Prices in beach resorts are invariably higher during the Brazilian summer season (December–February) and in July, when schools take a monthlong break. Expect crowds and try to book in advance. If you're looking for a bargain, stick to May–June and August–October. Rio and beach resorts along the coast, especially in the northeast, sizzle with heat November–April, but in Rio the temperature can drop to uncomfortable levels for swimming June–August. If you want sun and hot weather and to enjoy beaches and cities in the south, come in the high season, as temperatures can be very low from May–December.
Seasons below the equator are the reverse of the north—summer in Brazil runs from December to March and winter from June to September. The rainy season in Brazil occurs at the end of the summer months. Showers can be torrential but usually last no more than an hour or two. The Amazon and the Pantanal have the most pronounced rainy seasons, running roughly from November to May and marked by heavy, twice-daily downpours.
Rio de Janeiro is on the tropic of Capricorn, and its climate is just that—tropical. Summers are hot and humid. Be extra careful with sun exposure and use a high SPF sunscreen. The same pattern holds true for the entire Brazilian coastline north of Rio, although temperatures are slightly higher year-round in Salvador and the northeastern coastal cities.
In the Amazon, where the equator crosses the country, temperatures in the high 80s to the 90s (30s C) are common all year. In the south, São Paulo, and parts of Minas Gerais, winter temperatures can fall to the low 40s (5°–8° C). In the southern states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, snowfalls occur in winter, although they're seldom more than dustings.
Festa Junina: Throughout June, Brazilians celebrate country culture, dressing their kids in blooming dresses and painting freckles on their cheeks. Enjoy rustic music while sipping quentãos, cocktails with wine, ginger, clove, and cinnamon.
Oktoberfest: Brazil's vast German community (remember Gisele Bündchen?) parties in the country's south, in the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
Reveillon: Brazilians take New Year's Eve seriously—it doesn't hurt that it takes place in the middle of the hot summer. Rio's Copacabana beach overflows with more than a million revelers each year for a fireworks and live music show. Traditionalists wear all white.