Rio de Janeiro
From Hookup Travels
Rio de Janeiro hookup guide advises how to pick up girls and where to find them. The best nightclubs and top places for dating in Rio de Janeiro are listed in this single man’s travel guide. Read more how to date beautiful women and how to get laid in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro is a city famed for its sparkling beaches, bustling inner city regions and crazy festivities. The city, overlooked by the world-famous Christ The Redeemer Statue, is the second most populous city in Brazil, second only to São Paulo. However most would argue that it is definitely the most fun; it is well known for its many pleasures, a list that definitely includes beautiful women.
- 1 How to Pick Up Girls
- 2 Top Dating Tips
- 3 Online Dating
- 4 What Kind of Guys Have the Best Chances
- 5 Risks while Gaming
- 6 How to Get Laid as Soon as Possible
- 7 Gold Diggers and Sugar Babies
- 8 Swinger Clubs and Naturism
- 9 Costs of Living
- 10 Accommodation
- 11 How to Get There and Move Around
- 12 Digital Nomads and Remote Work
- 13 Internet and Mobile Operators
- 14 Gambling and Casinos
- 15 Weed and Drugs
- 16 Health, Fitness, Gyms and Massage
- 17 STDs and HIV
- 18 Stay Safe
- 19 See Also
How to Pick Up Girls
Your chances of picking up a girl in Rio is very high. The culture is very sexual and people are pretty forthcoming with what they want. Women expect men to show confidence and be a little pushy; it's up to you to approach her, ask her out and plan everything. If you are successful in your conversation and she is attracted as well, you can kiss her in 10 minutes, especially in a club or in a private location. If a girl is not interested, she will tell you fairly quickly.
Brazilian girls are hot, very hot! If you manage to get with one, you should count yourself very lucky; you have accomplished something most men only dream of. Other than that, they use their bodies very well, they are exceptional dancers and they know how to use their hips.
Most girls are open and friendly and they're keen on starting conversations. The language barrier may make things a bit difficult, but they are definitely worth the effort. Save the few that are out to take your money, they are a pretty genuine people with lots of passion and pride. If you show confidence and respect, you are likely to get along at a human level with most. Even though you need to break out of your shell a bit, it is essential that the girl still feels respected and not like just a sexual object.
Stereotype of girls: Brazilian girls are famous for their shapely, curvaceous bodies and their bronzed skin. There is a lot of history behind this, which stems from Portuguese colonization and a natural mix with the original inhabitants. One thing is certain: the end result is a heavenly combination. Also, the nation is quite big into fitness and being active, another great aspect of Brazilian life.
Chance of mature ladies: There are plenty of cougars looking for a good time with younger men in Rio. If you are a tourist, it's even better. Many divorced or widowed women are looking for someone to keep them company; however, you will still have to keep gender specifics in mind. 99% of Brazilian women want men to be extremely masculine, fierce and someone that takes the initiative. In return, they offer devotion, passion and plenty of sex.
Tips for Daytime
The daytime is the perfect excuse to go to the beach. This should be the first stop for anyone who is looking for a date with a Brazilian girl. Check the "Accommodation" section for a detailed guide on which beaches to go to for the best results, but in summary, you'll want to visit both Copacabana beach and Ipanema. Your best bet is to start a conversation with a girl whom you find attractive. Keep the dialogue simple, but complimentary.
There is plenty of recognition given to the poverty of Brazil, but there is also immense wealth. As a result, the universities in Rio are some of the best within Latin America. At these locations, you will be able to meet lots of students who are looking for a good time on the weekends - get into a friendship circle at the university and you are well on your way to hooking up with as many girls as you want. Also, university students are likely to have better English. University campuses to visit will be listed under the next section.
Shopping malls are also good spaces to meet girls. The main thought is really about finding a location in which you can start a conversation, so naturally places with lots of people are conducive to finding a date. Simply walk up to a girl, compliment her - maybe by learning a few basic Portuguese phrases - and ask her out to lunch or for a drink. If she says 'yes', you're well on your way to getting laid.
