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Transportation in Rio and around

To get around the city of Rio, we recommend using the public transportation of Metro and Buses, as it covers most tourist attractions in a safe and economic way. Read about Safety in advance.

Arrival to the city
Brazil Air Pass
Brazil Air pass
Metro (subway)
Car driving and rental
Bus in and out of Rio
Bicycle & Motorcycle


Rio has one international airport: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Known by it's previous name Galeao (GIG). It is about 25 Km from the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon - It is about 30 minutes drive, but it may take up to 2 hours in rush hour.

The National airport, Santos Dumont (SDU), located 1 Km from downtown. This airport operates mainly the shuttle flights to Sao Paulo with connections to other cities. 

International Airport Antonio Carlos Jobim

Information: (21) 3398-5050
Flights: (21) 3398-4527
Flights times - arrival and departure

National Airport Santos Dumont
(21) 3814-7070

Arrival to the city

Getting out of Rio's International airport is an easy task: plenty of Taxi and Bus options.
* On the customs gate exit you find taxi booths. The fare is fixed by table - according to the destination, accepting most credit cards. A ride to Copacabana cost about 90R$
* For a cheaper taxi ride, go out of the terminal gate and look for a yellow taxi. It is called taxi commum (common taxi). Aerocoop is the official taxi commum company operating from Rio Airports. A ride to Copacabana with a taximeter cost about 50R$. If you do not speak Portuguese, the drivers may try to agree on a fixed price instead of operating the taximeter.
* A bus to Copacabana operated by the company Real leaves every 30 minutes, cost about R$8 per person.

Brazil Air Pass

* Before arriving in Brazil consider purchasing an Air pass or order internal flights with one of the airlines described below. Air tickets purchased close to the flight date are generally more expensive than an air pass.

The Brazil Air Pass offers flight coupons for different cities in Brazil at a fixed rate per coupon.


Restrictions: Valid only for foreign passengers and/or Brazilian citizens residing outside Brazil, who purchase the air pass outside of Brazil. It is not possible to purchase the air pass after your arrival in Brazil (!), See details, prices and restrictions at TAM website. Varig stopped offering Air Pass.

Major Airlines in Brazil:

Varig Logo BolerioVarig

The (used to be) national airline, operate both national and international flights. It's national prices are slightly higher than the competitors. (July 2007) - The company that was in deep financial difficulties was purchased by GOL. National routes are reserved through Gol's web site, while the international flights are operated separately under Varig's name.


The biggest. Active mainly inside Brazil, but increase the amount of international flights, captured some of Varig's lines.


Gol Gol Logo at BoLeRio

This young airline is growing rapidly with discounted flights. Has a very good website ordering system, but there are limitations to the use of some international credit cards.  There are promotional prices for reservations made well in advance.


WebJet  Logo at BoLeRioA new  airline (mid. 2005), re-opened after some difficulties in the beginning of 2006. Offer relatively cheap rates. Currently (May 2009) flies between Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Salvador and more.


Used to be called OceanAir. Operating to several destinations, including Rio-Sao Paulo, offer discounts to several of the destinationsAvianca Logo


Azul Brazil at BoLeRioAzul  - The youngest company ( started operation - end 2008) the hub is in Campinas with bus transportation to Sao Paulo. Worthwhile checking the prices!


Other Airlines:

Total + Trip

These airlines started operating together in 2008 - Operating to many small cities, mainly with small airplanes. Click the map to see all routes

Pantanal - Fly to the Pantanal area and some small cities on the way with small aircrafts.

PumaAir - Operating in the north of Brazil

Rico - Operating in the north of Brazil

Team - Connects Rio with neighboring cities (Buzios, Angra, Paraty, Macae)

Airport Gates chaos (mainly) in Sao Paulo:

In many cases the gate number indicated on the boarding pass is changed some minutes before the flight is open for boarding. The gate numbers mentioned on the monitors may be wrong as well. Pay attention to the announcements regarding the correct gate number 

Metro (Subway)in Rio

Rio has 2 metro lines: Line 1 from Copacabana to the city Center, and Line 2 continuing to the north part of the city. The train is clean, air-conditioned and safe.

