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Rio for Families: From Sandcastles to Waterfalls

The best of Brazil - Rio for Families
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Grab the kids and rock around this beautiful Brazilian city this summer

Every four years the Olympic Games roll around and what is considered to be the world’s most exciting sporting event occurs. This August, people from all over the world will flock to Rio, and Hong Kongers will make up a substantial part of the crowd. The games are a heady mix of glitz and glamour, tension and nail-biting excitement. Add to that, caipirinhas on the Copacabana and cable car trips up Sugarloaf Mountain, and it will be an intense 17 days. But let’s be honest, mamas, Rio isn’t known as a go-to family destination, and if we’re going to get the most out of the games, we are going to need to find some fun things for our kids to do to wear them out and give you a chance to recharge your batteries. Our friends, the travel experts at, have come up with some fantastic ways to spend a family day in Rio when a break from the games is needed.

Rio Olympics

I met the girl from Ipanema at the Copa, Copacabana

Rio’s two most famous beaches are so beautiful they have both inspired world famous songs, and a visit to either will show you why. The Copacabana is one of the most famous beaches in the world and strolling the black and white promenade will take you past a multitude of shops and restaurants that are perfect for whiling away the hours. While the Copacabana is more for grown-ups than kids, one of the coolest things to do with your mini-artists in Rio is right here on this beach. Local artists frequent the Copacabana and make giant, swirling sand sculptures and most of them are happy to have your kids help out and be their little assistants. Hire some beach chairs and kick back, drink in hand, and enjoy watching your children create their very own sand masterpiece alongside some truly talented locals.

Afterwards, head over to Ipanema for some real beach action. This picture-perfect beach is divided into different areas, so look for section 8 which is the dedicated family section. Kids can play freely, join in with the local soccer games, or take a swim. Take note: the current can be strong, so make sure to keep swimming children supervised at all times. One of the other highlights of the beach is the local hawkers selling their brightly coloured wares, as well as tasty food and cold drinks. Unlike on the Copacabana, these vendors aren’t pushy and have some beautiful, locally-made crafts for sale.

Rio Olympics

From dinosaurs to macaws

The Quinta da Boa Vista park and garden is a haven for the imagination, removing you from the bustle of the city and the tension of the games. The gardens themselves are a massive, sprawling tangle, combining manicured lawns and gardens with ancient, indigenous trees that are humbling in a way you have to see to believe. Perfect for a picnic or a long stroll.  Seek out the caves, which are perfectly safe and a great location to play pirates. Alternatively, head to the lake and hire pedalos for a cruise on the water before grabbing an ice cream.

The gardens are also home to the old Imperial Palace of São Cristovão, but more importantly, the gardens also house both the National Museum of Natural History and the Rio de Janeiro Zoo. The museum is fascinating for kids and adults alike, containing fossils,  Egyptian mummies, sarcophagi, and various artefacts belonging to Brazil’s indigenous peoples. There are also hundreds of stuffed animals from around the world, but we recommend heading next door and visiting the live animals roaming the Zoo.

Parts of Rio’s oldest zoo are under construction, as work to modernise it and create new habitats for its famous beasts continues. Near the giraffe and lion enclosures, you will find a massive wing dedicated to our feathered friends and the fantastic Fauna Footbridge; a suspended tunnel that allows you to walk above Brazil’s natural wildlife and see the animals in their natural habitat. If you have a whole day to spend and a child with an inquiring mind, you can enjoy Quinta da Boa Vista, the Museum and the Zoo, all in one jam-packed but incredibly pleasant day.

Rio Olympics

Cheeky monkeys in a magical setting

As peaceful as the gardens are, if you are looking to really commune with nature and to give your family a once in a lifetime wilderness adventure, take a jeep tour into the Brazilian rainforest. Most tours will pick you up directly from your hotel and take you straight into the heart of Tijuca National Park in an open-top jeep.

During the four hour, eco-friendly journey, many tours provide an extremely knowledgable guide who will give you all sorts of fascinating information about the plant and animal life that makes up these ancient rainforests, before leading you on a gentle hike past glorious waterfalls and up to the Vista Chinese for picturesque views of the rainforest below. On any jeep tour, you can expect to see native butterflies, birds, monkeys (who are definitely cheeky!)  and if you’re lucky, sloths! Being in such a unique place will create memories for you and your family to reflect on for a long time.

If you want to see for yourself what other activities can be found in Rio, why not try a search on KAYAK Activities and see for yourself what’s on!


Enjoy Rio, mamas!

Analysis is based on desktop research for family activities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and data collected from KAYAK Activities for dates 05/08/2016 through 22/08/2016.

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