When to visit Brazil, month by month

March 22, 2007 | By More

Praia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha

When do I go to Brazil? What is the best time of the year to visit Brazil? This is a recurring question for travellers planning a trip to Brazil. Here is my attempt to reply to those questions. The list below contains, above all, general trends that might or might not change on a given year. Remember climate change and El Niño are on the loose.

JANUARY

  • FOR: good weather all throughout the country, it’s summer, after all. Plenty of sunshine and heat.
  • AGAINST: it is the main high season. Millions of Brazilians are enjoying their holidays. All the touristic destinations are jam-packed, and prices rocket. Violent tropical storms in the South and Southeast regions.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: big cities are at its best, without the big crowds, and about acceptable traffic. The volume of the falls at Iguazu is at its best.
  • BEST AVOIDED: any beach destination – it will be overcrowded for certain. The Lençóis Maranhenses, where the lagoons are empty and it rains a lot. Fernando de Noronha, where the sea is quite rough at the most beautiful beaches.

FEBRUARY

  • FOR: the good weather continues. Carnival takes place.
  • AGAINST: although the January holidays are over, the high season continues in many places until Carnival. Violent tropical storms continue in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: Rio, Salvador, São Paulo and Recife, if you want to be part of the Carnival. The Iguazu falls are still at their best. Far from the dates of the Carnival, the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel). The coast of São Paulo and Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios) also excluding the week of Carnival. The same goes for the Northeast coast .
  • BEST AVOIDED: Lençóis Maranhenses, Fernando de Noronha, Rio, if your reason for being there is not the Carnival – accommodation is expensive and hard to find.

MARCH

  • FOR: good weather all around, though autumn/fall begins at the end of the month and temperatures fall in the South and Southeast. Low season.
  • AGAINST: high season is back during Easter. Final tropical storms in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: Iguazú. The north coast the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios): good weather, good prices, and very few folks around (excluding Easter). For the same reasons, the beaches of the coast of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel). The beaches of the state of Bahia, where the rainy season hasn’t started yet.
  • BEST AVOIDED: some of the destinations listed for February (Lençóis Maranhenses, Fernando de Noronha).

APRIL

  • FOR: the weather is still quite good, though autumn/fall is making its presence being felt. Drier weather. Low season.
  • AGAINST: if Easter falls on April, the high season is back.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: The region of the Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais, where it has stopped raining. Iguazú. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios): good weather, low prices, few tourists. For the same reasons, the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel).
  • BEST AVOIDED: Some of the destinations listed for February (Lençóis Maranhenses, Fernando de Noronha).

MAY

  • FOR: very similar to April, although it’s getting cold on the mountains in the South. Low season.
  • AGAINST: quite cold in parts of the South.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: Iguazú. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios). The Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais.
  • BEST AVOIDED: The coast of the Brazilian Northeast, it’s one of the rainiest months there. The beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), quite cold for a swim.

JUNE

  • FOR: low season.
  • AGAINST: cold in the South and Southeast, and plenty of rain in the coast of Bahia.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: the region of the Serras (Rio Grande do Sul) and canyons (Rio Grande do Sul y Santa Catarina), to enjoy the spectacular landscape in the cold. The Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais. São Luis on the second half of June to enjoy the bumba-meu-boi festival. Parintins (in the Amazon) during the last three days of June to enjoy the boi-bumbá festival. The Lençóis Maranhenses, with the lagoons brimming with water. The rain stops in the Pantanal.
  • BEST AVOIDED: The coast of the Brazilian Northeast, another rainy month. The beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), too cold.

JULY

  • FOR: the weather is changing and new destinations are promoted to the “recommended” category.
  • AGAINST: cold in the South and Southeast. High season again, school holidays in Brazil. Prices rise.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: the region of the Serras (Rio Grande do Sul) and canyons (Rio Grande do Sul y Santa Catarina), to enjoy the spectacular landscape in the cold. The Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais. The Lençóis Maranhenses. The Pantanal. Fernando de Noronha, the nicest beaches display the turquoise colour that has made them famous. Manaus and the Amazon jungle nearby. From now till November the Amazon is at its highest level, there’s more sunshine and less mosquitos.
  • BEST AVOIDED: the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), too cold. Iguazú, the water levels at the falls reach an all-year low. The coast of the Brazilian Northeast, it rains and it’s high season.

AUGUST

  • FOR: although the month coincides with an influx of foreign visitors, it’s low season in Brazil.
  • AGAINST: quite cold in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: the region of the Serras (Rio Grande do Sul) and canyons (Rio Grande do Sul y Santa Catarina), to enjoy the spectacular landscape in the cold. The Cidades Históricas in Minas Gerais. The Lençóis Maranhenses. Fortaleza and Jericoacoara, where the rainy season is over. The Pantanal. Fernando de Noronha, a good month to visit the island. Manaus and the Amazon jungle nearby. You can venture into the southern coast of Bahia, where the rain is bearable.
  • BEST AVOIDED: the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), too cold. Iguazú, the water levels at the falls reach an all-year low.