As of Jan 2010 the ticket price starts from 2.8 R$, Free ride for ages up to 6 and over 65.  There is no quantity discount. Buy metro tickets only at the official metro stations/busses. Sometimes faked tickets are offered in the streets.

There is a Metro-Bus service from many parts of the city to the nearest Metro station. You may even combine bus-metro-bus to some destinations. Metro - Bus integration may cost 2.8 to 4.2 R$. Advise your final destination when you purchase a ticket.

For an updated list of bus connections ask for a Metro map at the station you board. See all Bus-Metro lines and prices: http://www.metrorio.com.br/


Rio has plenty of Taxis. Raise your hand - and at least one will stop. The Yellow ones, called taxi comum, use Taximeter. The fare is the same regardless of the vehicle size - as long as it is yellow. The other colored taxis operate according to price tables, generally more expensive.

The price is reasonable (prices increased by about 35% since April 2005), and for a group of people traveling short distance it may be cheaper than a bus.  Some drivers exploit Gringos by extending the distance instead of driving in the shortest way. Others try to bargain for pre-defined price without operating the meter.

Most Taxis has a Natural Gas tank at the trunk, so the baggage space is limited. Make sure you stop a bigger taxi if you have luggage.

Driving a Car in Rio

The Cariocas are driving in an aggressive but polite way.
Horn is used rarely, same applies to signals - you have to predict if the driver in front of you is going to turn. Head lights are not used during the day. If you drive during the day with  headlights on - you will be alerted by pedestrians and drivers to turn it off. At night many cars use only parking light. Parking ticket used in Rio.

Car parking is limited in the city. If you are lucky to find a parking place, you will be asked to pay 2R$ to an official parking guard. He will fill up a ticket (see photo - from May 2009 there is one more type of ticket) valid for the same place for the indicated time - depending on location. The ticket should be left close to the front window. If you are asked for higher price - bargain.
You may be asked to leave the car in Neutral and with un-engaged handbrake. In this way your car may be pushed to allow the entrance or exit of other cars.

Be careful from false parking guards: people that use the same cloth as the official guard, but guide you to leave the car in a forbidden place. If you do not get a parking receipt - re-check if you park in a legal place. Otherwise, you may be fined.

Private parking places charge per hour/day. Check the price before getting in. Take the entrance ticket with you - do not leave it in the car. It is common to leave the car keys in the car. In many places a special driver will park your car.

The stop sign is not obeyed by all drivers - be careful.
In some areas it is dangerous to stop at traffic lights. By law, drivers may pass red traffic lights at night in certain minor roads, between 22:00 and 06:00. Main roads lights should be obeyed at all times.

Air-condition is used most of the time. Keep the Windows closed - also for safety.

The roads out of the city may be in bad conservation, except of toll roads. The road signs are bad, most only in Portuguese. Buy a good map in advance.

There are many speed and traffic light control cameras, with high penalties. You may get a ticket even for driving 1 km/h over the speed limit.

Avoid driving at night, unless if you know the area. Never enter a Favela, as you may get in trouble. If you make a mistake and enter a favela at night, use only parking lights, turn on the lights inside the car and open the windows - to show the locals that you are not armed. If an armed person approach you - obey his instructions (Read more about Safety).

GPS - helps a lot, but be careful not to follow routes that pass through a favela.

Car Rental

Car rental in Rio de Janeiro is a good alternative to visit nearby cities such as Angra dos Reis, Buzios, Paraty etc. Do not miss also visiting spots in the city of Rio not covered by public transportation, such as Dois Irmaos and Tijuca forest.

We recommend to reserve a car in advance through a good travel agency, as the balcony rate may be much higher.

Daily rate of a small car with air-condition: about 60US$ including all taxes and insurance.


