Natal: Perfect Family Beach Holiday

Date visited: March 2008

Throwback Thursday

Post written by Laura

The first time I set foot on the continent of South America was when, as a single parent at the age of 40 I took my children James and Zoe on a two week beach holiday to Brazil.

For ease I had booked a package holiday with Thomson (now TUI) and the three of us stayed in the hotel Parque da Costeira in Natal on an all inclusive basis. We had flown directly to Natal from Gatwick Airport with At one point during the flight I glanced over and James was watching Top Gear, Zoe was watching Ratatouille and I was checking out where we were currently flying over. Predictable really!

The purpose was for the three of us to relax and enjoy spending the Easter holidays together in a new and exciting place. Throughout the 2 weeks we explored this little corner of north east Brazil on about 4 or 5 excursions and spent the rest of the time in an around the hotel.

Hotel Parque da Costeira from the beach

We were up early for our first morning and after a tasty breakfast of sausage and omelette (back when I used to eat meat) we attended the TUI welcome meeting and booked some excursions. We spent the first day relaxing in and around the hotel, exploring the beach, sampling the food and checking out the swimming pools.

Natal from the Forte dos Reis Magos

Natal tour

The first of our excursions took place the following morning and it was a tour of nearby Natal. A coach picked us up at 9 am and we began with a visit to a fortress. As we were driven along the Via Costeira highway (after which the hotel was named) Marcello, our guide gave us some commentary about the city of Natal which is just under the equator on the north east coast of Brazil. This road links a 15 km stretch of beaches with the fort.

Forte dos Reis Magos

The Forte dos Reis Magos (the Fortress of the Three Wise Men) was built between 1598-99 and is one of the most historical and important sites of the city. This was constructed by early Portuguese settlers to enable them to see potential attackers from the sea.

Forte dos Reis Magos

The city of Natal was established in December 1599 when the fort was completed and began as a tiny village. As it was founded on Christmas day, the village was named Natal which is the Portuguese name for Nativity or Christmas.

The best images of the Forte dos Reis Magos would be from above where its impressive 5 star shape can be seen within its location on an amazing sandy beach.

The causeway to the Forte dos Reis Magos
Newton Navarro Bridge

Not far from the Forte dos Reis Magos is the Newton Navarro Bridge. The bridge was opened in November 2007 so just a few months before our visit and named after an important local artist. 

We drove through the city, past houses and favelas towards our next stop which was the prison! Actually it was a former prison which had been converted into artisan shops with each of the former cells now being a little shop!

Zoe outside the prison-turned tourism centre
Inside the Tourist Centre

As it says on the tin, the prison-converted-to-shop place was technically called the Tourist Centre and it was aimed at tourists with each of the little cells selling lots of lace and suchlike.


Next we had lunch and were then driven to a fruit market and with its huge abundance of tropical fruit, it had a very ‘local’ feel rather than being aimed at the tourist. From the market we briefly visited Ponta Negra before returning to the hotel. As Ponta Negra was so close to the hotel we visited several times during our 2 week stay so more on that later!

Brazilian evening

Later the same night we participated in a ‘Brazilian’ evening! This was another excursion and a coach collected us from the hotel reception at 18:45 before arriving at the venue at 19:30.

This was our first experience of a Brazilian restaurant, something I subsequently enjoyed with Chris and James in Tokyo and again with Chris in Rio, both times in 2016.

The restaurant was part of a big complex with a large outdoor restaurant where we were served our meal and followed by entertainment which was performed on a stage.

There was a traffic light system on each table where we had a red card and a green card. If you wanted service you showed green, i.e. please serve me food! But when your plates are full you showed ‘red’. So you keep switching as you work your way through! At the sign of a ‘green light’ we were approached by servers who would come to our table with long skewers of different types of meat and carve or serve them to us. The meat included chicken, beef, pork, lamb and sausages as well as different types of cheeses.

The barbequed cheese with black honey drizzled over the top was particularly good – it tasted a bit like a combination of black treacle and honey which was excellent over the cheese. This was all supplemented with an extensive buffet of salads and as (we had been told) Brazilians are partial to beans there was large pots of different types of black and green beans. And a large choice of desserts to follow including some home made fudge and coconut ice!

An out-of-focus zoom of the Brazilian entertainment!

Following the delicious meal we watched the traditional Brazilian show which was full of light, sound and colour. We were entertained by dancers in spectacular glittering costumes and fire-eaters but unfortunately we were near the back so didn’t quite get the same view or the atmosphere than those at the front!

