Renting a car in GRU airport, driving to Rio
Replies: 24 - Last Post: Dec 3, 2012 12:45 PM Last Post By: Tazzycat
Nov 29, 2012 3:44 PM
Renting a car in GRU airport, driving to RioHello All,
We want your opinion about renting a car at the Sao Paulo airport and driving over to Rio for 3 days, then driving back to SP for 3 more nights before taking a Royal Caribbean cruise. Any companies you recommend or advise not to hire? Is it dangerous to drive in Brazil for foreigners? Give me your advice. I want to hear it. Tazzycat
Nov 30, 2012 6:32 AM
1The issue is less the driving, it's more what you plan on doing with the car for three days in Rio, like findins somehwre to park, the traffic etc. Bear in mind that if you drop a car off anywhere apart from where you rented it you will be hit with a surcharge of one real per kilometre.
I'd look at flying to Rio or taking the bus if I was you.
Nov 30, 2012 7:04 AM
2Most tourists don't understand that the bus system in Brazil is usually quite comfortable and convenient. And on some routes, at some times of year, flying is not significantly more expensive.
If you are going along the coast from S.P. to Rio, you may want to stop at Paraty and Ilha Grande,
Her's some info on transport:
Also, I would spend more time in charming Rio, and cut the 3 nights in non-tourist-sights Sao Paulo.
You will probably be along the coast road on this trip, and since Santos is also along the same coast, why even bother with the horrible traffic going into Sao Paulo? Just go directly from Paraty or Angra (ferry access point to/from Ilha Grande) to Santos by bus.
Nov 30, 2012 9:10 AM
3Overnight, we changed our minds and now we are renting a car from Avis one way from GRU airport, driving to and spending 5 days in, Rio. Then just before the cruise we drive down to Santos and drop off the car and get on the cruise. We will not spend time in SP.
We want to drive so we can go at our own pace, stop and eat when we are hungry and see small town life.
My husband is an excellent driver, so let's hope for the best experiences.
Nov 30, 2012 9:33 AM
4"We want to drive so we can go at our own pace, stop and eat when we are hungry and see small town life."
Well, do retun here afterwards to tell us if you accomplish any of that, what your experience was getting in and out of the cities and around, esp. with no Portuguese, what the one-way drop-off charge was, and how your excellent driver was impacted by the other insane ones he encountered.
Given your words "from GRU airport, driving to and spending 5 days in, Rio. Then just before the cruise we drive down to Santos", I'd make sure you take a good look at a map, at the location of the airport on the far northern side of the city, and at the two main routes from S.P. to Rio, one of which is a major highway that does not give the opportunity to see life in small towns. In addition to spending time in Rio, you should budget time to spend in Paraty (Colonial World Heritage architecture and Trindade beach) and on Ilha Grande (rural, gorgeous beaches), the major coastal attractions (for good reason) which "just before the cruise, we drive" does not seem to adequately allow for. Note that your car will remain idle, parked in Angra dos Reis while you visit Ilha Grande. Santos is along that same coastal road as Paraty and Angra.
Nov 30, 2012 9:42 AM
Nov 30, 2012 10:07 AM
6I just don't think the "freedom" to stop when you want is what you may be imagining it to be along the faster route (think 6 hours on a U.S. interstate), and on the coastal route, you may just have time for planned stops in the two stellar places mentioned, each well worth the visit.
The interstate route is marked in purple here:
but you can also see the coastal road on the map, that passes through Angra dos Reis, Paraty and Santos.
These are not U.S. Greyhound class buses I'm talking about, btw; they are air conditioned, comfortable Brazilian coaches, nicer than some airlines' business class.
Could you still try for an open-jaw air ticket? Fly into Rio, sightsee there for 3 days, spend 3-5 days going down the coast (however, bus or car, stopping at Ilha Grande and Paraty) to Santos to pick up the cruise, and fly out of GRU. Or fly one way between S.P. and Rio and bus or rent on the way back.
Just to give some perspective on my opinion, I do like renting a car/driving in many places worldwide that I've been (inc. Turkey, Mexico, Israel), but in Brazil, I usually do it only for places that are significantly harder/longer to reach by bus.
Nov 30, 2012 11:54 AM
7Thanks for that fabulous map! I printed it out. I ordered a plastic map yesterday for driving and will get it in a few days, but I like your ideas.
No, we can't get an open jaw flight...our flight is already over $1300US per person. ouch. But I want to ask you how long would it take to drive the coast road from Rio down to Santos as a straight shot?
Of course, I want to stop in those two places you mentioned, but I wonder if we should only spend 4 nights in Rio, then head down that coastal road and sleep somewhere along the coastal road on the way to Santos, then arrive in Santos at noon to turn in the rental car and get on the cruise.
Are you an American living in Brazil? Can I bring you goodies from my home in New Mexico for your help on this?
Nov 30, 2012 1:28 PM
8Thanks, but there's not a thing I feel the lack of here in Salvador.
Take a look at the map. As "a straight shot" (or "best route" in the URL below), you would be going the highway, not the scenic coastal road, and then going south toward the coast to Santos. Even if you just sleep one night along the coastal road, it hardly seems worth the effort.
São Paulo (330km/5hours min, airport is a further1hr min depending on weather/traffic)
Rio de Janeiro (248km)
Just fly RT from S.P. to Rio and leave time on return to get from downtown S.P. to the port on the day you embark.
The car will be a liability in Rio.
Rio is plenty beautiful not to feel the lack of stopping anywhere else on a brief first trip. Use your time to explore the city more completely and see more beach areas. There are some lovely natural areas in and around the city itself.
This might help too:
Nov 30, 2012 1:37 PM
9So you are going to pick up a car in São Paulo and drop it off in Rio. Budget on about another R$400.00 for drop off fees on top of the rental and fuel. Do either of you drive a manual car? I understand they aren't common in the US. Automatics are not coomon in Brazil and whilst you can rent them, they will be more expensive. Worked out where you are going to drop the car off in Rio?
If you are looking for a decent road map I'd suggest you get hold of a copy of the Guia 4 Rodas motoring guide.
Nov 30, 2012 2:22 PM
Nov 30, 2012 2:23 PM
Nov 30, 2012 2:44 PM
Nov 30, 2012 5:20 PM
13"we are renting a car in GRU airport and driving to Rio on the highway, then spending 5 days in Rio, then driving down to Santos to return the car. A one-way rental. "
Bad idea. You won't accomplish what you think you will and you'll be stuck with a car you won't want in Rio. My best advice is to fly GRU to Rio, and if you insist on doing some driving, do a one way rental from Rio to Santos (but you won't see much if you can't/don't allot time to the must-see places on that route; they are must-sees, not drive-bys, for a reason). Please take the advice. You'll have a happier, more relaxed trip.
Dec 1, 2012 6:24 AM
14Okay, if I don't rent the car in GRU, then what do you suggest as a way to get to Rio? The flight is going to cost $310US per person when we could get there in 5 hours. Too expensive.
Is there a long distance bus that goes from the airport to Rio?
-first time in Brazil, can you tell?
We won't need a car in Rio, right?
But we should rent a car one way from Rio to drive down the coast to Santos and do the two stops already recommended before we get to Santos, right?
Keep helping me, I need the help. I appreciate your help.
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