Brazil is a great place to take the kids on vacation. It’s a very child-friendly nation where you can be confident your little ones will be well looked after. Besides the fact that Brazilians adore children, there are loads of kid-friendly activities to do, the major tourist attractions tend to be very family-friendly and you’ll find plenty of child-friendly accommodations.
From waterfalls to kid-friendly beaches to snorkeling, short treks, ziplining, tropical rainforests and caves to explore; plus dance schools, vibrant live music, cable cars, train rides, and interactive museums, your family trip to Brazil can most definitely include your little ones. Brazil’s spectacular landscapes are matched by its warm hospitality and delectable cuisine. With careful planning and preparation, traveling to Brazil with kids will be a safe and rewarding journey filled with lifelong memories.
If your kids are fussy eaters, Brazilian street food could be your answer. You’ll find an abundance of delectable, portable dishes that your whole family can enjoy, and if you know what to order, your kids will relish all of the pleasures of “fast food” with an international twist.
Be sure to pack lots of high factor sun cream and mosquito repellent with DEET – it goes without saying that there are lots of insects in the rainforest.
Rio de Janeiro contains endless kid-friendly spots, making it an exciting family travel destination. Tijuca National Park − the 15-square-mile remnant of the Atlantic rainforest that once enveloped the region − teems with monkeys and colorful birds. Rio’s glorious beaches and the opportunity to ride cable cars, funicular railways, and rattling streetcars all add to the kid-pleasing experience.
No visit to Rio would be complete without a trip to see the iconic statue, Christ the Redeemer, and the city offers many ways to make this trip even more exciting for youngsters. Choose to ride the train along the steep rail that takes you through the heart of the Tijuca National Park to the statue. Chugging along in this little red train will delight your kids and along the way, they will enjoy the gorgeous scenery of lush jungle terrain, creeks, and waterfalls. As an added bonus, it’s not uncommon for live samba bands to entertain passengers onboard. For families who’d like to spend additional time exploring the park’s historical spots and natural landscapes, opt for a jeep tour of the park. Tijuca also contains a system of well-marked hiking trails.
Beaches are the perfect place to unwind and let the kids run free through the warm silky sand, building sandcastles and playing in the surf. The beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are giant sandy playgrounds, but pumping music and party-goers may not be what you are looking for when you’re traveling with young kids. The smaller, secluded Praia Vermelha is a small curve of coarse sand that sits right at the foot of Sugar Loaf Mountain, and is a popular spot for families with young children. Meanwhile Rio’s Leblon Beach hosts a Baixo Baby area that is exclusive to kids.
While you may be familiar with the images of the cable car making its dizzying ascent up to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, nothing can prepare you for the eye-boggling views and the true splendor of Rio’s cityscape as it unfurls below. Your kids will love this thrilling ride.
At the city’s most scenic lake, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, you can rent a swan-shaped pedal boat. Or you may wish to stroll along Copacabana’s Avenida Atlantica, especially on Sundays when it closes one way for pedestrians, bikers, and skaters. You’ll find plenty of food vendors and street performers.
Salvador has an impressive history as one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. But it’s also a modern urban center offering delicious food, exotic music, and dynamic street performances. Give your kids the opportunity to learn more about the rich cultural traditions of West and Central Africa in Brazil by attending a Capoeira and drums class. Capoeira dates back more than 500 years to the start of the slave trade in Brazil and remains a testament to self-discipline, resilience, and courage in the face of oppression.
The fishing village of Praia do Forte, near Salvador, offers traditional family activities including an exquisite golden-sand beach with rock pools at low tide, horse-riding and bicycle hire. Be sure to visit the Tamar Project dedicated to the protection and preservation of sea turtles. Brazil is home to five out of the seven species of sea turtles; all of which are endangered species. The visitors’ center has tours led by biologists and vets, and not only will your kids have the chance to learn about why it is so important to help protect these turtles, they will also have the opportunity to interact with them, and they may even get the chance to help a newly-hatched turtle on its journey to the ocean. The Projeto TAMAR has more than 20 sites along the Brazilian coast from Pipa to Ubatuba to Florianopolis: www.tamar.org.br
With an unrivalled diversity of wildlife, The Amazon is a place of almost mythical status and a must-do when traveling to Brazil with kids. More and more family-friendly jungle lodges are popping up, and educational opportunities are plentiful if you choose a tour that teaches them about the different species of plants, flora and animals. The most popular activity in the Amazon is to explore the region by riverboat. Alternatively, you could choose a survival tour that will teach your family how to survive in the jungle.
The Iguazú Falls span the frontier between Argentina and Brazil, and what a sight it is: the largest waterfall system on Earth, a ceaseless spectacle of hundreds of foaming cascades. Walkways allow you to get close to the raw beauty and power of the falls. Just prepare to get wet, something your kids will love!
The southwestern town of Bonito is known for its gorgeous caves and river snorkeling adventures. Older children can join a flotation tour in a “Natural Aquarium” – the clear waters of the Baía Bonita Ecological Reserve near the southern Pantanal. Wearing a wetsuit and snorkeling gear, you can float about half a mile, immersed in the underwater world. The journey there leads you through various ecosystems, and at the end there is a zipline in the forest. This is a fantastic family adventure; don’t forget to bring a waterproof camera.
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