Beach clubs are also good places to look for a date; however, you may find the selection a lot more restricted when compared to a general public beach. You'll have to use your judgement; it may be a better option for a date rather than a meeting spot.
Gorgeous girls are everywhere. This is something you notice as soon as you land at the airport, so the opportunity is always in front of you. Whether you find a date or not is really dependant on your conversational skills and your ability to break the language barrier. Earning a few flirtatious Portuguese phrases beforehand is definitely a help, and if you are confident enough, you can even turn translation into a cute game. However, the uber confident personality required to ask a girl out can be daunting for some, but if you don't do it, someone else will.
Best spots to meet girls: If you are looking to date a Brazilian student, then the universities are good places to look. You don't even have to go to the campuses themselves, but you will find plenty of girls hanging around the surrounding restaurants, cafes and bars. The universities to visit include:
- Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
- Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
- Rio de Janeiro State University
With all of the hot Brazilian girls about, it is also easy to forget that there are lots of attractive tourists from all over the world. These girls are often sightseeing at landmarks, which makes them easy to approach. As a result, you may want to visit a few of the famous tourist attractions, such as:
- Christ the Redeemer Statue
- Sugarloaf Mountain
- Jardim Botanica
- Santa Teresa
- Tijuca National Park
Shopping malls offer plenty of opportunity. For the best chance of hooking up, choose one of these three top malls in Rio:
- Shopping Tijuca
- Shopping Leblon
- Shopping Rio Sul
Lastly, but definitely not least, you will never want to venture too far from the shores of Copacabana and Ipanema. These beaches are probably the best place to find a girl in the city and there is no getting around the fact that you will have to approach her and start a conversation.
Tips for Nighttime
Night time is definitely the best time to meet new women. Copacabana district should be your go-to option for a hook-up. The area is safe, busy and the atmosphere is generally good. The beach also provides a romantic setting going into the night. However, if you are a hard raver, then some of the Rio clubs are definitely not for you. The vibe is usually very chilled and laid back. Be careful if you are entering the Copacabana beach further from the sidewalk (to the sand, all the way to the water) at night. Sometimes there happen robberies and mugging.
You should also check the night life in Lapa district. There are lots of bars and clubs filled with good-looking local and tourist girls.
Best nightclubs to meet girls:
- Fosfobox - located in Copacabana, this club is sure to get you up and dancing. The dress code is fairly casual, but definitely make sure you are wearing shoes and a shirt. Generally, you will want to look as if you have a bit of money, which equates to well groomed in any event. You can meet lost of girls and enjoy dancing, relatively cheap drinks and a dose of EDM.
- The Week - although this club may become a haven for gay men rather than women, it is worth having a peak inside. If there are lots of women, the music is good and the space itself offers an electric vibe.
- Casa da Matriz - another favourite of the Copacabana nightlife, this club is always buzzing with locals. If you are looking to hook up with a Brazilian girl, this is probably the club for you. They play Brazilian Pop, Rock and Alternative music.
- Febarj - if you love Hip-Hop, this is the club for you. The drinks are lightly expensive, but you'll definitely have a good time on the dance floor. Again, the dress code is very casual.
The biggest attraction of the night life is definitely the girls. The local clubs are not quite varied in their offerings and those who are used to a more first-world clubbing environment will sometimes struggle with the music and laid back atmosphere. However, that should not stop you from meeting a few very attractive Brazilian girls and having a good time.
Top Dating Tips
Dating in Rio is probably best divided into two categories: day and night. Night time probably offers you the best option of meeting girls at a bar or club; however, there is still work to be done. Most of the local men are quite confident and they may come across as pushy. Whether you like it or not, this is how women are used to being chased and you'll have to follow suit or miss out. Online options are also important to consider, as they probably give you the most chance of landing a date. See the "Online Dating" section for more detail.
