Rio de Janeiro Transit Tips

Tips for getting around Rio de Janeiro on public transit trouble free

  • The best and safest mode of public transit in Rio de Janeiro is the Metro system and the integrated bus lines that extend it. Regular city buses can be confusing and should be avoided altogether at night. We cover a lot of tips to help you have a good experience with public transit during your visit to Rio, but you should also read through all of the other sections covering each mode of transit so that you gain a good understanding of how the entire system works.

  • Always double check where you sat just before exiting any public transit vehicle to ensure you've left nothing behind. People are always loosing their wallets, purses, cellphones, umbrellas, jewellery, or fare cards on the seats of buses and trains. Loosing something can put a real damper on your day or even your entire vacation, so always double check that you have all your belongings with you before getting off. If you do loose or forget something on a transit vehicle, try to remember the route, direction of travel and approximate time it was lost and call the customer service at either 0800 595 1111 or 4003-2111. You can also inquire in person at the service office located in Carioca station.

  • Quick Fare Tips: Have the proper amount of cash or a prepaid fare card ready for purchasing your fare and avoid taking your wallet out in order to pay. Be sure to read our page on fares.

  • Quick Metro Tips: For a more relaxing trip avoid the busiest part of the weekday rush hour from 8 to 10am and 5 to 8pm. Always stand well behind the yellow line on train platforms and be careful of the gap between the platform and the train when boarding. Remember that the Metro is not open 24hrs. Don't get caught out late after it closes.

  • Bus Tips: Avoid riding buses late at night and don't keep your wallet in a back or outside pocket where it might be snatched. Make sure you research your route ahead. Inquire at your hotel if you are uncertain. Most bus drivers only speak Portuguese so communication may be an issue. Be sure you know both the route number and route name you need and double check the sign or you may find yourself in an unfamiliar area.

  • Personal Safety: The amount of crime Rio de Janeiro has been dropping due to extensive resources being used to improve patrols and deal with social problems. If you follow reasonable precautions, the city is very safe and that is especially true of the tourist areas. Poor areas of the city (Favelas) are fascinating places to explore, but they can be dangerous so we would recommend avoiding them except by guided tour. We would also advise you not to ride city buses late at night. If you want to be out late at night, especially after the metro closes, plan on taking a licensed taxi (recommended by your hotel) or enjoy some nightlife close to your hotel. Pickpockets and thieves look for opportunities on public transit just as they will in most cities. Avoid keeping anything valuable in your back pocket or the outside pockets of outer garments like jackets. Preferably carry your wallet and phones in a front pant pocket, a concealed front pocket or a moneybelt and don't keep anymore cash on you than what you need. Also, do not pull your wallet out where everyone can see it while on public transit. Avoid standing near doors with a purse or shoulder bag hanging on your shoulder. Thieves may try to snatch it just as the doors are closing and then it's too late. Avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewellery that will draw attention to you. Your best bet is to carry nothing but enough cash for the day on you. If someone does try to rob you don't say anything, argue or even look at them. Just take some cash out of your pocket and give it to them. Avoid anyone who acts aggressively and tries to manipulate you into doing something that is not part of your plans. .

  • Study the route maps and plan ahead. A little time spent doing this ahead of your days outing will help you save a lot of time and frustration. If in doubt ask questions at the start of your trip, not later when you may have to backtrack.

Video: How to safe during your visit to Rio de Janeiro


This video has some great tips for avoiding problems and staying safe during your visit to Rio

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