You can travel to exotic locales with the little ones, and this ten-day trip in coastal Brazil proves it. Learn about Rio de Janeiro's history and tick off its major sites while thrilling the kids with train rides and cable cars across the city. Get plenty of fresh air with a visit to the Botanical Garden, and enjoy swimming and snorkeling at the beaches of Búzios. Become big kids yourselves at Radical Parque, where you can go ziplining, and finish the adventure with a family-themed cooking class before you board the plane.


  • See carnivorous plants close up at Rio de Janeiro's Botanical Garden
  • Collect sea shells and snorkel in the clear water off Búzios' coastline
  • Spot the city sites at the top of the biggest Ferris wheel in Latin America
  • Get your hands dirty during a family cooking class in Río de Janeiro

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Visit the Cidade do Samba  Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 Tour of Rio de Janeiro's Must-See Sites, Beach Afternoon  Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 Explore Rio de Janeiro's Botanical Garden & Parque Lage  Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 Transfer to Búzios, Free Time Búzios
Day 5 Beach Day in Búzios Búzios
Day 6 Fun Activities in Radical Parque Búzios
Day 7 Transfer to Rio de Janeiro via Engenho do Castelo Farm Rio de Janeiro
Day 8 Meet Animals at an Urban Farm, Visit the Aquarium, Ride a Ferris Wheel Rio de Janeiro
Day 9 Tram Ride through the Artistic District of Santa Teresa Rio de Janeiro
Day 10 Brazilian Cooking Class, Depart Rio de Janeiro  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro, Visit the Cidade do Samba 

Start and end your trip in the scenic city of Rio de Janeiro

Welcome to Brazil! Upon arrival in Rio de Janeiro, meet your driver at the airport who will take you to your hotel in Copacabana, a famous beach area surrounded by hills and bays in the southern part of the city. Once you've unpacked your things, the kids will undoubtedly need to stretch their legs and get some fresh air after the long flight, so equip yourselves with some buckets and spades at one of the numerous beach kiosks and spend some time acclimating to this exciting city.

You may not be in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval, but that doesn't mean you can't get a taste. Feel the infectious samba beat and be mesmerized by sparkling Carnaval outfits at the Cidade do Samba, a cultural center and theme park about this world-famous event. Watch performances by samba schools, see some of the flamboyant parade floats, and take sequin-filled photos of the whole family dressed up in traditional costumes. Once your appetites start kicking in, make your way to a family-friendly diner, such as Toca da Traíra, La Mole, and Coimbra Galeto. 

Day 2: Tour of Rio de Janeiro's Must-See Sites, Beach Afternoon 

Visit Rio's must-sees in half a day with the little ones
Climb up to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue on a train
Explore the city's major sites today with a half-day tour that's made with young children in mind, so there's no need to worry about tired little feet. Board a train and climb steeply up the Corcovado Mountain to the emblematic Christ the Redeemer statue. Within minutes of embarking, find yourselves in the tropical Tijuca Forest, watching wild monkeys swinging from tree to tree. Chug along in anticipation of the panoramic views you'll be treated to at the top, a perfect spot for mantelpiece-worthy family photos. 
Your next stop will be in Lapa, where you'll see the colorful Selarón Staircase. Challenge the kids to spot specific tiles, such as the Van Gogh tile or the Canadian one. Stop for a coffee and have the kids try a sweet or salty biscoito globos, a typical snack from Río de Janeiro. Next is Sugarloaf Mountain! Kids and adults alike will love the cable car ride to the summit. Watch the city disappear below you until you reach the other side, where there's a play area and viewpoint. 
After the tour, enjoy the sun, sea, and sand at Leblon Beach—a long stretch of white sand surrounded by verdant hills near Copacabana. Here, you'll find an enclosed play area called Baixo Bebê, where you can sip on fresh coconut water while the kids decide on which of the plethora of toys to play with. There are also paddling pools available for rent. In the evening, indulge in grilled fish and meat at Toca da Traíra restaurant in Botafogo, where the children also have access to a play zone and mini aquarium.

