If you're travelling to Brazil for the first time be prepared for any kind of weather! Despite the common belief that Brazil is all sun and hot weather, many parts of the country actually suffer great weather changes; something that can happen from one minute to the next. The first thing you should be aware of is that Brazil's seasons are almost the reverse of the seasons of countries in the Northern Hemisphere such as the USA or Europe so pack accordingly.
Brazil's climate is in general highly variable with the north, near the equator, experiencing extreme tropical conditions and the south, below the Tropic of Capricorn, enjoying more temperate weather. With some regions close to coastlines and others high above sea level, you can be sure to find levels of different temperatures and climatic conditions along your journey ranging from wet to dry, hot, cool, humid and even monsoon-like.
Northern Brazil is described as being the Equatorial Zone as it is crossed by the Equator. Here is where you will find areas of rainforests such as Amazonia which enjoys the area's almost constant humidity and frequent heavy rainfall. In fact, don't expect any dry season in this zone. As a result of the Equatorial Zone's weather conditions you will find very dense vegetation and certain types of wildlife rarely found in other parts of Brazil and even the world. Daily temperatures average around 25ºc and 28ºc but can reach highs of over 30ºc. Night time temperatures are known to drop dramatically so packing for both hot and cold temperatures is advised. This climate is experienced in states such as Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Ronônia, Roraima, and Tocantins for example.
Central, Mid-Northern and parts of Northeastern Brazil
The central area, middle-north and parts of northeastern Brazil are known as the Tropical Zone. Here, areas can either be extremely humid (summer) or dry (winter). Temperatures are particularly consistent and oscillate between 20ºc and 24ºc particularly during Spring time. Winter periods are known for their drastic variations sometimes ranging between 15ºc and 24ºc. Summertime can get excessively hot with temperatures reaching the mid-30ºc. Rainfall is at its heaviest in the Tropical Zone between November and March. This climate is experienced in states such as Mato Grosso, Brasília, Goiás, Mato Grosso Sul, and Rio Grande do Norte for example.
Other Parts of Northeastern Brazil
Other remaining parts of northeastern Brazil are said to belong to the Semi-Arid Zone. These areas are the driest parts of the entire country and are known for experiencing much drought. The area is said to be the halfway mark between a desert and a humid forest. States include Maranhão, Ceará, Piauí, Pernambuco. This climate is experienced in states such as Maranhão, Ceará, Piauí, Pernambuco and Bahia for example.
Southern Brazil, below the Tropic of Capricorn, is where you can enjoy more temperate weather conditions or in other words, less aggressive tropical conditions. Summers are hot and winters are cool so it's easier to know what to expect and what clothes to pack. Average temperatures can range between 14ºC and 22ºC during the year in lowland areas whereas areas of higher altitude experience bigger drops in temperatures and even snow in very high mountainous regions. Coastal regions in the southeast of Brazil, where you'll find the famous beaches of Copacabana, Fortaleza, Natal, Recife and Salvador, are exposed to the marine tropical masses and can experience frequent but short periods of rainfall at any time of the year. These coastal regions offer fantastic summers (December and January) with temperatures averaging in the low to mid-30 degrees. Further south is Brazil's Subtropical Zone and is where the coldest average temperatures of the country can be felt. This climate is experienced in states such as Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.