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Brazil is one of the hottest destinations in South America. Here’s the ultimate packing list for what to wear in Brazil.
What to Wear in Brazil: A Packing List
Written by: Chantelle Mallin and Kerstin Lühe
When we think of Brazil we think about sun, sea, samba and tropical weather. But guess what? Depending on where you are, it’s not hot weather all year round.
From the west coast to the east, the weather in Brazil can vary depending on the season. Brazil is the largest country in South America.
It has four time zones and five distinct climatic zones! Whether you’re visiting Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, or Salvador, we’re going to cover the perfect outfit for any of these climatic zones.
Always research the weather before your trip. Once you’ve checked the weather forecast, you can focus on creating a travel capsule wardrobe, which should easily fit in a carryon suitcase with the help of packing cubes to compress your clothing.
When deciding what to wear in Brazil, keep in mind that down here the seasons are in reverse. So what you consider summer in the Northern hemisphere is actually summer in Brazil.
Brazil Clothing Style
The clothing style in Brazil varies depending on the city. In general, the country is generally casual and comfortable. However, the style is more formal in cities such as São Paulo – the NYC of Brazil.
Brazilians are proud of their bodies, they like to wear fitted clothing and show a little skin. When they go into restaurants, into cafés and clubs they love wearing a fancy dress and high heels. In summer and on the beach there is no “too sexy.”
São Paulo is an urban and cosmopolitan city; people like to dress up a little more, if you’re having a touristy day and visiting museum and cultural places etc. dress with a casual feel, think jeans, shorts and t-shirts or tunics.
Rio de Janeiro is also very casual, but with a cool edge, a lot of the locals go from the beach to lunch or for drinks, so carry a light dress or shorts and a loose tee to cover up, as bikinis are for the beach only. If you’re seen walking around in one, even on the boardwalk, you’ll definitely be pegged as a tourist. Keep all this mind when choosing what to wear in Brazil.
Read the best travel tips for Rio!
What to Wear in Brazil in Spring
Spring is a nice time to visit Brazil (September – December), there aren’t many tourists and the weather is very pleasant with the occasional bit of wind. Temperatures vary between 20 and 27 degrees Celsius. Towards December it is getting quite hot.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for spring travel:
- Feminine Clothing Trends for Spring
- How to Layer a Summer Dress for Spring
- Spring Basic Travel Wardrobe
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
Brazil Spring Packing List
To enjoy your trip to the fullest pack accordingly. Opt for light printed dresses in fabrics such as cotton and silk that are lightweight, absorb perspiration and let your body heat escape. Pair your favourite pair of shorts or skirt with loose t-shirts and tank tops.
Pack a stylish pair of jeans, an embellished shirt, and your favorite party dress for meals or drinks at night. In the south of Brazil in spring it will be slightly cooler, so be sure to fetch a light jacket, cardigan or pashmina and a pair of cropped pants.
These stylish summer shorts for women will take you from day to night, city to sea, and so much more!
While you want to pack summer clothes for hot weather, be sure to have an extra layer with you for cold days. When deciding what to wear in Brazil, pack a nice dress, shorts, skirts, a fancy top, tunic or skirt – anything that looks elegant and a bit sexy. Choose shorts and skirts in a neutral color. The top can be in a bold color, which you will see plenty of in Brazil.
Shoe wise opt for flats, think pastel ballerina pumps, sandals and neutral brogues. Accessorize your look with a pair of aviator sunglasses and a fedora hat to protect yourself from the sun’s glare.
Find out how to turn any one of your dresses into versatile dresses!
Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen. Even if you think it isn’t that hot, you may be wrong. The sun is strong, even on cloudy days. Remember, you’re close to the equator. A nice scarf or light cardigan comes in handy for chilly days or evenings.
What to Wear in Brazil in Summer
Summer (December – March) is the hot season with temperatures commonly in the high 30’s, even pushing to the low 40’s! It’s hot and humid, but there will be rainfall quite a few times. In fact, on rainy days Brazilians stay inside and wait for it to pass. Peak in rainy season is in January.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for summer travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Summer
- Cute Summer Dresses
- Beach Sandals for Hot Weather Vacations
- 3-Day Weekend Getaway Outfits for Summer
Brazil Summer Packing List
Wondering what to wear in Brazil in summer? This is the perfect time to debut your summer style. Go all out in pretty summer sundresses, neutral tank tops, printed camis and tunics with an on trend maxi dress or skirt to easily throw over your bikini when coming from the beach. The summer is humid – avoid being uncomfortable choose clothing made from lightweight, flowing and breathable fabric.
Don’t forget to pack a colorful bikini or one piece, a beach cover up and sarong. I recommend buying a bikini in Brazil. Banco da Areia or Salinas are good bikini places to shop.
Going nude or bare top is considered a no-no, so keep your bikini on. Pair your bikini with flip flops from a local Brazilian brand, such as Havaianas and Ipanema, your favorite sunnies, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Along with your beach gear, have a poncho ready in case of rain. Pick one of the cheap plastic ones that go into any purse. Be sure to bring mosquito repellent!