SEPTEMBER

  • FOR: ideal month for some destinations, good weather and low season.
  • EN CONTRA: still cold in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: the Lençóis Maranhenses. All the Northeast coastline, from Bahía, through Natal and Pipa, to Fortaleza and Jericoacoara. The Pantanal. Fernando de Noronha, along with October, this is the best month of the year to visit the island. Manaus and the Amazon jungle.
  • BEST AVOIDED: the beaches of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel), too cold.Iguazú, the water levels at the falls reach an all-year low.

OCTOBER

  • FOR: ideal month for some destinations, good weather and low season. The weather warms up in the South and Southeast
  • AGAINST: Can’t think of anything! This is one of the best months to be visiting Brazil.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: all the Northeast coastline, from Bahia, through Natal and Pipa, to Fortaleza and Jericoacoara. Fernando de Noronha, along with September, this is the best month of the year to visit the island. Manaus and the Amazon jungle. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios).
  • BEST AVOIDED: Iguazú falls, the level of the river is rising, but it was in October when the falls nearly dried up a couple of years ago.

NOVEMBER

  • FOR: ideal month for some destinations, good weather and low season. The weather warms up in the South and Southeast
  • AGAINST: Can’t think of anything! Along with October, November is one of the best months to be visiting Brazil.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: all the Northeast coastline, from Bahia, through Natal and Pipa, to Fortaleza and Jericoacoara. Fernando de Noronha. Manaus and the Amazon jungle. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios). Beaches of Río Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel).
  • BEST AVOIDED: Lençóis Maranhenses, the lagoons have dried up.

DECEMBER

  • FOR: during the first half of the month it is still low season, with good weather and few people around.
  • AGAINST: the dates between Christmas and the New Year are the most expensive of all the year, and most places are crowded. The violent tropical storms are back in the South and Southeast.
  • RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS: all the Northeast coastline, from Bahia, through Natal and Pipa, to Fortaleza and Jericoacoara. The north coast of the state of São Paulo (Ubatuba) and the south coast of the state of Rio (Paraty, Ilha Grande, Búzios). Beaches of Río Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina (Florianópolis) and Paraná (Ilha do Mel).
  • BEST AVOIDED: Pantanal, Noronha (where rough seas have replaces the calm waters of the last few months), Lençóis Maranhenses.

Category: featured, General, weather

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. stef says:

    Hi Tony,

    Still going through your blog that I found very interesting.
    We have just booked a couple of flights to Rio from London in Mid May – beg June.
    When checking this page (when to visit) I got a bit scared by the Best avoided section for May.
    As we are looking for Sun and Beach life, your entry says BEST AVOIDED: The coast of the Brazilian Northeast.
    Are you sure it is correct?
    We are planning to hang around Bahia, Recife and really looking forward to some relaxing time.
    Hope you can help.

    Thx

    S

  2. Tony says:

    Stef, May is bang in the middle of the rainy season in the Northeast. If you have a look at some of the data at the weather section of the blog you’ll see that between April and June it rains an awful lot in that part of the country (see for instance the historical averages for Salvador).

    Now, you will ask me, does it rain the whole time or is it just a downpour at the end of the day? It depends, for the last four or five years there have been 10-day spells of non-stop rain. If you are unlucky enough to travel during that time you will see quite a lot of rain, I’m afraid.

    Alternatively, you could stay in the state of Rio. It has some of the most beautiful beaches of the entire a Brazil and the bonus is that you don’t have to catch any plane. Buzios, Arraial do Cabo, Ilha Grande and Paraty are excellent places to go.

    All the best!

  3. stef says:

    Hey Tony,

    Cheers for your quick response.
    I am confused..
    This link
    http://br.weather.com/weather/climatology/BRXX0195

    If I look at May/June for Recife, I see max 29/28deg and N/D for rain???

    I am sure youmust be right, but the data says the inverse???

    I will look into staying around Rio and the places you mentioned if this is the case.

    Any other places you can recommend for nice scenery/beach..relaxing time?

    Thanks again for your time

  4. Tony says:

    Hi Stef, N/D means N/A = not available. There is no data for that month. It’s quite annoying when that infamous abbreviation appears. You can check msn.weather when that happens, they usually have data for all the months (here’s the data for Recife). But make no mistake, April-June, rain in the north east (it’s always hot, though).

    Check at the destinations page of the blog where you have the links to info on all the destinations I’ve quoted. For stunning scenery I recommend Ilha Grande, south of Rio de Janeiro. For wonderful scenery + a beautiful village by the sea, Paraty.

  5. Sandra says:

    Hi Tony,
    I was searching for some pictures and information about São Luís – MA because I’m going to spend a week with my mom there, and lucky I’ve found your pictures on flickr and this useful blog. Congratulations for your work.
    Because I live in the northeast area, in Paraíba state, I searched for some info here from where I live in your blog but I couldn’t find any.
    I hope you have a chance to search and know Paraíba state one day and register the beauty we have here.
    Good job.

  6. Tony says:

    Sandra, thanks for your kind comments. I haven’t visited Paraíba yet, we have a post on links: João Pessoa but that’s it. I assume you’ve already seen our posts on Lençóis Maranhenses and São Luís. Have a great trip in Maranhão!