Transportation - Rio de Janeiro, Getting There, Away & Around
Rio de Janeiro has two airports. Antônio Carlos Jobim international airport (IATA-code: GIG), better known as Galeão or by its nickname Tom Jobim, is the largest of the two. It used to be the most busy
airport in Brazil, but the airport of Rio de Janeiro lost this title in the 1980s to Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos airport.
Galeão International Airport, Guanabara bay
|International destinations in direct reach from Galeão - Rio de Janeiro International airport, are:
Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Lima, Asunción, Bogotá, Santiago, Montevideo, Caracas, Punta Cana, Aruba, Varadero, Panama City, Miami, Dallas, New York, Orlando, Washington, Houston, Charlotte, Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Porto, Madrid and Luanda.
International arrivals are processed at terminal 1 (blue sector) and terminal 2. In the green sector of terminal 1,
domestic flights to/ from Rio de Janeiroare dealt with.
All major cities in Brasil are directly connected to Rio de Janeiro through Galeão airport, but the smaller Santos Dumont airport also receives some domestic flights.
Galeão international airport sits on the largest island in the Guanabara bay, called Ilha do Governador. Its location is 21.5 km / 13.5 miles north of the city centre and about 27 km / 17 miles north of
Ipanema and Copacabana.
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|The much smaller, but much more conveniently located Santos Dumont airport (IATA: SDU) has a spectacular location on a small peninsula in the Guanabara Bay. It only serves Rio de Janeiro in the field of domestic air traffic.
All major destinations within Brazil have direct flights to/ from Santos Dumont airport as well as Galeão airport, so make sure from which Rio de Janeiro airport your possible connection will leave.
Santos Dumont airport
Santos Dumont airport is next door to the city centre, about 2 km / 1.2 miles east of it. Ipanema and Copacabana are about 13 km / 8 miles south.
To get into the city from Galeão international airport:
• Taxi: You can either choose one of the metered
Rio de Janeiro taxisoutside the terminal; always take a cheaper yellow one. Better only do this when you know your way around Rio de Janeiro. In order to exclude the chance of being ripped off (it could happen, despite a meter), you can also take a prepaid cab from inside the terminal, with fixed rates to each destination. These are more expensive, but more convenient and the safest option to get to your accommodation.
• Bus: There are comfortable, aircon shuttle coaches (Real Auto Bus) leaving for the city each half hour. All major tourist areas are covered. However, there are no fixed bus stops; the driver stops when you give a sign. If you do not know where your accommodation is, you better inform the driver beforehand so he knows where he should drop you off. Back to the airport you can flag down any airport bus going north. Depending on your location in the Zona Sul and on traffic, this trip to or from the airport will set you back at least 90 minutes, so leave in time in order not to miss a flight.
• Getting to/ from Santos Dumont airport: The shuttle bus will stop here, but a faster and cheaper option is a shuttle minivan between both airports, in operation between 5.30 am and 8.30 pm.
|Rio’s rodoviária (long-haul bus station) is called Novo Rio. It is located northwest of Centro, from the southern beaches it is about 13 km/ 8 miles.
Novo Rio is not in the safest area of town, so best is to arrive at and leave the bus terminal by taxi. In the terminal there is a Riotur tourist information booth (open 6am / 10 pm); in the same space there is a taxi desk where you can arrange a prepaid taxi for a fixed rate.
Some time indications on travelling by bus to and from Rio de Janeiro - Novo Rio:
|Teresopolis :||1.25 hours|
|Petropolis :||1.5 hours|
|Buzios :||3.5 hours|
|Paraty :||4 hours|
|Sao Paulo :||6 hours|
|Belo Horizonte/ Ouro Preto :||7 hours|
|Vitoria :||8 hours|
|Curitiba :||11 hours|
|Brasilia :||17 hours|
|Florianopolis :||18 hours|
|Foz do Iguacu :||22 hours|
|Porto Alegre :||26 hours|
|Salvador :||28 hours|
|Recife :||38 hours|
|Belem :||52 hours|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina) :||46 hours|
|Santiago (Chile) :||62 hours|
• Bus: Using local buses is not recommended. They are often overcrowded, stuck in traffic jams, driven by road maniacs and relatively unsafe, especially at night.
• Taxi: They are your safest option of moving around, especially at night. Make sure the meter will be used or become familiar with general rates to certain destinations. Try to use the yellow cabs with the company name at the side. Some drivers are preying on ignorant tourists in order to scam them, so best is to flag down a cab a block or so away from the major tourist attractions and large hotels.
|• Metro: Rio de Janeiro is blessed with a very convenient metro system, which is not in operation at night (except during Carnaval).
The Rio de Janeiro metro runs from the eastern tip of Ipanema (station: ‘General Osório’) via Copacabana, Botafogo, Flamengo and Centroto the crossroad station ‘Estácio’.
Here you can change to the other line, which stops among others in São Cristóvão and Maracana.
From various stations there are extensions of the subway network by bus, which is called metro-ônibus (make sure you purchase the right ticket: if you want to transfer to the metro-bus you need to use a ticket with a special code which returns the ticket after checking out of the metro system in order to use it in the bus.
• Boat: There are great ferry rides from Rio de Janeiro to Niteroi, at the other side of the Guanabara Bay, and to several bay islands. They provide panoramas of the city skyline from a whole different angle. Ferries leave from the docks just east of the Praça XV de Novembro, Centro (metro station: ‘Barcas’).