Rio’s Galeão international airport is 15km north of the city center on Ilha do Governador. It has left-luggage facilities, an internet cafe, ATMs and currency-exchange desks, pharmacies, and a few shops and restaurants.
Premium Auto Ônibus operates air-con buses along several itineraries. For the Zona Sul, take bus 2018, known locally as the frescão. The bus leaves from outside the arrivals floor of Terminal 1 or the ground floor of terminal 2 and runs to Novo Rio bus station, Aeroporto Santos Dumont, south through 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. The fare is R$16 and the trip takes one to two hours depending on traffic. You can transfer to the metro at Carioca station.
Heading to the airport, you can catch this bus from in front of the major hotels along the main beaches, but you have to look alive and flag it down.
A yellow-and-blue comum (common) taxi costs around R$82 to R$100 to Copacabana or Ipanema, depending on traffic (more on Sunday and late at night). A charge of R$2.50 per piece of luggage also applies. Taxis are generally safe, though robberies are occasionally reported.
More expensive, slightly fancier and safer radio taxis charge a set fare of about R$130 to Copacabana or Ipanema. The fare is payable by credit card (or cash) at the counters just before leaving the international arrivals area.
You can use a ride-sharing app to order a car. Expect to pay around R$60 to Ipanema.
Traffic can lead to long delays on the return journey to the airport; allow up to two hours during peak times (4pm to 7pm).
There's a shuttle from Terminals 1 and 2 to hotels in Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Reserve ahead.
Many hotels and hostels arrange airport transport, typically charging upwards of R$100.
Santos Dumont (SDU)
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 service 2018, which departs from Galeão airport, stops at Santos Dumont before continuing south to Copacabana and Ipanema.
Rio’s new light rail (the VLT), which began operations in 2016, runs from Santos Dumont Airport to the Rodoviária (bus station) via Praça Mauá. This is handy, as you can hop on the metro at the second stop (Cinelândia). The VLT is also useful if you’re catching an onward bus, but be mindful of traveling during rush hour if you have luggage as the trams can be quite crowded.
Comum taxis cost about R$40 to Copacabana and R$50 to Ipanema. A radio taxi runs R$60 to Copacabana and R$75 to Ipanema.
The international departure tax from Brazil is R$113. The domestic departure tax is around R$32. These fees are always included in the price of your ticket.
Buses leave from the sleek Rodoviária Novo Rio, 2km northwest of Centro. There’s a Riotur desk here for city info. If you're traveling without much luggage, you can get to/from the bus station using Rio's new light rail, the VLT. If you're headed south, transfer to the metro at Central.
A small booth near the exit at Novo Rio bus station organizes the yellow taxis out the front. Sample fares (with one bag) are about R$50 to the international airport, R$50 to Copacabana and Ipanema, and R$35 to Santa Teresa.
You can consult the schedule and buy tickets online at www.clickbus.com. There's a dedicated pickup booth in the front of the bus terminal. Major bus companies like Viação 1001 have frequent departures to São Paulo.
Car & Motorcycle
Few travelers enter Rio by car or motorbike, as driving here can be extremely nerve-wracking. Traffic jams can be heavy at all hours of the day, and swerving motorbikes, speeding buses, and highly aggressive local drivers are among the many hazards.
Cars are available for hire at the airport. If you're heading west or south out of Rio (to Paraty, for instance), take Av Brasil, which turns into the BR-101. If heading east (to Búzios) or up to the Northeast coast (Salvador), take the BR-101 east, which crosses the Niterói bridge.
Rio has a commuter train service, but no long-distance service to other appealing destinations beyond the city.