Carnival: How To Get There
Your options of transportation in Rio during Carnival are endless
Unless you have booked yourself in a hotel that is only few meters away from the sights and sounds of the Carnival parade, you will probably going to need transportation to get there. Fortunately, Rio has a lot of options.
One of the cheapest ways to get to Sambadrome is by bus. You also have different types of buses to choose from. The local ones are those that most of the time don’t have air-conditioning or plush seats, but they can take you to any point you like all over Rio de Janeiro. And they are also incredibly cheap. In fact, you can even get a ride for only 2 reais. The much better ones will cost you a little over 5 reais. You can also take the Frescao buses, which are different from the local ones have air conditioning and plush seats.
Nevertheless, it is not recommendable to take the bus at night. You should also bring along your maps, so you will know when to get off and what bus to ride to get you to your desired destination. There’s not much you can do with the drivers, as majority of them don’t know how to speak in English. What you have to know prior to your ride is the number of the bus you need to take, since the buses in Rio are all recognized by its numbers.
Another option will be to take the subway, which is available near most of the hotels in Copacabana and Ipanema. It is very fast, so you don’t have to spend a lot of your time on the road. A little more expensive than the bus (about 3 reais) it is very clean and it’s your safer option. However, there are only two lines available, so it’ll not take you everywhere. Also, if you happen to be here during rush hour, it would be difficult for you to find a good place to sit or stand on.
If you wish to be more comfortable when you’re travelling during the Carnival in Rio, you can simply take a taxicab, and there are so many of them all over the city. You can also easily spot them since they are usually yellow and are very efficient since they can take you even to the most distant neighbourhoods. Yellow cabs are the less expensive ones. Red, white, blue or black cabs are usually more expensive charging sometime 50 to 60% more than the yellow ones. But they are safer, not anyone can drive those, and also the only ones that can take you inside the Sambadrome when you go to the parade. The yellow one drops you close to that but not inside.
There are a couple of things you just have to remember, though, when you’re taking taxis in Rio. First, ensure that they have working taxi meters, and drivers have their license attached in left side of the rear window of the taxicab for you to see. Also, you should know that they have two kinds of rates, the first one implemented before 8 in the evening, and the second one after 8 and during holidays and weekends.
Hotels also have their own taxis, usually one of the ones mentioned above, which are more expensive but a lot safer and more reliable.
The last transportation option will be car rentals. But, it is far from being the best option, since, especially during Carnival, you can expect the roads to be packed with all sorts of vehicles, including buses. Not mentioning the parking issues you may experience.
Consider renting a car only after the Carnival, where there will be much less people on the streets or when you’re visiting other cities