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Arriving at Rio airport

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Melbourne, Australia
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Arriving at Rio airport

Hello,

I am a young female travelling to Rio during Carnival in March next year. I will need to fly into Rio from America alone and meet my friend at our accommodation in Ipanema - I'm wondering how safe it will be? I have never travelled internationally by myself so I'm a bit worried about this, especially as it will be during Carnival.

Also, is the airport quite easy to navigate? What is the customs process like?

Thank you for your advice!

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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1. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

Hi

On the airport you have a *taxi coordinator* who also speak english , there you can order a taxi directly to your hotell or flat to meet your friend.

Also you can take the bus with Ac, nice bus, and they drop you in copacobana beach.

DJ

Philadelphia...
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2. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

My advice would be to book a prepaid radio taxi at the airport. Peace of mind is very important when you first arrive at an unfamiliar destination.

Immediately upon exiting the customs clearance area at GIG, you will find three or four booths for the radio taxis. Just speak with any one of the attendants and pay for your taxi (cash or credit card). Process takes about three minutes.

You’ll be given a slip and told where to meet your driver outside of the terminal. You then hand the driver the slip, tell him the name of your hotel, and you are immediately on your way.

Radio taxis are new, clean, and the drivers, most of whom speak English, are professional and trustworthy. You pay a bit more, but you do avoid the usual hassles.

Safety tips for first-timers in Rio:

http://bit.ly/113p9Yf

Fortaleza, CE
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3. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

#1 may need elaboration. You will go through Immigration, get your bags (after which you can shop at a duty free store if you like), go through Customs (don't have to fill out a form unless you have something to declare, though even in the "nothing to declare" line you could get pulled aside for a random check), then you'll pass kiosks for a couple of flat-rate "radio taxi" companies. They do cost more than regular metered taxis, though some prefer them because you can pay by credit card and always know the fare in advance (though I understand even metered taxis have flat rates to Ipanema, etc. now).

If you exit the terminal, you'll see a long line of metered taxis, and a coordinator who will tell you the fare and direct you to a taxi. If in doubt, there are information desks in the terminal (as well as more kiosks for the radio taxi companies). Do not pay attention to people who approach you inside the terminal and ask if you want to change money or if you need a taxi.

The cheapest option is the REAL bus, which runs on a fixed route but you can walk from its route to your hotel if you don't have a lot of bags (or take a taxi). It's nicer than a regular city bus. If you're apprehensive, I'd take a metered taxi. You can take the bus when you depart (ask your hotel where to catch the bus).

Edited: 23 August 2013, 14:38
Fortaleza, CE
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4. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

p.s. by "pre-paid" re radio taxis, the poster means you pay before the ride, at the airport. You don't have to book in advance. Some hotels offer special car services, and you do pay in advance, but the ones I've seen charge more than even the radio taxis.

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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5. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

Take the metered cab, considering it's your first time abroad by yourself - as stated by Sutter, just ignore people approaching you at arrivals and head to the line outside to catch a regular yellow cab (which runs on the meter). It's also less expensive than the radio taxi (~30% less expensive), which is prepaid and booked from inside the terminal.

Philadelphia...
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6. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

Yellow metered taxis can sometimes be problematic. It’s very likely that 90% of metered drivers are honest and trustworthy, but as TripAdvisor points out in its Rio Travel Guide, you may occasionally encounter a swindler driving a metered cab. Recently a metered taxi driver caused injury by driving away to avoid giving a passenger R$4 in change:

http://bit.ly/VfCGYT

Taxis in Rio:

http://bit.ly/153rfMD

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

Thank you for all of your helpful replies! That's very much appreciated. In terms of navigating through customs and picking up my bag, is it a difficult and lengthy process or will it be relatively smooth?

Thanks!

Philadelphia...
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8. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

It's impossible to say because a lot depends on the number of international flights landing around the same time that you arrive; but GIG isn't huge, so it is likely you'll pass through customs fairly quickly.

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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9. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

GIG is a very oldfashioned airport, which seems to have been left in the 1970s. So it really depends on the number of flights arriving at the time. The bagage claim system is old and not efficient, and space there is minimum, so if there are many flights, you'll probably wait a little to get your stuff. Immigration, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be that slow from what my foreign friends say.

Stuttgart, Germany
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10. Re: Arriving at Rio airport

That sounds great - I am wondering about the process and time, too. We can arrange airport shuttle through our hotel. But the shuttle runs every full hour and needs to booked in advance. We will arrive on a Sunday morning at 6.30 am and I wonder if we will make it for the first shuttle at 8 am? I will order this only if it is for sure that we can make it. Otherwise we will not causing any trouble and will better take a pre-paid taxi.