What happens in Brazil in February depends on whether there's Carnival.
When Carnival is in February, what else is there? For one, a great deal of movement away from the hubbub. Watch the news as Carnival approaches and you'll see that roads are just as busy going out of big Carnival centers as they are towards them. A lot of Brazilians prefer to use the Carnival break to rest in mountain getaways or to get one more long beach holiday before the summer is over.
When the nationwide festival takes place in March, you'll still feel the February uptempo in the summer temperatures and atmosphere, in pre-Carnival festivities, and in full hotels and pousadas.
However, when compared to Brazil in January, February travel has a notable difference: the fact that most students of all ages go back to school at the beginning of the month. That could make a little difference in terms of hotel availability in certain areas popular with families, especially on weekdays. But don't take any vacancies for granted: Carnival or no Carnival, always assume that advance reservations are a must for Brazil travel in February.
It's summer in Brazil and it's easy to associate that to an image of permanently sunny beaches. On a more realistic note, add a lot of rain to the picture.
Whereas the Northeast presents some of the drier coastal areas in February, especially in Rio Grande do Norte, most of the Southeast and Southern coast are subject to summer storms. First-time Rio Carnival travelers may have seen news reports of Carnival parades under heavy rain.
If you're traveling to mountain areas, make sure you have at least one light sweater, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a jacket or rain slicker - pieces you can layer for cool nights on the town and occasional cold fronts. You'd be surprised at how cool it can get at night on the beach.
Carnival. In 2009, Carnival goes from Feb.21-24.