Planning for Travel to Brazil in January

The jungles of Brazil during the January rainy season.
Flavia Morlachetti / Getty Images

A mass migration towards the Atlantic Ocean takes place in Brazil in January. Add to that the buzz from international summer travelers and you'll understand why many Brazilians who live away from the sea feel left behind when they're unable to take a beach vacation in January.

One of the remedies for the left-behind-bird January syndrome is, of course, the weekend trip. You'll have a better chance of booking beach hotels in January during weekdays, but always assume an advance reservation is necessary throughout the month.

However, there are lots of fun things to do away from the beach in Brazil in January. One of the most popular alternatives with Brazilian families during the January school vacation is the hotel-fazenda, ("farm hotel", or country resort), packed with leisure options and great pools.

January Weather

Although there's no such thing as a guaranteed dry summer anywhere on the Brazil coast, you can divide the shore very roughly into two major zones, with higher January rainfall indexes in the Southeast and the South as compared to winter, and a less rainy January in the Northeast when compared to mid-year.

Brazil holds the world record for the incidence of lightning, a major component of summer storms. You can keep up with lightning activity in Brazil on ELAT - the Atmospheric Electricity Group of the National Space Research Institute (INPE).

When you're on the beach or engaging in outdoor activities in Brazil in January, be attentive to changes in the weather and follow lightning safety tips.

January Holidays

January 1 - Banks and many stores close on New Year's Day. Supermarkets usually open, and so do stores in touristic areas.

January 20 - Saint Sebastian's Day, Rio de Janeiro.

January 25 - Foundation of São Paulo. A local bank holiday.

January Festivals and Events

  • Boa Viagem and Bom Jesus dos Navegantes Procession - Salvador, BA, Jan.1
  • Maritime Procession - Angra dos Reis, RJ, Jan.1. The procession is a secular event - an all-day micareta, or off-season Carnival, involving thousands of boats.
  • Dia de Reis (Three Kings' Day), Jan.6 - The Folia de Reis, also called Reisado or Terno de Reis, is a folk celebration present in many cities all over Brazil. Groups play instruments, sing and visit houses announcing the arrival of the Messiah.
  • Lavagem do Bonfim - Salvador, BA, second Thursday in January. The Candomblé ritual washing of the steps to the Catholic Nosso Senhor do Bonfim Church
  • Projeto Verão - Aracaju, SE offers an array of shows and other events on Aracaju beaches.
  • Paraíba Summer Festival - João Pessoa, PB.
  • Verão Show - Guarujá, SP.
  • Tiradentes Film Festival - Tiradentes, MG