The time difference between Brazil and the US depends on where you are. While both countries are roughly the same size in terms of land mass, the US is wider than Brazil.
Consequently, the US is spread out over nine time zones while Brazil has only four time zones. To get an idea of the time difference, it’s important to understand how time zones work.
Time zones are designed so that regardless of where you are, the position of the sun in the sky will be roughly the same at the same place at the same time of the day at all times. For example, in winter, the sun generally rises around 7 a.m. and sets around 5 p.m. In the summer, the sun might rise around 5 a.m. and set around 9 p.m.
Time zones are set according to longitude, or the imaginary lines that run vertically from the North Pole to the South Pole on the globe. Generally, Brazil is slightly to the east of the US in terms of longitudinal lines. So when it is 12 noon in Washington, D.C., it is 1 p.m. in the Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, Federal District.
In California, the time difference with Brazil is 4 hours. So when it is 12 noon in Los Angeles, it is 4 p.m. in Brasilia.
Like the US, Brazil follows Daylight Savings Time, which helps provide more daylight hours during the winter months. But remember that Brazil is in the Southern Hemisphere, compared to the US which is in the Northern Hemisphere. So the seasons are reversed. When it is summer in the US, it is winter in Brazil, and vice versa.
So daylight savings in Brazil starts on the third Sunday in October and ends on the third Sunday in February. In the US, it starts in March and ends in November.
Within Brazil, the time difference can be up to 4 hours. But three of Brazil’s biggest cities — Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo — are all on the same time.