Everywhere you turn there are taxis, they cost $2.50 to start and charge from there. Only get in metered cabs. They don’t speak English. Write down your destination on paper if all else fails.
You can also travel quickly in the Metro subway system. It works like clockwork, is very efficient, and heads down into the Centro area near the termas. From Copa, the Metro pickup point is Praca Cardeal Arcoverde. A round trip ticket is around 3 reais, a $1. Like a sore dick, you can’t beat it. Check for a metro map for upgrades and new locations for pickup.
You should be aware there is a beautiful non-tourist beach about 30 minutes from Ipanema/Copa area called Barra da Tijuca. To get here, they have small minivans running up and down the main drag. At just 3 reais, it’s a true bargain, since a cab could cost you closer to 25 reais. There’s also the very popular Barra Shopping mall or Rio Sul here.
Getting Around Rio de Janeiro Photo Gallery
Crime and Scams :
Druggies, TV’s, and thieves down to 12 years old abound. After all, Rio is a huge city, and there are a million tourist targets. For the most part you’ll find your garden-variety pickpockets. If you don’t know by now, no wallets in the back pocket, only carry what you plan on spending at that given moment, and only what you can afford to lose. Get yourself some pants with zippered or buttoned pockets. Always carry around a photocopy of your passport and it’s smart to carry written info concerning your hotel. Often the pickpockets will work in groups, you’ll see a pack of 6 kids 10-13 years old, a guy jumps in out of nowhere with a knife and the kids do the stealing. Worst spot is early AM on the corner of Miguel Lemos and Atlantica between HELP and Meia Pattaca. Take a cab.
Most of the violent crime happens in the non-tourist areas that you have no business wandering into. Violent meaning shootings and death. Stay local, take cabs, and move quickly and confidently.
For pickpockets, here’s another common scam. Up will walk what will appear to be a stunning scantily clad woman (transvestite), she/it will give you a hug and grab your crotch, another one will appear, put your hands on it’s chest, suddenly your distracted, your hands are occupied, and then bam, a third one will sneak up and steal away with your wallet. You won’t even know it for a few blocks.
For the funniest and grossest scam, watch out for the infamous shit flickers in the daytime, near the Meia Pattaca cafe. If you love to wear open toe sandals, there’s a very high percentage you’ll get hit. The deal is,
the shoeshine guys sitting down here will flick shit onto your shoes or toes, profess someone else did it, and then offer to clean it off for a fee. Whatever it is they shoot at you, it’s some nasty smelly stuff that you don’t want to get hit by.
Another safety tip, if you love the gangsta look with tons of gold necklaces around the neck, Rio isn’t for you. It’s only a matter of time before a team’ll swipe them. The cops will watch and turn the other way. Leave the bling bling at home or in the safe.
Stay away from the beach at night no matter what. Never walk on the beach side of Avenida Atlantica late at night. Leaving Help in the early AM can be dangerous. Thugs have been known to hide behind cars a block away and jump you. The cabs at the door charge a few bucks more, but it’s worth it. Within one block you’re often confronted if alone. Cops are corrupt and look the other way. There is a high crime rate at 2 am, just like any bad part of any major US city. Again, the most dangerous place to be is walking between Help and Meia Pattaca after 2 AM.
Stay away from the buses at night. When going to the beach, leave all valuables in your room. Do not try and hide your money in any clothing and go swimming, it will be gone. Fall asleep on the beach and your stuff is gone. If someone is trying to hard sell you into buying something, a little kid will sneak up from behind to steal your stuff on the beach towel. The streetwalkers in the daytime are mostly stunning transvestites, who double as thieves and robbers.
The Game Plan :
First up is the beach layout…remember SP40, the sun is brutal here, so go real easy on the first day, limit yourself to only one 3 sum.