If you find yourself facing a lengthy at Rio de Janeiro airport, make the most of it – you’re looking at a layover in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Most passengers facing a changeover will do so not at the centrally located domestic airport, but at the international airport which lies some distance from Rio’s many tourist attractions.
As such, if you only have a couple of hours to spare you should resign yourself to the fact that you won’t be able to make it to the beaches or to see the iconic Christ statue atop Corcovado mountain. There are no attractions within walking distance of the international airport, so if time is short then soak up the spirit of Brazil as best you can by enjoying a caipirinha cocktail or two at one of the airport’s many bars.
Should you have four or more hours on your hands, however, you might have a real shot at seeing some of Rio’s many wonders. You’ll need to have some cash to spare however (you can withdraw Brazilian reais at the cashpoints in the aiport, those with Visa or Maestro symbols accept foreign cards) as taxis are the quickest, safest, but far from cheapest way to see the city in a hurry.
If cash really is no object, ask a taxi driver to take you on a whistle-stop tour of the sights – namely the beaches of Ipanema and/or Copacabana, the Christ statue and/or Sugar Loaf mountain. For those on more realistic budgets, however, the best idea is to choose one ‘must-see’ spot and grab a taxi to take you right there. Note that Copacabana is about 45 minutes’ drive from the aiport, while Ipanema is about 10-20 minutes farther along, depending on traffic. A quick trip to Corcovado and the Christ statue will take around 30 minutes in low traffic, and taxi drivers will often arrange a fixed price to take you there and back, with some time for photo taking.
Picture: Christ the Redeemer, courtesy of Lucy Bryson