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While I traveled to Brazil with G Adventures in 2008, when it comes to packing lists I like to turn to the locals. To help you decide what to pack for trips to Brazil, Chantelle Mallin interviews two local bloggers to provide the best travel and fashion tips.
Flavia Desgrangens van der Linden is a fashion blogger from Brazil that has lived in Criciuma, Santa Catarina for 9 years. She is a self confessed lover of music, chocolate, Paris, hats, running and photography. She’s been named one of the top 20 emerging bloggers by Fashionista.com and it’s easy to see why – her style is flawless! Check out her blog Fashion Coolture.
Adriana Lacerda, originally from Salvador, Bahia, is an avid traveller globe-trotting through 40 countries including the US, Spain and Peru. She writes about her experiences at Escapismo Genuino, a blog that depicts the idiosyncrasies of life and very beautiful photography. Follow Adriana on Facebook and Twitter.
What to Pack for Trips to Brazil
by Chantelle Mallin
The clothing style in Brazil is generally casual and comfortable; 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.
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/tunics.
Rio 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 t to cover up, 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.
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.
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.
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 Climate Overview
Ever though most of Brazil lies in the tropics, most areas are cooled by altitude, sea winds and polar fronts making the weather quite perfect. The coastal cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Salvador can get insanely hot whereas cites such as São Paulo, Brasília and Belo Horizonte have milder climates, the Amazon region is humid as expected.
Don’t be fooled by the glorious weather. Brazil still gets its fair share of rain and you could be visited by short showers during any time of the year.
There is really no bad time to visit Brazil with generally lovely weather all year round. You may want to avoid the summer crowds and heat (unless your heart is set on Carnaval).
Floral Dress / Stripe Linen Tee / Denim Shorts / Metallic Camisole / Embellished Jacket / Skater Skirt / Cotton Embroidery Dress / Ribbed Tank / Denim Jacket / Skinny Jeans / Tan Sandal / Monochrome Brogues / Metallic Faux Leather Loafers / Sunglasses
What to Pack for Trips to Brazil in Spring
Adriana Says: “It’s hot but not as hot as summer, around 23 degrees Celsius”. Spring in Brazil falls between the months of September to November, the weather is very pleasant with the occasional bit of wind; the temperate season is a lovely time to visit the country.
Brazil 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 favourite 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.
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 suns glare.
Maxi Dress / Utility Shirt Dress / Skater Dress / Sequin Camisole / Sunglasses / Paisley Printed Bag Shorts / Bikini / Straw Fedora / Asymmetric Blouse / Chain Detail Top / Fringed Waistcoat / Maxi Skirt / Linen/Cotton Blend Shorts / Flip Flops / White Sandals / Brown Sandals
What to Pack for Trips to Brazil in Summer
Flavia Says: “Extremely hot weather with very heavy and sudden tropical storms”. When planning trips to Brazil, keep in mind that summer is from December to February. The weather is very hot and humid with temperatures commonly in the high 30’s, even pushing to the low 40’s. Mix in the humidity and things start to get uncomfortable, occasionally the rain showers will help cool you off, be prepared though, these don’t last for long. The beaches will be slightly breezier.
Brazil Packing List:
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 colourful bikini or one piece, a beach cover up and sarong, even better treat yourself to some swimwear by a local, talented designer, team with a pair of local Havaiana flip flops or sandals, your favourite sunnies and a wide brimmed hat. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Draped Top / Floral Tunic / Kimono Jacket / Denim Shorts / Lace Detail Tunic / Embellished Cami / Floral Flippy Skirt / Asymmetric hems blouse / Short sleeved jacket / Skinny Trousers / Ankle Strap Flats / Braided Sandals / Plimsolls
What to Pack for Trips to Brazil in Autumn
Adriana Says: “Same as spring, bring a light jacket as in southern Brazil it starts to become cooler”. The autumn season runs from March to May, the weather is similar to that in spring, being rather moderate and pleasant, in the south the weather is starting to become cool.
Brazil Packing List:
For trip to Brazil in autumn pack similarly to spring. Think neutral tee’s, tunic and blouses, tailored shorts and boho skirts. For the cooler weather pack dark coloured jeans, cropped trousers and palazzo pants.
A simple colour palette means you can easily mix and match clothing to create the ultimate wardrobe. Bring slightly dressier clothing if you plan to go somewhere nice at night. 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.
Printed Dress / Daisy Dress / Kimono Cardigan / Floral Crop Top / Topshop Top / Denim Shorts / Chain Detain Top / Metallic Sweater / Slim Jeans /Pleated Trousers / Metallic Sandals / Boots / Woven Sandals
What to Pack for Trips to Brazil in Winter
Varied! 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, summery clothes and beach visits are still relevant, in Rio the temp is still pleasant around 18-20 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.
Brazil 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, t’s and blouses, a dark pair of jeans, cropped trousers. Your choice of jackets depend on what area you plan to visit.
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.
High season in Brazil lasts from December to March; the country fills up with both foreign and local travellers, other busy periods include Easter week, July – when Brazilian schools are on winter break and August – and when Europeans and North Americans visit during their summer breaks. Be prepared as flight and accommodation prices will rise and you will also come across more crowds.
During Carnival, prices skyrocket and even the cheapest hostel beds start at $100 per night with a one week minimum stay. The country has a lot of up and coming exciting events including the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 so plan trips to Brazil accordingly.
What are your best tips on what to pack for trips to Brazil?
For more tips for South America, please read:
- Brazil Backpacking Packing List
- What to Pack for Machu Picchu when You’re not Trekking
- Backpacking South America Backpacking Packing List
- Riviera Maya Packing List
Suggested Travel Resources: