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do i have sufficient time between flights?

Sydney, Australia
8 posts
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do i have sufficient time between flights?

Our flights have been changed to include an long stop over in Rio International. Arrives 7am and check in for departure 3.30pm. We have looked at a personal tour of Christ the Redeemer, Selenco stairs, Santa Theresa and Centro walking tour. I wondered how long I should allow to get out of customs, collect bag, find luggage storage area etc so I could give an approximate time to meet the tour operator? Is this itinery too ambitious? Is there anything other destination we should consider ( not interested in the beaches as from Australia)? What time should we allow to leave Centro and get back to airport in plenty of time for check in? Is early check in an option?

I appreciate your input!

Philadelphia...
Destination Expert
for Rio de Janeiro
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1. Re: do i have sufficient time between flights?

You'll barely have time to do anything, given your arrival and departure times. Planes don't always arrive on schedule, so don't count on a 7 a.m. arrival, and it's possible it could take you well over an hour just to get through the airport.

The sensible thing to do would be just to wait it out at the airport unless you hire in advance a guide who could purchase tickets for you for Christ the Redeemer, quickly drive you there (at least 45 minutes), wait possibly as long as an hour in line for the train, spend a half- hour there, then drive back to the airport, hopefully by 1:30 p.m.

Frankly, I don't think it's worth the hassle.

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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for Rio de Janeiro
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2. Re: do i have sufficient time between flights?

Well, 7am is the exact time when basically several flights from Europe and North America arrive in Brazil, so it's a busy time. Depending on various circumstances, you may take up to 40min to retrieve your bags then you'll have to wait in line in immigration (which can be fast or not - it really depends on the number of flights coming from abroad). GIG is a horrible airport, not efficient at all. However, if you have a guide who will pick you up and pass lines at the Christ, I think you could visit this single attraction and immediately head back to the airport. The return trip to the airport should be faster.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: do i have sufficient time between flights?

Wow, not exactly what I wanted to hear but glad you told me before we forked out hundreds of dollars for a personal guide!

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: do i have sufficient time between flights?

On re-reading my message I think it reads as plane leaves at 3pm when it is check in at 3pm for flight out at 5,30pm - does that change your thoughts at all?

boston, ma
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5. Re: do i have sufficient time between flights?

We had almost exactly this much time on a layover last week and were able to get out of the airport for long enough to make it worthwhile. Our flight was scheduled to land around 7:30 (from Miami) and was maybe a half an hour late or so, and we took time at the airport talking to the woman at RioTur for info, as well as re-sorting our stuff so that we could leave almost all of our baggage and travel light into town.

(There are lockers upstairs on the Departures level outside the door and to the left. I think the sign reads "Malex do Brasil - Guarda do Volumes" and there is an attendant you buy the key from so you don't need exact change).

Our flight to Fox do Iguacu was at 5:30 and we were told we needed to be back headed out of town to the airport again by 1:30, for check-in at 3:30, which is what we did. We actually just hopped on the airport bus and took it all the way to Copacabana and then hopped the bus back again at around 1:30. I know you said you didn't want to do beaches, but our bus trip was sort of a tour of the city since it goes through Centro and along the shore to get there and was a good intro to the city for when we got back into Rio later in our trip.

And going to Copacabana Beach was more about the scene than the beach itself for us. We walked on the boardwalk and had a nice lunch, as well as spending some time scouting out carnival tickets before it was time to get the bus back. (Note: we were told to allow 2 hours for the bus each way, but it did not take us nearly that long either way, although it was not a business day).

Christ Redeemer is a little closer to the airport and as noted, if you have pre-scheduled tickets already taken care of, which we did when we eventually went, then it's probably no more than a 1.5 hour excursion, including waiting for your train to board, the train up, looking around at the top, waiting again for a train down, and the train down itself.

If you're doing the layover I would suggest changing some money before you leave home so that you arrive with Brazilian currency in-hand -- that will save you time on landing, and elsewhere in this forum you will see a lot of concerns about the ATMs at GIG.

Also, if there's any chance you can avoid checking your bags you of course avoid the wait at the baggage claim (and get a jump on getting out through the customs line, although that was fast if you're going through the green "nothing to declare" lane).

6. Re: do i have sufficient time between flights?

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