During the day, your best option is the most obvious: the coast. It's no secret that Brazil is a dangerous place, so you will want to stick to Copacabana and Ipanema (for more detail, you can check the "Accommodation" section). Here you will find many girls sun tanning or engaged in volleyball or a swim. Try and initiate a conversation and ask her out to lunch. The good thing is that Brazilian girls are friendly and welcoming - even though there is a language barrier. Keep phrases short and sweet. English is not the language of the land and most girls will struggle to understand you.
Once you start a conversation with a girl and she seems interested, ask her out on a date. You can take her to one of the many restaurants along the beach. Below is a list of a few of the most romantic dining establishments:
- Satyricon (Ipanema)
- Delirio Tropical (Ipanema)
- Don Camillo (Copacabana)
- Cipriani (Copacabana)
- Pergulain (Copacabana)
Although these places are not exactly the cheapest places to dine, you do stand a good chance of impressing the girl. Other than that, keep it simple. Go for walks on the beach, grab a beverage and the occasional dip. Once it starts to get darker, you can ask her if she wants to go back to your place or you can enjoy some of the night life.
At night, bars and clubs are your best bet for finding a date or a hook-up. Clubs will be discussed in greater detail under the "Nightlife" section, but bars offer a perfect opportunity to meet lots of single girls, both tourists and locals. Also, they are not nearly as expensive as nightclubs whose entrance fees can sometimes be as much as $25. Here are a few bars to try:
- Mud Bug
- Bip Bip
- Bar Pavao Azul
- Bar Astor
- Ovehla Negra
If you meet a girl that you find attractive, the answer is simply to talk to her. Initiate the conversation, show lots of confidence and lead her in the direction you want to go. If after a few minutes of talking, you feel she reciprocates the attraction, kiss her. Take control and ask her back to your place - she may respond negatively at first, but you can try a couple of times afterwards - sometimes the girls are just shy, particularly around sex.
Tinder is an international online dating platform that everyone knows, so have this on hand at all times, no matter where you go. Most people find Brazilian women extremely attractive, so don't waste any time and get online as soon as possible. If you don't know how to use Tinder, you simply sign up with your phone number, upload a few pictures, and select girls that you find attractive. If you are not looking for a prostitute, then you will have to look out for them; remember, prostitution is legal and they have every right to be on the site.
BrazilCupid.com is Brazil's most popular dating site, and many people vouch for its effectiveness in bringing couples together. Its strength lies in an extremely large database and exceptional filtering systems. If you are not well-versed in Portuguese, you may struggle to communicate, as the first language is Portuguese and the second is Spanish. However, there will be some English-speaking girls and you will definitely come across someone that strikes your fancy.
ParPerfeito.com.br is the second most popular local dating site in Brazil. It is not as well put together as BrazilCupid.com, but it offers you the opportunity to met lots of pretty girls who are really keen on meeting foreigners. There is a weakness in the filtering systems, so users often feel targeted my sex workers and fake accounts. However, once you find your way through these with an adjustment of settings, there are plenty of genuine women to meet.
Badoo.com - another international dating platform that international travellers should not go without - is a vital tool in the playboy's armoury when in Brazil. In fact, most of the many millions of global subscribers are located in South America, making the site a must for any traveller. Again, you will have to look out for sex workers and fake profiles.
Online dating has its benefits, and it is a must in the modern world. If you are looking to interact with Brazilian women, the conversation can quickly move from a chatroom to a stroll on the beach and grabbing a coffee or meal at a café or restaurant. Invite her for a date and let her get to know you. Remember, Rio is filled with crime and most girls are suspicious of new people. Bar a select few, girls are unlikely to sleep with you after just meeting online.
What Kind of Guys Have the Best Chances
The culture of Brazil is bustling and passionate. The successful man is not generally a particular race, but it is more about the type of personality you display - although there are certain races which are preferred to others, but these will be explained a bit more in the following paragraphs. Brazilian women are used to outgoing, confident men who know what they want. For example, a girl is usually approached by someone, and if the chemistry is good, she will kiss him just a few minutes later. The men are not shy and the men are not either. Therefore, in order to compete with the locals, you will be required to show the same level of confidence.