After a great evening we arrived back at the hotel at just after midnight.

Rock pools on the beach

Easter Sunday and the day I discovered the caipirinha!

I had given James and Zoe a small easter egg each that I had hidden in my suitcase and following a late breakfast we had a relaxing day by the pool today.

We found a lovely spot overlooking the sea and near to the pool. We had a pleasant warm breeze all day and sat in the shade of the palm trees. We decided to move along slightly as James and I were sitting on our sunbeds talking when suddenly a coconut fell out of one of the trees right next to us! We made sure that the 3 sun beds were not positioned directly under the trees as coconuts are a dangrous global hazard resulting in apparently around 150 deaths each year.


Throughout the day we relaxed on the sunbeds, read books, swam in the pool, paddled in the sea, looked in the rock pools on the beach oh and I discovered the caipirinha for the first time!

The caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil made with a spirit called cachaça (pronounced kah-SHAH-sah), sugar and lime. The above photo was taken when Chris and I were in Ilha Grande in Brazil in December 2016.

Young entrepreneur?

We had a couple of relaxing days at the beach and the pool. On the Monday most of the Brazilians had disappeared so the hotel was quiet. We had found an excellent spot on the boardwalk between the beach and the pool – there was a lovely breeze, lovely views and the shade was provided by an umbrella at the table rather than by a coconut tree. This removed concern about a coconut falling onto our heads!

Pipa Beach

Pipa Beach

Today was amazing with our trip to Pipa Beach! After an early breakfast we were collected by bus and set off from the hotel at 8 am. We drove through Ponta Negra again where we learned that real estate is getting expensive at around £150,000 for a small apartment right on the seafront. There is a lot of development at the back of the town where they are building apartments for £50,000. Further back still are walled clusters of houses. These are guarded with pools and facilities and residents pay an extra tax for this.  

En-route to Pipa

The guide was very friendly and apparently came from Uruguay and married a Brazilian 6 years ago. We stopped at a market village on the way to Pipa so we could get out of the bus and have a look round. It was a locals place and we felt quite conspicuous with our white skin, cameras and rucksack! We didn’t venture too far to see the market with the live chickens. Apparently people buy the chickens and put them in a plastic bag with their heads sticking out to take them home. Then sometimes they feed them for a while before cooking them. Most parts of the animals are used in cooking various dishes too. 

Sao Jose de Mipibu

We drove through villages and saw people washing their clothes in the river which was quite a contrast from the luxurious hotel we are staying in.  We drove through landscape which could have been in England as it was mostly very green. Also the sky was cloudy, which definitely looked like home! 

The guide had brought some things for us to taste while on the bus, including some local fruits, some asceola berries, black beans, sugar cane and a local soft drink. He said Brazilians are very healthy as asceola berries are very common and made into smoothies.  

We also drove past a shrimp farm, where there are large square shaped ponds of sea water. The shrimps take three months before they are ready to be sold.  

Waiting to board the raft

It began to rain heavily while we were approaching Pipa but fortunately it stopped raining as we arrived. The coach parked at the end of the village and we walked through the village a short distance, past a local school and down the steps to the beach. At the beach we put on life jackets before boarding a raft which took us to an awaiting boat.

On the raft

The boat trip lasted for about an hour and a half. We sailed to a beach nicknamed ‘Dolphin Beach’ as the sea is teaming with dolphins. The boat stopped for about 20 minutes for people to jump off and have a swim. The three of us stayed on the boat, which was fairly choppy bobbing up and down on the waves.  


The boat then started off slowly again into the open sea where we saw several dolphins including some that jumped out of the water in the distance and two swimming parallel with each other. I managed to get one photo as I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to take pictures!

It was quite a relief when the boat headed back to the shore due to the feeling of being on a giant see-saw as the boat went up and down the Atlantic waves. 

The ‘other’ raft

We got off the boat, negotiating ourselves back onto the raft which took us back to the shore. The guide directed a few of us to a restaurant on the small cliff, overlooking the bay. We were not hungry so we just had a drink each and shared a very large portion of chips and a very large portion of deep fried cheese chunks with a dip which was delicious and cost 34 reals (about £12). The views of the beach from the restaurant were fantastic and we were lucky to be sitting near the edge of the restaurant where we could admire the views. 