Bus service in the city and interurban is very good. During the high season we recommend to purchase tickets well in advance.

Take into account that the average speed of the bus in long distance routes in about 80 KM/hour. Traveling Rio de Janeiro - Foz do Iguacu by bus (Plumaa) takes over 20 hours, using a normal bus (not executive, but with toilet in the bus) and the price is around 185R$.
Check in advance flight prices as a better alternative.

Bus Tickets for trips from Rio de Janeiro, operated by most bus companies (apart of routes to Ilha Grande and Buzios - see below) can be purchased at an agency in Copacabana 'Metrotour Agencia de Viagens e Turismo'. The surcharge is about 2R$ per ticket, cheaper and easier than going to the central bus station.

Metrotour Agencia de Viagens e Turismo Phones: 21-25491160 / 25491162 / 25491163
Address: Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 435 - Shop K
Working Hours: Mon. - Fri 9-18:00, Sat. 9 -13:00

   Bus and Boat to Ilha Grande -

The bus tickets to Angra dos Reis (city from where you can take the ferry boat to Ilha Grande) can be purchased at the agency GUARANATUR in Copacabana at Rua Dias da Rocha 16A.
Price: about R$ 25,00. It is recommended to take the bus at 10:00 AM
Bus Company: Costa Verde leaves from the central bus station Novo Rio.

It is advised to buy the tickets in advance, since there is only one ferry boat from Angra dos Reis, leaving to Ilha Grande at 13:00 on weekends and at 15:30 during the week.

ferry boat information. 2533-7524

   Bus to Buzios, Sao Paulo etc.:

The bus company 1001 (auto viacao1001) operates 140 lines between the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo, Esp�rito Santo and Santa Catarina. Tickets may be purchased in Copacabana at Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 581 (Centro Commercial de Copacabana) or at the central bus station. Their Web site has a very friendly interface to check bus availability and rates

Additional bus companies operate in Rio:

Aguia Branca Penha
Andorinha Pluma
Cometa Progresso
Expresso do Sul Real Expresspo (Brasil)
Garcia (Brasil) Rio Doce
Gontijo  Salutaris
Itapemirim Sampaio
Kaiowa    Sao Geraldo
Motta (Brasil) Util

Bus company operates from Sao paulo: Passaro Marron

Boat / Hydrofoil / Catamaran

There is a service between Rio (XV Square) and: Niteroi, Paqueta Island, Ilha do Governador etc.
Some routes, operator and price:

Pra�a XV de Novembro (RJ) - Pra�a Ararib�ia (Niter�i)
BARCAS S.A.:  R$ 1,80

 Pra�a XV de Novembro (RJ) - Ilha de Paquet� (RJ)
TRANSTUR: Price: R$ 8,00 (Residence pay R$ 4,85)
BARCAS S.A.:R$ 2,95 (week days) e R$ 6,00 (Sat., Sun. and holidays)

Pra�a XV de Novembro - Ribeira (Ilha do Governador)
R$ 2,20 ( operates only during normal week days)

Mangaratiba - Abra�o (Ilha Grande)
R$ 4,55 (week days) e R$ 22,75 (Sat., Sun. and holidays).
Abra�o (Ilha Grande) - Angra dos Reis
R$ 4,55 (week days) e R$ 22,75 (Sat., Sun. and holidays).


Rio has about 100Km of bicycle lanes. In addition, during Sundays and holidays, several beach roads are closed to transit to allow pedestrians and bicycles move freely.

It is possible to rent bicycles in several locations, including Av. Atlantica in Copacabana.


The Moto-Taxi service is a growing business in Brazil. You can find it on the entrance road to many Favelas, and on other mainly traffic jammed locations. Recommended only to those with relatives in the Favela, or if you really do not have other alternative.

While in Rio, you may drive a 50cc scooter without a need for registration or driving license. It is in the category of a bicycle, and may be a good and cheap means of transportation.

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