We’ve rounded up a list of the most comfortable flip flops so you can enjoy your trip pain-free. Take a look!
And if you spend New Year’s Eve in Brazil and plan to attend a party or festival, bring a white dress or any kind of complete white outfit. It’s a Brazilian tradition to wear white on New Year’s Eve. Anything short and airy is a good pick. Brazilians love denim shorts and bright tank tops or shirts.
And bring high heels! When choosing what to wear in Brazil for celebrations, pair a dress with heels. Brazilian women love to dress up in the evenings. If you feel uncomfortable in high heels, you can also go with a fancy pair of sandals.
Find out how to wear white clothes on vacation plus what to wear underneath!
What to Wear in Brazil in Fall
The fall weather (March – June) is similar to the weather in spring, but towards June the days get chillier, temperatures vary between 20 and 27 degrees Celsius during the day. During the night it can easily get 15 degrees Celsius.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for fall travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- How to Layer Clothes
- Use a Summer Dress to Pack Light in Fall
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
Brazil Fall Packing List
If you’re planning a trip in fall and wonder what to wear in Brazil, pack similarly to spring. Think neutral tees, tunic and blouses, tailored shorts and boho skirts. For the cooler weather pack dark coloured jeans, cropped trousers and palazzo pants.
You may also want to bring a light cardigan or a light scarf for those chilly evenings. Make it a lightweight one so you can pack it into your purse if you don’t need it.
Find out why we love these lightweight jackets for travel!
A simple color palette means you can easily mix and match clothing to create the ultimate wardrobe. If you’re wondering what to wear in Brazil for a nice evening out, bring slightly dressier clothing.
Think stylish jeans and an embellished blouse or cami. Make sure to add a light jacket, embellished kimono and layered cardigan to combat the cooler weather.
As for shoes, pack a light pair of sandals, some closed toe brogues and casual sneakers.
Find out why fashion sneakers make cute comfortable shoes for travel!
What to Wear in Brazil in Winter
Choosing what to wear in Brazil in winter can be tricky, as the weather varies. The winter months run from June to August, different areas of the country experience varying weather conditions, most of the country’s weather during winter will be moderate with the north east experiencing the best weather.
In Brazil it is still hot, so summery clothes and beach visits are still relevant. In Rio the temperature is still pleasant around 18 to 20 degrees.
Be prepared it rains a lot, especially in Rio and Salvador. The south begins to get cold with temps dropping to 10 degrees, be warned southern cities such as Porto Alegre and Curitiba have a subtropical climate where temps can fall below freezing. Winter is the perfect time for treks in to Amazon and Pantanal as it is drier.
The best advice for winter would be to check the weather predictions for the place you plan to visit before you travel and pack according. It’s generally quite pleasant in the beach areas making it an ideal time to travel.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Winter
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather (without the bulk)
- The Best Travel Shoes for Winter
Brazil Winter Packing List
For a general list, opt for printed dresses – teamed with opaque tights if you plan on visiting the colder regions – a mix of short and long sleeved tunics, tees and blouses, a dark pair of jeans, cropped trousers.
Your choice of jackets depend on what area you plan to visit. Brazilian women love to wear something fancy, like a nice shirt, tunic, blouse or top together with a blazer or a nice cardigan.
Brazilian women love to wear shorts with a colorful tank top and sandals. Underneath they mostly wear bikinis, but that’s up to you. It might get a little chilly in the evenings, so take a cardigan with you.
Find out what TFG readers voted as the best leggings for women who travel!
As for shoes, opt for neutral sandals if you plan on staying in the north east, if not, add closed toe brogues and a pair of ankle boots to your packing wardrobe.
If you think about visiting the beautiful Chapada Diamantina National Park, which is inland, make sure you check the weather beforehand. Some days can be freezing cold. Take along a lightweight winter jacket and hiking boots.
Find out how to choose hiking boots and the five styles TFG readers voted as their favorites!
Brazil Travel Essentials
Brazil is a huge country with different climates. During the summer it’s pretty much hot and humid everywhere. A main travel essential for Brazil would definitely be sunscreen, regular application is essential. Pack one with a high factor and add sunglasses and a broad brimmed hat to protect you from the strong rays.
When planning what to pack for trips to Brazil, other travel essentials include flip flops; a pareo – a wraparound skirt perfect for sitting on at the beach; and light cotton dresses. For shoes, stick to flat shoes such as sandals or ballerinas as you’ll be walking a lot.
ake a look at the eleven beach sandals our readers rave about!
Rio and the Northeast (Salvador, Recife and nearby beaches) are recommended during the summer. Don’t forget to pack your favourite bikini, sarong and cover-up and take full advantage of the weather. Brazil is a leading swimwear designer so if you’re feeling in a shopping mood treat yourself to some local, beautifully crafted swimwear.
