Rio de Janeiro, which translates to "river of January", sits on the Atlantic coast of Brazil and is the country's second largest city just behind São Paulo. For over two centuries it was the bustling capital of Brazil and it is still, to this day, one of the most important commercial and political centers in the country.
Cariocas' sense of fun is matched only by the spectacular natural environment Rio boasts. The city is, indeed, surrounded by green hills, nature trails and large urban forests like Floresta da Tijuca. Its beaches are among the most beautiful in the world and its crystal-clear waters are home to an abundance of marine life. Besides the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, located in the heart of the city, other idyllic corners of the coast can be found in the nearby Búzios, at Barra da Tijuca, Prainha and Urca. Rio de Janeiro has famous landmarks too. Alongside the endless beaches and the massive statue of Christ the Redeemer, the city features the Sugar Loaf Mountain and the iconic favelas.
In addition to its many natural wonders, Rio is renowned for its fascinating and joyful culture, to be admired in its many museums and in its vibrant streets, always flooded with music, dances and celebrations.
Football is obviously an integral part of the local culture. Head to the Maracanã Stadium, home of the two main teams of the city, Flamengo and Fluminense, to live football as only the Carioca do.
International Airport Galeão
Most flights arrive into Rio de Janeiro via International Airport Galeão. The airport is on Governador Island, the largest one in Guanabara Bay, and is located around twenty kilometers from the city center. The airport is served by a good road network, including the Linha Vermelha and Linha Amarela freeways and Avenida Brasil.
International Airport Galeão has a range of facilities including ATMs, bank, restaurants, telephones, parking and car hire offices.
There are four bus lines (2018, 2101, 2145 and 2918) that run to and from the city center and Rio’s other airport, Santos Dumont Airport. The buses run every ten minutes and journey times, which usually take around 40 minutes. can vary depending on the time of day
For regular taxis there are two companies at the airport, Aerotaxi: +55 21 2467 1500 and Aerocoop: +55 21 3078 5050. There are also VIP taxis available.
Address: Av. Vinte de Janeiro, Ilha do Governador, Rio de Janeiro
Phone: +55 213 004 605 0
Passport / Visa
Brasil can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Israel, UAE, South Africa and most countries in America.
Visitors coming from most South American countries can enter the country with an identity document instead of a passport. Venezuelan visitors, however, need a visa in case of stays longer than 60 days.
Visa-free entry for a period shorter than 30 days is granted to citizens of Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Singapore.
Nationals of Panama, Malaysia, Namibia, Guatemala, Bahamas and Barbados can enter the country visa-free for tourism purposes only.
Most of African countries' citizens must obtain a visa in advance.
If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country.
Best Time to Visit
Rio de Janeiro is characterized by hot, extremely humid summers and cool, cloudy winters; therefore, choosing the best period to visit the city depends mainly on individual preferences.
Summer is the best period for hot weather lovers and party people willing to tolerate high humidity and frequent rainfall. From November to February Rio's beaches are invaded by tourists, especially during the famous Carnival.
From March to May, the Fall season offers Rio's best weather: hot and humid but without the drawbacks of the summer. On the other hand, visiting Rio from June to August, during the cloudy Carioca winter, will allow you to avoid high temperatures, humidity and rainfall; during this season, probably the busiest of the year, accommodation prices tend to increase.
Santos Dumont Airport
Santos Dumont Airport, located eight kilometers downtown from Rio de Janeiro, operates only regional flights, connecting the main cities of the country. It has a range of facilities, including ATM's, telephones and car hire offices.
There are two bus lines that operate from the airport: number 2145 runs to Rio de Janeiro International Airport and number 2018 runs to Rio de Janeiro International Airport and Alvorada.
Taxis and rental cars are also available.
Address: Praça Sen. Salgado Filho, Centro, Rio de Janeiro
Phone: +55 213 814 707 0
Rio de Janeiro provides many different means of transportation to get around.
The subway is the easiest, fastest and safest among them. It is open from 05h to 24h from Monday to Saturday and from 07h to 23h on Sunday and consists in two lines (orange and green), linking all the main tourist spots of the city.
Buses are practical, convenient and, above all, needed to get to the many hilly areas of the city. Just remember to be careful of pickpockets during rush-hour! Night buses are also available.
Trams and trains' limited network makes them less useful to tourists. They are, however, used to reach few tourist areas such as Mount Corcovado or Santa Teresa neighborhood.
More Information: www.metrorio.com.br
Ferries connect the mainland with some of the nearby islands. They are a good way to avoid the road traffic while enjoying the view of the city and its bays.
One of the most popular itinerary is the one going towards the tropical Paquetá Island, in the Guanabara Bay. Bicycles are allowed on board if you wish to explore when you disembark.
There are plenty of taxis in Rio. They are usually fairly priced, but you must beware of the unlicensed ones and use only those associated with an accredited company: yellow, identified by stickers on the window and fitted with meter.
Sometimes taking a taxi may not be the best option: Rio is characterized by a heavy urban traffic that may slow you down and make your rate increase significantly; on the other hand, during the night some drivers might quote you excessive rates.
Taxis are usually found in the designated ranks outside hotels and airport terminals. When in doubt, ask the hotel or restaurant to call you a taxi, drivers often barely speaks English.
+55 21 99292/0947
+55 213 078 505 0
+55 212 467 150 0
+55 213 878 888 0
There are many post offices around the city of Rio de Janeiro. The name of the national post agency is Correios, which literally means 'post office'. Post office branches are quite easy to locate thanks to their blue and yellow sign.
Rua 5 de Julho, 89, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Open: 9:00 - 17:00; Closed on Sunday
+55 21 2236 3774
Rusa Dom Manuel, Centro, Rio de Janeiro
Open: 9:00 - 17:00; Closed on Saturday and Sunday.
+55 21 2215 4133
Address: Rua 5 de Julho 89, Rio de Janeiro
Phone: +55 212 236 377 4
Rio de Janeiro has a number of pharmacies around the city. Large pharmacy chains to look for are Drogaria Pacheco, Droga Raia, Drogaria Pop and Drogaria Venancio.
These chains can be easily found everywhere in Rio and are usually open from 7:00 to 23:00.
The following pharmacies are open 24 hours a day:
Av. Ataulfo de Paiva, 1282, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
+55 212 274 802 3
Av. Nossa Sra. de Copacabana, 919, Rio de Janeiro
+55 212 548 052 4
Address: Av. Ataulfo de Paiva 1282, Rio de Janeiro
Phone: +55 212 274 802 3
Country code: + 55
Area code: 21
In Rio de Janeiro, plugs and sockets are of type N. The standard voltage is 110 / 120 V but many hotels also provide 220 V outlets. Standard frequency is 60 Hz.