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Travelling to Rio de Janeiro

Get swept up in Olympic fever and head on over to Brazil.

Olympic travel to Rio

The Rio 2016 Olympics are in full swing, and with excitement building across the city, there’s never been a better time to visit. Spend a few days here among the sizzling scenery and the endless lust for life, and you’ll soon see why Rio is nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa (the Marvellous City).

Enjoy the stunning beaches of Rio

Enjoy the stunning beaches of Rio

The beaches of Rio are the city’s heart and you won’t fail to be impressed by the miles upon miles of breath taking shoreline. From the world famous sands of Copacabana to the upmarket glamour of Ipanema, there’s a Rio beach just perfect for every taste. For active types, Arpoador beach is a surfer’s paradise, whilst Praia Vermelha is a beautifully secluded cove sat at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain. Indulge in a game of beachside volleyball or kick back with a caipirinha cocktail and enjoy an afternoon in paradise.

Soak up Rio’s world famous sights

Soak up Rio’s world famous sights

We’ve all seen the lust-inducing pictures of the sparkling Rio coastline set to a backdrop of rolling mountains and buzzing city life. It’s time to experience the beauty for yourself. Take a cable car up the world famous Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) and look out over the striking views of the city below. The iconic Christ the Redeemer statue (Cristo Redentor) watches over the city from its spot atop the 710m high Corcovado, and getting a closer look is a must-do of the city. Rio is just as famous for its luscious rainforests as for its cosmopolitan glamour, and a hike through the majestic Tijuca rainforest is unmissable.

Eat and drink in style

Eat and drink in style

Whatever you crave, you’ll be able to indulge and satisfy your stomach in Rio, from freshly caught seafood to classic Brazilian dishes. If you’re feeling extra hungry, Brazil is famous for its buffet-style rodizio grills, especially the meaty all-you-can-eat churrascaria. What’s more, the country actually has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, and sushi is very popular in Rio as a result. Of course, the famous tipple of Brazil is the caipirinha, a cocktail made from cachaça, lime, sugar and ice cubes, but Rio is also known for its fresh juices to cool off in the hot sun, with popular flavours including Guaraná and Açaí.


The currency of Brazil is the real (the plural is reais), which is broken down into 100 centavos.

One pound is currently worth Brazilian reais.

Here’s a roundup of what you can expect to spend in Rio, with prices in British pounds:

Inexpensive meal for one – £4.25Bottle of water – 50p0.5 litre beer – £1
Mid-range restaurant meal for one – £8.50Cappuccino – 85pLocal bus ticket – 50p

For up to date rates and more information on the Brazilian real, check out our dedicated pounds to real guide.

Travelling around Rio

Travelling from the airport

You’ll find Rio’s Galeão-Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport just 12 miles north of the city centre. To get into the centre of Rio, the Real premium bus has four routes to choose from and takes around an hour for about R$12. The buses run every half an hour from outside the airport between 5.30am and 10pm. Alternatively, the BRT Transcarioca bus runs 24 hours a day, directly from the airport to the Alvorada Bus Terminal for just R$3.

If you want to take a taxi from the airport, don’t take one from directly outside Arrivals as these are likely to charge you hugely high tourist rates. Instead walk around to Departures and grab one that’s dropping passengers off. You should be able to ride to Ipanema (25 mins) for around R$58, and R$63 to Copacabana (30 mins).

Rio’s other airport, Santos Dumont Airport, operates domestic flights from Brazil’s biggest cities and is sat right next to the city centre by the Guanabara Bay.

Travelling around Rio

Taxis are a stress-free and affordable way to travel around Rio in style – just make sure that you leave yourself some extra time for your journey, because the city’s traffic jams are notorious. The city’s yellow taxis are in wide supply and can be flagged down anywhere, running at around R$2/km with a R$4 base rate. The so-called ‘radio taxis’ are usually blue, green or white and can be pre-booked by calling them (or ask your hotel) and agreeing a fixed price for your journey.

Buses are also a frequent, cheap and convenient way to get around Rio, costing around R$3 for a one way ticket. The modern and clean Metrô Rio offers two lines around the city, and a one-way ‘unitario’ ticket is R$3.70.