Rio is probably the most accessible city in Brazil for travelers with disabilities to get around, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It’s convenient to hire cars with driver-guides, but for only one person the expense is quite high compared to the cost of the average bus tour. If there are several people to share the cost, it’s definitely worth it. For transportation around the city, contact Especial Coop Taxi.
The metro system has electronic wheelchair lifts, but it’s difficult to know whether they’re actually functional. Major sites are only partially accessible – there are about 10 steps to the gondola base of Pão de Açúcar, for instance; and although there's access to the base of Cristo Redentor, there are about two dozen steps to reach the statue itself. Jeep Tour offers excursions for mobility-impaired travelers.
The streets and sidewalks along the main beaches have curb cuts and are wheelchair accessible, but most other areas do not have cuts. Most of the newer hotels have wheelchair-accessible rooms, but many restaurants have entrance steps.
The Centro de Vida Independente can provide advice about travel in Brazil for visitors with disabilities.
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.