We went for a quick weekend, coming from Sao Paulo it is only a 35 minute flight (! perfect toddler flying!). We stayed at an easy hotel by Ipanema beach and just enjoyed the amenities that Rio has to offer.
There was a park just a couple blocks up from our hotel which had a little playground, an outdoor workout space and some space to run away from the shops and traffic. Of course, going to Ipanema beach was also a highlight and easy entertainment but not the best “swimming” space for young kids. The beach dips steeply down into the water but if you go down towards Copacabana beach there is an inlet and it is easier swimming spaces for younger kids.
To go to Christ the Redeemer many people might say to take an Uber, but you just have to go to Copacabana beach hotel and they organize tickets to be brought up the (very) windy road to the top of the hill. You stop at a very sweet, cute and museum-esque gift shop before heading back up by bus to the top. You can take an elevator up (strollers!) or you can take the stairs (which our 3 & 5 year old were totally fine climbing). Once up there you only have an hour to explore but it is just the statue and many people. It is best to go first thing in the morning when the weather is clear so you can get the gorgeous view of up top and not so many tourists venture out there early (they’re still partying in Rio!)
Just a block up from our hotel was a great Suco bar (juice bar) which served delicious healthy sandwiches, fresh juices, smoothies and acai (with granola, bananas or on its own). We ate on Leblon beach at a cool beach bar- we had the most delicious caipirinhas, amazing fries, burgers and fish. It is an easy, beautiful and fun walk on the boardwalk of the beach to get to this bar. You can even rent chairs on the beach and order food from the bar! (hello easy kid entertainment! Playing in the sand!!)
We stayed at Everest hotel. It was fine, nothing too special in the inside but the hotel swimming pool is on the rooftop and you have an amazing view. From our room we looked out as well to Christ the Redeemer towering over the city.
We flew from Sao Paulo which was very easy. We left from the local airport which is downtown and easy to get too compared to the International airport which about a 2 hour drive. The Rio airport is an amazing landing strip right off the water and the plane takes a tour next to Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer. VERY exciting to come into!
Rio de Janeiro is a pretty easy city for young families, you can bring a stroller (which I wish we had brought to walk further and shop more). It is easy to find snacks and bottled water. Rio is also a tourist spot so English is pretty common whereas in Sao Paulo there is hardly any.