Rio de Janeiro Airport Transfers
The Best Ways to Get to and From the International Airport!
There are numerous ways to get from the international Rio de Janeiro airport to your hotel or apartment in Ipanema or Copacabana Beach and other parts of the city. On this page, we provide details for each transportation method.
Shuttle Van Transfer
You can arrange a shuttle van transfer from the Rio de Janeiro airport by booking it through your travel agent, the hotel or apartment rental service, making an on-line reservation, or arrange it at the airport when you arrive.
This is one of less expensive ways to get to your hotel, but requires a bit more planning than simply getting a taxi. You will likely share a shuttle van with other arriving tourists, who are dropped at different hotels along the beaches.
If you book ahead through a travel agent or the hotel, as you exit customs and enter the airport terminal, look for the driver holding a card with your name on it.
You can easily book on-line with Green Path Transfers, a global provider of airport transfers whose goal in every destination, is to use low carbon emission vehicles to minimize their carbon footprint. Green Path Transfers is a member of the WHL Group, which is one of the world's largest local travel companies.
Shuttle Rio, is a newer passenger van service that takes people from the international (Galeao- GIG) or city airport (Santos Dumont) to participating hotels and hostels in Rio de Janeiro. They also offer return shuttle service for your departure. The cost is R $20 per person for transport to hotels or hostels in Copacabana or Ipanema or elsewhere in the Zona Sul (South Zone). Simply make a reservation on their easy to navigate website, print a copy, and write down the directions to the shuttle meeting point. Shuttle Rio's vans depart every hour daily from 8am to 7pm. One bag per person is included in the rate. Extra bags are R $5 each.
Tour companies, such as Gray Line Tours, also offer airport transfer service to/from south zone (Zona Sul) hotels for about US $34 per per person round trip or US $21 one way. You can easily make a reservation on line.
Hiring a Taxi
Hiring a taxi at the Rio de Janeiro airport is probably the most common transfer method. If you have two or more people, or a lot of luggage, the cost may be no more expensive than taking a shuttle.
You can hire a "radio" taxi at one of the booths as you exit customs and just before you enter the main terminal. Booking at a taxi booth is a bit more expensive than hiring a taxi at the curb, but you are assured of hiring a reputable taxi at a fixed rate.
You can't miss these radio taxi booths that are staffed by women who call out and wave as you exit the international terminal. There is no need to book ahead. The taxi will drop you off anywhere in the south zone (Zona Sul)which includes Copacabana or Ipanema. You can pay for the taxi service by credit card.
We have had very good results with the TranScooter company. Pay cash or by credit card and ask for a 10% discount (you have to ask for a "desconto"). The fixed price after the discount is currently R$85 - $90. Note - you are not expected to tip the contracted taxi drivers.
You can also walk out to the curb at the Rio de Janeiro airport and hire a "yellow taxi" and pay the metered fare. In early 2013, the city government announced fixed yellow taxi fares from the international or city airport to Copacabana and Ipanema. You will see signs in the airport announcing the fixed rates of R$65-$75 for transport to Ipanema and Copacabana. This eliminates any potential hassle encountered with a metered fare.
A return "yellow" taxi ride to the airport is less expensive and usually costs about R$65 from anywhere in Ipanema or Copacabana. Simply hire a taxi in front of your hotel or apartment.
Insider's Tip - The cost for a taxi transfer from the Rio de Janeiro Airport is the same price for one person or up to four people. You might find other tourists on your flight, with whom you can share a taxi cab to the beaches. We did this recently and were dropped off in Ipanema, while the other people were driven up to Copacabana. There was no extra charge for the two location drop-off. If you are bringing a lot of luggage, you
will need to ask for a larger taxi. Usually there is
no extra charge.
Renting a Car at the Rio de Janeiro Airport
If you plan to rent a car for getting around, this can be easily done at the Rio de Janeiro airport.
The Brazilian rental car company Localiza, rents cars at the airport and in Copacabana, as does Hertz and a few other companies.
You can reserve a car over the internet prior to your arrival, or compare prices and book the rental once you arrive. See our Rental Car section for more information about getting around Rio by car.
Note: Some rental agencies, such as Localiza, insist on making a copy of your original passport photo page, which they scan into their system. If you are uncomfortable with having your passport photo in the rental car agency forever, then check ahead with the agency. Thrifty Car Rental is one outfit that does not scan passports.
Caution: driving around Rio is not for the faint of heart. Road signs are sparse, traffic is congested, and drivers (especially taxi cabs) are quite aggressive. Parking may also be difficult to locate and is costly. To use a city map, you will need a navigator in the front passenger seat!
It's easier to leave the city directly from the airport than to drive down to Ipanema or Copacabana. Buy a map ahead of time and plan your route.
Taking a Bus from the Airport
Taking the bus is the cheapest way to get to your destination from the Rio de Janeiro airport.
If you are leaving Rio from the airport and plan to travel outside the city on a long distance bus, then using an airport bus to get to the main bus station (Novo Rio Rodoviaria) is a safe and easy transportation method.
AS of January 2013, getting to the beaches or the main bus station will cost about R$ 12 per person. Locate the Real Auto Bus or Empresa Real counter on the second floor of each terminal and buy a ticket.
We recommend this transfer method if you are on a tight budget and are willing to take the slower ride to the beaches, which is normally greater than 1 hour. You'll have to figure out where you are going and when to get off.
Catch the bus #2018 that drops passengers off at various hotels in the Zona Sul (south zone), including Ipanema and Copacabana. It leaves every 30 minutes from the airport.
Ask the driver to let off as close as possible to your hotel. It's best to write the name and address down ahead of time for the driver, "Me deixa no hotel o na esquina da Rua XXXX com XXXX or favor? ("Please drop off at the hotel, or at the corner of XXXX street and XXXX?").
Using Bus 2018 is safe as this bus only picks up and drops off passengers at the hotel stops. The bus that takes passengers from the airport to the Novo Rio Rodoviaria (central bus station)also makes no other stops.
Getting back to the airport from your hotel using the real Auto Bus is a bit trickier. You'll have to wait for one to come by your hotel, and the schedule is inconsistent at best. Ask the staff at your hotel for assistance in using this bus to return to the airport.
Getting to the Rio de Janeiro airport from the Novo Rio Rodoviaria is easy, as buses leave on a regular schedule. Simply purchase a ticket at the counter in the bus station.
Your luggage can be stowed under the bus by the driver, and you will be given a claim ticket. It's customary to give the driver a small tip if he loads and unloads your luggage.
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