When to fly
Summer in Rio is from December through to mid-March where the hot weather is matched with quite a bit of rain. The hottest months, December and January can see temperatures soar to well over 40 degrees Celsius. Flights to Rio and hotel rates can be quite pricey during this time and beaches can be crowded. This is not only due to the glorious weather but also a number of celebrations which take place.
The summer season plays host to one of Rio’s biggest celebrations, Carnival. This 5-day festival gives visitors the chance to learn about Brazilian culture through parties which last all day and night. The atmosphere is euphoric across the city, with people singing, dancing and having lots of fun. Rio de Janeiro is considered the Carnival Capital of the World, so it’s no wonder this is “the” time to come. This is clearly reflected through accommodation and flight prices becoming more expensive, therefore, it is advised to book your hotel and Rio de Janeiro flights at least a year in advance. To take in some sights and museums, you should aim to arrive a few days before the party starts and linger a few days after.
Another grand party is New Year’s Eve, called Reveillon. Millions pack the beach for the all-night celebration, music, and fireworks. Bear in mind this event can also affect hotel rates and the price of airline tickets.
When planning your trip, it should be taken into consideration that businesses are usually closed from just before Christmas through to the beginning of January.
The city is less crowded and prices are a bit lower during winter, from July to September. This is still a great time to visit, weather-wise, as there is very little rainfall and there are still sunny days, although the nights and some cloudy days can be a little chilly.
Cidade Maravilhosa or "Marvellous City" is what cariocas call their beloved Rio and visitors coming off their Rio flights will quickly agree. Its recognisable landmarks: Sugar Loaf mountain, Christ the Redeemer and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema provide the dramatic backdrop to the world’s most decadent city.
Nestled between 90 km of beach and two lush green rainforests, Rio’s natural beauty is spellbinding and cariocas take full advantage of it. On any given day, come rain or shine, the locals are out jogging along Ipanema, skydiving close to Sugar Loaf or climbing a tree in Tijuca. But apart from its aesthetic beauty Rio’s cultural and historical sights are just as fascinating. The Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) and Museu Histórico Nacional are well worth a visit while the port of Paraty, a Unesco World Heritage Site, provides a glimpse into Rio’s colonial past.
Most visitors book their airline tickets to Rio during the Carnaval, but this is also the busiest time, when thousands of people from all over the world fly in especially for the event, making it difficult to get around the city and finding a hotel room can be a challenge. However if you think a visit to Rio isn't complete without attending at least one Samba show, samba schools conduct pre-Carnaval rehearsals year-round.
Once you’ve taken Rio de Janeiro flights, the Municipal Theatre, National Library and National Museum of Fine Arts are also must-sees.