March in Brazil: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Sunrise in Rio de Janeiro
Flavio Veloso / Getty Images

For a March escape to the sultry climate of the Southern Hemisphere, look no further than Brazil. You'll forget all about winter back home as soon as you step off the plane and feel that hot tropical air hit your skin. Not only is March full summer weather in Brazil, but you may catch the final days of the country's biggest celebration: Carnaval.

Expect high-priced airfare and hotel rates if you travel at the beginning of the month when Carnaval tends to happen, especially if you're in Rio de Janeiro. However, as the festivities die down and Brazilian students start the new school year, reservations are easier to make and prices should drop significantly.

Brazil Weather in March

March in most parts of Brazil is when the hot and muggy days of summer begin to turn into the slightly less hot and still muggy days of fall. It's "most parts" because cities in the northern part of the country near the equator, such as Manaus, don't experience seasons and stay warm all year long. The average high across Brazil is about 85 degrees Fahrenheit in March, but the humidity makes it feel much hotter than it is.

  Average High Temp.  Average Low Temp. 
Rio de Janeiro  87 F (31 C)  75 F (24 C) 
São Paulo  81 F  (27 C) 68 F (20 C) 
Salvador  88 F (31 C) 77 F (25 C) 
Florianopolis  82 F (28 C)  71 F (22 C) 
Manaus  87 F (31 C)  76 C (24 C) 

Summer is the rainy season across Brazil and even though the rain starts to die down in March compared to the peak of summer in January, it's still a very wet month. Expect to experience some showers during your trip, although the rain may be welcome to offer some reprieve from the humidity.

What to Pack

Because of the hot temperatures and sticky weather, it's best to pack light clothes. Bring lots of breezy cotton fabrics, shorts, dresses, swimwear, and a hat for the bright rays. If you're going to hit the beach, you'll want to include a big bottle of sunscreen and a few beach cover-ups for the swanky, oceanfront bars in Brazil.

If you'll be there for Carnaval, you may want to bring a festive costume to wear to get into the spirit. Bright colors and big feathers are the most typical choices, but anything that's vivacious and eye-catching will fit right in.

March Events in Brazil

Carnaval celebrations and Easter celebrations can't both occur in March, but you have a good probability that at least one of these massive holidays will coincide with your trip.

  • Carnaval: It's one of the biggest celebrations in Brazil, with Rio de Janeiro hosting what is considered the most famous Carnaval celebration in the world. But you can experience this pre-Lenten festival all across the country, so look into other cities like Salvador and Recife for more options. Carnaval can take place in February or early March, depending on the year.
  • Holy Week: The week leading up to Easter, called Semana Santa in Brazil, is one of the most important holidays of the year. Traditions include colorful religious processions through the streets, which are especially fun to see in colonial towns with cobblestone roads such as Ouro Preto. If Carnaval falls in February, it's like that Semana Santa begins at the end of March.
  • Passion Play: The town of Brejo da Madre de Deus, about 100 miles outside of Recife, puts on the world's largest Passion Play production the week before Easter. The venue is a theater that's built to be a giant outdoor replica of Jerusalem, so the play feels more like an interactive production than a theater performance.

March Travel Tips

  • If you're traveling in March, check the dates for Carnaval and Semana Santa to see if they coincide with your trip. If you're going for either one of these events, be sure to finalize your travel plans as early as possible.
  • During Carnaval, be aware that many hotels require a minimum number of nights to stay.
  • Most Brazilian students start the new school year in February when summer break ends, so hotel rates near the beach should be lower than the previous month. You'll save money by traveling during the week and avoiding the weekends when families are enjoying end-of-summer beach trips.
  • The week leading up to Easter is usually a mid-term break for students and many local families use the time to travel to the beach, so coastal cities may be extra busy.

For more information on when to visit different cities in Brazil, look at the best times to visit São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.