Driving in Rio is not recommended for overseas visitors due to the chaotic nature of the city's traffic. But driving is usually not necessary anyway, as the public transport system in Rio is cheap and efficient, and most places can be reached by metro or bus. By far the quickest and easiest way to get around is by the efficient metro; it does have its limits though, as it only runs two lines. Walking around is generally safe as long as there are crowds of people, although walking in the centre of the city is not recommended after the shops close and security guards go home.
The most inexpensive form of transport is the local buses, which travel all over the city as fast as the traffic will allow. Buses are privately operated, so services and costs will vary. Unfortunately, they are often badly driven, crowded, and often the scene of petty theft. Special care should be taken on buses known to be used by tourists, such as those that run to the popular Sugarloaf Mountain.
Most public transport stops around midnight, with some buses operating 24 hours a day but, for safety's sake, we'd rather recommend hiring a taxi late at night. Radio taxis can be ordered and are said to be safer and more reliable, usually with air-conditioning, but they are more expensive than regular taxis and drivers may add a surcharge for extra luggage. Most taxi drivers speak only Portuguese, so visitors should have their destination written down. Ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft are available, and circumvent language barriers, routes and fare uncertainties.
Rio de Janeiro International Airport
The airport is located on Governor's Island, 10 miles (16km) north of Rio de Janeiro.
Rio de Janeiro International Airport (GIG)
LocationThe airport is located on Governor's Island, 10 miles (16km) north of Rio de Janeiro.
Getting to the city
Public buses are available and passengers can connect to Rio's Novo Rio Rodoviaria bus station in the city centre. Passengers can take the two Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) lines from and to the airport. There are train lines near the airport, the nearest metro station from Galeão Airport is the Vicente de Carvalho, on line 2. To get to the airport, it is necessary to transfer to the BRT at this station, with a direct route to the airport.
More expensive airport shuttles are available to downtown hotels and popular destinations and often have an English speaking guide. Taxis are available.
TimeGMT -3 (GMT -2 between the third Sunday in October and the third Sunday in February)
Car rental companies, including Avis and Hertz, can be found in Terminal 1 and 2.
Taxis are available outside the terminals. Visitors are advised to buy prepaid taxi vouchers at the Rio Tourism Authority desk; they are usually a little bit more expensive but give you peace of mind. It is advisable to ignore the RDE taxi desk and go to the Rio de Janeiro State Tourism Authority desk instead and buy prepaid taxi vouchers there. If you hail a taxi outside the terminal, make sure the meter is cleared of the last fare.
Transfer between terminals
A moving walkway connects the two terminals.
The airport is well equipped with facilities including ATMs, banks and bureaux de change, shops, restaurants and bars, duty-free shopping, luggage lockers, children area, a wellness spa, a swimming pool and a tourist help desk. Facilities for the disabled are good.
There are multi-level car parks near both terminals that offers short and long-term parking. Rates vary.