Rio de Janeiro – RIOgaleão Airport (GIG), also known as Tom Jobim Airport, is located on Ilha do Governador about 20 kilometres / 12 miles from central Rio de Janeiro.
RIOgaleão is the most important airport in the state. It has flights to several Brazilian cities as well as international destinations in South America, Europe, and the United States.
No matter your budget and how you choose to travel, there are several public transport options from Galeão Airport to downtown Rio.
By bus (ônibus)
Taking the bus is the cheapest way to travel to and from the airport.
Special bus (frescão)
If you’re heading to the southern area of Rio (Ipanema, Leblon, and Copacabana), the special bus, operated by Expresso Recreio, is the cheapest, most convenient option. However, the service is a bit erratic, with frequent timetable changes. At night, if the bus does not stop right in front of your hotel, we recommend taking a taxi or Uber instead.
Special buses have air conditioning and luggage space. Fares are between R$ 8 and R$ 19 depending on the route, and must be paid directly to the driver. No prior reservation is required. The service runs every 30 minutes, and there are four main routes serving the airport:
- Premium 2145: Galeão – Centro
- Premium 2012: Galeão – Botafogo
- Premium 2017: Galeão – Ipanema
- Premium 2016: Galeão – Leblon
Another option is the BRT (Bus Rapid Transportation), also known as Expresso Alvorada-Galeão. This service runs 24/7. BRT buses have air conditioning and luggage space.
The TransCarioca Express route connects the airport and Terminal Alvorada in Barra da Tijuca, covering a total distance of 39 kilometres / 24 miles in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. It stops at Estação Madureira, Estação Vicente de Carvalho, and Terminal do Fundão. Note that there is a non-express TransCarioca route which takes longer, with 47 stations and five terminals.
BRT fares are R$ 4.05 and must be purchased at the ticket office in the airport (Terminal 2, from 6am to 10pm). You get the Bilhete Único Carioca, which is a prepaid card that can be recharged and later used on the city’s public transport system.
By subway (metrô)
We do not recommend the metrô to get from Galeão to downtown Rio. Vicente de Carvalho and Jardim Oceânico metrô stations are far from the airport, even though there is a connection with the BRT. The metrô single fare is R$ 4.60, while the combined metrô + BRT costs R$ 6.80.
Taxis are the most common way to get to downtown Rio. There are regular taxis and special taxis. The latter are considered safer. Expect to pay between R$ 75 and R$ 90 for a ride to Copacabana on a regular taxi, and around R$ 140 on a special taxi. Taxi companies have desks in the arrivals hall, and taxis are available outside both terminals.
You can take an Uber at Galeão Airport. You need a smartphone to access the Uber app. Depending on your destination, there’s a chance an Uber ride may cost less than a cab ride.