Rio de Janeiro

Discover Río de Janeiro with our insider tips and explore one of the most famous cities of Brazil. Visit the Sugar Loaf, the mythic Ipanema beach and many more attractions in the land of eternal sunshine. 

Río de Janeiro, first found by Portugueese sailor in 1502, was once the capital of Brazil, and today is one of the most visited cities in the country. “Janeiro” means January in Portugueese, and the first month of Summer in the South Hemisphere. And something that this city always have is sunshine days and a continuous feeling of vacations floating in the air. Río has the second largest economy in the country after São Paulo, and today is still the financial center of Brazil. Manufacturing, commerce and tourism are the main industries. Many travelers choose Río de Janeiro to spend a relaxing vacation in paradise beaches, enjoy nightlife to the rhythm of Samba (the national dance) and discover the culture and charm of Brazilians. 

Attractions
Attractions

Attractions

Eating & Drinking
Eating & Drinking

Eating & Drinking

Rio de Janeiro

Tips & Advice

How to get to Rio de Janeiro?

Flight: Most major airlines fly to Rio de Janeiro and the international airport is Antonio Carlos Jobin, more commonly known as Galeao Airport. It is located, 20 km (12 miles) from downtown. The second airport of Rio is Santos Dumont airport located downtown, surrounded by the Baia de Guanabara. Once at the airports, the best way to get to the downtown area will be with a private transfer.

Bus: All long-distance buses arrive at the Novo Rio Rodoviaria bus terminal, Av. Francisco Bicalho 1, Santo Cristo. It is close to downtown near the old port. It’s best to use a private transfer or taxi traveling to or from the station. It’s not the best part of town, particularly with all your bags. We recommend that you buy your ticket in advance, especially for travel on weekends or in high season.

How many days should I stay in Río?

It depends. If you are referring to the State of Rio de Janeiro, I’d say 30 days . However, if you mean the city of Rio, 10 days should be fine.

When is the best time to visit?

The best time to visit Rio is between December and March, when the weather is warm and sunny enough to hit the beaches. The city’s seductive samba beat and incredible panoramic views last year-round, but arrive in February to experience Carnival.

The weather in Rio de Janeiro is a typical tropical climate with high temperatures and high humidity throughout the year, this is due to its location in the tropical South Atlantic. The average annual temperature ranges from 23ºC (74ºF) and 30ºC (86ºF). However, during some summer days (January-March) can reach up to 38ºC (100ºF) or even 40ºC (104ºf). During winter (June to August), temperatures in the area suffer a decline, but never gets cold (average temperature is usually not less than 18ºC / 64.4ºF), during this time the weather is cool and dry. Areas close to the mountains tend to be colder than areas near the coast, but also these areas enjoy pleasant weather and warm temperatures. The rainy season runs from November to March. Rains are usually heavy and short. It is unusual for falling water for a whole day.

What to pack?

  • Swimwear.
  • Light Cotton clothes.
  • Muscular and short sleeve shirts.
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat.
  • Lightweight Waterproof Jacket.
  • Beach Towel.
  • Comfortable shoes, sandals, sandals.
  • Backpack for day trips

Can I find ATMs in Río?

ATM cash machines can be found everywhere in the city, but they mostly only dispense Real currency. We recommend to use ATMs which are located inside the bank lobbies, and try to avoid ATMs on the streets or in the late evening (most ATMs turn off at 11pm). The current daily maximum withdrawal is R$ 1000.

Banks open daily from 10 am till 16 pm. Not all bank exchange foreign currency but there are many currency exchange shops.

What is the proper tipping?

In restaurants, it’s customary to tip about 10% of the bill. Note that tips can’t be added to credit-card bills, so carry cash for this purpose. For tour guides , estimate around USD 10/15 per person, for a full day tour and half of it for the driver. In hotels, you should tip porters for handling bags:USD1.00 for every two bags, same amount is calculated for drivers if they help you with your suitcases, the housekeeping (between USD0.50 – 1.00 per night), and the concierge staff if the have helped you to arrange dinner reservations, transportation or leisure activities. In Argentina we don’t regularly tip taxi drivers.

How much money can I spend per day in Río?

You should plan to spend around US 75.- per day on your vacation in Rio de Janeiro, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, US 12.-  on meals for one day and US 5.-  on local transportation.

Exchange money and using CC

Exchanging foreign money into Brazil currency in Rio de Janeiro is easy and is most commonly done at Bank ATMs, Cambios (stores that specialize in currency exchange), and at travel agencies. Currency exchange rates are posted in the window of most banks and at these agencies.

Avoid exchanging money at the airport upon arrival, as lines are long and the exchange rate is poor. There has been a lot of card cloning fraud reported when using the ATMs at GIG International Airport. Hotels will often offer money exchange and convert it at the front desk. Hotel currency exchange rates are less competitive than the Banks and Cambios, but are usually better than rates at the airport.

Many Cambios are located on the main avenues of Rua Visconde de Piraja in Ipanema and in Copacabana along the Avenida NS Copacabana. They will have “Cambio” signs in the windows and over the store. Cambios may be located inside travel agencies and will often give better Brazil currency exchange rates than the banks.

