Get a Taxi, Rio de Janeiro
Because of the reviews I read here regarding Paulo Silva - taxinorio.com.br, I called Mr. Silva on his cell (yes, he does pick up the phone), and I spoke to him in Portuguese. It was not a short conversation. I let him know specifically when I would be arriving in Rio, and where I needed him to pick me up. I also let him know that I would be calling him after my arrival. Just to make sure, I called Mr. Silva a second time to confirm all the details. I arrived in Rio, called Mr. Silva, and he informed me that he had "made other plans." This meant that I either had to wait in a line of 40 other passengers for a company registered taxi, or take my chances with an independent taxi. Not having the time to wait in line, I took an independent taxi, and ended up paying triple the normal price. This was my recent experience with Paulo Silva - taxinorio.com.
I am adding to what "RonnieNYC" wrote in his review as after reading his positive review on Paul Silva, taxi driver in Rio, I called him to get a ride to the airport on a week day during afternoon rush hour. Since the review about him was so great, I chose to take a chance, too! Fortunately, he was absolutely all the good words said about him in the review I read.
Paulo was on time. Because I was farther north in Tijuca, parking is difficult. He parked a little distance and walked to where I was staying. I was waiting just because of the area/parking and he probably was 10 minutes or more early! He took my luggage, spoke to my son(since he is fluent in Portuguese) but did fairly well with English as we proceeded to the airport.
The meter price was less than what he had estimated when I first called. He took a direct route and I felt it was very economical. He made what could have been a frustrating ride to the airport, quite enjoyable!
For all of you that might be traveling to Rio, please email or call him. He DOES pick up his phone, he is affable, kind, honest and I can guarantee you, that I will ALWAYS call him, to/from airport, or any needs while in Rio. He will take away any worries about transportation needs and is honest, fair and prompt.
RonnieNYC placed his pertinent information; however, I will repeat here as I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Paulo R.F. Silva:
TEL: 55::21. 8603-8605 / 9658-7924
All I can say is that for all the negative taxi drivers and stories that I read about, I found the best and reliable driver in Rio. I believe I got really lucky. His name is Paulo Silva, and let me explain why I recommend him for any taxi trip.
I stayed near Copacabana beach for about a week in May 2012. Our departing flight back to NYC was at 6am, which meant that we would need to be at the airport around 3:30-4am. I found taxi numbers online and called a few but no one picked up. Paulo was the only one who picked up and I arranged for him to pick us up at 3am. After making the call, I was quite worried about whether the guy will even come or try to cheat us.
The day went by and I was fully packed and ready to go at around 2:45am. Out of curiosity, I peeked out the window and lo and behold, a taxi was waiting. I went downstairs and it was the driver that I contacted. He helped us with the bags and we made our trip to the airport. Paulo likes to talk a lot and it was a good thing since I was falling asleep. There was no traffic at this time and we got there relatively quickly. The total came out to 54 reais. He helped take our bags out and then bid adieu. Simple, no gimmicks, no nothing and it was about 3:30am.
I highly recommend Paulo for the following reasons:
1) He was prompt and kept his end of the bargain even at 3am.
2) Took the fastest route to the airport (we asked some Rio friends the directions to the airport and that's the exact route Paulo took).
3) Used the meter throughout and did not try to bargain prices with us.
4) Got us to the airport quick and said goodbye without any hassles.
The only thing is that he doesn't speak English well. However, just point or say the address to him and he'll get things done. Luckily, I spoke a little bit of Portuguese and my wife speaks fluently so it wasn't too bad. Genuinely speaking, this guy is great. I assure you that I do not know this man but I'm just writing this because I want nice guys like him to succeed. I was tired of ridiculous taxi prices and gimmicks in Rio just because I am from America. Paulo was the only one that respected us and let us be. You got to call this guy. Give him a chance.
Upon collecting your luggage you will move through the secure customs area and after exciting this area you will move onto the main airport concourse. From here on, depending on the time of day, things can be quite hectic.
