Although 90 percent of the country is within the tropical zone, more than 60 percent of the population live in areas where altitude, sea winds, or cold polar fronts moderate the temperature. There are five climatic regions in Brazil: equatorial, tropical, semi-arid, highland tropical, and subtropical. Plateau cities such as São Paulo, Brasília, and Belo Horizonte have very mild climates averaging 19°C (66°F). Rio deJaneiro, Recife, and Salvador on the coast have warm climates balanced by the constancy of the Trade Winds. In the southern Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre and Curitiba, the subtropical climate is similar to parts of the U.S. and Europe with frosts occurring with some frequency. In this region temperatures in winter can fall below freezing.

Despite the popular image of the Amazon as a region of blistering heat, temperatures of more than 32°C (90°F) are rarely experienced there. In fact, the annual average temperature in the Amazon region is in the range of 22-26°C (72-79°F), with only a very small seasonal variation between the warmest and the coldest months.

The hottest part of Brazil is the northeast where, during the dry season, between May and November, temperatures of more than 38°C (100 °F) are recorded frequently. The northeast has greater seasonal variation in temperatures than does the Amazon region. Along the Atlantic coast from Recife to Rio de Janeiro, mean temperatures range from 23 to 27°C (73°F-81°F). Inland, on higher ground, temperatures are lower, ranging from 18 to 21°C (64°F-70°F). South of Rio, the seasons are more noticeable and the annual range of temperature greater. The average temperature for this part of the country is in the range between 17 to 19°C (63°F-66°F).