Transportation in Rio de Janeiro can feel overwhelming—that's why we created this guide! With some help from Rio locals, here's what you need to know about using public transit, catching a taxi, or safely navigating on foot.
Locals tell us that their city offers plenty of different forms of transportation. The key is to plan your route and choose the best type of transit based on where you’re going. (If you work with a local to plan your trip, they'll provide detailed transit instructions.)
Overall, our trip planners say that you have a few options:
Locals say that walking is easy and pleasant in the Santa Teresa, Centro, Lapa, and Zona Sul (South Zone) neighborhoods—which also happen to be home to beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema, some of Rio's coolest places to visit.
Aside from beaches, locals tell us that the area is packed with great art galleries, shops, restaurants, and museums.
If you’re staying elsewhere, you’ll have to hop on a taxi, bus, or subway to reach this area—but the trip is worth it.
City taxis, or amarelinhos (yellow with a blue stripe), are abundant, easy to flag down, and have a standard meter rate regulated by the city.
Depending on the time of day, destination, and route, rates can range from R$10 ($2.50 USD) to R$50 ($12 USD).
There are also several private hire taxi services (called radio taxis) in Rio. Locals tell us you can use your phone to order these too, using services like Coopertramo or Cootramo. They are pricier than city cabs—but also more comfortable and convenient.
Yes, Uber exists in Rio! Uber will cost you a bit more than a taxi, but Uber cars and drivers have higher standards and are generally more reliable than yellow cabs.
Many Brazilian taxi drivers do not speak English, so make sure to write down your destination's address to prevent confusion.
If you are traveling to spots like Jardim Botânico, you’ll need a combo ticket with a bus-metro transfer, as the metro lines are limited.
Locals tell us that there are two types of city buses that run in Rio: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and city buses.
These are buses that travel along dedicated corridors (for traffic purposes) and are an excellent alternative to other forms of public transit. The BRT system has limited route options, though, so you may have to transfer to the metro or take a taxi/Uber to get to popular spots in Zona Sul. The BRT runs 24/7, and the cost is R$3.40 ($.80 USD) for a ticket.
Rio's city buses are cheap, with fares starting at R$2.40 ($.59 USD). Stay safe with local insights—our trip planners say that, because of crime risks, you shouldn’t take a city bus at night. Here are the basics:
The SuperVia is Rio’s train system. Locals say that it connects downtown (Centro) with neighborhoods in the north, east, and west of the city.
However, the train has limited routes so you’ll have to get a taxi/Uber to Zona Sul—and you'll probably want to, as locals tell us you'll find many of Rio's coolest things to do in Zona Sul.
Fares are R$4.6 ($1.50 USD) for a train ticket and R$8.55 ($2.10 USD) for a combo ticket that’s good for the train, metro, or city bus.
Rental cars are easy to reserve, but beware—locals tell us that driving in Rio is not for the faint of heart.
Road signs are sparse, traffic is congested, and drivers (especially taxi cab drivers) are quite aggressive. Parking may also be challenging—tough to find and costly.
The Brazilian rental car company Localiza, rents cars at the airport as does Hertz and Thrifty. Daily rates run from R$80 ($20 USD) to R$120 ($30 USD).
Here’s another reason to avoid renting a car: motorcycle-driving bandits have been known to rob drivers stuck in Rio’s infamous traffic jams.
Use Bus #2018 because it picks up and drops off passengers at various hotels in the Zona Sul, including Ipanema and Copacabana—just write the address down ahead of time for the driver.