Brazil transport and accommodation


Flights to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, airport guides, accommodation and travelling around Brazil.

Planes, trains and accommodation


What side of the road to drive on. When to arrive at parties. How to avoid the Zika virus. - download the Brazil travel guide.

Flights

Flight time from Australia: 18+ hours

  • There are no direct flights between Australia and Brazil.
  • Sao Paulo-Guarulhos (GRU) and Rio de Janeiro-Galeao (GIG) are Brazil’s two biggest airports, but Brasilia, Fortaleza, Natal, Recife, Salvador, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre also receive international flights.
  • Compare fares online with airline booking sites or with a travel agent. See our tips on booking flights.

Flights from Australia to Brazil

Australian Airport Airline Airline Brazilian Airport Airline Flying via
Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport (GIG) Santiago International Airport (SCL) - Chile
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Stantiago International Airport (SCL) – Chile
South African Airways Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) – South Africa
American Airlines Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport (GIG) Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFU)
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFU)
Etihad Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
Emirates Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport (GIG) Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Melbourne Airport (MEL) American Airlines Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Etihad Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
Qatar Airways Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Doha International Airport (DOH)
Emirates Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport (GIG) Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Brisbane Airport (BNE) American Airlines Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Emirates Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport (GIG) Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Perth Airport (PER) South African Airways Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) – South Africa
Qatar Airways Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Doha International Airport (DOH)
Emirates Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport (GIG) Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Adelaide Airport (ADL) Emirates Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport (GIG) Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) Dubai International Airport (DXB)

Sao Paulo airports

Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)

  • 25km north-east of the city centre.
  • Taxis from the airport are operated exclusively by Guarucoop radio taxis – a company offering air-conditioned vehicles with bilingual drivers at fixed prices for fares to the city. Taxi desks are located outside each of the two terminals, where you can pre-pay your fare. (Tip: Some travellers report having trouble paying fares with their international credit card, so it's best to make sure you have cash right away.) Radio taxis should be blue and white.
  • If you want to be organised before you arrive, you can pre-book a private car to pick you up via brazilairporttransfers.com.
  • For a much cheaper rate, EMTU/SP buses run from the airport to Congonhas (domestic) Airport, Praça da República (República Square), Tietê and Barra Funda Bus Stations, Itaim Bibi, the hotels along Avenida Paulista/Rua Augusta and Tatuapé Subway Station.
  • Car hire companies that operate from the airport include Budget, Hertz, Localiza, Locar Alpha, Movida and Unidas (in Terminal 1) and Avis, Interlocadora and Localiza (in Terminal 2).

Congonhas Airport (CGH)

  • Sao Paulo's second major airport, for domestic flights only.
  • 8km south of the city centre.

Rio de Janeiro airports

Tom Jobim International Airport (GIG)

  • More often known by its previous name, Galeão International Airport.
  • 20km north of the city centre.
  • Taxis queue up directly outside the terminal. Yellow taxis are metered, 'radio taxis' (usually blue, green or white) charge a set rate, which you can organise at a kiosk desk before leaving the terminal. In theory the yellow taxis should be cheaper, but that depends on whether or not your driver gets stuck in traffic or decides to get creative with the fare. A radio taxi might be a safer bet if you prefer to know upfront how much you're paying.
  • The BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) runs 24/7 express services to Alvorada Bus Terminal in Barra da Tijuca, making stops at Fundão Bus Terminal, and Vicente de Carvalho and Madureira metro stations (connecting to the city centre). Non-express BRT services make many more stops along the way. BRTs leave from Gate H at Terminal 1 and Gate D at Terminal 2. Tickets are only a few real and must be bought in advance from a cashier desk inside the airport. The ticket is called a RioCard and can either be a one-off ticket or a rechargeable one.
  • Private bus company Real also runs air-conditioned services between 5.30am and 11.00pm to Santos Dumont Airport, Rio Central Bus Station, Alvorada Bus Terminal in Barra, and various other popular spots including Copacabana and Ipanema.
  • Car hire desks are located in Terminal 2. Options include Avis, Budget and Hertz, as well as local companies Locaralfa, Car Rental Brazil and Transnet.

Santos Dumont Airport (SDU)

  • Rio's second major airport, only used for domestic flights.
  • 2km from the city centre.

Trip planning

  • Moovit (Android/Apple/Windows) is a handy real-time app for planning A to B public transport journeys in more than 850 cities worldwide, including Rio.
  • Busao Carioca (Android/Apple), an app with English-language settings, can help make sense of Rio's complex bus system.
  • brtrio.com is a website for planning trips on the BRT (bus) system in Rio.
  • metro.sp.gov.br is an English-language trip planner for Sao Paulo's metro.
  • buscaonibus.com.br is a website for comparing and booking long-distance bus fares.
  • rome2rio.com is a website that can help you plan short or long journeys, by any means, between almost any two points in the world. 