ATM cash withdrawal using a credit or debit card is the most convenient method to get Reais. Before leaving home, confirm with your bank or credit card company the procedures and fees charged for international ATM withdrawals. A service fee may also be charged by the Brazilian bank. Use ATMs that are located inside the bank lobbies. Never use one on the street or late in the evening (ATMs usually turn off at 11pm). Cover your PIN# with your hand and avoid withdrawing large sums at one time. An ATM that allow credit card withdrawal will have small credit card emblems on it. The current daily maximum withdrawal is R $1000. (R $300 maximum withdrawal after 10pm).

Exchanging money before you arrive can be easily completed using an on-line exchange service. The company will offer rates that are about 10% less than the official exchange rate and will charge $15 to send you the Brazilian Reais by overnight delivery. The minimum exchange is usually US $ 200 to a maximum of $250. A Visa or Mastercard must be used to exchange currency, and this is treated as a “cash advance” which your credit card company may treat differently than merchandise charges.

Using Credit Cards for currency exchange. Although restaurant and store merchants won’t advance you cash from your credit or debit card, paying for food and other services in Reais will usually result in a good exchange rate by your card company. Visit our Using Credit Cards Safely page for more info.

VISA Requirements

Tourists from around the world now have reason to celebrate, as Brazil has signed a decree to waive visa requirements for visitors from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan. This means it has just become even easier for citizens from these countries to experience the wealth of culture and natural beauty Brazil has to offer.

Tourists from the aforementioned countries will be granted a 90-day tourist visa upon arrival, which can be extended for a further 90 days by simply visiting the nearest Federal Police office. The new rules apply to all people traveling to Brazil for tourism, business, transit, or to perform sports or artistic activities.

Driving in Brazil

Tourists bearing an international license to drive are entitled to drive in Brazil if their stay is no more than 180 days. For longer stays they are required to obtain a Brazilian driver’s license.

It is compulsory to have a valid international driver’s license and a valid identification document. The foreign tourist driver is subject to the Brazilian legislation

Dangers and Annoyances

Rio de Janeiro has the fame of a crime-ridden city. However, during the past two years a security campaign has been led by the ex-president Lula Da Silva and things have been getting better. However, using a money belt while traveling is still recommendable. As well as using the safe box in your hotel. Leave your passport in the safe because there is no need to carry it around the city while exploring. Also try to avoid walking at the beach by night.

Scams

Taxi drivers in Rio de Janeiro are usually honest, but occasionally they decide to take advantage of the fact that you are a tourist. If they ask you to pay upfront the ride, don’t accept this and go out of the car. This is illegal and it indicates that the cab driver is setting his own prices and is not going to use the clocked meter. All official taxis in the city have clocked meters and they can only charge the price which is shown on the meter.

Rio de Janeiro

Sustainability

Rio de Janeiro

Local Businesses

 

  • Project Morrinho

Rua Pereira da Silva 826 Casa 27 Vila Pereira da Silva, Río de Janeiro

Morrinho aims to bring positive change to the local community, as well as challenge the popular perception of Brazil’s favelas. Through its work, Morrinho contributes directly to the socio-cultural and economic development of the surrounding areas. The belief that favelas are merely dominated by drug trafficking and violence is not all encompassing. Morrinho communicates the realities of life through film, plastic arts, theater and music and shows that life in the favela is multi-dimensional.

Morrinho Social, the fourth component, was still being developed as of August 2009. Following the slogan “Initiating a Small Revolution”, Morrinho Social intends to offer profession qualification workshops to the residents of the Pereirão community. The idea has been developed over the past two years and aims to odder an education al component that complements the overarching values of Morrinho of social justice and economic mobility.

Through informal means Morrinho Social will develop the area of education and professionalism under the following courses:

  • Audiovisual
  • Art Education
  • Youth Leadership
  • Youth and Citizenship

How to Help

 

  • Muriqui Award for the Copaíba Environmental Association. 

The Copaíba Environmental Association won the Muriqui award in the 2020 edition, in the corporate category, recognizing its contribution to the conservation of biodiversity and the Mata Atlântica biome. This recognition is one of the most important honors for those who work in the Brazilian environmental area, according to the National Council of the Mata Atlántica Biosphere Reserve (CN-RBMA). The award aims to encourage actions that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, the promotion and dissemination of traditional and scientific knowledge and the promotion of sustainable development in the area of the Atlantic Forest. Copaíba was recognized for the results of the restoration and conservation of the Atlantic Forest and for the trajectory of her work for 21 years. To date, 690 thousand seedlings have been planted on 458 hectares in partnership with landowners in the region, protecting around 265 springs and bordering 144 streams. 

 

Sustainability tips

 

  • Take your reusable bag with you when you go shopping.
  • Choose the consumption of local products from artisans and small producers.
  • Travel the city by bike or on foot, it is healthy and does not leave a carbon footprint.
  • When you go on an excursion, ask for food without plastic wrap.
  • Don’t leave trash in nature.
  • Take a reusable bottle with you to carry water in restaurants.
  • Don’t feed native fauna.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and batteries.