As well as the girls at the taxi desks trying to get your attention, so they can sell a ride into the city, you will often also have a variety of other ‘unofficial’ taxi drivers tugging at your sleeve in the hopes they can sell you a ride to your hotel. Under no circumstances should you accept a ride from someone unless they work for an officially registered taxi company. Choose to ignore this and you could find that the journey costs far, far more than you anticipated. You may be charged a lot of money, you may robbed, or you may be left standing on the side of the road without any of your belongings.
It is possible to take a yellow taxi from the airport, but either be prepared to pay whatever they choose to charge you, or be prepared to bargain, in Portuguese. Even if the taxi driver speaks some English they will pretend that they don’t. If you are ripped off by a taxi driver in Rio don't take it too badly, many Brazilian's not native to the Cidade Marvelhosa also find themselves paying more than a local would pay when travelling from the airport.
Keep in mind that, like taxi companies all over the world, Rio de Janeiro has its fair share of good drivers, and those who will exploit the fact that you don't speak the language, and don't know how much you should pay.
Another option is the ‘executive’ style taxi companies. These companies operate a reliable ‘fixed rate’ service from the airport to any destination. Their desks can be located on the main concourse, and will generally be right in front of you as you exit the luggage collection/customs area. Although these companies will charge more, you will not have to haggle with them, and in the long run you may find that you’ve paid less than if you’d taken a yellow taxi and then been overcharged.
‘Executive’ taxis operate a fleet of more upmarket vehicles, generally only 2-3 years old, with air-conditioning, safety belts etc. Some companies can now be found on the internet, although they may not speak English. Some, such as Rio Airport Transfer(www.rioairporttransfer.com), will allow you to book and pay online prior to arriving in Rio, as well as offering a meet and greet service.
Many travellers are cautious when visiting Rio De Janeiro and rightfully so. It is a crime ridden city but being cautious and smart will end up with most travellers having a fantastic time. Rios taxis are excellent for zipping around (some at break neck speed !) and charge about R 5 per km. Radio taxis are more expensive but safe and charge about R 80 from the International airport. I have taken the local taxis as well as Radio taxis and as long as you select a representable looking taxi, you will unlikely go wrong. Be smart and take one if you are nervous.
There are rogue taxis that are yellow and even have meters, but they don't have a permit displayed as required by law. We flagged one down at one end of Atlantica in Copacabana, for a short trip to the other end, and didn't notice until halfway there that the meter was already at R9. The trip usually costs only R8. It was early Friday evening (about 6pm) and we didn't feel like arguing, so we paid a couple extra dollars and chalked it up to experience. The next day we traveled the same distance on Nossa Senhora, and the fare was R7.50. I handed the driver a 10 and he handed me back a 5. I refused it and he figured out what I needed was a 2. Passengers are expected to round up to the next real, although on one ride the fare was 15.10 and I got back 5 for my 20. I would have tipped him but I thought he took the long way around; on the other hand, the route provided great views and maybe it avoided traffic delays. The meters measure mostly distance, not time, so speed is of the essence and journeys are exhilarating. As a local explained to me, though, you don't see many accidents because cars cost twice as much as in the States and people take better care of them.
I am a frequent traveler to Rio. I assume you have already made reservations at your Hotel. If so, ask if they can provide an airport pickup for you. This is best because the driver will meet you, with your name on a placard, and can take you directly to your Hotel. If not, your being a single woman; I would get an airport taxi to your destination. These cabs are metered, and you can confirm an approximate fare from the airport lobby taxi booth. Leblond, and Ipanema are very safe places, and their beaches are nice and safe. Look like you belong and blend with the Brazilians and you will be fine. Just always be aware of your surroundings, use your street sense and you will be fine. Do you have any friends in Rio that you communicate with? I am sure that they can give you good advice. If you have any questions on where to go and what to see, just send me an email.
The cabs you see that aren't yellow can be different colours, but the largest and most common companies use blue cars and white cars, depending on the company. These companies have nicer cars with air-con, alloys, often tinted windows etc and if you pre-book through a site like Rio Airport Transfer then they'll generally meet you after you've collected your luggage at the airport ands show you to your car. Depending on your state of mind and familiarity with visiting places like Brazil this may be a nice option as it offers you a little bit of security and peace of mind. But, if you're a seasoned traveller used to bartering with taxi drivers and wise to their tricks then a yellow cab will get you to your hotel just fine.
