Rio de Janeiro is an enormous city of ten million people and so it takes quite a while to travel anywhere. The logistics of moving around aren’t helped by the fact that the south part of the city is divided by the characteristic foothils that shape the peculair geography of Rio.
The roads pass through tunnels in the foothills but this means that when there’s heavy traffic you can wait for ages to get through. This is especially true if travelling by bus during the day, when you can find yourself encaged by another 12 buses at one time.
Buses are cheap and regular and the conductor won’t mind telling you when you need to get down. Brazilians are very helpful in this respect and will try to make sure you don’t get lost. At night the buses fly around the city almost as fast as the taxis and are a good way to get about.
The rich are often too afraid to take the buses even during the day as they don’t have bulletproof glass. There was a time when assaults on buses were very frequent and bandits would walk down the aisle, helping themselves to wallets. cell phones and jewellery. Safety on the buses in Rio has got much better in recent years though and you’re very unikely to suffer any problems.
Rio has a metro system that is cheap and efficient but it only goes up until Copacabana though they plan to extend it until Ipanema. For the rest of the city it’s the fastest way to move around and a ride costs just a little more than a bus ticket.
Taxis are common, safe but quite expensive. Whilst it might cost you a dollar on the bus from Ipanema to downtown Lapa, the same journey goes for about ten dollars in a taxi.
The taxis in Rio are safe to hail and board though anywhere in the city.