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Brazil in August with kids

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Hi! We're flying into Iguazu Falls from Lima and spending the month of August in Brazil. We were originally thinking of going from there up the coast to Rio e.g. Sao Paulo, Vila Ilhabelo, Paraty, Ilha grande and Rio. But given that the weather will be cool, we're thinking of switching to something along the lines of Iguazu Falls, Pantanal, Salvador, Praia Do Forte, Rio. So enjoy the Pantanal and warmer northern beaches and then end up in Rio. Any thoughts or recommendations on inexpensive ways to see Pantanal with kids (ages 7 and 9; who would be up for a shorter hike but not horseback riding all day). Alternatively, we could do Igacu Falls, Cuitiba/Sao Paulo, Paraty, Salvador, Praia Do Forte, back to Rio? All suggestions welcome! Thanks!

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    about "alternative" route:
    Curitiba has nothing in particular to recommend it to a tourist. It's a nice relatively crime free place for Brazilians to raise kids. I suppose you could take them, starting out from Curitiba, to Beto Carrero World.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beto_Carrero_World
    Sao Paulo is a huge polluted megalopolis with a few museums, and some good restaurants and clubs. You could take your kids to Parque Monica, I suppose, but kids who live there play behind the bars of their closed apartment gates, at their sports club, or at the mall playspace.
    I would advise avoiding them both (esp. on a first trip and with kids).

    so as to...Iguazu Falls, Pantanal, Salvador, Praia Do Forte, Rio.
    Iguacu
    Day 1: 1/2 day afternoon of a.m. arrival from Lima on Brazil side of falls to take photos and walk the path, catwalk out into the middle of the river, watch coatis
    Day 2: Argentine side of the park, including walking the upper and lower walks, time for a boat ride under the falls, looking at butterflies (often landing on your arms), and a swim in a shady little river (Don't feed the coatis! as the park ranger admonished me while one tried to climb into my lap to get at my popscicle.)
    Day 3: morning before flying out in the afternoon, Bird Park on the Brazil side, house-sized walk-in cages with macaws, etc.
    Fly to Campo Grande, bus to Corumba or arrange tour from C.G. that includes transport--alternatively you could bus Foz do Iguacu to Corumba and arrange tour there--Bonito is also an option for swimming/snorkle
    Days 4-5-6 in Pantanal
    Day 7 Return to Campo Grande, Fly to Rio. Rio afternoon and evening
    Day 8-9-10 Rio (See www.ipanema.com)
    Kids would like the zoo (also a good ethnographic museum in same park Quinta de Boa Vista, and kids rides with local families on Sunday), pedal boats on the Lagoa, the monkeys on top of Sugarloaf and in Tijuca park, the train ride up to the Christ statue and the trams up Sugarloaf, the busy local feira at Saara, and the northeast one at Sao Cristovao, and the Hippie Fair in Ipanema on Sundays, the ferry ride over to Niteroi with the great view back to Rio and the 'space-ship' modern museum building once there, and maybe some of the further beaches like Joa or those in Niteroi.

    Day 11 Fly to Salvador, Salvador afternoon and evening (Pelourinho. Mercado Modelo, Solar de Uniao)
    Day 12-13-14 Salvador and area
    I would recommend doing Praia do Forte as a day trip from Salvador. (VW van trips are commonly on offer. Ask at your hotel.) The TAMAR turtle project will keep your kids busy for about a half hour only. The village is completely touristy and very expensive, and the beach has heavy surf at higher tides (and reefs/rocks at low). You could also visit Guarajuba, a few miles south of there, one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, with rolling waves that would be OK if your kids can swim. Or a few miles before that (south, closer to Salvador) Jacuipe, where a river flows into the ocean and you can swim in both, and with crabs and stuff to look at.
    The beaches in and around Salvador proper are pretty nice, but most have big surf, not good for younger kids,. The kid-friendly beaches include the first urban beach of Porto da Barra, a calm cove with lots of vendors and good people watching, the "piscina" at Itapoa (40 min. by local bus in the direction of the airport), and the beaches on Itaparica island (try Ponta de Areia--once you arrive, you'll be solicited for vans), 40 minutes by fun ferry ride.
    If you want to do an overnight from Salvador, I'd recommend Morro do Sao Paulo village on Tinhare island--long stretches of beach, boats, horses, touristy but still very local. But don't take the rough-riding catamaran with kids. Choose the slightly longer route by ferry to Itaparica, bus to Valenca and local boat to Morro (about 4 very scenic hours).

    You could also choose to bus up or down the coast between Rio and Salvador, stopping at Abrolhos marine park to see whales, Porto Seguro/Arraial D'ajuda/Trancoso for beaches, Ilheus for Colonial culture, and Itacare (more surf beaches), Marau/Barra Grande (little known tropical beaches), Boipeba island (also a day trip by bost from Morro).

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    Wow, VidaNaPraia, this is an incredible amount of information. I really, really appreciate it. Your suggestions sound good. One final question -- some say August is the rainy season in the Salvador region, while other sites I've seen indicate it's drier than other times of year. Do you think it will be warm enough at the Salvador area beaches around August 15th? Thanks again!

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    August is the very end of the rainy season, which is quite warm anyway. We usually walk around in shorts and T-shirt throughout this season (raincoat of any kind is too hot) but under the biggest umbrella possible. You should get some beach days. It seems, though, that recently it has become very difficult to predict the weather in any given month based on past years. Also, the south of Bahia (Porto Seguro) often has different weather than Salvador itself, and the areas further up the coast (Recife, Natal, etc) may also have quite different weather.

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