Never thought you’d take your kids to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil? Well, now is the time to think again. Rio is shaking off its old image of danger, and is actually an extremely welcoming and friendly place to take your family. Unlike in many other countries, where kids are often met with impatience and parents with looks of disapproval if their child cries in public, in Brazil you’ll be met with sympathetic smiles and jokes and often offers of help. Kids in Brazil are shown a great deal of warmth and respect and locals with stop to talk and show their appreciation for your little one.
Other than a warm welcome, Rio de Janeiro offers a year-round balmy climate, with plenty of sun, sea and sand to keep your family entertained, and if Rio’s city beaches feel too busy, then Brazil offers plenty of calm stretches of sand within easy reach of the city. Add to this the fact that you don’t have to wait in line at the metro or the bank if you have a child under two, and that you have a priority line at the supermarket, and Rio de Janeiro might just be the perfect place for a family vacation.
Here are some great activities for kids in Rio de Janeiro:
♦ Seeing the sights
Most kids love to visit the fairground and as it happens some of the main sights in Rio de Janeiro are reached by climbing aboard something akin to a fairground ride. To get to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain you go by cable car, which swings its way up to the peak high above. Then to reach Corcovado and the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue you ride a miniature train up the mountain side. Another favorite with kids is the bonde, a yellow street car which bumps its way up to the Santa Teresa neighborhood, often accompanied by a song or two and plenty of noise.
Rio de Janeiro has a wealth of beaches to enjoy and plenty more within easy reach of the city. If you want to spend a few days soaking up sun, sea and sand in a calmer environment, then try Buzios, Paraty or Ilha Grande, all within 3-4 hours of Rio de Janeiro. You’ll be able to sit back, relax and perhaps sip on a cocktail as your kids play.
♦ Juices and Acai
Brazil is famous for its abundance of fruit, and on nearly every street corner you’ll find a juice shop selling freshly squeezed juices in every flavor under the sun. Another favorite with kids is the frozen Acai, a nutritious frozen berry snack.
♦ Kilo restaurants
Feeding your kids when on holiday can sometimes be a bit of a trial, but in Rio a perfect solution in the Kilo restaurant. There are many dotted around the city and they consist of a buffet of all types of hot and cold food, including salads, rice, meat and vegetables. You pick up a plate, choose what you want and pay for it by the kilo – perfect for fussy eaters and small appetites.
♦ The Botanical Gardens
Rio de Janeiro’s Botanical Gardens make for the perfect family day out. There’s plenty of space to run and play, giant lily pads and a great play area. It’s free for kids under seven and just 5Real for everyone else.