View of the beach from the restaurant

After lunch, we went back to the beach to the very warm waters of the sea, protected by a reef. We wandered along to the edge of the beach where we came to a small lagoon of sea with some cafes overlooking it. It looked like something from Pirates of the Caribbean! Colourful little wooden buildings and a laid-back, almost hippy like atmosphere.  


We found a shallow ‘crossing’ area and made our way to the main road with the intention of walking slowly back to the coach. We looked in a couple of shops along the way which were a welcome relief from the intense heat of the sun. Walking along that road reminded me of a time in 2000 when we had a brilliant family holiday in St Lucia. Pipa felt very similar to St Lucia! 

When we were near to the bus, we found a café and had a drink/ice cream each. Another British couple arrived soon after (who were also staying at our hotel) so we chatted to them for a while before walking back to the bus.  

The bus left Pipa at 3 pm and passed back along the coast road. This time the sun was shining and it wasn’t raining. Some of the scenery was dramatic with lagoons, sea and beaches but unfortunately we were the wrong side of the bus so I couldn’t get any photos.  

Open air dining room from across the pool

We arrived back at the hotel and James and Zoe had a swim in the pool before we went back to our room. I am now in a routine of collecting a caipirinha at the end of the day to take back to the room with me! I also get some small bottles of water which are handed out freely from the bars.

The hotel was great as we were never ‘rationed’ with the number of drinks we were given. Cans of beer, bottles of water, bottles of coke and other soft drinks are given out whenever they are requested. It is also great to have ‘proper’ branded makes of spirits in cocktails rather than the cheap local version you sometimes have in other hotels.

Me in our room typing up my trip notes!

We had our evening meal in the restaurant, had a drink at the bar, then went back to the room as we all felt tired. Being on holiday is tiring business! 

And the very results of the notes I made back then have finally now been turned into this blog post 🙂 15 years later 🙂

Ponta Negra

Taxi to Ponta Negra

This morning we had no excursions booked so we decided to take a local bus into Ponta Negra. We happened to bump into Gary, our rep on the way out of reception so had a few tips of advice from him.  

We stood at the bus stop and waited in the heat for about 15 minutes. We were fortunate as a taxi pulled up and offered to take us there for 10 reals, a bargain, as the usual price is 24 reals. As the cost of the bus is 1.75 reals each and the taxi took us straight to the beach, I was very pleased! 

Ponta Negra

The beach at Ponta Negra was lovely but full of vendors. We were approached several times with offerings of ice-cream, drinks, jewellery and general bits and bobs but thankfully we were not pressured too much. We walked to the end of the beach and found a café where we had a drink, a can of diet coke in a beach front restaurant cost 2 reals (about 60p). 

Dark and stormy

We walked back along the beach and got a taxi to the Praia shopping centre, which was recommended by the Gary. We were not overly impressed as there wasn’t much there. But Zoe managed to find a little stall where she enjoyed a strawberry and marshmallow kebab covered in chocolate!

I eventually found a small bank but they wouldn’t change my travellers cheques as I had forgotten to sign them! It had been quite some time since I used TC’s as even back in 2008 I would usually take cash and use ATM’s so I was not really sure why I took TC’s that time! 

It was very hot and uncomfortable, even in the shopping centre so we got a taxi back to the hotel and had lunch. It was overcast all afternoon which we spent by the pool. I had a relaxing time on a sun lounger finishing my book and drinking more caipirinhas. 

Later that evening in the room the air conditioning had stopped working. The electricity is a bit dodgy and sometimes if there is a power cut, even a slight one, the AC is the first thing to stop working. It usually gets fixed at some point! 

Dinner in the French restaurant

Tonight we had booked our meal at the French restaurant. There is a French and an Italian at the hotel and guests are allowed a meal in one of them each week as part of the all-inclusive deal. The French restaurant was in a lovely location, it is a triangle shape and overlooks the sea. We were shown to our table which was set with 3 wine glasses each!

We had already chosen from the menu and we were first served drinks before a delicious platter of prawns in thousand island dressing, lobster, olives, salami and cheese was brought to us. The food was delicious. As I had a pina colada as my drink, as soon as I finished one, the waiter kept bringing another! They got a bit sickly after a while. I really wanted a nice glass of red wine, but the reputation for the wine wasn’t great.  

We all had a starter of chicken caesar salad which was good. I then had shrimp soufflé which was served with rice and fish in hollandaise sauce. James and Zoe both had steak in red wine sauce. For dessert I had crepe suzette. It was all excellent and we felt that we were really being treated to a wonderful meal. We all felt completely stuffed after the meal and had decided to go for a walk to the sea, but it had started to rain.

