Here’s the best ways to get around Rio de Janeiro:
A cheap way to get around; there are non air-conditioned and air-conditioned buses (the non being a little cheaper). It’s not recommended for tourists to travel on these at night, but go for it during the day! There’s also the deluxe model of bus travel, the Fresca, a more upscale public transport option – nice to have choices, right? These buses run from Centro and service the Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon neighbourhoods, but only on weekdays. While it’s only slightly more expensive than the regular bus, this flashier option is much easier to catch (look for buses showing ‘Castelo’) and safer than the cheaper option too.
Rio’s metro system is well-serviced, extremely clean and most stations are newly built. There is a pretty straightforward navigational system and in some instances you’ll need to get a connecting bus – however if you mention this when buying your subway ticket it won’t cost you any extra.
Taxis in Rio de Janeiro are pretty standard. You can find out an estimate of a trip before you book. Remember there is a day and night tariff and taxis are slightly more expensive from 9pm to 9am. Taxis are very safe and are recommended for tourists instead of a bus in the evenings.
Rio has a gondola transport system that connects the mountainous favelas (shanty towns) to the city. The new line means that this once 90-minute journey now takes only 16 minutes and carries an estimated 30,000 people a day, soaring through the sky with an incredible view below.
As a tourist in Rio, hiring a car is not necessary nor is it advised. Not only is car rental expensive, but Rio is also challenging to navigate, parking can be difficult and car-jacking crimes are fairly high. Still, it is possible to rent a car from several locations through big multinational companies. Be sure to take out insurance.