Above all, we want to reassure you, Rio de Janeiro unfortunately has a reputation for violence and danger which is very far from corresponding to reality. If this city was a cutthroat, we wouldn't take so much pleasure in helping you discover it.
That said, like everywhere in big cities, there are rules to follow to be quiet
- Leave your passport at the hotel and always have a photocopy with you.
- Do not walk around with large amounts of money on you. Put your money in a secret pocket, underwear or in a belt provided for this purpose and always have a note of $R 20 or 50 in a pocket to give if necessary...
- Avoid carrying a watch (the time is everywhere in Rio), designer handbags, jewelery or a gold chain while walking.
- Avoid using your Canon or Nikon type cameras in uncrowded places and do not carry it over your shoulder but in a bag.
- Do not walk around with the smartphone in your hand or glued to your ear.
- Withdraw cash only from ATMs inside banks and carry only one credit card.
First of all, know that you are recognizable from afar because your way of walking, of being dressed, of not being tanned (not yet), in short of not being a carioca, makes you identified as a stranger. So follow these recommendations:
Rio's subway is the simplest in the world: there are only three lines, the last one opened only 5 days before the Olympics, the line n°4 (there is no line n°3 for the moment...)
- Line 1 (orange) and 4 (yellow): line 4 goes from Jardim Oceânico, the beginning of the Barra district to General Osòrio, the beginning of Ipanema and line 1 from General Osòrio to Uruguaì in the Tijuca district. In fact the line is Jardim Oceânico - Uruguaì.
- Line 2 (green) from Botafogo to Pavuna in the extreme north near Ilha do Governador where there is the international airport. This is the line that takes you directly to the Maracaña stadium for the fans.
There is no shortage of buses in Rio and fortunately the metro is ridiculous compared to the size of the city with its 6.5 million Cariocas. There is no map or indication so ask your hotel which bus to take and, once on the bus, ask to be told where to get off. Download the Moovit application on your smartphone for more convenience. The fare of the ride (whatever it is) is fixed at $R 4.30 and you pay either with a preloaded card or directly to the driver (no ticket) (motorista). Have change ready or at least do not pay with a $R 50 (or even $20) bill because you may have to get off the bus because you have no change (troco). Once paid, you pass. Then, in the bus, sit down (or hang on!) because the driver often drives with his foot stuck on the pedal and does not look at what is happening behind (or sometimes around the bus, only in front...).
The ferries (barcas in Portuguese) are located in the Centro de Rio, Praça XV de Novembro to go to the other side of Guanabarra Bay to Niteroi either at the landing stage of Arariboia in the heart of Niteroi, or at Charitas, a from the beaches of Niteroi, located in front of the Parque da Cidade where paragliding is practiced. Ferries also leave for a beautiful island located in Guanabara Bay, the island of Paqueta but also on Governor's Island (Cocota station). You can even reach Angra dos Reis, Ilha Grande and Mangaratiba on the Costa Verde. To consult fares and timetables, see: https://www.grupoccr.com.br/barcas/estacoes/praca-xv?id=1
Yes, credit cards (mainly Visa and Mastercard, less American Express) are accepted everywhere, even for small amounts. You will be asked the question "debito" or "credito" and you will always have to answer "credito" before entering your code.
And to withdraw cash from the ATM (they are always located in banks, even in some pharmacies, never on the street), go only to certain banks that accept foreign cards:Bradesco, Itau or Santander. A tax of 20 reais is taken with each withdrawal and often the amount is limited to 2 or 3000 $R. You can, however, start over.
Avoid making the Euro-Real or Dollar-Real exchange in your country, arriving at the airport in Rio or at the hotel, the exchange rates are much better in the exchange offices in the city. The Euro is preferred to the US$. The rate charged is often the interbank rate of the day, or a few cents below. There are offices in Copacabana, Ipanema, Botafogo etc. and they are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday (except holidays) and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
You can go to Copacabana, Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, 371, 3 or 4 offices are located around and do not hesitate to ask at least 2 to make your change
When you go to the restaurant, the prices displayed on the menu are always without service tax. But on the bill is added a service tax of 10%, or even a little more in some restaurants. So, tips are not obligatory and come in addition. However leaving a tip for Brazilians means that you have appreciated his service or his work and it is always nice to have a gratification. It's the same for guides and drivers
The Rio hippie market, in Portuguese "feira hippie", is located at Ipanema Praça do General Osório and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Sunday. It is the best known market in Rio and frequented by both tourists and Brazilians. You will find all types of souvenirs, crafts, leather goods, clothing, jewellery... The prices are attractive and the same for everyone. You can negotiate if you pay cash but you have to buy several items
If you want to discover tropical fruits, vegetables, fish, etc., nothing better than to walk around the markets where the traders will offer you to taste before buying (if you want). They are everywhere in Rio every day. Here is a one day – one market list:
- Monday: Rua Gustavo Sampaio, Leme
- Tuesday: Praça General Osòrio, Ipanema
- Wednesday: Praça Edmundo Bittencourt, Copacabana
- Thursday: Rua Ronald de Carvalho, Copacabana
- Friday: Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz, Ipanema
- Saturday: Rua Frei Leandro, Lagòa
- Sunday: Praça Tenente Gil Guilherme, Urca
A churrascaria where you will taste a churrasco is actually a grill restaurant where meats seized over a wood fire are presented to you on large skewers. You choose your piece and it is cut in front of you. At will so do not rush from the first spikes. The most popular cut is the picanha (beef) but there is also lamb, pork, veal, chicken... There are many churrascarias in Rio, we will only mention 3 of the most famous
Churrascaria Palace next to Copacabana Palace, rua Rodolfo Dantas 16, the best with excellent service.
But there is also one, the very famous :Assador, av. Infante Dom Henrique in the Flamengo district with a very nice view of the Sugar Loaf.
And finally,Carretão Ipanema, rua Visconde de Pirajà, 112 (in fact in Praça General Osório, see hippie market), cheaper than the first two and just as good.