Hotel day

We began with a short walk along the beach to the rocks first thing and saw some crabs in the rock pools. James and Zoe spent most of the morning in the pool while I spent most of it reading a book. We had our favourite shady spot at a table on the boardwalk between the sea and the pool.

I blew up an airbed for James and Zoe to use to go down the slide. At lunchtime I tried the red wine for the first time but it was terrible so I had to stick with cocktails.

A crab in one of the rock pools

We had dinner in the usual buffet restaurant and had a fairly early night as we have a trip for tomorrow. The entertainment is live every night, but usually wasn’t that good. It tended to be a Brazilian singer that seems to keep repeating the same song all the time. But at least we can’t complain – we hadn’t come all the way to Brazil to listen to the Birdie Song! 

In the buggy!

Brazilian Buggy Adventure

Fantastic day today!!!! 

We were picked up at 9 am from the reception where the line of buggy’s had arrived to start our ‘Brazilian Buggy Adventure’ trip. Fortunately there are three people per buggy which was perfect for us! Each buggy was driven by a driver and I sat in the front while James and Zoe sat in the back. It was also great as a family we had got to know (Sally, Philip, Oliver and Natasha) were also going on the trip.

We drove through Ponta Negra and stopped at a small village past Ponta Negra at a colourful fruit stall for about half an hour. It was interesting to see the variety and colour of the fruits on the stall. We then got back into our respective buggies and drove along the main road towards the rum distillery.  

We went off the beaten track and driven along a beach before arriving at the distillery where we learned how the local spirit is produced. They had suspended production as at the time they had too much! We saw the distillery, then the barrels (imported from England) and finally we had a taste in the small shop. I brought a small bottle so that I can make some at home! 

After a quick can of coke each we got back into the buggy and drove to the lagoon where we stopped for an hour. Despite having our swim wear on under our clothes, none of us felt like swimming in the lagoon so we found a table and chairs under an umbrella and settled down. Zoe and I paddled in the lagoon and after a while we decided to hire a sea bike. James didn’t want to do this, so Zoe and I went and enquired. We ended up cycling round the lagoon on this large crazy bike thing while James sat with the backpack.  

We left the lagoon just after midday, got back to our buggy and our driver drove us along tracks through sugar cane fields and small villages all with tiny run down houses. Strangely enough, most of these had satellite dishes! Some of the time we drove in a small convey with two or three other buggies and some of the time we were on our own.

At one point the driver suddenly stopped and insisted he use my camera to take photos of us standing with the jeep. Most of the journey was fairly quiet as the driver couldn’t speak English. I had learned a couple of words in Portuguese, namely ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

It was actually good to be somewhere in the world where most people don’t speak English.

We learned that 85% of the tourists to Natal are Brazilian. The other 15% are mostly Europeans as it is becoming popular with Portugese and Spanish tourists. This explained why the hotel went quiet on the first Monday as many of the locals went back to work after the weekend.

I wondered if Natal would gain in popularity with UK tourists as at the time, very few people in the UK had heard of Natal.  

The drive took about 25 minutes and we ended up at an old dis-used railway station for lunch. We chose our table inside and were brought some delicious cooked cheese to eat. We helped ourselves from the salad buffet table thinking that might be it however as we sat down with our salad, we were each given a dish of Brazilian ‘shepherds pie’ which is called ‘escondidinho’. This was served with a small pot of small pieces of warm soft round bread (like tiny bread rolls).

When that was finished our plates were cleared and replaced with clean upon which we were served rings of cooked pineapple. Thinking that was dessert, we were puzzled as we were then given some creamy mashed potato in a small pot! And then someone came along with a joint of beef and offered us slices of that! Then chicken from a large skewer, then sausages and more! The actual dessert finally was a piece of fresh and delicious mango. 

After lunch we explored the tropical gardens and came across a tree with bunches of berries hanging from it (although we were warned not to touch it as is was poisonous). We also saw some super cute tiny bunnies and a little tortoise!

We continued in the buggies along more tracks and villages passing lush banana plantations (which again reminded me of our holiday to St Lucia). After a while we got back onto the coast road and stopped on the top of a cliff with a stunning wide vista of the Atlantic Ocean. We could see the sand dunes right along the coast in one direction and cliffs in the other and we were told we may see dolphins.

