Safe Transportation from Rio de Janeiro Airport to the Hotel
Transcooter Booth at the airport
Hi, I am arriving in Rio at 5:30 am and will be alone. What is a safe way to get to my hotel in Leblon?
Boa Dia Sue,
There are a number of different ways to reach your hotel in Leblon (or Copacabana/Ipanema Beach) from the international airport in Rio de Janeiro.
Once you gather your luggage and pass through customs, you can hire a taxi cab at the curb. This can be a bit difficult for a tourist and/or non Portuguese speaker. It's also more difficult to get a flat rate or confirm that you are getting a legitimate taxi. The cost by meter in the early morning is usually about R $50 (currently about USD $32).
You can arrange ahead of time for someone from the hotel to pick you up. As you exit customs, you'll see a number of men standing outside the rope line, who are holding signs with travelers names. The driver will carry your bags and take you to the hotel in a taxi or van. He may pick up other arriving people as well, and drop them at other hotels on the beaches. This shuttle option may be the most expensive, but is worth investigating, as it's hassle free and safe. Check with your hotel for a price. They will need your flight number and time of arrival, and will usually add the cost to your hotel bill in R$.
You can catch an air conditioned bus called the "Frescao" (Big Air) in the terminal, and ride with many other people. The bus will travel the length of Zona Sul (South Zone) beaches, including Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, and Sao Conrado. It's safe and very inexpensive (less than R $10), but is the longest trip due to the large number of stops.
The option we recommend for your situation, is to hire a taxi cab from one of the companies who have a counter located just outside the customs area before you enter the frenzied terminal. You can't miss these taxi booths that are staffed by women who call out and wave as you exit the international terminal. The cost for up to four people is between R$60 - R$70, which you can pay by credit card, or by cash and get a 10% discount.
We have had excellent experience with a company called TranScooter. There are a few companies,all with similar prices, so try to find a clerk who speaks English and use them. Insider's Tip - ask to be escorted by an employee from the sales booth out to your taxi. This will eliminate any or misunderstandings at the curb !
For more information about getting from the Rio de Janeiro International Airport to hotels, hostels, or rental apartments on the beaches, please visit our Rio de Janeiro Airport Transfers page.
Boa viagem from,
The Editors of Rio de Janeiro Travel Information