CLIMATE IN RIO DE JANEIRO
AH, RIO - Maybe the most beautiful and exciting city in the world. Great beaches, great people, great nightlife, great food, great music, great shopping, great sun and, oh, the climate in Rio de Janeiro CAN BE HOT!!
Yup, it can be hot in certain times of the year. Just look at the map. Rio sits on the line of the Tropic of Capricorn. That means that at 1 PM on the 21st of December that big tropical sun is absolutely directly overhead and there are no shadows to protect you. (Remember, Brazil goes on daylight savings time during its summer and the clocks are being set ahead around the time that they are being set back up north). It doesn't end there, of course. You can get heat waves at virtually any time of the year, though you are pretty well protected from them in July or August. Since I am American, I wasn't so aware of it when I would see the temperature posted in centigrade on signs all along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. 40 degrees - well I knew it was hot but I didn't realize that it 104 degrees Fahrenheit!! In Rio de Janeiro it will pass this mark a number of times each year. And this isn't California or Arizona....it's humid!
Well, the tropical climate in Rio de Janeiro is part of what you're going for after all, right? You won't feel its intensity on the beach (See below), where you can run into the surf (See below) and lower your body temperature instantly in a "fix" that will keep you going for the next 20 or 30 minutes until it's time for another dip. And it won't be so bad in the streets at night because Rio is strung along the beaches and there really are strong breezes to keep the city tropically comfortable instead of oppressive. But if you get into an apartment where the air conditioning is not working properly in the bedrooms, you'll spend restless, sleepless nights running to the bathroom for cold showers and pondering why you were not more careful in talking this issue through with the owner of your rental unit in advance of leasing the apartment. Ignore what they say about strong ocean breezes coming through the windows. Make sure in advance that there are air conditioners all over the apartment and see if you can get a guarantee that the a/c will work. OURS WILL WORK!!! See the terms of our guarantee at the bottom of this page
PACKING - In January and February pack your very lightest clothing --- and then put the heavier half of what you have packed back into your drawers. In March and December put the heaviest 1/4 back in the drawer. In July and August take a light jacket and a light sweater - you probably won't get to use them though. Take one bathing suit - buy some new ones in the Rio Sul Shopping center on the fourth floor. Bathing suits are better bought in Brazil - they have more style when it comes to looking good on the beach. And if you are a group, think about taking along a couple of walkie talkies if you have them. They are great for meeting up on the beaches.
ON THE BEACH - Remember the strength of the sun and respect it. We've had guests spend the first few days of their vacation in misery because they didn't understand how intense the effect was on their skin and took too much their first time out. Every 50 yards or so in Copacabana and Ipanema there are kiosks where you can rent an umbrella for a dollar or so. If you plan to be out before 3:30 in the afternoon be sure to use these a lot for the first few days, and put a strong sunblock on within 1/2 hour of hitting the sand.
IN THE SURF - It's a relief but it can be intense too. On some days it is as tame as a lamb on valium. At other times there can be an undertow that may be stronger than anything that you have ever experienced, and you may not be able to tell the difference until it is too late. It nearly took my life some time back, and on that day two Argentinians were tragically swept away.
Things are much better in this regard since the authorities established a system of helicopter dispatchers watching from concrete towers towards the rear of the beaches. Nevertheless, I'll give you two hints that should keep you safe. If you are caught in an undertow, conserve your energy by getting on your back and gently swimming in line with the beach as opposed to towards it. Sometimes you will swim out of the pull this way, and at the least you will tire slowly while waiting for a helicopter. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DO NOT GO OUT ANY FURTHER THAN 50% OF THE BRAZILIANS. It may seem that they are wimpy, but they'll know when it is too rough to handle. They've probably been chatting about it in Portuguese all morning long! Also, keep young children next to you at all times when you are in the water. If they will allow you, hold their hands if you go in any further than where the water climbs above their ankles.
Don't forget our TWO pools!!! Speak to us about them in advance.
If your air conditioner does not work in any bedroom in our Morada do Sol apartments, please inform Luis, your apartment manager, of the problem as soon as it surfaces. For each or any bedroom air conditioner which is not functioning at night, you will receive a refund of 1/3 of that nights rate for however many nights it is non functional. Naturally, we do not want you to swelter and will immediately call a serviceman if there is a problem. Thus far, none of our guests have taken us up on this guarantee as we service and replace our air conditioners frequently and so have not