Day 3: Explore Rio de Janeiro's Botanical Garden & Parque Lage 

Watch the kids' minds be blown by plants that eat animals!

You've seen the city's major sites; now it's time to explore its impressive offering of green spaces. Visit the Botanical Garden first—the oldest botanical garden in Brazil. You can easily spend hours in this 350-acre (140 ha) space, spotting turtles in the lake, watching monkeys stroll down a promenade of towering palm trees, or learning about Brazil's ecosystem in the child-friendly museum. Wander through the mesmerizing orchid garden and—a particular favorite with kids—the carnivorous plant area. If you're lucky, you may even spot an unfortunate fly making its way to a green pair of jaws.
There are plenty of places to spend the afternoon en famille, but Parque Lage is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. With small lakes aplenty, a section of the park with an aquarium, a tower imitating a castle with artificial slides, and a playground, there won't be any room for boredom. After a day of fresh air, sit down to a well-earned dinner. Look for a Brazilian specialty, pão de queijo—a warm cheese bun you can find all over the city and much-loved by children and adults alike.  

Day 4: Transfer to Búzios, Free Time 

Drive to the beach paradise of Búzios and take a seaside stroll
Plan your trip to Brazil
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Get the kids' tablets ready—today you're going on a road trip! After breakfast, meet your driver, who will take you on a 3.5-hour scenic trip to the eastern town of Búzios. Let the town's laid-back vibe wash over you, grab your flip-flops, and take a stroll along Rua das Pedras. Wander in and out of the shops at your leisure, and visit Orla Bardot. Hotels, shops, and houses with colorful colonial architecture back this seafront promenade. Stop to admire the two most famous statues in town: a cast of a fisherman and another of Brigitte Bardot, one of the town's celebrity residents. 

Day 5: Beach Day in Búzios

Enjoy some fun and relaxation on one of Búzios' many beaches
Like every famous coastal destination, the main attraction of Búzios is its beaches. And you can be sure that the kids will love them all, from the most popular and sought-after ones near the center to the hidden and wild bays farther from the city. For a hassle-free beach day, take the kids to Praia da Tartaruga, located 1.8 miles (3 km) from the center of Búzios. Nearby restaurants will accommodate your lunchtime needs, and you can buy snorkeling gear to see the colorful fish up close.
If you want to see more than one beach, there are kid-friendly options near your hotel including Praia de João Fernandes, Praia da Ferradura, and Praia de Geribá. In the evening, go for a warm, night-time stroll through the city or visit nearby Porto da Barra, an entertainment complex that is home to a world of cuisines, such as Spanish, Thai, and, of course, traditional Brazilian. Watch the sunset from one of the sea-view restaurants while you sip on caipirinhas, and the kids indulge in coconut shakes. 

Day 6: Fun Activities in Radical Parque

Choose between dozens of adrenaline-boosting activities at Radical Parque
Help yourselves to a big breakfast this morning because you're about to have an adrenaline-packed day today! True to its name, Radical Parque is full of radical kids' activities to suit both future adrenaline junkies and those who like to play on the safer side of life. There are adventures for kids of all age groups, whether it's driving mini buggies on off-road tracks, racing in mini karts, or bouncing on the bungee trampolines. Bring out your inner kid as you zoom along a zip wire 32 feet (10 m) above ground, and cheer the children as they attempt to reach the top of the climbing wall.  
You'll probably be pleasantly tired out after such a fun-filled day, so refuel at the gourmet fair in Praça da Ferradura. This fair takes place every Thursday at Praça da Ferradura and has several stalls full of tasty delicacies and drinks in addition to live music. Once you're ready to turn in, go back to the hotel for a restful night's sleep.

