Rio: Things to know

All your pre-visit and on-location info, from taxis and tipping to visas, vaccinations and weather. As a rule, it’s rarely cold weather wear, and it’s always a good time to go


Brazilian Portuguese

Time zone



Brazilian Real (BRL R$)

Country dialling code



On average, the temperatures are always tropical. Rio’s summer (December to March) is referred to by locals as ‘inferno’ as it’s hot, hot, hot, but can also be unpredictable. From January to April expect sporadic and intense rainfall, with April being typically the wettest month. Rio’s winter (June to August) temperatures stay around 20C (70F) and can fall as low as 14C, which for locals, means full winter jackets

When to visit

A year-round destination, when to visit depends on what type of experience you seek. Peak season falls from December to March, bookended by New Year and Carnival, it’s defined by packed beaches, higher rates, scorching sunshine and a serious party vibe. For less crowded beaches, lower prices and cooler temperature, visit during autumn (April and May) or spring (October and November)


Brazil has a reciprocal visa system, so if your home country requires Brazilian nationals to secure a visa, then you’ll need one to enter Brazil. Visit to check if you need a visa


Courses or boosters usually advised: Hepatitis A; Tetanus. Other vaccines to consider: Diphtheria; Rabies; Typhoid; Yellow Fever. Neither malaria pills or yellow fever vaccination certificates are required


Type C/N (two- and three-prong)


10-12%% is standard and always already included on the bill


Federal Police: 194; military Police: 190; fire Services: 193; ambulance: 192

Tourist info

Call into one of Zona Sul’s Rio’s many tourist offices for brochures, maps and guidebooks. You may also want to read up on health and safety in the city before you go

Getting there

Airlines and airports: Rio de Janeiro has two airports, Galeão International airport and Santos Dumont National Airport, serviced by most international airlines

Transfers: For both airports, it’s safe to queue up for one of the regular, licensed ‘taxi comuns’ that wait in a row outside the airport. Alternative services as you leave arrivals will try to get you to pre-pay a higher rate, but there is no need. Taxis cost on average R$50 to the international airport and R$20-R$30 to the local airport from Zona Sul. For Galeão, there is a 2018 bus service to Zona Sul that leaves every hour. The best and quickest way is to book a driver or a taxi, or 3if you’d rather drive yourself, you can research car hire here

Getting around

Public transport: The metro in Rio de Janeiro is functional if limited, with one primary line travelling from Ipanema, through Copacabana, Botafogo all the way to Centro. Works are currently being completed to extend this out to Leblon, São Conrado and Barra. Extensive bus routes are the most common form of public transport, but can be slow

Cycle hire: Cycling around town is easy thanks to Bike Rio bicycles, commonly referred to as the Itau Bikes. Download the app and hire a cycle for up to 24 hours from R$5 or R$10 (valid for 30 days). Alternatively, hire a bike for the day from one of the stands set up around the Lagoa

Cabs: Taxi apps such as Uber, EasyTaxi and 99Taxis are trustworthy and reliable. When hailing a taxi off the street, it’s recommended to avoid unlicensed taxis or take one from a registered taxi stand

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