• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of Brazil


Brazilian Geography - Iguaza Falls
Iguaza Falls

Brazil is one of the world's largest countries and home to one of the world's greatest rivers in the Amazon. To many people Brazil is defined by the Amazon River, its basin, and the many rainforests that feed it. The Amazon River and its many tributaries begin in the far western part of the country in the Andes Mountains. Despite the river starting in the mountains, most of the Andes are in other countries further west and Brazil's highest point is Pico da Neblina, which is only about 10,000 feet (3,000 meters), which pales in comparison to most of the Andes. The rivers from the mountains flow every direction until they enlarge the Amazon, which eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil's northeast. The rains in most of this huge system are so heavy that they have given rise to some of the world's densest and least explored rain forests in the world. Few people have seen much of these lands as nature dominates the region and settlements are sparse. However the forests are also being rapidly cut down for medicines, wood, and various other economic gains.

Brazilian Geography - Amazon River
Amazon River

In the country's northeast, just north of the Amazon River the land is very dry as farming and living off the land is nearly impossible; this has led to very small population numbers in the region. South of the Amazon River, into the central and southern parts of the country the lands are quite different as the land is very rocky and the rivers that cut through offer more rapid changes in scenery. There are also forests in these highlands, but they are not as dense or inaccessible as those found in the Amazon basin.

The final distinct geographic region in Brazil is in the country's southeast, which is home to nearly every large city. With many smaller rivers the farmland is fertile and expansive. This, in addition to navigable rivers and access to the Atlantic Ocean, make this region ideal for life as nearly the country's entire population lives in this corner of the country.


Brazilian Geography - Bahia

As a country that sits on the equator, Brazil's seasons are muted. However, the geographic variations and the weather, especially the rains, have created a country with distinct weather patterns. People live throughout the country, but primarily along the southeastern coast and along the Amazon River. This coastal living is primarily done to avoid the temperature extremes and the high humidity throughout the country. The oceans temper these extreme highs as the rains, plants, animals, and access to water make this region ideal for living. The Amazon River basin is very hot and humid, but transportation and water are easily accessible with the river and the rains mean plants and animals are readily available, again making this region ideal for life. Further into the rain forests transportation is nearly impossible, but dozens of native people have made these regions home and continue to live here.

The "summer," or the rainy season, in Brazil runs from about October to May or June and it is during these months that the heat and humidity are most brutal. Rio de Janeiro boasts daily highs averaging 86° F (30° C) with nights only getting down to about 74° F (23° C). The Amazon River gets even hotter with daily highs in Manaus averaging just over 90° F (32° C) with lows rarely getting below 70° F (21° C). What makes this time of year feel even hotter is the humidity and rain, both of which are seemingly constant during the summer, especially in the Amazon basin as Manuas gets an average of 7 inches (175 mm) each month during this time of year.

The winters, which run from about June or July to September, are only truly winters in the far south where a noticeable temperature change occurs; elsewhere this is just the dry season. Rio has slightly lower temperature averages with lows of about 65° F (18° C) and day time highs of about 80° F (27° C). The rains are less frequent and the humidity is also less noticeable at this time of year. The Amazon basin boasts nearly the same temperatures year round as Manaus still moves from about 70-90° F (21-32° C) for daily lows and highs. August is the driest month in Manuas and throughout most of the country although it still rains regularly in the rain forests.


Amazon Wildlife - Poison dart frog
Poison dart frog

Few places in the world can compare to Brazil when it comes to wildlife. The country is home to thousands of animals found nowhere else in the world and there are likely hundreds of animals in the country's dense jungles that people don't even know about. Additionally, the plant life in the dense Amazon River basin is incredibly diverse as these plants boast medicinal properties, great beauty, and mystery as nearly one quarter of all of the world's plant species can be found in the Amazon basin.

Of the thousands of animals, the mammal life might be one of the less interesting as the country boasts few indigenous mammals; however the species present are incredible diverse. The jungles are home to jaguars, cougars (puma), monkeys including the howler money and spider monkey, ocelots, tamarins, marmosets, sloths, tapirs, opossums, bats, and thousands of rodents. Elsewhere, and sometimes also in the jungles, there are deer, wolves, boars, anteaters, armadillos, emus, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, mice, rats, and numerous additional rodents, including chinchillas and capybaras.

Amazon Wildlife - Tarantula

The sea life is more diverse and perhaps more interesting from the perspective that many of the animals are quite unique. Of course this begins with the mammals as the Amazon manatee and freshwater dolphins both call the country home. The fish and shell fish just expand this variety as some of these animals are common in other parts of the world while others are unique. The pirarucu (arapaima) is one of the world's largest freshwater fishes as it can reach lengths of nearly 10 feet (3 meters). The piranha is also famous and lives in the Amazon, as do the catfish, pike, angelfish, and tetra.

Brazil's sea life continues off its shores with saltwater fish. Dolphins, whales, sea lions, groupers, barracuda, marlin, snapper, mackerel, sharks, shrimp, crab, rays, eels, seahorses, starfish, sea urchins, and jellyfish are all common. There is also a very limited amount of coral reefs off Brazil's shores and here there are also surgeonfish, butterfly fish, and other more brightly colored tropical fish.

Amazon Wildlife - Capybara

Birds also call the huge country home as these animals range from tropical rainforest birds to sea birds and everything in between. In the rain forests toucans, macaws, hummingbirds, parakeets, parrots, ducks, condors, and eagles are all common. Some of these birds also live in the woodlands, which are also home to sparrows, cardinals, woodpeckers, partridges, and owls. Then those water loving birds, many of whom also live in the Amazon, include egrets, pelicans, frigate birds, pigeons, and more.

The Amazon rainforests are also home to thousands of reptiles and amphibians, boasting over 1,000 species of frogs alone. Perhaps the most famous of these frogs is the brightly colored poison dart frog. These forests are also home to lizards, iguanas, and snakes, including the famous anaconda and boa constrictor. In the waters of the Amazon River it is not difficult to find turtles, alligators, and other reptiles and amphibians.

It is no surprise that the insects and other small animals living in Brazil are numerous. Beetles, butterflies, mosquitoes, moths, flies, spiders, including the black widow and tarantula, and of course ants call the country home.

Brazilian Wildlife - Pineapple

When it comes to native plant life, South America is home to many famous edible plants and these plants quickly spread throughout Brazil, South America, and beyond. The pineapple is from the region where Brazil and Uruguay meet while potatoes and tobacco originated in the Andes Mountains. A few others, including cacao trees (used to make chocolate), peanuts, and tomatoes are also from South America, although their actual origin is unknown. One variety of nut, the Brazil nut is also native to the country. Peppers, both sweet and hot peppers are from Central America or northern South America while vanilla, avocado, papaya, and corn (maize) are likely from Central America itself. No matter each food's origin, what is known is that these foods spread throughout the continent and to the country of Brazil with the help of pre-historic people, animals, and winds. These people have had these foods for nearly as long as people have inhabited the region and each makes an important part of the people's diet and culture now and for thousands of years into the past.

More than just the edible plants, Brazil is home to many trees and other plants. Orchids and lilies are common as are dozens of trees, including mangrove trees, cedar trees, rosewood trees, rubber trees, and thousands of other rain forest trees, ferns, flowers, and plants.

This page was last updated: April, 2013