The weather had turned from being very hot and sunny this morning to becoming cloudy this afternoon. By the time we stopped at the top of the cliff the clouds were quite dramatic!   

It started to rain as we got back in the buggy and James and Zoe began to get wet in the back! We were driven a short distance towards a little coastal town in a convoy of buggies and we all suddenly turned left and into the sand dunes!

This was exhilarating as we drove fast along the sand dunes, swerving around and driving up banks. We came down a couple of high steep dunes which was great fun! At the final one, the driver started saying “Oh mi god… oh mi god…” with a smile on his face as he drove us down an almost vertical dune, following the other buggies. Wow – this was fun and exciting!

Standing under the largest cashew tree in the world

The final part of the day was to see the worlds largest cashew tree! We walked through some market stalls towards the tree where we continued under its extensive branches and found the centre. We didn’t see any cashews as it was out of season, but the tree itself was vast. We then walked out from under the tree and climbed a viewing platform where we could see the whole of the top of the tree which looked like a small green field! 

Top of the world’s largest cashew tree

We finally were driven back to our hotel, getting back at around 16:00. Zoe had a swim in the pool while James and I watched as we sat at the bar. The entertainment in the hotel tonight was rubbish again so we had a game of cards.

Midway Mall

We took a taxi to the Midway Mall this morning and with its 400 shops is the largest in Natal. It was very modern and air-conditioned with some up-market designer shops. There was also a large supermarket with familiar brands. We noticed that electrical items are about 3 times as expensive than they are in the UK.

We arrived back to the hotel in time for lunch then spent the afternoon by the pool. Zoe and I played bat and ball on the beach but I think we both need more practice! James and Zoe had also both found some friends each – James played basketball in the pool with some other teenagers and Zoe had made friends with some girls of around her age. I sat reading a magazine and drinking cocktails on the lounger… 

We stayed by the pool until it was dark, moving to the other pool and continuing drinking cocktails. There was a good atmosphere there tonight as several other families and couples were also chilling out so I also had new friends to talk to 🙂

Later on, after dinner we decided to have a drink in the bar and fortunately the entertainment was good tonight. There was an African style band complete with fire-eaters. As we watched, it started raining again. This didn’t put the entertainers off – they just continued their show in the rain! 

The Real Brazil!

Excellent day today! 

For our final excursion of the holiday we were picked up from the hotel at 8 am along with several other families who we had got to know for our ‘Real Brazil’ trip. We were pleased as the guide was Marcello, the same guide who guided our first trip around Natal last Saturday. Apparently his father was a Brazilian footballer in 1974 and he learned to speak his excellent English by living abroad as a kid. 


As we drove south Marcello gave us more interesting information about Brazil and the area of Natal. We drove past sugar cane fields where it is harvested manually although the workers have to be careful of spiders and snakes. 

Once we arrived at our destination we boarded a boat and sailed along the river past mangroves. We stopped on the other side of the bank and had to take our shoes off. Here we trudged through the mud where thousands of crabs of all different species from tiny crabs to larger crabs made their holes.

Some people were not keen to walk in all this soft mud with its resident crabs, particularly as we sank down to our ankles in it! A different guide then demonstrated how the crabs are caught – basically by shoving his arm in the mud and eventually pulling one out!  


We traipsed back to the boat and by this time it had started to rain. The boat headed off to the ‘bounty beach’ but unfortunately it was raining hard by the time we got there. Nobody seemed to mind and we walked across the sand to the beach where some of us stood huddled under beach umbrellas and some went swimming in the sea.  

The Bounty Beach

We got back to the boat and were driven a very short distance to the restaurant for lunch. The main dish was grilled fish and shrimps which was very tasty. It still continued to rain as we got back on the coach for the next stage of our adventure where we drove for about 45 minutes to a plantation house.

Fortunately it had stopped raining and we spent a couple of hours at this fascinating place. It was an old 18th century plantation house with lots of original furniture and paintings. It had a large veranda and was completely surrounded by flowers and foliage. The garden reminded me of the garden my grandparents had when they lived in Suffolk, a large overgrown jumble of flowers and vegetation. This garden however become a sugar cane field stretching on for several kilometres.  

Touring the gardens

We had a tour round the house and the gardens. There were thousands of different plants and flowers, complete with an abundance of insects and wildlife. It was a mass of life and colour.  