Once in the central city you'll generally find that cab drivers are much more up front and less inclined to ripping off the tourists.
You know, my original aim in Rio was to use the taxis. A lot of people here seemed to recommened them. But as time went on, I think the bus is your best bet to go for cheaper fares. You can take taxis from almost anywhere around town. Make sure it's the ones with the red liscence plate as those are the "official" taxis here in Rio. From what I've gathered, taxis are more expensive then the buses so unless you got money to burn try to use the bus instead. See if you can bargain with the taxi driver if your Portuguese is good enough, maybe you'll get a better deal!
We've just returned from Rio and we had a very good experience with Rio Airport Transfer. They offer a very reliable transport service from Rio de Janeiro airport to hotels in Leblon,Ipanema,Copacabana and most areas of Rio,Brazil.
We felt much safer using this company than a normal yellow taxi and they provided a meet and greet service at the airport - good for more mature folk like us on vacation in Brazil for the first time.
Rio's Santos Dumont airport handles mainly domestic flights, private planes. Named after the Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, the airport is situated right next to the city.
If you are arriving from Sao Paulo at Rio's SDU, you shall find the 3 prepaid taxi booth on one side of the small luggage pick up area. The fare for various parts of the city are clearly marked on the wall behind the booths.
Staff spoke OK English. You pay the fare at the booth, and will get a voucher. The staff will instruct you to proceed to the proper exit where you will show the voucher to the red or blue taxis, waiting there.
The taxi driver will take his portion of the voucher, and take you to the location as per your instruction.
We paid 34 R for the drive to Arpordor, which is the same fare as Copacabana. Driver spoke pretty good English.
And didn't ask for tips or anything.
I highly recommend taking this prepaid route for first timers, as already mentioned by other VT members, this saves all the guessing and is not that more expensive than taking a meter taxi.
At the end of our trip, we took a yellow meter taxi from Leblon Marina Palace to SDU, and it costed 30 R , so there you go.
BTW Marina Palace offered us shuttle service but the rate was a joke.
The yellow cabs are the most reliable when you want to take a taxi in the airport...As soon as you get to the airport you will see some taxi stands right in front of the gate...do not go there...get outseide the airport and try to catch a taxi from the street..They generally charge way less than the airport list of prices...
You can say..ME LEVA ATÉ COPA POR 40 REAIS...which means "take me to Copa for 40 reais".
They will accept for sure!!!!
Also, always choose a middle aged or senior driver, they are mostly the most reliable:)))))
One very important tip, in the beach area of Copacabana and Ipanema, pay attention in the corners of the streets, there are always TAXI STOPS, they are the safer and reliable ways to take a taxi in the city!!!
This one was taken in the corner of Almirante Gonçalves Street to the Atlantica Avenue in Copacabana Beach, close to Debret Hotel!
June 19th, 2006
I can remember many cities in the world that you just F.A.R.T and 3 or 4 taxis will stop right in front of you!!! :))))
AND BELIEVE ME, NOW, RIO DE JANEIRO....
THE CARS ARE ALL YELLOW, AND ALWAYS TAKE A TAXI WHEN YOU SEE IN THE CAR THE TELEPHONE NUMBERS OF THEIR COMPANIES, IT IS ALWAYS WRITTEN IN THE SIDES OF THE CAR.
Taxi in Rio is not so expensive but I would not say it is cheap either!!!
Short rides can cost around 10 dollars, but from beach to beach you may spend around 5 dollars!!!
I am very sad to say so, but in Buenos aires, taxis ARE ABSOLUTELY CHEAP!;)
Use a taxi
safest way by far - try and get a metered one but failing that haggle, but do not get into one with blacked out rear windows!
USE A TAXI
it is not worth thinking i can walk, its only around the block - trust me read the rest of my tips and you will see why!