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Travel to Rio de Janeiro

Flying to Rio de Janeiro

British Airways operates direct flights to Rio from the UK. Airlines offering indirect options include Air France (via Paris), TAP Portugal (via Lisbon), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt) and Iberia (via Madrid). Carriers operating direct flights from the USA include TAM Linhas Aéreas and American Airlines.

Rio is a popular destination all year round, especially during the Brazilian summer (December to March). Cheaper flights can be found outside those months, but if you are planning to travel during the Christmas holiday or in February, close to carnival time, book well in advance.

Flight times:

From London – 11 hours 30 minutes; New York – 10 hours; Los Angeles – 15 hours (including stopover); Toronto – 10 hours 20 minutes; Sydney – 19 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

Summary:

Brazil’s road system is extensive and diverse but driving through the world’s fifth biggest country is still a daunting task. Road conditions are adequate although signage is poor. Motorists drive fast and aggressively, including in Rio.

Traffic drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18 years. Everyone in a car must wear a seatbelt. The speed limit on highways is 120kph (75mph) and drops to 30kph (19mph) in built-up areas.

Drivers should carry a driving licence from their country of origin at all times. Technically an authorised Portuguese translation is required, although rarely asked for. Third-party liability insurance is required by law.

Touring Club Do Brasil (tel: +55 21 3824 6700; www.touring.com.br) provides information and assistance to foreign motorists in cities and on highways as long as the driver is a member of a similar organisation in their own country.

Emergency breakdown service:

Touring Club Do Brasil (tel: +55 21 3824 6700).

Routes:

The BR-116 from Porto Alegre passes through Curitiba, where it picks up traffic from Foz do Iguaçu and continues on through São Paulo, all the way to Rio de Janeiro. Coastal highway BR-101 runs from Natal, through Salvador to Rio de Janeiro and beyond.

However, there is a faster inland route from Salvador on BR-116, which connects with the BR-040 from Brasilia at Belo Horizonte. The BR-116 and BR-040 lead into Rio along Avenida Brasil. The main highway continues along the coast before emerging from Túnel Novo at Copacabana. From here, the Avenida Atlântica runs alongside the beach to Ipanema and Leblon.

Coaches:

International and interstate buses operate from the Terminal Rodoviária Novo Rio, Avenida Francisco Bicalho, in Santo Cristo. International services go to Asunción (Paraguay), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay) and Santiago (Chile).

Pluma (tel: 0800 646 0300, in Brazil only; www.pluma.com.br) serves international and national routes. Interstate buses travel to major Brazilian cities and tourist centres.

There are many service providers, including Pluma, Real Expresso (tel: +55 21 3907 3900; www.realexpresso.com.br), Auto Viação 1001 (tel: +55 21 4004 5001; www.autoviacao1001.com.br) and Expresso Brasileiro (tel: 0300 700 9000, in Brazil only; www.expressobrasileiro.com), which operate a regular service to São Paulo.
 

Travel by rail

Services:

From London – 11 hours 30 minutes; New York – 10 hours; Los Angeles – 15 hours (including stopover); Toronto – 10 hours 20 minutes; Sydney – 19 hours (including stopover).

Operators:

From London – 11 hours 30 minutes; New York – 10 hours; Los Angeles – 15 hours (including stopover); Toronto – 10 hours 20 minutes; Sydney – 19 hours (including stopover).

Journey times:

From London – 11 hours 30 minutes; New York – 10 hours; Los Angeles – 15 hours (including stopover); Toronto – 10 hours 20 minutes; Sydney – 19 hours (including stopover).