Best Time to Visit Rio de Janeiro: Month-by-Month Guide (+Photos)

Fittingly known as the ‘marvelous city’, Rio de Janeiro is set in one of the most spectacular spots imaginable, alongside white sand beaches amidst scenic rainforest-coated mountains. Each year, millions visit, come to see Copacabana and Christ the Redeemer or experience its world-famous carnival.

Very hot year-round, its natural wonders and dynamic city life make Brazil’s second-largest metropolis great to visit almost every month. While summers (so December through March) are sweltering with strong, sudden downpours, its winters (June to September) are normally sunny, warm and dry.

To help you organize your trip, let’s take a look month-by-month at what to expect in terms of Rio’s climate and crowds. We’ll also cover any exciting events going on and what periods are cheaper or more expensive to visit.

In this post, we’ll cover:

What’s the Weather Like in Rio de Janeiro?

Lying alongside the Atlantic Ocean at the entrance to Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro can be found in the southeast of Brazil. The stunning city has a tropical climate that is often almost monsoon-like in summer.

From December to March, temperatures hover around 28 to 30°C (82-86°F). Due to its high humidity though, its avenues sometimes feel much, much hotter, particularly when there is little wind around. It also rains quite a lot between 15 and 21 days on average. Its torrential downpours usually give way though to beautiful bright blue sunny skies.

Even in winter, temperatures remain around the mid-20s (chilly for Brazilians!) with its days being much drier. As always, the water at its beaches is startlingly cold due to the currents from Antarctica that run along the coast.

Best months to visit Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

As summer has the best weather for beach days and is when its two biggest events carnival and Reveillon (New Year’s Eve) take place, December to February is Rio’s peak season. This is the busiest, most expensive time to visit though with it also being pretty hot and humid.

The shoulder seasons of April and May and October and November are arguably even better in Rio as the lower temperatures and humidity are more manageable. There are also fewer crowds and its accommodation and airfares are much, much cheaper.

Despite it being winter in Brazil, July and August see an influx of visitors as Europeans and Americans head here on their summer holidays. While flight prices are higher, the weather is still warm enough for sightseeing, sunbathing and swimming.

Rio de Janeiro in January

Rio Rain

Once all its fun New Year’s Eve festivities and fireworks displays have died down, January in Rio is a bit quieter and calmer. As it is one of the hottest months of the year, both locals and tourists alike spend their days lounging on the beach at Copacabana or Ipanema. Make sure to apply sunscreen, hydrate regularly and take breaks as the sun is scorching.

While the heat and humidity do make sightseeing quite tiring, it’s the perfect month to visit one of its famous samba schools. As carnival is just around the corner, all their dancers and musicians are rehearsing in their flamboyant costumes and floats. Although prices for hotels and flights are already high, they are a bit cheaper than either December or February.

Rio de Janeiro in February

Rio de Janeiro Carnival

With millions pouring into the city to celebrate carnival, February is by far the busiest, most expensive month to visit Rio. It is also (for many) the most memorable too! As accommodation prices are extortionate, it’s best to start your search well in advance or risk sleeping on the beach.

While its raucous carnival only officially runs for five days, in reality, street parties or blocos pop up everywhere for two weeks. Its main beaches are packed during this time with Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf also being overrun.

Averages of 30°C (86°F) coupled with the high humidity and heaving crowds can make sightseeing challenging. Despite all the chaos, seeing the floats and parades in the Sambadrome really is an unforgettable experience.

Rio de Janeiro in March

Rio beach

It’s only in March that things start to settle down as cariocas return to work and the kids are already back at school. As Brazilians say: ‘the year doesn’t start until after carnival’. Still the peak tourist season, its beaches are all pretty busy with the high temperatures only slightly letting up. Prices drop considerably but are still expensive compared to the rest of the year.

While it still rains for around 15 days on average, the storms quickly give way to lovely blue skies and sunshine. As there are still lots of people visiting the city but the crowds are more manageable, it’s a good time to hit up lively nightlife spots like Lapa and Pedra do Sal.

Rio de Janeiro in April

rio sugarloaf

As the heat, humidity and rain finally subside a bit, April is one of the most pleasant months weatherwise in Rio. While averages of 27°C (80°F) are more comfortable for strolling about the city and seeing its sights, you can still sunbathe and swim in the sea. Apart from around the Easter holidays, prices are also more affordable.

If you want to watch a match at Rio’s legendary Maracana stadium, Brazil’s football league, the Brasileirão, kicks off again in April. With fewer tourists around, it’s also well worth taking trips to Paraty, Ilha Grande and Arraial do Cabo. If you’ve had enough of beaches, then both Petropolis and Teresopolis up amidst the mountains are perhaps better bets.

Rio de Janeiro in May

Rio de Janeiro in May

May too is a wonderful month to visit as autumn is cooler, drier and all Rio’s picture-perfect beaches are quieter. Both its airfares and accommodation options are also cheaper as there are fewer people around. This means there will be no queues at its top attractions like Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf and the Selaron Steps.

