We all know by now that Brazil is a huge country and that the diversity of sceneries it offers attract tourists from all over the globe. Most of us know how pleasant and cozy the chilly Southern weather can be; how humid the Amazon climate and the Northeastern summers are. But is there a right time to visit such places and all the wonders they have to offer?
In some destinations, the experience changes completely if visited during the right period of the year. For that reason, every traveler needs to be aware of the changes in climate and, consequently, of the natural scenery. After all, it’s the rain volume, the intensity of the wind, and the temperature of the destination that will define, for example, the formation of lagoons at the Lençóis Maranhenses, the sighting of whales off Bahia’s coast, or the size of the waves in Fernando de Noronha.
Since we don’t want you to visit the Iguassu Falls during the drought periods and feel disappointed, we are here to offer some tips on the best times to visit some of the most amazing destinations around the country.
FERNANDO DE NORONHA
One of the biggest tropical paradises in the world, and the biggest reserve of Marine life in the country, the archipelago is a destination that can be visited year round. However, depending on the month you choose to go, it can completely change your experience. From March through July, during the rain period, the few roads on the island become mud pools, making it much harder to hike some of the several incredible trails the island has to offer. For those who love diving, the ideal time to visit is between August and November. During these months, the sea is calm and clear, and you could see it down to 50 meters underwater. January and February are the best months for those looking to catch some waves.
WHALE and BIRD WATCHING
In Rio Grande do Sul, the Lagoa do Peixe (National Park of Lagoa do Peixe) is an enormous nook for migratory birds flying from all over the American continent. Between July and November, thousands of birds of more than 270 species, such as swans, flamingos, and sanderlings come fleeing the cold in the Northern hemisphere, looking for food and shelter. This is a great opportunity for bird lovers and watchers. On top of that, the Lagoa is famous for its beautiful lighthouses and shipwrecks.
In Abrolhos, at the Marinho National Park, in the south of Bahia, the biggest attraction happens between July and November: the magnificent humpback whales. Migrating from colder latitudes, they choose the warm waters surrounding the islands to reproduce and nurse their calfs.
In the two states where Pantanal extends – Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul -, the setting that the visitor will find is defined by the rains and the droughts. Considered the best moment to visit the area, the dry season is when most animals roam freely and your chances to spot a jaguar are much higher. If that’s what you’re looking for, you should visit between May and September. If you don’t mind intense heat and lots of rain, come between the months of January through March. Between October and November, when temperatures could reach up to 45ºC (113ºF), the rain allows for boat rides through the flooded areas and it’s easy to see birds, alligators, and fish hunting for food, differently from mammals, that seek refuge in the higher regions.
SERRA GAÚCHA and CATARINENSE
What could you expect from this part of the country if not cold weather? In the Gramado and Canela region, in the Gaucho Highlands, temperatures are mild during the whole year, but to visit the area between June and July makes it even more magical. With temperatures that can drop below 0ºC (32ºF) – and even some snowfall -, the cuisine of this region and the European feel brought by the German immigrants makes these two towns the perfect romantic destination.
In the town of Urupema, in Santa Catarina, where temperatures can drop -7ºC (19ºF) in July, the main attraction is the ambiance created by the cold weather. The popular Morro das Torres, with its tip reaching over 1700 meters above sea level, offers visitors a beautiful landscape with its frozen waterfalls during extremely cold days.
Besides being difficult to access, this wonder of nature has its little secrets. November wouldn’t be the best time to visit since several of the lagoons disappear due to the summer drought. Also, the landscape drastically changes during this month. You should opt to visit the beauty of Lençóis Maranhenses between the months of May through October.
Except for Pantanal, no other region struggles as much with the amount of rainfall such as the Amazon region. Starting in December and lasting until mid-June, the rain falls without mercy around Manaus and the rest of the state, flooding forests and igarapés. Since there’s no dry season in the Amazon, the best time of the year to visit the largest watershed on the planet is between July and September, when the rain showers are scattered, short, and less intense.
After all these tips, try to plan accordingly to fully experience the best of what each destination has to offer, and make every moment of your visit worthwhile.
*This article was originally published in Portuguese at Chicken or Pasta by Jo Machado. Translation by Priscila Toledo.