Driving in Rio is not recommended for overseas visitors due to the chaotic nature of the traffic. But driving is usually not necessary 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, but with only two lines, there are limits to its coverage. 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 their 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 the scene of petty theft. Special care should be taken on buses known to be used by tourists, such as those to the Sugarloaf. Most public transport stops around midnight, with some buses operating twenty-four hours, but it is safer to hire 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. Drivers may add a surcharge for extra luggage. Most taxi drivers speak only Portuguese, so visitors should have their destination written down.
GMT -3 (GMT -2 between the third Sunday in October and the third Sunday in February)
Brazil has a variety of electrical voltages, sometimes within the same city. The better hotels offer 220 volts, 60Hz. If not, transformers are available in electrical stores. Two-pin plugs with a grounding pin are standard.
The Brazilian currency is the Real (BRL). The US Dollar is also welcome in most tourist establishments. In the main cities, foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks or cambios. There is an extensive network of ATMs in the country and most major international credit cards are accepted.
The international access code for Brazil is +55. Hotels, cafes and restaurants offering free wifi are widely available in tourist centred areas. As international roaming costs can be high, purchasing a local prepaid SIM card can be a cheaper option. Every town has a central telephone office called a Posto Telefonico where long distance calls can be made, and public phone booths are everywhere, operated by phone cards.
Emergencies: 190 (police), 192 (ambulance)
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.
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.
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.
Free wifi is available for 60 minutes.