Rio De Janeiro Travel Guide

Flights, Train & Cruise

Rio is one of the country's major transportation hubs, second only to São Paulo.

By plane
International and most domestic flights land at Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport (better known as Galeão International Airport), Tel: +55 21 3398-5050 (fax 3393-2288). This airport is 20 km away from the city centre and main hotels. While you can sometimes zoom through Immigration and Customs, be prepared for a long wait. Brazilians travel with lots of baggage and long queues can form at Customs, which are usually hopelessly understaffed.
Santos Dumont Airport, Tel. +55-21-3814-7070 (fax. 2533-2218). Gets flights only from São Paulo and some of Brazil's largest cities such as Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Salvador, as well as the capital Brasilia. Located right next to the city centre, by the Guanabara bay. Airlines that service Santos Dumont include: GOL, TAM, Webjet, Azul and Avianca . Don't rush off without taking a look inside the original terminal building - a fine example of Brazilian modernist architecture.

Four bus lines operated by Real depart from right outside the arrival section of Galeão and Santos Dumont. Buses are air-conditioned and comfy, with ample luggage space. They run roughly every 30 minutes from 5:30 AM to 10 PM.

2018 Aeroporto Internacional do RJ/Alvorada (Via Orla da Zona Sul) runs between both airports, the main bus terminal and further along the beachfront of Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, and has its terminus at the Alvorada terminal near Barra Shopping in Barra da Tijuca. The full run takes at least 60 minutes, often double that. Tickets are R$ 12 (Jan 2012).
2918 Aeroporto Internacional do RJ/Alvorada (Via Linha Amarela) runs to the Alvorada bus terminal, via Jacarapaguá (the best spot for taxis) from Galeão airport along the Linha Amarela in as little as 35 minutes, traffic allowing. R$ 12(Jan 2012).
2145 Aeroporto Internacional do RJ/Aeroporto Santos Dumont (Via Seletiva da Av. Brasil/Av. Pres. Vargas) runs between the two airports and the main bus station, at R$ 5.
2145 Aeroporto Internacional do RJ/Aeroporto Santos Dumont (Via Linha Vermelha e Perimetral), same as above, along a slightly different route.

There are two types of taxis. As you leave Customs you will see booths of different companies offering their services. These are considerably more expensive (ex: Galeão - Copacabana R$70; Galeão - Ipanema R$99) than the standard yellow taxis that are to be found outside the terminal building but the quality of the cars is generally better. These taxis can often charge double the price of those ordinary taxis from the rank located around one hundred metres from the arrivals exit and should cost you about R$40 (July 2009) on the meter to reach Ipanema or Copacabana or R$50 to Jardin Botanico. The price can go up by R$10 or more if you get stuck in a traffic jam. It is possible to pre-book airport transfers.

Money change facilities are limited and high commissions are charged. Slightly better rates can be obtained, illegally, at the taxi booths but they may want you to use their cabs before changing money for you. In any event, don´t change more than you have to as much better rates are available downtown.

From Europe, TAM Airlines offers direct flights from Paris (daily), London and Frankfurt (both three times a week). Alitalia flies five times a week from Rome, Air France flies twice a day from Paris, British Airways three times a week from London, TAP twice a day from Lisbon and on Fridays and Sundays to Porto, Lufthansa four days a week from Frankfurt, KLM four days a week from Amsterdam and Iberia daily from Madrid. From Africa, Taag connects Rio to Luanda four times a week, and from Asia, Emirates has a daily non-stop flight to Dubai, where is possible to continue to many Asian destinations (also, from Rio this flight continues to Buenos Aires).

From North America, there are non-stop flights to Rio de Janeiro only from New York and Miami with either American Airlines or TAM Airlines, Washington, D.C. and Houston with United Airlines, Charlotte with US Airways, Dallas with American Airlines, and Atlanta with Delta Airlines. Travellers from elsewhere in the region have to make a stop in the aforementioned U.S. cities or in São Paulo to get to Rio.

A number of carriers (including TAM, Gol, LAN, TAM Mercosul, Emirates, and Aerolineas Argentinas) connect Rio de Janeiro to Argentina (Buenos Aires and Cordoba), Venezuela (Caracas), Paraguay (Asuncion), Uruguay (Montevideo) and Chile (Santiago). Avianca, TACA and Copa Airlines connect Rio with Bogotá, Lima and Panama City, respectively, offering onward connections to Central America or other South American cities. LAN and Aerolineas Argentinas offer connections from their respective hubs to Australia and New Zealand.

By train

Rio's glorious Central Station, or Central do Brasil, made famous by a movie of the same name, serves mostly local commuter lines (SuperVia ), so it's unlikely that you'll arrive through here. It's worth a visit just to see it, though, you can get there either by bus or subway (subway is better; get off on Central station, line 1).

By bus

The long-distance bus depot, Rodoviária Novo Rio, is in the North Zone's Santo Cristo neighborhood. Taxis and coach buses can get you to the South Zone in about fifteen minutes; local buses take a bit longer. Frescão air-conditioned coaches can be caught just outside the bus station. The coaches connect the station to the city centre and main hotel areas of Copacabana and Ipanema. Bus companies include Itapemirim, Penha, Cometa, 1001, and Expresso Brasileiro.

Several companies offer bus passes from Rio to the rest of the country. The Green Toad Bus also offer bus tickets online for buses from Rio de Janeiro to Ilha Grande, Paraty, São Paulo, Florianopolis, Campo Grande, Foz do Iguacu and some other destinations in Brazil. They have bus passes to take you to other countries as well.

By car

Rio is connected by many roads to neighboring cities and states, but access can be confusing as there are insufficient traffic signs or indications of how to get downtown.

The main interstate highways passing through Rio are:

BR-116, which connects the city to the southern region of Brazil. Also known as Rodovia Presidente Dutra
BR-101, which leads to the north and northwest, and
BR-040, which will take you in the central and western areas.
By boat

Ferries (barcas) connect neighbouring Niterói to Rio de Janeiro and arrive at Praça XV, in the city centre.

source: Wikivoyage

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