Rio de Janeiro Transportation Tips by NedHopkins
Rio de Janeiro Transportation: 217 reviews and 141 photos
The bonde at the top of Sta Teresa
The bonde (bone-jay) is a 19th century tramline that runs from centro (downtown near the Petrobras building) to Sta Teresa and Corcovado. After crossing the high viaduct, the little car chugs up the steep streets -- often within inches of some fine old buildings -- as it creaks and jerks its way up the mountain.
The fare is R$0.60 (US$0.40 in 2008), though passengers who stand on the running boards ride for free.
It's a fun experience and a fine way to get through and to what wss once Rio's ritziest neighborhood.
Rather than a taxi, take a bus to Corcovado — to the station for the cog–train that will take you to the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) monument that is a symbol of Rio. (Oh, you must still climb 220+ steps to reach the base of the 100–foot high statue.)
Comfortable, air conditioned buses cost only R$12 in 2002; regular buses cost R$7 (about US40¢ and 23¢ at 2003 rates of exchange).
On the way to Corcovado you'll have fascinating glimpses of Rio's street life — shops and shopping centers, humble homes and mansions, and people, people, people.
From anywhere in the city look for a bus marked 'Cosmo Velho.' Take it almost to the end of the line. You'll spot the Corcovado cog–train station (and souvenir shops) on your left near the top of the hill. But if you miss it, the next stop is the last. All you have to do is get off the bus and walk a short distance down the hill and you're there.
Meanwhile, MIAN – the naïf art museum — will be on your right as you meander down the hill. And if you go to MIAN after you've visited Cristo Redentor, your cog–train receipt will give you free entrance into the museum.
In June 2003 elevators and escalators were installed at Corcovado. You no longer have to "climb 220+ steps" to reach the base of the monument. You get to the top more quickly and less tired -- but also with less a sense of triumph.
MIAN no longer grants free entrance to people with cog train receipts. The fee, in 2004, was R$10, or about US$2.25 at the then rate of exchange.
The Airport Bus runs from GIG (Rio International) to SDA (Santos Dumont) and downtown (Centro), then to Copacabana, Ipanema, and the very end of Leblon — and back.
The fare is only R$6 (US$2.10. This compares with up to R$130 (US$45) for a taxi, though in slow times you can usually bargain a taxi down to R$60 (or US$20).
What you give up is speed. A taxi will get you to Leblon in as little as 20-25 minutes. The bus takes 40-60 minutes, depending on the time of day and number of stops.
At GIG you catch the bus on the arrival level, paying either a clerk who works out of a kiosk or the conductor on board. In town you can hail it in front of major hotels and anywhere along the main beach-front streets. It will stop and let you off anywhere along its route.
The conductor stores bags you cannot carry aboard and gives you a claim-ticket.
All in all, the bus is a good choice — safe, comfortable, relatively fast, and very cheap.
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