May is the beginning of the winter season in Brazil. In the south, the temperature begins to drop and in some places, such as Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, the temperatures drop to around 75.70° F. In Rio de Janeiro, you can expect low humidity and pleasant weather, with day temperatures around 78-80 °F, and 62-65° F during the night.
In Manaus, you can expect around 88°F with high heat and humidity, while Salvador has moderate humidity with approximately 82°F during the day and 72°F at night. The weather makes it a perfect time to explore famous landmarks, such as Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, and enjoy some relaxing beach time.
Crowds & Costs
May is the low season in Brazil and considered the second shoulder month, after April. Expect fewer tourists and better deals on flights and hotels. It is the ideal month to visit Brazil and go on sightseeing tours, hike, and visit landmarks to avoid massive crowds. It will also be cheaper to rent a car, book city tours, and enjoy peaceful explorations in the Amazon.
Where to Go
Three places stand out when visiting Brazil in May—the Amazon, Rio de Janeiro, and the Pantanal wetlands. The wildlife starts to be a lot more visible, and it's an excellent time to go birdwatching, cruise through the Amazon river, and see the abundant wildlife. The weather in Rio de Janeiro is warming up again, and it is the perfect time to enjoy sightseeing throughout the city and quality beach time in Copacabana. Take advantage of the nice weather to visit Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer, and other notable landmarks.
It is a great month to visit the Amazon—during May, the water levels are at their highest, which allows you to take a boat trip on the swollen rivers through the rainforest. The weather is pleasant enough for hiking in the Amazon forest and surroundings, with all kinds of wildlife making an appearance. Make sure to look up to the trees to spot sloths, tamarins, and squirrel monkeys. You will also find a lot of bird species such as herons, macaws, and the great kiskadee. Other animals residing here are river dolphins, giant otters, and piranhas.
If you're visiting in May, make sure to visit the Pantanal region—with its spectacular ecosystem, it's one of the best places to see wildlife. The world's largest wetland area is home to hundreds of exotic bird species, jaguars, reptiles, and monkeys—to name a few. The wetlands' wide-open savannahs make the wildlife easier to spot than in the thickly-forested Amazon. During the dry season in May, the animals often gather around the waterholes, and lucky visitors may catch sight of an elusive jaguar.
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
What to Do
Enjoy sightseeing in Rio de Janeiro and catch a movie at Shell Open Air. For half of the month of May, the fantastic space at Marina de Glória transforms into a giant open-air movie theatre—the biggest open-air cinema in the world.
Visit Corvocado - a landmark mountain in Rio de Janeiro and make your way up to the majestic Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain. Travel through the Amazon on a river cruise to see unusual plants and wildlife, relax on the beaches of Rio, and visit beautiful Salvador for some sightseeing.
Head to the Pantanal for a wildlife safari: the rains are gone, and animals are on the move again. It's a great time for birdwatching and catching sight of elusive wildlife. The rivers will be full of water, allowing passage to plenty of remote rainforest locations for optimal wildlife viewing.
Events in May
Labor Day, also known as May Day (May 1). This holiday is celebrated in over 80 countries worldwide as International Workers Day.
Traveling to Brazil in May? Check out these great itineraries.
A Brazilian Adventure, from Rio to the Amazon - 9 Days. On this tour, you will start your adventure in Rio de Janeiro, explore the Floresta da Tijuca (the largest urban forest in the world), take a cable car to the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain and relax on Copacabana beach. You will visit the Amazon, where you will canoe through the wet forest of the Igapós, spot exotic wildlife in the jungle, and swim with pink dolphins.
Brazil Adventure: Rio de Janeiro, Iguazú Falls, & Pantanal - 10 Days. Begin in the seaside city of Rio de Janeiro for some sightseeing—Christ the Redeemer, a cable car ride, and the best beaches included. Next, embark on a scenic hike along the Pedra Bonita trail, followed by a tour of Iguazú Falls, from both Brazil and Argentina. End in the densely biodiverse tropical wetlands of Pantanal.