High tea on the terrace

We were taken to a covered terrace for ‘high tea’ where we could help ourselves to a feast of various items of food and drinks including pineapple cake, warm bananas cooked in cinnamon, home made passion fruit ice-cream, various sweets, warm cheese, fresh tropical fruits, thick mango juice, tea, coffee, and shots of 30% proof local cachaça (which I am now very familiar with).  

Back in the garden we saw tiny monkeys in the trees, some cats wandering around and we even saw a tarantula asleep in its nest in some leaves. It was an amazing place. 

It was starting to get dark as we left and the coach drove us back to the hotel where we arrived back at around 6:30 pm.

James playing football on the beach

Throughout the 2 weeks we experienced a total mix of weather from hot, dry and sunny to sudden heavy rain. On this particular morning it rained continually. As we had made no plans for the day we spent our time occupying ourselves. Zoe went off with her friends and James and I spent some time on the Internet. 15 years ago, internet access wasn’t quite as widespread as it is now so we just had use of a free computer in the reception although as this was popular it wasn’t easy to get onto it. For some of the time while James was using the computer I was content to sit in a comfy chair and read my book.

Fortunately it stopped raining at lunchtime so we spent the afternoon at the pool, chatting with our new friends and drinking cocktails with them. At some point, someone suggested a game of football on the beach where about 20 of the men and teenagers (including James) leapt up and participated.  

I stood watching with some of the other wives and mums up on the boardwalk above the beach and someone suggested we have a women’s team and play against the men. Everyone agreed this was a great idea, so when the men had finished their game, we had a game of women against men!  

Zoe in the meantime was also on the beach playing with some of the other girls.  

The game then went from the beach to the pool where there is a basketball net at either end of the pool and James joined in with that too.  

All in all, we had a great afternoon.  

The Bite Evening…

This was the evening when Zoe suffered from some kind of what we assumed to be insect bite. In the early evening she had been in the play area of the hotel with her friends when she came back complaining of being itchy! When I checked her skin was totally covered in large blotches! I gave her an anti-histamine which thankfully soon cleared it up and they all disappeared within about 20 minutes – phew!

Once Zoe was OK, James went to the games room with his friends and I joined the other parents and adults where the 11 of us (5 couples and me) sat chatting and drinking in the pleasant open air bar. James joined us after a while and Zoe continued to hang around with her friends (the daughters of some of the parents I was chatting with). 

I found that people seem to have become more relaxed over the second week of the holiday and as a single parent it was really lovely to have some other parents to chat with.

The following day was similar with rain in the morning and sun, drinks and socialising in the afternoon.

Tonight we met the other families and all 18 of us went for dinner in the Italian restaurant, which we had all booked earlier. We had excellent service again, as we did in the French restaurant. We had a similar platter before our starters with more delicious prawns! I had also discovered a similar drink to the Caiprinia, but this was with crushed pineapple, vodka and ice.

The food wasn’t quite as good as in the French restaurant but overall it was tasty. As it was Stuarts birthday, his wife Louise had organised a cake for him, so we all had a piece of that after the meal.  It was a lovely evening so after chatting at the table we all moved to the outside bar (which is sheltered with a large roof) and sat drinking and talking until midnight.

Massage tables at the hotel

Our last day was hot and sunny all day and with no rain for once! Today I hardly saw either James or Zoe as they were both spending time with their respective new friends. James had been playing basket ball and football with some of the teenagers. Zoe had been in the kids club painting amongst other things. At lunchtime she informed me she had already lunched with her friends! And a bit later another parent spotted them sitting in the bar area having a coffee!

I reflected on the holiday feeling happy to have spent such a wonderful time with my children and having seen a little of Brazil and its lively and colourful culture. I would have liked to have gone to Rio de Janeiro and while this would have been possible with an excursion the cost would have been £500 each so a visit to Rio would have to wait for another time! (8 years later as it happened in 2016…)

As always I didn’t want to go home. I never miss anything about home and wanted to be taking off with James and Zoe to somewhere else…

Me in the buggy from earlier on the holiday


We had a fabulous mix of relaxation together with some fun and local sightseeing. Staying in one hotel as part of an all inclusive package holiday made it easier to make friends with other families.

As they were growing up I did my best to take James and Zoe on as many trips and holidays as practical, feasible and affordable. I wanted to give them lifelong memories, show them other cultures and broaden their minds by trying new foods and discovering new activities.

There are many articles on the benefits of travelling with your kids most of which are along the lines of boosting their confidence, helping them to become more empathetic towards other cultures and helping them to learn to adapt to changing situations as suggested by Travel &

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