Day 7: Transfer to Rio de Janeiro via Engenho do Castelo Farm

Go horseback-riding in the idyllic scenery around Engenho do Castelo Farm

Take advantage of your last morning in Búzios by going for a swim at the beach. Once you've dried off and had breakfast, meet your driver and set off on your journey back to Río de Janeiro. At around the one-hour mark, stop at a small, picturesque farm surrounded by lush hills.

Engenho do Castelo Farm has belonged to the Pintas family for three generations. Spend a couple of hours stretching your legs and having lunch while the kids try out the farm's various activities. Go horseback riding and feed the animals, or simply leave the kids to it at the jungle gym. Once they've stretched their legs and have expended some energy, hop back in your car for the next leg of the journey. Your driver will take you the remaining two hours to your lodgings in Rio de Janeiro. 

Day 8: Meet Animals at an Urban Farm, Visit the Aquarium, Ride a Ferris Wheel

See the sites from up high on Latin America's largest Ferris wheel
Enjoy a free day in Rio de Janeiro today. There are infinite possibilities of what you can do with the kids in this child-friendly city. Start in Novo Leblon and feel like you've escaped to the countryside as you wander around an inner-city farm. Get up close to all sorts of animals and feed the ducks, cows, geese, rabbits, and goats. Sit back and relax in the shade of the park's trees while the kids enjoy themselves.
Later in the afternoon, explore the largest aquarium in South America—AquaRio—with more than 2,000 animals and 350 different species on display. Feel like you're walking on the ocean floor as you travel through underwater tunnels, marveling at the sharks and interesting-looking aquatic creatures gliding above you. Finish your day with a go on the largest Ferris wheel in Latin America. Measuring an impressive 288 feet (88 m) in height, at the top, you'll get to enjoy wide-reaching views of the city and see if the kids recognize some of the landmarks they've seen on the trip so far. 

Day 9: Tram Ride through the Artistic District of Santa Teresa

Chug along the old-fashioned yellow tram in Santa Teresa

Today's your last full day in Brazil, so take advantage and make sure to try some Brazilian breakfast delicacies. Though they're found all over the world now, Brazil is the original home of the açai bowl. Find a stall that makes fresh açai and feel the vitamin boost! The little ones will love the novelty of cake for breakfast, so treat them to bolo de fuba, a sweet cornmeal cake that's a breakfast favorite among Brazilians.

Once you've fueled up for the day, go for a ride on an old-fashioned yellow tram through the city. Board this historic vehicle at Centro to Santa Teresa and pass through Arcos da Lapa, Parque das Ruinas, Passeio Publica, and Confeitaria Colombo enjoying the views as you climb hilly streets. At the end of the ride, stop by a picturesque café in the artistic neighborhood of Santa Teresa and overlook views of the city with a pingado (a sweet, milky coffee). Have dinner at one of the quirky restaurants, then return to your hotel for the evening.

Day 10: Brazilian Cooking Class, Depart Rio de Janeiro

Get your hands dirty in this traditional Brazilian cooking class with the kids

It may be your last day in Brazil, but your vacation isn't over yet! Spend the morning learning all about one crucial aspect of Brazilian culture: the food! Join a family cooking class with a local chef, who will introduce you to some of the country's typical ingredients and dishes. Make feijoada (a kind of black bean stew), as well as queijo coalho with geleia de pimenta (cheese cubes with pepper jam that the little ones will love), and a traditional dessert called brigadeiro. For the adults, learn how to make caiparhinas while the children sip on coconut shakes. 

After feasting on all the tasty treats you've made, collect your bags from your hotel and transfer to the airport. Bid farewell to Río de Janeiro as your airplane lifts off. Adeus!

More Great Brazil Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Brazil? Check out these other Brazil itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in Brazil with your family, or discover the best time to visit Brazil.


Map of Brazil's Coastal Family Vacation: Beaches, Parks & City Culture - 10 Days
Map of Brazil's Coastal Family Vacation: Beaches, Parks & City Culture - 10 Days