What is the best option for getting around Rio? Here are some options with the transit options available.

Budget Hacks for  Getting yourself around Rio during the Olympics with public transportation. 


Let’s start with a  Map

These are the zones for the Olympic Games:


This is the transit Map

rio. transit.map


Transit Passes: Rio Carioca vs RioCard

RioCard, Unlimited Transit Card


RioCard, unlimtied pass

There’s the special edition Riocard   unlimited transit card for the Olympic with the option of unlimited rides for one -day, three-day, or seven- day passes.The cards will be accepted on public transport from 1 August to 19 September.


Where to purchase: Note: There isn’t a point of sale at the airport, but you can buy it in various metro stops and shopping centers. You check the list of where it’s sold here:https://cartaojogos.riocard.com/#/institucional/mapa. You can also purchase it online but it is only delivered within Brazil.


  • one-day card  R$25 reais (US$7.50),
  • three-day card R$70 reais (US$20.90)
  •  seven-day R$ 160 reais (US$47.85).

Note: Metro single ride is R$4.10

Pros: its unlimited rides within the time frame and works on the metro and buses.  It is the only transit card  that will work on two modes of transport – theTransOlímpica BRT line, which links Barra Olympic Park and the second-largest venue cluster in Deodoro, and Line 4 of the metro.

Cons:  Be realistic on the number of rides you will take per day. You will have to take at least three rides per day to get your money worths.



The other alternative is the pre-paid transit card “Bilhete Único Carioca.”   You can buy the  Rio Carioca Card at the Kiosk at the  airport GIG.  When you are deciding on how much to add do consider the amount of each ride: The card costs R$3.

  •  Metro: R$4.10
  • Bus: R$3.80
  • VLT Rail line: R$3.80

The Pros:

  • 2h 30min  grace period with Rio Carioca Card so you can take two rides within 2hours only paying once
  • Works on both the Metro and bus and VLT rail.
  • It can be purchased at the airport GIG in Rio.
  • It works after the Olympics!

The Cons

  • Not every metro station has a kiosk to reload the  Rio Card and there is usually a long line for this at the metro kiosks.It’s also Cash Only!
  •  Make sure to put enough money so you won’t have to constantly reload! You can find  kiosks  to reload at the Botofogo metro stop. You can reload online with debit cards, but most foreign debit cards won’t go through.
  • It doesn’t work on  the TransOlímpica BRT- means part of the locations of the games won’t be able to be used with this card.


Metro Transit Info

  • Not all trains are very visible on what line it is. And in the metro not all announce the next stops. Be sure to stick close to the door and keep an eye on the transit map so you know when you stop is coming up
  • There’s an All female cart that is available during weekday rush hour.
  •  It has A/C… very good ,strong A/C. But remember it’s actually winter time in Rio, and it can get pretty cold in the metro. Bring a sweater!

Airport Transit

  • Business executives buses. They are the big blue, a/c and with wifi. The transit cards are not accepted on the executive buses. These will be running special routes to the Olympic Village.
  • Uber: Note uber is not allowed within the pick-up zone of  the airport. If you arrive at GIG for example you will have to put the pin where you see the ubers cars near the street Av. Coronel – Meier and call/text them to let them know your exact location- the terminal door,etc.
  • VLT  Carioca- this is the nice modern light rail train  that operates from the airport  Santos Dumont all the way to the Bus terminal. Rio card is accepted and the ride is $R3.80. Note it doesn’t run 24hrs and it goes to the city center and north side of Rio, it doesn’t get you close if you are staying close to the Olympic Village.

here is the map that VLT   operates:


Best Value: Don’t forget about Uber!

If you are in a group, it’s sometimes more convenient and cheaper to Uber it  than spending money for the unlimited pass for taking the  metro or bus. However, metro will be the fastest way to get around if you are trying to get yourself to places far apart. The traffic is pretty baaad so it’s worth either uber when you are in a group or metro.  I wouldn’t recommend the bus as traffic is bad and uber is pretty cheap.We took an uber at rush hour, 15 mintute ride, between two people and we ended up paying around R$6 for each us which is worth it considering the public transportations is around $R4.

Safety precautions: especially being picked-up from the airport, make sure to verify licence plate. I noticed many uber drivers have really dark tinted windows not letting you see the inside- even the driver. Make sure to tap the window so you can see the drivers face and it matches with the app before getting in!

Get the discount code and use it for the airport as that will be pricey trip from the airport if you are staying close to the Olympic Village


About Michelle Estefanía Cruz

I’m Chicago-Raised, Quito-Born. Petite Cumbiera with Samba Soul currently in Brazil. Una Viajera who writes in Spanglish cuz my mind is split between both hemispheres and hyphens. @funkysudaka
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