There’s nothing like the promise of adventure to get little ones excited, and when it comes to adventure you can’t beat Brazil. There are its fabulous animals – from jaguars and toucans to giant anteaters and noisy howler monkeys. There are its glorious wild places – vast rainforests, wide open grassy plains, lush wetlands, high rocky mountains and of course endless sweeping beaches. And there is its complex history and diverse culture, from the epic myths of the indigenous tribes, via European colonialism, to the thrill of samba dancing and football madness. Add luxury accommodations and a laidback child friendly culture into the mix, and you have an unparalleled destination for your next family vacation.
It can be tricky knowing where to start with a country like Brazil, so to make your life easier we have handpicked three of our favourite destinations that combine kicking back with a range of activities, all designed with family fun in mind.
This itinerary will have you trekking through Atlantic rainforest and taking part in a family friendly arts and crafts session in Rio de Janeiro; kayaking with a giant otter family, fishing for piranhas and horse riding with cowboys in the Pantanal; and finally snorkelling with turtles, island hopping by speedboat, taking tennis classes or simply getting in some all-important pool time at Brazil’s most stylish beach resort in Angra dos Reis.
This is the ideal itinerary for those looking to discover the charms of South America’s largest and most beguiling country en famille, with a fully flexible day-by-day plan that will allow plenty of time to both relax and enjoy new experiences together, while we take care of the details.
What’s the route?
Routing your international flights in and out of Rio de Janeiro this itinerary keeps internal travel to a minimum whilst maximising contrasting landscapes. You will start out by exploring the sights and sounds of Rio before heading inland for a safari wildlife experience in the Pantanal and finally finish the trip on the island-studded Costa Verde, a short drive from Rio for your flight home.
When you arrive in Rio de Janeiro international airport, our driver and guide will be waiting for you in arrivals, ready to whisk you by executive minivan to your luxury hotel overlooking Copacabana beach. Our favourite hotel for families, not only does the Fairmont have a good range of connecting rooms and suites, but it also has two swimming pools, babysitting services, a relaxed family friendly restaurant and a café selling Rio’s best ice cream (who are also indulgently generous with their free samples!) The sea in front of the hotel at
Copacabana beach also tends to be calmer and a little better for children’s swimming compared to neighbouring Ipanema. You are just five minutes’ walk from Ipanema though so you can always take your pick! Settle into your room before taking a relaxing stroll down the seafront or perhaps you just want to recharge your batteries around the hotel pool.
Our guide will return in the early evening to take you for a sunset trip up Sugar Loaf mountain by cable car. The children will enjoy spotting the curious marmosets ever hopeful for a titbit from the tourists, while parents can treat themselves to a caipirinha to toast your arrival in Brazil!
After a leisurely breakfast and time for an early morning swim in the pool, your guide will meet you for a day of private guiding in the "Cidade Maravilhosa". Rio is a city that is famous first and foremost for its stunning natural beauty - despite having a population of over 6 million people, the urban areas of the city take second place to the rainforest covered mountains, Atlantic beaches and tropical lagoons that make up the geography of the Guanabara bay. In the morning you will visit the "must see" sight of Christ the Redeemer taking the cog train that winds up the hill through the jungle. After a break for lunch, that afternoon we have arranged for a private arts and crafts workshop with the designer Gilson Martins where your children will have the chance to personalise their own pencil cases or satchels, picking from the brightly coloured cut-outs of iconic Rio landmarks to make their own designs. Their finished masterpieces will be handsewn in the factory and delivered to you before you depart Brazil as a memorable keepsake from the trip.
For your last day in Rio we suggest getting a feel for the wilder side of the city with a private guided hike in the Tijuca rainforest. Brightly coloured birds and playful monkeys are easy to spot as you trek to a hidden waterfall where there will be time to swim in the crystal-clear jungle stream. Our guide will bring snacks and drinks for hungry explorers as well as towels. There are plenty of other active options available in Rio from surfing lessons to hang gliding, or if your children are budding foodies perhaps a visit to a market followed by a cooking class? For the rising dance or theatre stars, a visit to a carnival workshop to see the costumes being made or a dance class with a professional samba queen is an unforgettable experience. Our expert travel planners love talking about your children’s different interests and personalities and will suggest the perfect schedule of activities accordingly.
Today it is time to leave the coastline behind to explore Brazil’s interior. Flying first to Campo Grande you will then board a light aircraft for an unforgettable flight over the Pantanal wetlands, flying low over the beautiful patchwork of waterways, grasslands and forests before landing at the grass runway next to your lodge. You will have a relaxed first afternoon getting to know your surroundings or perhaps head out for your first early evening safari drive.
With a total area of over 150,000km2, the Pantanal is the largest contiguous wetland on the planet and South America’s premier wildlife sanctuary. Your eco-lodge lies in the middle of a private 11,000 hectare reserve, and there are endless options for exploration with expert naturalist guides on hand to point out all that little eyes could miss. Venture out on horseback, by motorboat or in open top jeeps and prepare to meet a proliferation of wildlife. The mostly commonly seen animals include capybaras, giant anteaters, tapir, crab eating foxes, racoons, armadillos, giant otters and several species of monkey. On top of that, the nearly 600 species of bird make this a birdwatcher’s paradise. Kayaking, horse riding, fishing or swimming in the rivers will keep even the most restless children entertained (one of the great advantages compared to an African safari), but a stay in this region is also an invaluable educational experience for children of all ages. There are always researchers based at the lodge and your kids can see first-hand the importance of conservation by helping out with projects to protect iconic species such as the hyacinth macaws. Dehouche also provides all of our clients with our own personalised birding “tick list” - a great way to get older children engaged
Your pilot will meet you at the lodge again to fly you back to Campo Grande in time for a connection to Rio de Janeiro. A driver will be waiting to set out along Brazil’s spectacular Costa Verde, or “Emerald Coast”, where majestic peaks drenched in lush Atlantic rainforest give way to a sea of varying turquoise hues that sparkle invitingly as you curve round each bend, a promise of things to come. The drive takes around three hours, or there is also the option of a helicopter flight direct to your resort helipad which takes around 45 minutes. Check into connecting rooms at the Fasano Angra dos Reis resort and take in the beautiful rainforest and sea views as you relax into your final destination.
Today we have arranged for a private speedboat to pick up the family at the hotel’s marina for a memorable day island hopping and exploring the pristine tropical coastline of this part of Brazil. There will be plenty of time to stop for snorkelling and swimming in the calm, clear waters of the bay, as well as to visit deserted sandy beaches and hidden tropical coves. We will make sure the boat is well stocked with drinks and snacks and lunch will be prepared for you on board to your own requests. As always do make sure to let our travel planners know about you and your children’s likes, dislikes and dietary restrictions so we can make sure these moments are always special and personalised to your own family.
Not only does your hotel have its own private beach and marina, it also has three swimming pools (two outdoor and one indoor) and two restaurants. Besides that, there is also an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, a network of hiking trails in the rainforest as well as our favourite kids club in Brazil (for under 12s), while adults can enjoy the extensive spa offering massages and treatments. Suffice to say it is the perfect location to relax and enjoy your final days in Brazil.
Our driver will bring you back to Rio in time for your flight home. After a trip like this we guarantee you will be heading home de-stressed and in the Brazilian state of mind, your kids will be bursting with stories of their adventurous escapades, and you will all be eager to plan a return trip soon!