While still sunny, the days are slightly shorter now with about 11 hours of daylight each day. As the temperatures are lower, ambling about its Botanical Gardens or along all the trails in Tijuca National Park is more pleasant. Weather conditions are also ideal for taking a flight to Iguazu Falls and seeing the world-famous waterfalls with fewer crowds around.

Rio de Janeiro in June


While winter officially starts in June, averages of 25°C (77°F) really aren’t bad at all though it can get a bit chilly in the evenings. As it is much drier and there are still around 6 hours of sunshine each day, it’s a great time to either lounge on the beach or see all the city’s iconic sights. Prices for flights and hotels do start to creep up again though.

Throughout the whole month, plenty of dances, music events and festivals are held for Festa Junina. After carnival, it is the largest celebration in Brazil with loads of tasty traditional food also served as people welcome the harvest and honor several saints.

Besides taking part in the fun festivities, you can also go hang gliding above Rio. The clear skies, gentle winds and dry weather of June are perfect with the views being out of this world.

Rio de Janeiro in July


As both Europeans and North Americans have summer holidays, flights to Rio de Janeiro are much more expensive in July. With the schools in Brazil also breaking up for winter, its idyllic beaches and amazing tourist attractions are busier again. This is despite it being the coldest month of the year – a ‘cool’ 24°C (75°F)!

While the waves are much rougher in winter, making swimming a bit challenging, conditions couldn’t be better for surfers. On land, the drier, cooler days are fantastic for cycling around Rio or hiking and rock climbing in Tijuca National Park. Prices are higher though with Paraty down the coast hosting one of the state’s biggest events – the FLIP Literary Festival.

Rio de Janeiro in August


August is much less crowded as both cariocas and Brazilians from outside of Rio are already back at work and school. Airfares, however, remain very high. With less fog and rain due to the drier, mild weather, the views from Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf and Os Dois Irmaos are even more spectacular.

As it is still winter, August is a brilliant time to either sightsee or enjoy outdoor activities and sunbathe without it being too hot. Each Sunday, you can cycle, skateboard or saunter along the avenue next to Ipanema as it is closed off to traffic. Sunsets from Arpoador alongside it are also unbelievable, especially with a caipirinha in hand!

Rio de Janeiro in September

Rio independence day

While it does rain a bit more, September is still a very pleasant month to visit Rio. Strolling about its Botanical Gardens or Parque Lage is particularly lovely though some days are quite cloudy. There also won’t be many crowds around despite flight prices dropping considerably after August.

With about 6 hours of sunshine a day and averages of 25°C (77°F), you can always head to Ipanema and Copacabana to sunbathe if you like. If you’re after a bit of culture, its Fine Arts Museum and MAR are good bets while its Biennial Book Fair also takes place in September. Every two years, Rock in Rio – one of South America’s biggest music festivals – is also held, attracting massive crowds to the city.

Brazil Independence Day is celebrated as a national holiday on 7 September with parades, parties, and various cultural events taking place.

Rio de Janeiro in October

Rio de Janeiro in October

As it is the low-season, October is ideal for those looking to explore Rio while avoiding all the heaving crowds and high prices. While the weather is a bit more unpredictable, the days are longer with around 13 hours of daylight. Temperatures are warm enough to sunbathe, swim or go sightseeing around the city, though it does rain quite often.

Besides checking out the Christ and Copacabana, there is also its International Film Festival to enjoy. As always, you can dance to samba in Lapa or watch Flamengo or Fluminense play at the Maracana whenever you feel like it. With spring having arrived, many flowers are blooming in its gardens, parks and Tijuca rainforest. It’s also a good month to go kayaking and paddle boarding as the waves are calmer now after the winter.

Rio de Janeiro in November

Rio de Janeiro in November

In November, the heat, humidity and rain slowly start to build up again. Temperatures rise to 27°C (80°F) with it also raining for around 19 days on average. Its showers usually give way to clear skies and sunshine though quite quickly. This is a great month to visit before the summer crowds arrive and the prices of hotels and flights shoot up around Christmas.

With fewer people around, you can really enjoy its incredible beaches, iconic landmarks and astonishing views. Around Ipanema does get pretty packed though during its week-long Gay Pride when all kinds of fun street parties and parades take place. It’s also worth taking trips to Ilha Grande and Buzios in November before they get too busy.

Rio de Janeiro in December

Rio New Year

December is when the crowds return to Rio. Prices shoot up as people flock to the city to celebrate Christmas, New Year’s Eve and bask on its glorious beaches. Averages of 28°C (82°F) and the high humidity make sightseeing tough with it raining for around 21 days of the month.

As the summer holidays start in Brazil, attractions, beaches and hotels are all rammed as millions head here for its famous end-of-year festivities. Aside from seeing the giant, floating Christmas tree out on the lagoon, there are fireworks displays, concerts and parties to take part in at Copacabana for the Reveillon.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve, all dressed in white and jumping over waves (two local traditions!), really is an unforgettable experience!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *