Local bus services tend to be decent. Since most Brazilians take the bus to work, municipal buses are usually frequent and their network of routes comprehensive. One-way fares range from R$3 to R$4.50.
In most city buses, you get on at the front and exit from the back, though occasionally the reverse is true. Usually there’s a money collector sitting at a turnstile just inside the entrance.
Crime can be a problem: don’t take valuables onto the buses, and think twice about taking informal minibuses in Rio and other urban areas, which have seen a recent increase in attacks.
Taxi rides are reasonably priced, and a taxi is the best option for getting around cities at night. Taxis in cities usually have meters that start around R$5.50 and rise by something like R$2.50 per kilometer (more at night and on weekends).
In small towns, taxis often don’t have meters, and you’ll have to arrange a price – beforehand.
If possible, orient yourself before taking a taxi, and keep a map handy in case you find yourself being taken on a wild detour.
The preferred app for local taxi drivers is 99Taxis (www.99app.com), and is more convenient and safer than calling for a taxi or hailing one in the street. Ride-share services like Uber (www.uber.com) and Cabify are widely available.
Both Rio and São Paulo have excellent metro systems, with Rio’s system expanded for the 2016 Olympics. These metros are a safe, cheap and efficient way of exploring the cities. One-way fares are R$4.30 in Rio and R$4 in São Paulo.
Hitchhiking is never entirely safe in any country, and is not recommended. Travelers who decide to hitchhike should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk. People who do choose to hitchhike will be safer if they travel in pairs and let someone know where they are planning to go.
Hitchhiking in Brazil, with the possible exception of the Pantanal and several other areas where it’s commonplace among locals, is difficult. The Portuguese word for ‘lift’ is carona, so ask ‘Pode dar carona?’ (Can you give us a lift?). The best way to hitchhike – practically the only way if you want rides – is to ask drivers when they’re not in their vehicles; for example, by waiting at a gas station or truck stop. It’s polite to offer to pay for your share of the gas in return for your lift.