If you are looking to get laid, then appearing like you have money will be a factor. Even though this is not the ultimate factor - personality is probably the most important - you don't want to scare the girl off by looking like you come from a rough neighbourhood. In Rio, the people from these areas are often entangled in crime and the drug trade. You don't have to be super wealthy as well; just don't appear poor.
In terms of ethnicity, Brazilian girls are most likely to find other South Americans and Western Caucasians attractive. This does provide you with a slight advantage, but the diversity of women, and their tastes, is sure to gift you with plenty of opportunity no matter what your ethnicity is. African and Asian guys are often viewed as exotic and exciting. Again, it's all about getting out of your shell and making the move. If she likes you, she won't mess around. It could be a matter of just a few minutes.
Risks while Gaming
Rio has a certain amount of risks, which you'll need to prepare for if you are going to have a successful trip. The first, and probably the most obvious, is crime. Like any city with a wide gap between rich and poor, there will always be people looking to take a chance in the hope of stealing a few dollars. This can be particularly difficult in a place that doesn't speak much English. If you meet a girl for the first time, get to know her for a while before trusting her around you, especially in certain areas like Vila Mimosa (Rio's Red Light District). There are certain girls who hang around tourists and unsuspecting men, pretending to befriend them before slipping a tranquilizer in their drink. While you are out, they will steal anything they can - obviously not a nice experience! Therefore, be careful and keep your drinks in your hand at all times. Some of these girls even pretend to be prostitutes to gain access to hotel rooms just to rob the unsuspecting victim.
If you find a girl that you really like, chances are that you're not alone. If you are out on the beach or in a bar, you will constantly have to compete with a few guys for her attention. Remember, confidence is essential; don't let anyone step over you and stand your ground. If you show serious intent, other guys will generally back off. However, if you are a little tentative, you leave a gap for others to intrude. Other than that there will always be one drunken fighter wherever you go, but this is not a major problem. Stay clear of physical violence and you'll be good to go.
Another thing to remain aware of is that prostitution is legal in Brazil. As a result, you may meet sex workers who are out and about. They may even target you as a potential client. If this happens, be careful - prostitutes in Brazil have gathered a bit of a reputation for stealing from their clients. In order to decipher intentions, talk to a girl about her friends and family - perhaps her work or studies. This is a good way to find out her occupation and intentions.
How to Get Laid as Soon as Possible
The absolute quickest way will always be online dating. Refer to the "Online Dating" section for greater detail, but you will probably want to get on certain sites before you arrive. These include Tinder, Badoo and BrazilCupid.com. The latter allows you to access and talk to girls beforehand in preparation for your trip - it's all up to you. Besides the obvious allure of having a beautiful Brazilian companion waiting for you when you arrive, it's also really helpful to have a local to show you where to go and what to do. If you are looking to get with more than one women, then this definitely comes in handy later in your trip.
Rio is world-famous for its gorgeous beaches; it's more famous for the gorgeous women who swim in its waters and tan on its shores. If skimpy bathing suits and thongs are what you're after, a visit to the beaches is a must. Copacabana is probably the most popular beach in Rio. However, it can get too full at times and slightly unpleasant. Also, the beach is dangerous at night - nobody save criminals and a few unknowing tourists really goes out to the sand. Instead, everyone sticks to the promenade where there is better lighting and security. If you are looking for beautiful women, Ipanema beach is the place to be. The area is a wealthy district of Rio and the women are beautiful. If you can afford to stay in this area, even better!
You can try talking to a girl on the beach. In fact, you can pretty much approach a girl anywhere: the mall, gyms, hotels, etc. The language barrier is definitely a factor, but some girls understand English, particularly the wealthier ones who have had the opportunity to study at international schools locally or schools abroad. Brazilian girls are also friendly and they will let you know within just a few minutes if they are interested. Ask her out to a restaurant, bar or café. If she says 'yes', you're in for a fantastic time.
