Rio de Janeiro
Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort beach
Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort beach
Copacabana Palace Hotel bedroom
Copacabana Palace Hotel terrace table
Brazil is a country of colour, music and pulsating culture, perfect for a luxury family holiday. Nothing sums it up better than the annual Carnival, but there are many sides of Brazil to discover - from spotless beaches to vibrant cities and the magnificent, wild untamed flora and fauna. This is a destination that will leave the whole family, old and young, wide-eyed. Incredible granite mountains jut out from the sea and rise high from the midst of the city. It is a concrete jungle in the most literal sense, but greenery sprouts teasingly up through every pavement crack. It’s no wonder the Brazilians refer to Rio, quite literally, as "Cidade Maravilhosa" (wonderful city).
Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort
Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort is a big-name beachside resort with a first-class reputation.
Situated on a quiet cove just a short distance to Ipanema Beach, the Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort has 559 rooms, all with private balconies and 24-hour room service. Offering every amenity under the sun from tennis courts to a spa with a health club, three outdoor pools to an outdoor Jacuzzi, the whole family will be...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Tuakaza Exclusive Guest House
Tuakaza is a jungle hideaway in Tijuca Rainforest, the world's largest urban forest.
A new addition to the city in 2012, the pièce de résistance at Tuakaza Exclusive Guest House is the natural swimming pool fed by a natural waterfall. Situated in the São Conrado district, this boutique hotel has just six rooms, each named after a different Brazilian fruit – acai, papaya and kiwi are some such...Pre-Teen friendly / Winter Sun / See this Hotel & Book »
Copacabana Palace Hotel
This 1920’s Orient Express hotel, Copacabana Palace, is the grand dame of Rio hotels.
Quite simply, the 245-room Copacabana Palace Hotel is the crème de la crème of the city's hotels. The guestbook reads like a red carpet roll call: Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela and Tom Cruise have all, at one time or another, rested their heads on the Palace’s finest pillows. What is more, this...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno, 121
The quirky crumbling colonial house in Santa Teresa that makes up Cafecito has two flights of exterior staircases and outdoor seating on the shady terraces. A top spot for an afternoon pick-me-up or snack, you’ll find good strong Brazilian coffee, fresh, foamy juices, perfectly stodgy brownies and dangerously moorish banana cheesecake.
Rua Gonçalves Dias, 32
Established in 1894, entering this Belle Epoque tearoom is like stepping into a Monet painting. The Belgian mirrors, Italian marble and rosewood furniture have been admired by many a tourist, local and even royals – King Albert of Belgium visited in 1920 and Queen Elizabeth in 1968. Aside from marveling at the décor, children will love the pastries, desserts and ice cream. Order the Chocolate Passion to share – working your way through the whipped cream, brownie, chocolate ice cream and hot fudge sauce is a job for all the family.
Alessandro e Frederico
Ipanema, Leblon and Sao Conrado locations
This buzzy Italian chain, with branches in Ipanema, Leblon and Sao Conrado, is best for brunch or pizza – of which there are 30 generously proportioned varieties. The flagship restaurant on Ipanema’s Rua Garcia D’Ávila has an inviting low-lit terrace and smells of homemade bread (fresh pasta is also made on site). For something on the lighter side, there are also salads, omelettes and soups. Make sure you check out the special children’s menu which includes filet mignon, and juicy chicken breast with black beans.
Av. Armando Lombardi, 591
The fact that “porcão” translates as “big pig” is surely reason enough to try this Rio delight. Barbecuing is the name of the game (“churrasco” is Portuguese for “barbecue”) and these guys serve everything from beef to sausages, poultry, pork and fish along with a jumbo buffet filled with salad, meat, cheese and even sushi. The fun part is the service – churrascaria restaurants serve either “rodizio” (rotating) or “espeto corridor” (running sticks) style, which means the food is delivered to your table on skewers by waiters. Pudding is delivered on a cart that travels between tables and there’s even a kid’s play area.
Porcao Rio's Brazil
Be it running along the beach, surfing, sunbathing, swimming or stopping to watch the seaside jugglers, magicians, stilt-walkers and fire-eaters, life in Rio seems to revolve around the beach. The most famous city beaches are Copacabana and Ipanema; they are two sides of the same bay so pretty similar, defined by wide golden sands and big waves. The best for young families is Baixo Baby on Leblon Beach which has a play area with kid’s toys.
Rio City Zoo
For little ones, Rio City Zoo is perfect. Open Tuesday to Sunday, it has 2,000 species – the majority native being to Brazil – and a walk-through aviary and reptile house.
The Metropolitan Cathedral
Don’t miss the Metropolitan Cathedral with its 18-metre bronze doors, pews to seat 20,000 people and striking stain-glass windows.
Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain
There are the two essential tourist sites: visit the statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado, before taking the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar).
Many museums offer free entry for kids under seven, and the Museu do Indio (Indian Museum) has a fantastic room where children can decorate themselves to mirror native warriors with stamps and body paint provided. The National Museum, which has mummies, zoological displays, historical artifacts, and a 5-tonne meteorite, is a must.
The surrounding jungle
One of the most incredible things about Rio is the fact that it’s in the middle of a jungle – make sure you visit the surrounding rainforest, which is packed full of birds and wildlife. Your best bet if you want to explore the jungle is to arrange a jungle tour via your hotel concierge who can make sure you see it in a safe and supervised manner.
Dial 192 for emergencies. Hospital Copa D’or (+55 21 2545 3600) in Copacabana is internationally accredited and has special pediatric emergency rooms. A favourite among the city’s expat community is Hospital Samaritano, (+55 21 2535-4000) which has new facilities, an acclaimed Intensive Care Unit and accepts all major health insurance policies. Lastly, Hospital Sao Jose (+55 21 2741 4300) has an international patient section with English speaking staff.
When to go
August and September are the best dates to visit Rio de Janeiro. The climate is warm year-round, but it gets especially hot in January and February. Local school holidays run from December to February, and the famous carnival takes place in February when temperatures – and prices – reach their peak.