I stayed at the Mecure Leblon. We chose it as in a safe area in Rio and only one block from the beautiful beach. The receptionists were very good as they booked us taxis as none of my family speak Portuguese so that was a big help.
Fluffy - where did you stay in Rio? I am only planning 2 or 3 nights, but I think we'll fly in to there, so I'd like to stay somewhere I feel safe so we can recover from the journey and adjust to the place. I mostly prefer to stay in independent hostels but I think in Rio I'd like a hotel with good security.
HRN - that trip sounds exactly the sort of itinerary I'm looking at. I'll check out GAP even if it's just to look at where they are going. I'd love to do galapagos. Will depend on how the saving goes this year!
We used GAP adventures and booked a 6week trip through Bolivia and Peru incl. the Inca Trail. Not with kids but pretty sure your DD age is above the age limit they have. Basic accommodations but I'd do it again. We meet up with anothe group who had done Ecuador awns Galapagos before joining us
Last Easter I travelled with my husband and 2 sons who were 11 and 13 to Brazil and Argentina. We stayed for 6 nights in Rio and then few to Iguassa and stayed in the Rain forest in Argentina for 4 nights. We visited both sides of the falls and even popped to Paraguay for some cheap shopping one morning...which was definitely an experience. We booked everything independently which worked out fine as I did loads of research and have traveled quite a lot with the children. However I quite fancy trying an organised trip another year. For me a twin centre holiday was enough but I haven't done three or four stops before so have nothing to compare it with. We had a brilliant trip but beware Rio is very expensive. Enjoy your trip.
I'm planning a big trip to South America for summer 2014. I'll be going with my DD who will be 12.5 then. We plan to go for approx 4 weeks, and so far we know we want to go for Rio for a few days then Peru, Bolivia and possibly Ecuador.
I know a few people who have travelled to South America pre-children, but don't know anyone who took kids. Has anyone been - either through an organised tour or independently?