Gold Diggers and Sugar Babies
Like most countries where there is a large segment of the population living in poverty, there will be plenty of gold diggers. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you manage it. If you are looking for a sugar baby and you don't mind splashing out in return for a beautiful, young Latina, then there are many girls for you. You can attract this type of women without much effort by flexing bit of financial muscle at a beach, club or mall. As the girls are usually not shy, you won't have to work hard to find one. Also, Brazilian culture is flashy: people who have money use it as a status symbol and they generally showcase it with nice things such as cars, clothing and jewellery. Designer brands such as Gucci, Versace, Louis Vuitton, etc are likely to raise some eyebrows, especially because the majority of the country can't even dream of owning such items. Instead of renting a cheap car to get around in, try opting for a BMW or something similar. You will definitely attract a range of girls.
Despite the availability of girls, there is a downside. The extreme poverty in which some of these girls live can cause the to do reckless things. For example, you should be very careful of girls who try and get themselves pregnant with the goal of getting welfare from the government. They also realize that you will be forced to pay child support and most people with enough cash pay more than the legal requirement. Also, if she is willing to have sex with you in exchange for nice things, you may find that she will also try and steal from you behind your back. Brazilian women know they are beautiful and some try and use that to manipulate you into giving them money. Some will even say that they love you while doing the same thing with other men. The solution is simple: get in, get out and don't get too attached!
Swinger Clubs and Naturism
Public nudity is a legal misdemeanour in all of Brazil; however, this is adhered to in letter only and definitely not in spirit. In practice, Brazilian women love to go to the beach in the tiniest of bathing suits and the coast is always highly sexually charged. It's the place to see and be seen, so your average beach provides plenty of excitement, but you still can't be completely nude for fear of legal retribution. Rio is home to only one legally-recognized nudist beach: Praia do Abricó. This picturesque location is hidden in natural foliage and hugged by turquoise waters. Located just past Barra da Tijuca, it's worth a visit of nude beaches are your thing.
If the swinging scene is your idea of a good time, then Rio is your city. The legalization of prostitution and sex work provides the platform for a flourishing strip club and swinging industry. Despite this, it is important to remember that the country has a long history with roots in Roman Catholicism, so it is still pretty taboo in most circles. You may not want to mention this on a first date with a girl, for example. In Rio, Copacabana is the most popular venue for swinging clubs, followed by Centro (the centre of the city). The most famous club is called 2a2 Casa de Swing. It's found smack bang in the centre of Copacabana right next to the hospital. It's definitely the first stop on the bucket list. Most of the swinger clubs enjoy a bit of privacy from the public eye, so once you reach 2a2, ask around for more exciting locations.
Strip clubs also provide an additional layer of the Rio de Janeiro night life. At certain times, even the more conventional nightclubs offer strippers and 'go-go' girls. However, if you are looking for some adult entertainment, here is a list for you to try on your first few nights out in the city:
- Boate Kalabria - just across the road from Copacabana beach, this gentleman's club provides adult entertainment. Drinks are quite expensive, but it generally is the most prominent adult club in Copacabana - if not Rio.
- Boate Marrakech - A modern strip club based in Rio, this is another staple of the Rio local's night life. You'll find lots of booze, a contemporary track list and LOTS of beautiful girls.
- Mistura Carta Clube - Mainly an adult club, this venue sometimes doubles as a swingers club. It is luxurious and you could easily spend hours enjoying the vibe and the company of beautiful women.
- Casablanca Café is a lot more than a simple coffee house. They offer fine strippers, go-go girls and resident DJs that are sure to keep you dancing.
Costs of Living
The living prices, for tourists especially, are largely dependant on the time of year in which you visit. If you go to Rio during Carnival, you will find both the costs of accommodation, transport and food increase dramatically. If you go at off-peak times, then prices are dramatically cheaper. Still, the prices are not outrageous for travellers, especially if you stick to 1 and 2-star accommodation. As a general rule of thumb, staying clear of touristy areas saves you a small fortune, especially if you are buying a meal.
