RIO DE JANEIRO FAQ

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Rio de Janeiro is served by Rio de Janeiro–Galeao International Airport (IATA code GIG), which is located approximately 11 miles northwest of the city center. If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options. For visitors who arrive at Rio International Airport, it is about a 40-minute ride from the tourist destinations. The fastest way to reach Centro and the Zona Sul is by taxi. Prices are steep, however. Expect to pay approximately R$90 (about $30 USD) to reach Copacabana, and more to Ipanema and Leblon. There are taxi booths in the arrival area, and passengers pay a set fare in advance, although drivers may charge extra if you have a lot of luggage. We suggest taking one of the white radio taxis parked in front of arrivals. These metered vehicles cost about 20 percent less than the airport taxis.

There are also comfortable, air-conditioned buses run by Real (marked Real Premium) parked curbside outside the arrivals lounge. There is plenty of luggage storage space, and staff will safely stow your luggage beneath the bus. The buses cost approximately R$14 (about $5 USD). Make the hour-long trip from Galeao to the Zona Sul, following the beachfront drives and stopping at major hotels along the way. If your hotel is inland, the driver will let you off at the nearest corner. Buses operate from 5:30 am to 11:45 pm.

How do I get around the city using the Metro?

The Rio Metro System (MetroRio) is an underground railroad network that serves Rio de Janeiro. Although the MetroRio isn`t the most extensive, if you are mainly traveling between tourist areas Ipanema, Copacabana and Maracana, it will fulfill your transportation needs. Tickets cost approximately R$4.30 (about $1.50 USD) and can be purchased at the MetroRio stations. Several stations have dedicated interchanges with other forms of transport such as the MetroBus network, regular city bus network, express buses to Barra da Tijuca and Rio`s urban rail system.

How do I get around the city using other public transportation?

The best options for public transportation in and around Rio de Janeiro are the MetroRio System (subway or bus), taxis, rent a scooter, or by foot. Bike Rio is a project of sustainability of the Prefeitura of Rio de Janeiro in partnership with Itau Bank and Samba`s Bike system. The bicycles are available at many stations at strategic points of the city.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

It is very easy to hail a taxi in Rio de Janeiro. All you need to do is wave your hand in the air at the taxi about to pass by, and if the taxi is vacant, the driver will stop and pick you up. Rio taxis are not too expensive on a kilometer basis, specially, if you can share the cost among your party. To avoid being picked up by an illegal taxi, we recommend that you use the Yellow Coop Radio Taxi (Yellow with a blue stripe) or the Coorpertramo Radio Taxi (usually blue, green or white colored). Also, the TaxiBeat and Uber apps are used widely in Rio de Janeiro.

Below are some phone numbers for taxi services in the area:


Yellow Coop Radio Taxi tel. +55 21 3895-9933
Coopertramo Radio Taxi tel. +55 21 2209-9292
Taxi Pontual tel. +55 21 2520-7696
Should I rent a car in Rio de Janeiro?

We suggest that you do not rent a car in Rio de Janeiro, unless you have experience driving in Rio de Janeiro previously and you can read Portuguese. The public transportation system within Rio de Janeiro is very good, and taxis in the city are quite inexpensive.

Is Rio de Janeiro a walking city?

Yes, Rio is a fantastic walking city. There are several tour companies available that will show you the most famous sites in Rio de Janeiro, and some of the hidden local neighborhoods often unexplored by tourists. Nearly all tour guides in Rio are fluent in English, but of course it is best to confirm that before you sign up.

I don´t speak Portuguese, will many people speak English?

No, Portuguese is the official language of Brazil. English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. We suggest you get a good guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me and numbers 1-10. To ask someone if they speak English, say `Voce Fala ingles?`

Note: Do not speak in Spanish to a Brazilian person, thinking they will understand you when you do so. Responses will range from stunned silence to outright hostility; the Brazilian people are proud of their culture and heritage, and such an act will cause nearly everyone to take personal offense. One another note, the vocabulary and pronunciation in Portuguese differs from Spanish more than you may realize.

Are there long lines at the museums?

Currently the newly opened Museum of Tomorrow is experiencing long lines and wait times. Also, If you are going to Corcovado Mountain to see Christ the Redeemer, the best time to visit is early in the day. If you wait until later in the day it tends to be more congested on the lookout point.

Is buying a museum pass worth it?

No, there is a new museum pass (Rio de Janeiro Pass), but the saving is minimal. Also, current information on the museum pass is that there is very poor customer service response (both phone and email), therefore, we do not recommend purchasing a museum pass.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

No, the currency of Brazil is the Brazilian Real. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for reais upon arrival. Currency exchange desks and ATMs can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the city.

What are the best areas for shopping?

There are plenty of boutique shops that are high-end quality in an upscale section of Ipanema along Rua Garcia D`Avila. This is Rio de Janeiro`s version of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Also, you will find very nice shops in a Shop Leblon (in Leblon) and the Sao Conrados Fashion Mall. You will be pleased with the styles, service you receive, and quality of merchandise.

Do I need a Visa to travel to Brazil?

Yes, if you are traveling to Brazil, a visa is required to enter for any purpose. You must obtain your Brazilian visa in advance from the Brazilian Embassy or consulate nearest to your place of residence in the United States prior to traveling. More information is available at the U.S. State Department website httpss:/travel.state.gov/.

Is the water safe to drink in Rio de Janeiro?

No, the water is not drinkable. We suggest that you carry bottled water with you. Most tourist areas will have bottled water available for purchase.

Are Vaccinations required to visit Rio de Janeiro? Are there any other precautions I should take?

Yes, yellow fever is a risk in certain parts of Brazil, so the Centers for Disease Control recommends the yellow fever vaccine for travelers 9 months of age or older to these areas. Vaccinations should be at least 10 days before you travel. See your doctor for advice on if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans. For up to date information visit httpss://www.cdc.gov/ at the Centers for Disease Control website.

When traveling in Brazil, you should try to avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. You may want to take prescription medicine before, during and after your trip to prevent malaria, depending where you are going, when you are traveling, and how much time you will be spending outdoors or sleeping outside. Consult your doctor about how you can prevent malaria while traveling.