A riot of colors, rhythms and miles of golden sands make Brazil a fantastic family destination, with adventures on offer in every corner of this vast country. From Paraty’s spectacular islands on the south coast to the wildlife-rich Pantanal wetlands and the dunescapes of wave-bashed Jericoacoara, there is something to suit every family, however you like to travel. Take it at your chosen pace and discover the array of wonders that await for little ones and tricky-to-please teens. South America expert, Nikki, guides you through the country’s best family friendly destinations.
Paraty is a jewel on Brazil’s southern coast, easily accessible from both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and with plenty on offer when it comes to family fun. Once you have explored the colonial center there are over 65 islands with golden beaches to discover, and the stunning fjord of Saco do Mamangua which you can explore by private boat, jump in for some snorkeling and try your hand at fishing, sampling your catch as part of a fresh and mouthwatering dinner. Waterfalls and natural rock slides abound in the Atlantic forest just a short jeep ride from the center and make for a great day out!
Where to stay:
Pousada Picinguaba is a fantastic option, providing a rustic yet luxurious base to enjoy the incredible natural surroundings. With no TV and no WiFi, guests are encouraged to spend days kayaking or paddleboarding in the bay where you may be fortunate enough to encounter pods of dolphins! Reach wild beaches and feel like a true explorer, hike through the Atlantic forest or even help the local fishermen bring in the catch of the day.
Alternatively, stay in one of our private villas and benefit from the assistance of a local concierge, who can create fun-filled treasure hunts and curate activities, making this charming and historical town accessible and bringing the rich history to life for young and old.
Rio de Janeiro
The vibrant coastal city of Rio de Janeiro is a must on any Brazil itinerary, with its sun-kissed beaches, infectious energy and wealth of easy to reach and exciting attractions. Swoop up to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain by cable car, take the funicular railway up to Corcovado for close up views of Christ the Redeemer or opt to soar above the city in a helicopter for the ultimate view, as well an exciting excursion for all the family. Be sure to visit the Escadaria Selaron in Lapa, the famous colorful staircase, and head for dinner in the cool and bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa.
Where to stay:
Belmond Copacabana Palace remains firmly in the top spot when it comes to Rio hotels. A huge outdoor pool and plenty of dining options, as well as interconnecting rooms make this a great choice for families.
The Sofitel Ipanema is a great alternative family option on Ipanema beach, Copacabana’s neighbor, still just a short distance from many of the city’s key sights. It affords great value and there are a number of connecting room options, as well as child-friendly menus available in the restaurants.
The state of Bahia is vast and varied, with the city of Salvador at its heart. Here the Afro-Brazilian culture is overwhelming and you will hear percussion and drumming everywhere you go, while further to the north and south there are endless golden sand beaches, often regarded as some of the best in Brazil. Meet a famous percussionist and learn some of the local rhythms, try a capoeira class (Brazilian martial art) and watch a local theater show with locals demonstrating traditional dances such as Maculelê, which is danced using sticks and knives and makes for a mesmerising performance.
After exploring the city, it would be rude not to visit some of Bahia’s beaches and it’s the perfect way to unwind. The hippie-chic town of Trancoso offers some of the most beautiful beaches and there is plenty of choice when it comes to spoiling hotels. The Quadrado (or main square) here is protected by UNESCO and surrounded by the most beautiful Bahian houses in a rainbow of colors. Marvel at displays of capoeira in the afternoons and even join in with a local football game!
Where to stay:
In Salvador, we recommend using Villa Bahia as your base. This charming colonial hotel has a fantastic central location on one of Salvador’s pedestrianised, cobbled streets in the heart of the historic Pelourinho district – the place for a family stay in this colorful state capital.
Over in Trancoso, stay at the uber-stylish UXUA Casa Hotel, a collection of stunning private 1,2 and 3-suite homes right on the Quadrado, with access to all of the hotel’s facilities, as well as a short walk to the beach club where a private sofa will be reserved and ready for you.
If you prefer to stay somewhere a little more secluded, Txai in Itacare is the perfect choice. Separate children’s pools and miles of beach ensure hours of fun and relaxation, while the concierge can arrange surf lessons, tennis sessions, capoeira classes or even rafting.
The mighty Iguassu Falls (or Iguazu if you’re in Argentina) straddle the border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay and is made up of over 250 individual drops, making for an impressive spectacle. Immersed in jungle, the area is rich with wildlife and is an exhilarating place to discover. Explore the park from both the Argentinean and Brazilian side, taking a boat trip right up to the falls, walking across the boardwalks to feel the spray or a helicopter ride up close to the impressive Devil’s throat.
Where to stay:
Situated within the Brazilian side of the National Park, Belmond das Cataratas is ideally placed for independent exploration of this natural wonder, allowing more time to enjoy the beautiful gardens and huge pool which is refreshing in the tropical heat here!
Lois Suites Iguazu can be found just over the border in Argentina and is immersed in the jungle. Crazy but fun wobbling walkways connect all of the buildings here, and there are several swimming pools, child-friendly menus and spacious guestrooms.
This huge expanse of wetlands in the west of Brazil offers a safari-like wildlife experience, where you can spot the elusive jaguar, caiman, amazing birdlife and a host of other intriguing mammals. Head out by jeep, go hiking, take boat trips or even horse ride on what is considered to be one of South America’s top wildlife destinations.
Where to stay:
Pousada Rio Mutum is surrounded by stunning scenery and is one of the most accessible Pantanal Lodges, at just a 3-hour drive from Cuiaba airport. A separate adults’ and children’s pool makes it a great option for families; the sun here gets strong so it’s perfect to have somewhere to cool off in between activities and rooms all have hammocks, AC and ceiling fans.
Caiman Ecological Refuge is the most luxurious of the Pantanal properties, with two separate lodges, each with their own swimming pool. Each lodge can also be taken exclusively for larger families or groups, making it the ideal choice for a multi-generational adventure. Canoe tours, jeep safaris, bike tours and night safaris are on offer to cater to the adventurous and are central to a stay here.