Again, the vast difference in wealth plays a huge role in the amount you can spend. On the lower end of the scale, you can find a 1-star hotel for around $15 per day. Over and above that, you'll need another $10 to get around and approximately $15 to survive on local food and drinks. This will probably place you further away from the beach, but you will definitely save a tonne. If you are looking to go more upscale, you can spend $300 on a beachfront hotel, another $150 on food and drinks in more upmarket restaurants and $50 on getting around with Uber and seeing a few sites.
You can find accommodation for as little as $7 - a quick search on Booking.com or Airbnb will show you that. Unfortunately, these rooms and hostels are usually not in a safe area - especially for tourists. You will rather want to start your search at around $15-$20 per night, which should get you a 1-2-star hotel. Alternatively, you could go all out and book a room in a premium hotel; the price difference will be dramatic, though.
Beer is cheap in comparison to first-world prices. You can easily grab a beer in a supermarket or local store for just over $1. You'll also find this price range from vendors on the beach. The beer is a local lager and it generally is enjoyed by most of the people that try it.
Beers in bars are not much more expensive; they are more than reasonable in price. Local and international brands are available, with the local option being the cheaper choice. If you go for something like Budweiser or Corona, expect to pay a premium somewhere closer to $4 depending on where you go. Nightclubs are the most expensive; they will sometimes charge closer to $5 for a beer, especially in tourist areas.
Food prices vary depending on what and where you eat. If you are looking to dine at a hotel or a restaurant in a tourist district, your price will increase substantially. However, local food provides a cheap and tasty alternative to the expensive restaurants waiting for international customers. A Big Mac, for reference, costs around $5.50 depending on the exchange rate. To show how much of a variable food is in a budget, the Brazilian Big Mac is the fourth most expensive in the world.
Accommodation, at least for the first few days, is best sorted out beforehand. Rio can be a dangerous place, especially of you are a tourist and don't know where to go. Due to the large gap between wealthy and poor, there are plenty of options to suit every budget - some accommodation options are as cheap as $7 a night.
The best locations to stay really hinge on Rio's beautiful beaches. As a result, you will find many prime hotels hugging the shore with the hope of attracting visitors and international guests. If you have the cash for it, book either a villa or a hotel room close to one of the following beaches; this will give you access to the sandy hunting grounds by day and clubs by night.
- Copacabana Beach - probably the most famous beach in Rio, this beach is always busy. If not a great place to meet beautiful girls, there is plenty more on offer - whether it be a refreshing swim in the turquoise water or joining a game of football on the sand. The only downside is the presence of crime once the sun goes down.
- Ipanema - This is decidedly a more wealthy area, so be prepared to spend a bit more on accommodation if this is your choice. However, the options of women is definitely better in this region and the beach is stunning. You'll find it easy to grab an alcoholic beverage and talk to a few good-looking locals.
- Barra da Tijuca - Rio's larges beach, stretching over 11 miles. If you are slightly more sporty than the average bloke, this is definitely the place to stay. You will find all kinds of sporting activities here, from kite surfing to volleyball on the shore. It's a well-built region with a bustling night life, too. In fact, it was home to the Olympics in Rio, so the infrastructure and security is very good.
When looking to find the perfect place to stay, the internet is your best friend. Try booking.com for a wide selection of accommodation options and prices. Here you will find rudimentary hostel options for as little as a few dollars a night and fancy hotels that charge up to $400. The choice is really dependant on your budget.
If you are looking for a villa or nice apartment, you can also try Airbnb. Always get a second review on the area you are staying in - avoid the favelas at all costs! Depending on your choice, the price can range from $20 - $100 per night.
Couchsurfing is possible if you meet an interesting girl; however, the language barrier can make things difficult. Never expect it and always have a backup plan, but it is definitely possible, as the Brazilians are generally a friendly people. Due to a long-standing tradition of Roman Catholicism, some girls may find this weird, so be respectful and never assume.