During the winter it can get quite cool in the south of Brazil. In Florianopolis it can drop as cold as 2-3ᵒC. These locals suggest the south is probably best to avoid in the winter unless your plan on visiting the wineries in Bento Gonçalves, Rio de Grande do Sul.
Read these tips on what to wear for a beach resort vacation!
Brazil Packing Don’ts
Don’t have a favorite bikini or pair of flip-flops yet? Rather than pack them, consider purchasing them in Brazil. Brazil is famous for its swimwear and flip-flops.
You can also find gauzy dresses and colorful clothing at boutiques and street markets. Pack light so you can shop while you’re there!
Take a look at the latest trends with these cute summer dresses for women!
If you’ve forgotten an item or just fancy updating your holiday wardrobe Brazil has got it covered, check out the cool selection of fashion stores, designer boutiques, galleries and specialized shops.
Rio is quite expensive so if you’re on a budget avoid shops in Leblon and Ipanema and opt for shopping in Copacaban, São Paulo can be very expensive. Pick up a bargain in Avenida 25 de março, its noisy, crazy and packed but really cheap.
In Salvador you will find all price ranges available in most shopping malls, check out Shopping Iguatemi. The country holds not one, but two fashion weeks, São Paulo fashion week and Fashion Rio.
Check out some of the locally born designers and maybe treat yourself to a beautiful and unique piece:
- Carlos Miele – The designer plays with mixing technology and traditional handcrafted design to create beautiful results, his clothing regularly features traditional Brazilian elements.
- Alexandre Herchcovitch – Most recognised for his avant-garde designs and diverse prints, his trademark skulls became an icon of Brazilian youths in the nineties.
Brazil Luggage Tips
So the hard part’s out of the way; after much turmoil you’ve finally perfected your travel wardrobe and created a chic capsule collection – now it’s time to get packing! Which luggage will work best for you?
Depending on how many days or weeks you’re traveling, you may want to use packing organizers, which allow optimum use of the space in your luggage, keeping everything organized and in place during your travels, and making the task of unpacking and repacking simple and stress-free.
As you’re headed to fashionable Europe, use an equally stylish carry-on, such as the Osprey Ozone, which is a personal favorite. Keep in mind that most of Europe’s budget airlines have a carry-on bag allowance of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Always check your airlines individual baggage rules and regulations in advance.
I prefer to to book “the entire home” instead of opting for shared accommodation on Airbnb. Aside from safety, I also like to feel like I’m living in the destination. It’s a small taste of local life plus you get more amenities than you would at a hotel such as a kitchen and washing machine.
Read these Airbnb tips for more info!
For hostels, we recommend Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. Always read the reviews before booking to get the best idea if the hostel is right for you. Some are quiet and family friendly while others are known for their party atmosphere.
Not sure about staying at a hostel? Read this!
It’s fairly easy to travel around Brazil, with planes and buses being the most popular options. Brazil is a huge country, so if you’re traveling from end to the other, consider hopping on a plane.
For local travel, there are plenty of public buses. These are much better options than renting a car, as driving around Brazil can be overwhelming, confusing, and stressful if you’re not a local. While public transportation is busy and crowded, it’s inexpensive and easy to use.
To maximize your vacation time, fly into the city where you’re starting your trip and out of the city where your trip ends. Many times it’s the same price and saves you from having to spend extra time and money to go back to where you started your trip.
Brazil Must-See Sites
Whether or not you’re religious, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is a popular attraction as it’s one of the seven wonders of the world. If you’re a history buff, you’ll also want to check out Paraty Historic Centre, a historic part of the city in Rio.
For an outdoorsy adventure, head to Iguacu National Park, which is a giant forested park home to rare species of monkeys, birds, and other animals. It’s also home to some of the largest waterfalls in the world.
Along with heading to the beach, consider a water adventure, such as SCUBA diving, snorkeling, or a boat tour.
These are a few popular Brazil guidebooks:
Brazil Safety Tips
Brazil has high crime rates, so follow common sense safety and use anti-theft accessories to protect your valuables. If you want to wear jewelry, stick to costume items and leave the real stuff at home.
If you feel like carrying a shoulder bag, always hold on to it; you’ll see local women do the same. It’s better to wear a crossbody purse, as it can’t be snatched away from you as easily.
A tip: if you have a camera, it’s best to get a plastic bag from a local supermarket and pack your camera in there. You’ll look like someone who went grocery shopping and won’t draw as much attention to yourself.
These are articles with other suggested anti-theft products:
Remember, the safest place for your passport is locked in your accommodation. Carry a photocopy or other ID when you’re sightseeing or are out at night.
Read these tips on how to keep your passport safe when you travel!
What are your best tips on what to wear in Brazil?
For more tips for South America, please read:
- Packing list for Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador
- What to Pack for Machu Picchu when You’re not Trekking
- What to pack for Chile
- What to wear in Ecuador
Suggested Travel Resources: