December starts the hot season in Brazil, particularly in Rio de Janeiro. The heavy rainfalls return, bringing with them daily humidity and temperatures around 80-85°F. However, despite the weather, it's one of the most popular months to visit. There is a chance for thunderstorms to occur during the month, as well as floods and tropical monsoons. The temperatures around the country are at approximately 75-85°F, and it rarely gets over 100°F, thanks to the Atlantic Ocean which serves as a massive thermal regulator.
Crowds & Costs
December is peak season in Brazil, with visitors from all around the world visiting to experience warm weather and Brazilian Christmas. It gets busy in Rio de Janeiro with the famous New Year's Eve celebrations, Christmas markets, and party scene.
The Reveillon Carnival begins in December with more than two million visitors each year, and the Copacabana beach fills up with joyful people. Expect prices to be a lot higher, so make sure to book your trip several months in advance. The month brings one of a kind atmosphere, and even with the rain and bigger crowds, it is a perfect time to visit Brazil.
Where to Go
New Year's is celebrated in grand form in Rio de Janeiro, with the best firework displays held on Copacabana beach and the party hub of Lapa crowding with a mix of locals and visitors all the way through the party season. Lapa's vibrant, bohemian center comes alive with Christmas street markets, held on the first Saturday every week during December. Browse for antiques, handmade gifts, and vintage accessories while live samba music fills the air. Many pavement cafés and bars occupy converted colonial buildings, and the streets are filled with shoppers and sightseers.
Visit Inhotim in December to see the beautiful botanical garden and art museum, located in Minas Gerais. The park, which was founded by Bernando Paz to preserve the region's nature and beauty, is home to over 4,500 plant species—many of them endemic.
One of the best cities to visit in December is Gramado—a charming town with German and Italian influences. Here, you can walk by Alpine-style homes, as the city transforms during Christmas into a spectacular theme park. It is the world's largest event of this kind, and the Natal Luz (Christmas of Lights) Festival brings true Christmas spirit and magic to people of all ages.
What to Do
Christmas celebrations are in full spin in December, and New Year's Eve brings fabulous festivities and shows on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. With two million visitors each year and one of the largest firework displays in the world, this is a must-see experience.
In Brasilia, visit the Cathedral of Brasilia, a Roman Catholic Cathedral that's widely known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida. Its bronze statues, bell tower, stained glass, and other ornate decorations are even more spectacular at Christmastime than usual.
In Gramado, Christmas is celebrated with parades, a spectacular light show, ice skaters, acrobats, and dancers. Here, you will also find the Chocolate Factory—a magical blockbuster theatre and dance production, on the scale of a Broadway musical. This event is designed for everyone from children to adults and is one of the highlights of Christmas in Brazil. Also in Gramado, locals and tourists gather in the streets of the city to celebrate Tannenbaumfest—a festival of Christmas trees—with church songs, street theater, and typical European Christmas exhibits.
Events in December
Christmas Day (December 25). Christmas is one of the most important holidays in Brazil. Like in many countries, it is time to eat, drink, and spend time with family.
New Year's Eve (December 31). New Year celebrations take place all over the country, and every city has its food scene, dancing, and shows. It is one of the most celebrated events of the entire year, with a flair for festivities that's entirely Brazilian.
Reveillon Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (December 31) One of the biggest New Year celebrations in the world, with thousands of people dressed in white to celebrate New Year gathering on Copacabana beach. Expect a lot of music, parades, shows, and joyful dancing.
Natal Luz Festival—Christmas of Lights (November 12 to January 13). An annual Christmas event that originated in the 1980s, the Natal Luz Festival has grown to welcome 1.5 million visitors each year, a feat that has earned the city the nickname "the Chrismas Capital of Brazil".
Traveling to Brazil in December? Check out these great itineraries.
Authentic Rio de Janeiro - 5 Days. Explore stunning beaches, surf and wooded mountains, the world-famous landmarks of the Pão de Açúcar and Cristo Redentor, and more on this quick immersion into the magic of Rio. Plan your trip towards the end of December to experience the Christmas revelry.
Rio de Janeiro and Iguazu Falls - 7 Days. Experience city life and connect with nature on this weeklong trip. Start in Rio de Janeiro, with a full-day city tour of sites like Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, and all the best beaches. Then, a trip to Pedra Bonita awaits for scenic viewpoints, before a venture to Iguazú Falls. Enjoy free time before experiencing the falls from both countries, and tour the Iguazú River.