The best price found from United States to Rio de Janeiro is on December 3rd, 2016, travelling with Avianca. See more options, compare prices and book: search flights.
Rio’s Galeão international airport (Aeroporto Internacional Antônio Carlos Jobim; www.riogaleao.com) is 15km north of the city center on Ilha do Governador. It has left-luggage facilities, an internet cafe, ATMs and currency-exchange desks, and pharmacies as well as a few shops and restaurants.
Premium Auto Ônibus operates safe air-con buses from the international airport along several different itineraries. For the Zona Sul, take No 2018, which heads southward through the bairros of Glória, Flamengo and Botafogo, and along the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon to Barra da Tijuca (and vice versa) every 30 minutes from 5:30am to 11pm and will stop wherever you ask.
It takes 75 minutes to two hours depending on traffic. Heading to the airports, you can catch this bus from in front of the major hotels along the main beaches, but you have to look alive and flag them down.
If you’re going straight to Barra, it’s faster to take bus No 2918 instead. There’s also a bus that links to Santos Dumont Airport (No 2101) and a line to the bus station (No 2145).
From Galeão, yellow-and-blue comum (common) taxi costs around R$65 to R$90 to Copacabana or Ipanema, depending on traffic (more on Sunday and late at night). A charge of R$2 per piece of luggage also applies.
More expensive, slightly fancier radio taxis charge a set fare of about RS$130 to Copacabana or Ipanema.
Keep in mind that traffic can lead to long delays on the return journey to the airport. Allow up to two hours during peak times (4pm to 7pm).
Aeroporto Santos Dumont, used by some domestic flights, is by the bay, in the city center, 1km east of Cinelândia metro station. It has ATMs, a few shops and an internet cafe.
Premium Auto Ônibus No 2018, which departs from Galeão, stops at Santos Dumont before continuing south to Copacabana and Ipanema.
Rio’s new light rail (the VLT), slated to begin operations in April 2016, runs from the Santos Dumont Airport to the Rodoviária (bus station) via Praça Mauá. This isn’t particularly useful for travelers, unless you’re catching an onward bus or staying near Praça Mauá. Another line from the airport to Centro may be added in the future, which would provide handy access to the metro.
From the domestic airport, comun taxis cost about R$32 to Copacabana and R$38 to Ipanema. A radio taxi runs R$59 to Copacabana and R$74 to Ipanema.
The international departure tax from Brazil is US$36. This has probably been included in the price of your ticket: if it's not, you'll have to pay it in cash (either in US dollars or reais) at the airport before departure.