Brazil in May: Post Monsoon Calm


The monsoon is over in Brazil in May and the weather is more relaxed. This is the second month of the shoulder season in the country, meaning fewer tourists and less-crowded attractions. Flights and accommodation are also cheaper during this time of year, making it one of the best times to explore Brazil. Discover your inner self in the seaside town of Jericoacoara and take in the monumental architecture of Brasilia. Wander in the bylanes of the colonial town of Ouro Preto and take pictures of the glittering lakes and cascading waterfalls of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park.

Brazil weather in May

Amazonic traditional fruits on road shop, Brazil
There are over 300 species native to Brazil, ranging from the well-known pineapple and passion fruit to the more exotic Guaraná.

The onset of winter brings both humidity levels and temperatures down in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, you can expect a daily high of around 26℃ and a low of 20℃. Even on the coldest days, the mercury rarely falls below 17℃ here. Rio experiences a lot of cloudy weather in May but precipitation diminishes to around 60mm.

In Manaus, deep in the Amazon Basin, temperatures stay at an average of 31℃ during the day and a balmy 24℃ at night. Humidity remains high in this area and there is still a 70 percent chance of rain each day. However, the amount of precipitation is lower than that of rainy season months. In the southern part of Brazil, frosts are common in May, and Atlantic storms result in occasional snowfall in the highlands.

For an overview of Brazil’s seasons, check out our travel guide on the best time to visit Brazil.

Weather in Brazil in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)303029282625252625262729
Avg Nightly (°C)232423222019181919202122
Avg Daily (°F)868684.282.478.8777778.87778.880.684.2
Avg Nightly (°F)73.475.273.471.66866.264.466.266.26869.871.6
Avg Rainfall (mm)11410510313786805651878896169

Why visit Brazil in May

Capybara, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, with evening light during orange sunse
Capybara, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, with evening light during orange sunset, Pantanal, Brazil
Victoria Water Lilies
Victoria water lilies, native to the Amazon basin, expand up to 3 m in diameter.

The month of May is an ideal time to visit some of Brazil’s most important landmarks and tourist hotspots without battling the crowds. You will find it cheaper and easier to rent a vehicle and book tours, and queues outside attractions such as Christ the Redeemer in Rio are shorter.

  • Jungleland journeys: May is a spectacular month in the Amazon Rainforest. Cooler temperatures make its wildlife more active. Rivers that crisscross the jungle are also full during this time of year and you can set off from Manaus (Brazil’s iconic inland jungle city) on riverboat adventures to destinations deep inside the forest.
  • Pantanal pleasures: The world’s most extensive submerged grassland overflows with life in May. The cooler weather brings a rich array of wildlife into view, including 236 species of mammal, almost 500 species of bird, and iconic reptiles such as the anaconda and the caiman crocodile.
  • Hit the streets: Pleasant weather conditions mean that you will not be sweating buckets while exploring the streets of Brazil’s cities. From the colorful favelas of Rio and the wide avenues and colonial buildings of Salvador to the modernist masterpieces of Brasilia — Brazil's purpose-built capital city — you can experience authentic Brazil in May simply by walking around.
  • Iguazu Falls: With the rainy season reaching its end, rivers across the country are overflowing during this time. Therefore, May is the perfect month to visit the majestic Iguazu Falls as the crowds are thin and the cascades are at their most spectacular.

Where to go and what to do

Fishing boats on the beach of Natal, Brazil
Natal has plenty of opportunities for recreational fishing and is an angling paradise for both amateur and seasoned sports fishermen.

May is a month to relax and enjoy the country at a leisurely pace. With fewer tourists around, you will spend less time in queues and more time experiencing the sights of this vast country. Spend a few days in Rio de Janeiro where you can strut your stuff on the beach in Copacabana, sip tropical drinks in the cool evening air and ride a railway to the top of the 700-meter Corcovado summit to see Christ the Redeemer.

Travel inland to Manaus (population 2 million), one of the world’s most isolated cities located deep in the Amazon. Riverboat trips on the Amazon and its tributaries can be easily carried out during this time of year and you can travel to the far reaches of the forest, something that is not doable during other times of the year. Try spotting dolphins, deadly piranhas, and the elusive jaguar as you sail down the river.

In the south of the country, you can hike the scenic Pedra Bonita Trail, take in the coffee-growing regions around São Paulo (Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee), and explore the biodiverse Pantanal wetlands.

What to bring

Golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia)
The Brazilian Amazon Rainforest is home to diverse wildlife consisting of rare and endangered species.

Prepare for Brazil’s cooler May weather by packing a few warm garments to wear at night or in chilly mountain areas. Good walking shoes are a must if you plan to hike or do lots of exploration on foot. Sandals or flip-flops will be fine for the beach. Wear modest clothes when visiting churches and dress casually while out at restaurants in the evening.

A trip to Brazil in May will give you a different perspective of the country. Smaller crowds and shorter queues ensure that you can make the most of your time. Plus, you will find that the locals are much more approachable than during the busy season. Wildlife is plentiful and more visible in the cooler weather of May, and even though the locals may think it is cold, you will find that the ocean waters are still warm enough for swimming.

Our travel guide on how many days to spend in Brazil will provide you with further information about activities and destinations in Brazil in May. To create an itinerary based on your requirements, reach out to our local travel experts who can design your customized trip to Brazil. If you are looking for some instant inspiration, you can check out our tours to Brazil in May.

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  • Rodrigo Fernandez
    Rodrigo Fernandez
    Travel Expert in Brazil
  • Felipe Rodrigues
    Felipe Rodrigues
    Travel Expert in Brazil
  • Ryan Buckley
    Ryan Buckley
    Travel Expert in Brazil
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