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One of Brazil’s busiest airports is Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, a bustling air hub that handles over 14 million travellers annually. Both domestic and international flights arrive here from all over the globe. The airport lies 12 miles from the centre of Rio de Janeiro right off the main 101 Highway, so many travellers opt for car hire. There are also taxis and several airport bus routes as an alternative.
Who to Book With
Among the seven car hire firms at Galeao Airport, three are international chains (Avis, Budget and Hertz) while the others are Brazilian companies such as Unidas, Movida and Localiza. All of the rental companies can be found in the Arrivals Area just outside of baggage claim.
Need to Know Essentials
When you pick up your rental be prepared to show the following:
- Your valid International Driving Permit
- The same credit card used for the original booking
- A second form of photo ID just in case
- A printed booking confirmation if possible
Driving in Rio can be tricky at first due to scheduled changes in the direction of traffic flow along beachfront roads, rush-hour jams when children are picked up from school and Sunday street closings for pedestrian use. Parking is also a challenge, especially on the streets where locals often demand to assist you for a small fee. It is safer to use the self-park and valet-park garages called rodaviarios. A car is very useful for reaching outlying beaches like Grumari and other attractions, but can be more of a headache when driving in the city itself. Petrol station chains like Petrobras will fill your tank for you and accept cash or credit cards. No special items are required by law to be in your vehicle.
Passengers at Rio de Janeiro’s airport have three choices for their transportation. There are two classes of taxi that are the most popular and expensive option, a series of airport bus routes that can be convenient for younger travellers and rental cars for the truly intrepid. The airport is 12 miles from the centre of the city but easy to reach thanks to the outlying motorway network.
There is no train service from the airport, but public buses can take passengers to Rio’s Central Station for connections to city suburbs.
Travellers can choose from blue-coloured executive taxis and yellow-coloured ordinary taxis. Both can be booked at the various taxi company kiosks in the Arrivals Hall. The blue cabs are much more expensive but offer better quality of service and vehicles. Blue cabs are also located curbside, while yellow taxis wait about 100 metres away from the Arrivals hall exits.
Rio de Janeiro Airport to Copacabana is about £20 (blue) £12 (yellow)
Rio de Janeiro Airport to Ipanema is about £30 (blue) £15 (yellow)
Real Auto Bus operates four lines from the airport to various destinations around Rio that depart every 30 minutes. Line 2018 runs along the beachfront zone and stops at Alvorada terminal between 05:00 and 23:00. It takes 60 minutes for the full trip and tickets cost around £4. Line 2101 runs to Santos Dumont Airport from 05:30 to 21:00 and costs around £2. Line 2145 runs to Santos Dumont Airport and the main bus station from 05:30 to 21:00 and costs around £2. Line 2918 goes to the Alvorada bus terminal with a useful stop at Jacarapagua, where taxis are easily found. This route takes about 35 minutes, it runs between 05:40 and 23:00 and costs around £4.
There are two terminals at Rio de Janeiro Airport, each of which handles both domestic and international flights. Over 14 million passengers fly into Rio every year, from destinations on every major continent. The facilities and services in both terminals ensure passengers have everything they need for a comfortable journey.
Galeao Airport has a parking capacity for 2,742 vehicles. The single giant lot has direct access to the terminals and special spaces for disabled drivers. The first hour costs about £2, with less than £1 for each additional hour after that. A full day costs about £15, up to three days. Then the rates drop slightly for each additional day.
There are only a few Wi-Fi hot spots in Rio’s airport, and they all require payment. Via Mundi Café is one place that has Wi-Fi for less than £1 for 30 minutes. Passengers can look for Wi-Fi internet signs at individual stores and cafés and ask about getting access.
Airport information desks can be found in the entry areas of both terminals before security.
Airport information: +55 21 3398 5050
Travellers with reduced mobility can receive assistance by contacting the airport information desks upon arrival. The two terminals are well-equipped to handle wheelchairs with ramps and lifts, and the rest rooms have special stalls. The parking lot also has dedicated spots for drivers with a disability. Travellers can call the airport information number to arrange help prior to arrival, including wheelchairs and personal assistance.
Restaurants and Bars
There is a good selection of eateries ranging from sit-down restaurants to quick snack bar outlets. Most of the eateries are located on the first floor of the two terminals, from Brazilian cuisine at Air Café Palheta (Terminal 1) to Italian dishes at Pastatore (Terminal 2). Bars like the Gate Zero Bar (Terminal 2) provide a place to drink.
American Airlines Admiral’s Club
TAM VIP Lounge
Smiles VIP International Lounge
Money and ATMs
Currency exchange booths can be found in Terminal 1 Arrivals and Departures areas as well as Terminal 2. There are five different companies in the airport, including AMEX and Banco do Brasil. Five different banks have full bank branches on the first floor of both terminals, including HSBC and Santander.
Both terminals at Rio’s airport have more than a dozen different shops to choose from. Everything from fashion items and locally-made products to reading materials and travel sundries is available for purchase. Duty-free outlets are also on hand in both of the terminals in the Departures Hall. Stores keep the same opening hours as the daily flight schedule.