Get a Taxi, Rio de Janeiro
Taxis are reasonably priced. A very comfortable way to move around Rio if you are a tourist and you are there for a short time. At least in my opinion. A 20 minutes ride in the city centre cost me about 20 reals, approximately USD 7.
The first time before getting on a taxi I asked my guide is it safe to take a taxi because I was warned to be careful in Buenos Aires and I was wondering if the same applies for Rio. She told me that in Rio the taxi drivers have to worry about the passengers not the vice versa :)
It is important for you to know that the Taxis in Rio de Janeiro have taximeters by law. They have a metal seel that can't be broken. The taxis that belong to a Cooperative (they usualy have names starting Coop) are the ones to take. They have set prices and always use the taximeter. And also if something goes wrong remind yourself of getting the taxi number and calling to his company. From 6 am to 9 pm the "Bandeira 1" is the one you should see on the taximeter. It charges R$ 0,80 per kilometer and it goes from Monday to Saturday. Between 9 pm and 6 am the "Bandeira 2" is the one used. It costs R$ 0,96 the kilometer. This applies also to Sundays, hollidays and the entire month of December. The "bandeirada" a set price when you get inside the taxi is always R$ 2,50 no matter what time it is. If at night when you enter in the cab and see marked more than that, tell the guy to set it right or then take another taxi. Do not be fooled by them! If you want a taxi to wait for you the set price for each hour is R$ 10,50. If you have luggage to put in the trunck you should not pay more than R$ 0,80 per item as far as 60x30 centimeters. If you know this no one can charge you more than they should. You can tip them as much as 10% of the ride but no more than that. Another thing. Brazilian drivers are very hot tempered so don't go inside taxis that are all beatten up. I had my share of stories with a few, and I would not like to do it again!
Don't bother with the buses just to save a few pennies. The cabs are numerous, convienient and the majority of them are not going to try and rip you off.
If you want to go up to Corcovado, but don't want to bother with the train or, as some people do, the walk, just find a decent cab and decide with the guy what you want and then arrange a price....no big deal! We had the guy take us up there, wait for us while we looked around and then take us right back to where we started from.
Note: Cabs are not as easy to get to come back as they are to get there.
A taxi from the international airport to either Copacabana or Ipanema should cost somewhere between 40 and 55 reias. When I arrived, I was approached by a cabbie who was offering me a ride for 140. He showed me a rate sheet that showed the normal rate as 185. What a joke! Of course, his "taxi" was not a real cab. No meter. It didn't even look like a cab. Your best bet is to take a yellow cab that says "radio" on it. Normally, these cabs are 10 or 20% more expensive than non-radio cabs, but they are safer and more reliable. Some taxi drivers are criminals and will drive you straight to a favela where you can be kidnapped, so I'd rather pay the extra 20% and have some peace of mind.
After your first daytime ride in a cab in Rio you will realize that they really are the most convenient way of getting around. Most of them have some degree of air conditioning, some powered by a compressor, others by a little mouse running around on a wheel. Nevertheless you will grow quite accustomed to these little yellow chariots.
You will also realize that riding in one during the night hours is a little different from riding in one during the day. As the night gets later, so the the driver's right foot gets heavier. Also, at night it is acceptable to run red lights. A lot of this is to prevent any robberies at red lights when the car is at a standstill.
SOLUTION: Don't stop! On one entertaining trip home from Barra to Copacabana at around 3am the cab must have been doing 60mph down the main street blowing right through the red lights. Needless to say that with our level of intoxication it seemed as though everything was quite normal.
It is highly recommended to use a taxi for getting around Rio. Many of the drivers speak English (maybe is good to ask before enter )and the fare is not extremely expensive. Yellow taxis are plentiful and you can't miss them (look for yellow cars with a blue stripe). These are metered. The fare goes up after 9:00pm weekdays and all weekend. The normal tip for the driver is R$1 Do not pre-pay the driver. It is illegal for the driver to ask for pre-payment and it usually means he/she has inflated the price. Let the meter speak for you. Always ask the driver how much it will cost before you get into the cab. It gives the impression that you know where you are going. By luck, you may get to ride in an air-conditioned Yellow taxi.
You may consider renting the cab and the driver to take you wherever you want to go and at any time. It is a lot cheaper than renting a car. The best way to find out who is an honest and reliable driver is to ask at your hotel.
These cabs are bigger and usually have air-conditioning. They are usually painted in white or blue or red. To arrange a ride, you have to call the cab company and provide details as to what time to pick up and where to drop off. There are several radio taxi companies in Rio so it is best to call around. Some cabs have meters and others are flat rate.
Although Lonely Planet doesn't seem to have a problem with shared vans, Let's Go says to avoid these because they are illegal and controlled by the mob, I'd recommend avoiding them because you will have NO idea where they are going unless you speak Portugese. We were making the long trek from our hotel to Marius, at opposite ends of Copacabana beach, and when we realized we would never get there on foot, we went to hail a taxi and one of these vans stopped. We hopped in thinking they were similar to the ones in Playa del Carmen that run along a major road but before we got to the end of Av. Atlantica, the driver turned and we had to get out. They charged us R$1.90 each when we exited and we walked the rest of the way.
On the way back we tried it again but the driver turned almost immediately but then made another left on a street parallel to Av. Atlantica. My usually calm husband started getting nervous that we were going way out of our way (I thought we were fine because I could still see where the beach was) so we hopped out after a bit and walked back to our hotel.
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:)))))
It's more expensive if you take one of the black (I think I remember them being black) taxi's from the airport to wherever you're staying in Rio. There's a few taxi counters when you exit the airport arrivals. My advice is to avoid them and take a yellow city taxi as they'll be cheaper. Just make sure the meter is turned on.
Taxi's in Rio are good and affordable and I've had no problems with them. I've only really used them to get from the airport and back as the metro and buses in the city are very good. The taxi's are yellow with a small blue strip running down the side. The drivers of them are all drive like the late Aryton Senna so be prepared for an exhilarating ride!
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.
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.
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
Also was impressed by the public taxi service in Rio de Janeiro, characterized by the yellow color of their units. No dealing about prices since the taxi cabs use taximeters (get sure they set it in after you get in). The service is cheap, e.g. to go from my apartment in Arpoador to Centro Empresarial do Rio, in Botafogo, the price ranged between 8 reais (no traffic jam) and 10 reais (with traffic jam). The units are also comfortable.
I think it is a cheap and safe way to go especially at nights or to far places. Really recommendable option.
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.