Alegre in late March 2004.

Best Time



If you want to find a single period to visit Brazil, you can choose the austral winter, ie from June to August, in fact, it is usually the coolest, the least rainy and the sunniest time of the year. In the far south, however, winter is rainy, and sometimes it can get cold; rainfall-wise, as previously mentioned, there are exceptions even in the north-central, mainly in the coastal areas, so for the individual zones you can refer to the foregoing sections.
As previously mentioned, the sea is warm enough for swimming all year round in north-central Brazil, while it becomes relatively cool from June to October near Rio de Janeiro, and even cold along the coast of Rio Grande do Sul, where it drops to 14 °C (57 °F) in August. Here. the sea temperature becomes acceptable from January to March, around 23/24 °C (73/75 °F).

What to pack



In winter (June to August): in the Amazon, bring tropics-friendly, loose-fitting clothing, maybe with long sleeves for mosquitoes, and a sweatshirt for the evening. In the north-east, from Natal to the south, bring light clothing, a sweatshirt for the evening, a light scarf for the breeze, and a light sweatshirt and a light raincoat for thunderstorms; you can bring a light scarf and a light sweatshirt for the evening also in Sao Luis and Fortaleza, on for windy evenings. In Rio de Janeiro, bring light clothes for the day, a sweatshirt or sweater and a jacket for the evening, and a raincoat and umbrella. In Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Florianopolis, and the extreme south: clothes for spring and autumn, a sweater, a jacket, and a raincoat or umbrella.
In summer (December to February): in the forest and the tropical region, down to Rio de Janeiro, bring tropics-friendly, lightweight clothing, possibly a light sweatshirt and a light raincoat for thunderstorms, a sun hat, and possibly a sweater and a scarf for air-conditioned places. In Brasilia, Sao Paulo and the south, bring light clothes, a sweatshirt and a light jacket for the evening, and a raincoat or umbrella.