Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city of Brazil, and one of the most frequently visited places in the entire southern hemisphere. The climate of this vibrant city is a bit complicated. It is classified as a tropical savannah climate, but it is also very similar to a tropical monsoon climate. The summers are packed with heavy rain, and the winters are subject to violent storms that can cause floods and landslides in the city. It rarely snows in Rio, only a few times per century, while the temperatures can get unbearably hot (above 40C) during summer heat waves.
Summer in Rio de Janeiro is the hottest season of the year, with temperatures regularly soaring above 30C, while the rain is frequent and violent; the season averages approximately 12 days of precipitation per month.
The average mean temperature of summer in Rio de Janeiro is an overnight low of 23C (73F), climbing to a toasty 29.5C (85F).
The summer is a time when the entire city looks for ways to cool off, so beaches are an obvious hot spot during the season. Leblon Beach is one of the finest in the city, and while not as internationally known as others in the city, this beach sports the most expensive real estate in South America. If you aren’t quite ready to sport your bronzed body in public, enjoy some of the other outdoor activities the city has to offer, like a fantastic walking tour of the city, called Rios de Historia Cultural, which is led by a trained guide of the Brazilian Tourism Ministry and is considered the best way to learn all the ins and outs of the city’s history. The holiday season in Rio is anything but a White Christmas, but the city still participates in the holiday spirit with a number of Santa Claus appearances, Christmas palm trees, and sandy dunes rather than snow banks. The New Years celebration in the city is massive, and is called Reveillon. More than 2 million people crowd the beaches throughout the city to get the best view of the massive fireworks display set off from boats in the harbors. The New Years Day festivities are even better, with an all day celebration that culminates in a feast of dancing, drinking, merriment, and of course, food, on Copacabana Beach. The largest attraction that puts Rio in the eyes of the world every single year is the Carnival celebration in February. Stores shut down for the two-week period while the whole city turns out for the largest party of the year. Costumed party-goers fill the streets with live music, local cuisine, drinking and joy for the city’s iconic summer celebration that draws thousands of visitors to the city for that one event alone. If culture is more on your mind than Carnival, take your camera for a stroll to the Sao Bento Monastery to listen to the weekly Gregorian chants on Sundays, or go to Igreja de Sao Francisco de Paula, an ornate masterpiece of sculptures and history that dates back more than 400 years.
Autumn in Rio de Janeiro is not very different from summer, and although the temperature eases slightly, expect the rain to continue approximately 10 days per month during the season.
The average mean temperature in during Rio de Janeiro’s autumn is an overnight low of 22C (72F), while the daytime high remains quite warm at 27.5C (82F).
Autumn in Rio de Janeiro is a lovely time to visit this Brazilian gem, and there are plenty of activities to fill up you vacation. The natural side of the city is one of its’ finest features, so explores some of the backstreets of Rio where the scenery makes you forget you are in the middle of a metropolis. The area of Santa Teresa provides a unique look at a much less touristy side of the city, with its’ quaint shops and quiet cafes, while the Parque des Ruinas (Ruins Park) gives visitors a moderate hike up to some truly stunning 280 degree views of the entire city. In March, you can also see the Rio Circuit, one of the main sporting events of the year, where cyclists make the city their playground, along with the neighboring mountains. Sports are a big part of Rio’s past and future, so check out the Maracana Stadium, one of the largest football stadiums in the world. Rio is host to the World Cup Finals in 2014, and the Olympics in 2016, which would be two life-changing times to be in the city, but until then and after the events, the areas of the Olympic Village and the football pitch is still a cool place to go and feel the athletic energy of the city. In April, another outdoor attraction draws massive crowds during autumn in Rio de Janeiro, the annual Boat Show. Some of the most expensive yachts in the world are on display during this ritzy showcase, and while most people only come to admire the stunning floating castles, perhaps you’ll find one you like and pick up a yacht during your next vacation! The autumn is also another perfect time to explore some of the city’s beaches, and for you adventurous adults, find one of the “clothing optional” beaches for a true, Brazilian experience!
