Rio Travel Tips

If you’re traveling to Rio for the Summer Games, you’re going to have a blast. The Roadtrips team has spent a lot of time in the Cidade Maravilhosa (one of the city’s nicknames, which translates as the Marvellous City) over the past few years. We were in Rio for the World Cup, and have visited many times since in order to plan for our Summer Games visit next year. We truly love the city, and wanted to share some travel tips with those who are planning to go either for the Games or any other time. Here are some of our Rio travel tips:

  • The official language in Brazil in Portuguese, and although yes, some people will speak English it isn’t commonly spoken. So, if you can find a local guide to help you navigate the city you’re going to have a much easier time (we use local hosts to help our guests have the best time possible). At the very least take an English – Portuguese dictionary with you or download a translation app to your smartphone.
  • Tipping is always appreciated in Rio, despite the fact that a 10% service charge is automatically added to your bill by restaurants and hotels. If you take a taxi, it is common to just round up whatever the fare is. Service staff will often be the breadwinners for their families, so being generous with them is a cool thing to do (especially if they’ve given you exceptional service).
  • ATMs are plentiful in the city, but in our experience they don’t always work, may not always work with common US bank cards, and sometimes are programmed to only dispense small amounts of money. So, we advise always having a little cash on hand. However, you won’t have any trouble using your Visa or Mastercard in most places, and in high-end restaurants and hotels American Express is widely accepted too.
  • When we take guests to Rio, we tend to use taxis and pre-chartered private vehicles, but there is a fairly new metro system that is considered safe and easy to navigate (and more lines are being added in preparation for the Summer Games). There’s an extensive bus system too, and it will get you pretty much wherever you need to go in the city, but if you use it be sure to keep a close eye on your belongings and we don’t advise using the buses at night. You can rent a car in Rio, but the traffic can be crazy, and there are lots of one way systems in the city that make driving a bit of a nightmare so most visitors don’t bother.
  • Most people don’t go out for dinner in Rio until after 8pm. So, if you want to eat at a popular restaurant, you might have more luck going for an earlier (by Brazilian standards) dinner. But, if you want to soak up the atmosphere while you eat, plan on dining late. Most restaurants do not take reservations though, so keep that in mind (and maybe have a back-up destination in mind in case you can’t get seated in a reasonable amount of time).

Want to get to the Summer Games in Rio? We can help get you there, and arrange everything from accommodations to getting you to your favourite events to excursions in and around Rio. Check out our Summer Games packages and contact us to find out how we can build you the trip of your dreams.

I booked through Roadtrips for my trip to the Summer Games in London in 2012. They had everything well organized and all the details taken care of. I had a problem with my daughters"s passport and she arrived a day later. They went out of their way to help us and work with us. I am going with them to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio and can't wait!
— Margo Murray, Summer Games