Download our Brazil travel guide for more transport advice.

Trains and metro

Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have efficient but limited metro systems, as well as connecting buses that link stations with outlying areas. The metro is a relatively safe and affordable way of getting around. Both cities also have an above-ground suburban train network. 

Brasilia, Salvador, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Recife and Belo Horizonte also have limited metro and urban rail systems.

Tip: The last carriage on every service is women-only (you can't miss it – it's painted bright pink).

Brazil has very few intercity or long distance passenger train lines, rather just a few scenic lines mostly used by tourists. There are inter-country rail links between Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia.

Buses

Brazil's towns and cities are connected by an extensive network of long-distance bus routes. Services are mostly clean, safe and on time. There are three classes of bus travel, the most expensive of which are the sleeper buses for overnight trips.

There are plenty of competing bus companies to choose from, but the easiest way to find a good fare is to search on buscaonibus.com.br, clickbus.com.br or brazilbustravel.com. Tickets can usually be bought at bus stations, but it's a good idea to book ahead if you're travelling on the weekend or at peak holiday times.

Buses are also the most common way of getting around cities. Sao Paulo and Rio both have dedicated bus lanes and extensive bus networks which cover more ground than the metros.

Bicycle

Rio has around 450km of cycle lanes, making biking an appealing alternative to joining the crowds taking taxis or public transport. Bike Rio is the city's bike share program, with stations in over 250 locations. To rent a bicycle, you'll need to register on the website or via the app, buy credit, then use your phone to unlock a bike. The downside for international visitors is that you'll need a Brazilian phone number.

Sao Paulo also has a bike share system, Bike Sampa. The car-congested city isn't quite as bike-friendly as Rio, but it's getting there.

Outside of the cities you'll find very few bike lanes, but the roads are reasonably safe and cycling can be a great way to see the more rural areas if you don't mind breaking a sweat.

Taxis

Catching a taxi is usually less stressful than navigating public transport or hiring a car, although the cost can add up if you get stuck in bad traffic.

In Rio, yellow cabs are metered, but watch out for yellow cars illegally posing as taxis. Official yellow cabs will have a blue strip on their side. Fares are relatively cheap, although rates are higher from 9pm to 6am Monday to Saturday and on Sundays and holidays. Radio taxis, which are blue, green or white, are more expensive, but they charge a fixed rate so you'll have no nasty surprises. Most radio taxis accept credit cards, but most yellow taxis only accept cash.

In Sao Paulo, standard taxis are typically white, while Guarucoop radio taxis are blue and white. As in Rio, be careful not to get into an ordinary car posing as a taxi. Fares can be quite pricey, particularly when traffic is bad and at peak times (prices go up after 8pm and on weekends). Radio taxis, which must be booked ahead, usually accept credit cards but you'll need cash for the white taxis.

It's no use trying to use your Uber app in Rio as the city has banned ridesharing services (other Brazilian cities still allow them). Easy Taxi is a commonly used English-language taxi booking app which allows cashless payment, similar to Uber.

Tip: Most taxi drivers don't speak English so make sure you have your destination written down, just in case your pronunciation isn't up to scratch.

Car hire

Avis, Budget and Hertz, as well as a number of local companies operate out of Brazil's major international airports, however you may find a cheaper deal if you pick up your rental car from somewhere other than the airport. In Rio, there are plenty of options along Avenue Princesa Isabel in Copacabana.

The big international companies are often a safer bet, as they're easier to deal with if something goes wrong.

Tip: Most companies will only rent to drivers over the age of 25. 

Scooter hire

Zipping around on a motor scooter may sound more appealing than sitting in traffic and trying to find a park in a rental car. It's also a lot cheaper. However, be aware that your travel insurance is unlikely to cover you for a scooter accident. If you don't have experience driving a scooter or motorbike, it's best not to even consider trying it for the first time in a foreign country. In fact, some scooter hire companies refuse to rent to drivers with no experience on two wheels.

See the Brazil laws and culture guide for tips on driving.

Accommodation

You can search for and book hotels, resorts and hostels online through sites such as wotif.com, booking.com or hostelworld.com. Compare booking sites and the hotel's website (if it has one) to find the lowest price. Check reviews on tripadvisor.com before you book.

To find private home rentals, or rooms for rent in local's homes, try airbnb.com.

hiddenpousadasbrazil.com is a good place to search for a bed and breakfast (known in Brazil as a pousada). 


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