Getting Around in Rio de Janeiro

Despite the sprawling and chaotic nature of the city, getting around in Rio de Janeiro is relatively easy. There are a number of transport options, including buses, ferries and the metro, which are all part of an integrated transit system. Taxis are also prevalent in the city.

Public transport in Rio de Janeiro



Public transport in RioRio has an established metro system, known as the Metro Rio, which offers the easiest way of getting around the city. There are three lines: Line 1, Line 2 and Line 4. The metro is generally safe and clean, although care should be taken if using it at night. Tickets can be purchased at a Metro station, and there is a rechargeable magnetic card available for frequent commuters.


Buses offer a fairly inexpensive and convenient means of getting around Rio, and connect most parts of the city. Buses are privately operated, so services and costs will vary. Buses travel along set routes around the city, usually sticking to the main roads, with the destination displayed on the front of the bus. If wanting to board a bus, passengers must wave at the bus and it will stop; buses will only stop if there are people wanting to get on.
Despite their convenience, buses are often overcrowded, and robberies and muggings are common on this mode of transport. Expats should keep an eye on their belongings at all times. It’s not recommended to travel on buses at night.

Taxis in Rio de Janeiro

Taxis are plentiful in Rio and can easily be hailed off the street. They are often congregated around major hotels and at taxi stands in the city. Most taxi drivers are likely to only speak Portuguese, so expats should have it written down on paper. 
It’s common to keep the card of a trusted taxi driver so he can be used on a regular basis. Most taxis are metered, but drivers may quote a fixed price for certain destinations – it’s important to clarify the fare before getting in the vehicle. Licensed taxis are yellow; there are a number of independent, unlicensed taxi operators, and expats should be aware of being taken advantage of by these illegitimate operators.

The popular taxi service Uber is available in Rio de Janeiro. It is generally considered safer than regular taxis and the fares may be cheaper.

Ferries in Rio de Janeiro

Regular ferry services run between Rio and Niterói on the other side of Guanabara Bay. It’s not uncommon for people to live in Niteroi and commute to work in Rio by ferry on a daily basis. Most ferries operate during with the week, with reduced services on weekends.

Driving in Rio de Janeiro

Owing to Rio’s extensive public transport network, it’s not necessary for expats to have a car for getting around. However, many expats do choose to purchase or rent a vehicle for the sake of convenience, especially if wanting to explore areas outside the metropolitan region.
Expats wanting to drive in Rio will need to have a Brazilian drivers' licence, although initially a national drivers' licence from their own country or an international drivers' licence should suffice.
Traffic can be nightmarish in Rio, particularly during peak times, and Cariocas are known for their aggressive driving. Parking can also be a major frustration for those driving in Rio. Due to the risk of robbery and carjacking, traffic lights late at night are generally ignored with drivers often not stopping at a red light at all, so expats should be wary when approaching traffic lights at night.

Cycling in Rio de Janeiro

Cycling is a popular means of getting around Rio and the city has worked to encourage cyclists by building dedicated bike lanes throughout Rio, and particularly around the city’s beaches and popular tourist spots. 
Bicycle racks can be found across Rio and a shared bike rental programme has been implemented.

Walking in Rio de Janeiro

Although many of Rio’s tourist areas are easily navigated on foot, expats should be cautious due to the risk of mugging. Walking in any area late at night is not recommended. Even if just needing to get a few blocks away, expats should rather consider using a taxi at night.

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