From spectacular beaches to verdant rainforests and archipelagos pulsing with life, Brazil’s unrivaled landscapes are matched by its warm hospitality, delectable cuisine, and vibrant music. What’s more, Brazilians adore children, which means kid-friendly accommodations abound.
Here’s our list of some of the best places to visit on a Brazil family vacation.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro combines the charm of a multicultural village with the energy of a metropolis. It boasts endless kid-friendly spots making it a vibrant family travel destination. Spend a sun-kissed day splashing in the surf and building sand castles with your kids at one of Rio’s stunning beaches like Leblon, Ipanema, or Copacabana.
Take a swan-shaped paddleboat around the city’s most scenic lake, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, or stroll along Copacabana’s Avenida Atlantica. This 2.5-mile expanse of roadway closes one way every Sunday for pedestrians, bikers, and skaters. You’ll find plenty of bike, push, and peddle car rentals as well as food vendors and street performers. Come prepared to savor Brazilian culture at your own pace.
And, of course, no trip to Rio would be complete without a ride to Sugarloaf Mountain and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.
The Amazon Rainforest
From Manaus, Brazil, take a boat tour to the “Meeting of the Waters,” a confluence between the dark waters of the Rio Negro and pale waters of the Rio Solimões that stretches for nearly four miles. Because of differences in water temperature, speed, and density, the two rivers meet yet don’t combine creating a spectacular visual effect.
Back in Manaus, dine at one of the city’s flutuantes or floating restaurants where you’ll enjoy gorgeous river views, local cuisine, and glimpses of jungle wildlife and plants (including massive, kid-sized lily pads). Or, rent three-wheeled cycles and explore the city’s expansive main square.
Head into Jaú National Park on a leisurely river cruise of the Amazon rainforest. You’ll see the rainforest’s many creatures — from spider monkeys and toucans to freshwater dolphins and black caiman — without worrying about mosquitos, cell phones, or other intrusions from the outside world. Encompassing nearly 9,000 square miles (23,000 square km), Jaú boasts accessible hiking paths through lush jungle, impressive waterfalls, and vibrant riverside communities who welcome visitors with open arms.
A diverse and dramatic destination, Chapada Diamantina National Park’s landscapes appear otherworldly. It is a land of quartzite cave systems, subterranean rivers, and pristine lakes. It is also a land of verdant slopes punctuated by red-rock mesas and artistic canyons and caverns whose cake-like sedimentary layers have been carved for millennia by wind and water.
Established in 1985, this 375,000-acre reserve sits in the northeast state of Bahia, the very heart of Brazil’s former diamond mining industry. The historic affluence of the area remains impressed on the landscape in the lovely colonial architecture of communities bordering the park.
But the true wealth of the area rests in the park’s many natural wonders. Whether heading out on one of the park’s hiking trails (some of which follow colonial mining routes) or discovering its sublime waterfalls, this ecotourism gem is a must-see.
After taking in the gorgeous canyons, waterfalls, and cave systems of Chapada Diamantina, head to Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador boasts 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.
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 despite incredible odds.
Or, for a change of pace, head to the archipelago of Morro de São Paulo via hydrofoil. This island boasts white sand beaches and turquoise waters. A car-free zone, the island moves at a slower pace, one that’s kid-friendly and conducive to optimal vacation relaxation.
Imagine 275 individual drops combining to form an epic waterfall of thunderous proportions. The exquisite Iguazu Falls (alternatively Iguassu or Iguaçu Falls) have been awing visitors and indigenous inhabitants for centuries. In fact, the name comes from the Tupi-Guarani language and translates as “big water.”
The falls are fed by the waters of the Iguazu River and divide the river into its upper and lower portions. The river forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil with spectacular views afforded on both sides of the border. Special walkways built around the falls allow visitors the chance to get close to the raw beauty and power of the falls. Just prepare to get wet, something your kids will definitely love!
Nestled on the edge of the Amazon sits Brazil’s Pantanal region, the largest wetland ecosystem in the world. Measuring a whopping 81,000 square miles (210,000 square kilometers), it’s nearly the size of Kansas.
The Pantanal harbors the highest concentration of wildlife in South America including 325 species of fish, 656 species of birds, 53 species of amphibians, 98 species of reptiles, and 159 species of mammals.
Since the foliage proves less dense here, your odds of spotting exotic species skyrockets. So, keep eyes peeled and your cameras ready. From caiman to capybaras, toucans to howler monkeys, you and your kids will feel awestruck and exhilarated by the Brazilian parade of wildlife.
Brazil Family Vacation
From the sunny beaches of Copacabana to the immense landscapes of Chapada Diamantina, Brazil for kids offers endless family adventure travel options.
Find out more about our Brazilian Amazon River Cruise, an immersive exploration of one of the most pristine rainforest parks in the world. Or, learn more about our 8-day Chapada Diamantina/Salvador Adventure, an unforgettable journey into the heart of one of the world’s great natural landscapes.
At Our Whole Village, we create transformational trips for curious families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable journeys that we handcraft for adventure-seeking families just like yours.