Winter in Rio de Janeiro is the coolest season of the year, providing a brief respite from the occasionally sweltering weather of the other seasons. Winter is also the dry season, so it truly is the ideal time to visit for many tourists, without the extreme heat or precipitation of summer. The average rainfall during the winter months is approximately 6 days per month.
The average mean temperature of Rio de Janeiro in winter is an overnight low of 19.5C (67F) and the daytime high peaks at 25.5C (78F).
Winter in Rio de Janeiro is a wonderful time to visit this magical Brazilian city. Being famous for its’ many beaches and beautiful people, winter is the perfect time to lay out on the sun and soak up the rays without being too worried about an unseasonable shower. The beaches of Rio are legendary, so make sure you check out Copacabana Beach, as well as Ipanema Beach, which was named the best “city beach” in the world in 2012. If surfing is your thing, make sure you check out Arpoador Beach, famous for its’ ideal surfing conditions. If the beach isn’t necessarily your favorite spot to relax, maybe take a relaxing hike around the surrounding areas of the city. Tijuca National Park is a short trip outside the city, but is one of the lesser known gems of Rio, and gives visitors a chance to get out into nature on extensive hiking trails and discover beautiful scenic vistas for themselves. Another popular stroll while in the city is the Jardim Botanico (Botanic Gardens), and it is closer to the other attractions if you want to pack your day full of activities. The Avenida Atlantica, the iconic boulevard alongside Copacabana Beach, is a delightful spot to end an evening, with its’ hotels, restaurants, and activities. It is often considered the Las Vegas Strip of Rio. If cultural activities are up your alley, than winter is a dream. If you visit the city in June, you are in the thick of bonfire season. There are three very important feast days in June; St. Anthony, St. John, and St. Peter, and they all have bonfire and fireworks celebrations by the locals. Also in mid-June is the Rio Marathon, which becomes a citywide event of drinking, food, and celebrating during and after the race.
The temperature begins to climb and the rain begins to fall more heavily during spring in Rio de Janeiro. Although the locals are used to the warmer temperatures, the unpredictable heat waves of Rio can be dangerous for tourists who may not be expecting them. Basically, bring a lot of sunscreen and a spare umbrella if you’re traveling in the spring.
The average mean temperature of the city in spring is an overnight low of 20.5C (69F), while the daytime tops out at 26C (79F).
If you can stand the gradually increasing heat of the spring, then taking a trip at this time of year gives you all sorts of other bonuses. Spring in Rio de Janeiro kicks off with Independence Day on September 7th, which means that if you are not at home celebrating quietly you’re your family, then you are probably out in the streets, dancing and making merry. The whole city celebrates October as Children’s Month, centered in the events of October 12th, when children have presents lavished on them. Your children might get the surprise of their lives when they get a veritable Christmas in spring! In terms of sightseeing during the spring months, do not miss spending a day trip amidst the wonders of Petropolis, the imperial city a little over an hour outside of Rio. One of the most recognizable monuments in the world is in the heart of Rio de Janeiro and has become a symbol of the city and it’s people. The towering statue of Christ the Redeemer with arms outstretched, draws millions of locals and of visitors to come to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain for a closer look at the statue, and an unforgettable view of the city. This is a must-do for all visitors to Rio de Janeiro! You can reach the summit by taking a two-part cable care ride, so don’t worry, you don’t have to make the mountainous hike like some choose to do. For those who want even more of a thrill than mountain climbing, hang gliding is a wildly popular activity in the city, usually using Pedro Bonita (“beautiful rock”) as a starting point, and landing delicately on Praia do Pepino (Cucumber Beach). If you are getting tired of all the walking about outside, cool off from the rising temperatures at the renowned National Museum of Fine Arts or the National Historic Museum, which both provide unique glimpses into the both history and the culture of Rio de Janeiro throughout the centuries.
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