How to Get There and Move Around
Getting around in Rio is not a difficult task, especially if you have a very basic level of Portuguese. If not, it is still a very simple equation. In fact, the public transport and general infrastructure was recently updated to conform with the best modern standards because of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and then the Olympic Games in 2016. The result is a more than functional transportation system that is easy to manage and navigate.
By air: Rio is a popular international tourist destination that attracts people from all over the globe. As a result, there are two airports that serve the city. The first is Rio de Janeiro International Airport; the second is Santos Dumont Airport. Both are state of the art and offer international visitors ease of access to one of South America's most beautiful attractions.
By bus: The bus systems in Rio are quite sophisticated, depending on which type your budget and location allows. There are a few ways to get around, each varying in the price.
The city bus is the cheapest option, but it does come with potential dangers. In the past, it was infamous for criminal activity. Thieves would lay in wait of a victim and then seek to pounce once the bus was moving. However, this has decreased in recent times. Still, avoid the bus in the night time and it should be safe. Always keep your wits about you and pay attention to everyone on board.
If you are looking for a more luxurious option, then the Executive Bus (AKA Frescao) offers an alternative. This bus only operates within the week, but it comes with air conditioner and more cushioned seating arrangements. If you are a tourist, it is definitely the best option; the bus can be flagged down from almost any beach and it travels throughout the major districts of Rio.
By car: Uber is probably the best car option in Rio, especially because the language problem is a huge barrier if you do not have the ability to speak Portuguese. Uber follows the d-standard international rates and you are assured of a quick pickup and a safe trip. The only problem with Uber is that they do not go to, nor do they depart from, the airport. Other than that, Uber is definitely your best option; have it pre-loaded on your phone before you arrive.
Metered taxis are widely available and they're pretty much your only option from the airport. However, this should be the only time to use them, as they are expensive and the drivers often look for tourists to scam. Besides that, the drivers will probably not speak English, so getting to your location will be very difficult. You can even take a taxi to a central location like a mall or landmark and Uber from there.
Vans are an alternative form of transport. What's more, they're very cheap. If you are desperate to save money, you can try these; however, it should not be your first choice. They are designed for locals and some of the drivers may not even have a license.
You can rent a car in Rio for not too much. The problem comes in with navigation and hectic traffic, which could cost you hours depending on where you catch it. Although the traffic is not as bad as other regions, like São Paulo, any Brazilian traffic is not a joke. You will definitely want a driver that knows the back roads and the safety of areas in general.
By train: The metro system in Rio is well run. If you are looking to get from one end of the city to the other, it is definitely the most viable option. Moreover, it will save you some money when compared to an Uber or metered taxi. Crime is almost unheard of on these trains, as the stations and inner-train activities are constantly monitored by police and security. If you are going to a sports event or a major location, take the train without hesitation.
By boat: Boats are also a form of transport, especially if you are looking to visit a few famous sites just off the coast. Many people who live just off the coast of Rio take ferries to work everyday, which translates into a trip that is not that expensive (around $R5 a ride). You can take these ferries to a few interesting locations, such as a trip to Niteroi. Gondolas are also available; they travel from the favelas into the inner city of Rio, carrying approximately over 30,000 passengers every day.
Visas: Brazil's visa policy is fairly relaxed when it comes to most Western countries. European nations are allowed visa-free entry for a certain number of days - you will have to check depending on your country. North American nations are allowed entry only after applying for an online visa, which is a quick and easy process. The rest of South America need only bring their ID, after which they will be allowed instant access. Most third-world countries are required to register for a visa in person; again, check Brazil's requirements for your specific country to avoid confusion and disappointment.
Digital Nomads and Remote Work
If you are looking to work in Rio, there are plenty of options available. Foreign workers looking for a job in Rio are on the right track, as they are seeking to tap into one of the largest economies of Latin America. English alone is a powerful tool, and there is much to do surrounding the language. Without a working visa, you could do simple jobs such as translating, writing content, tutoring and communication-based tasks.
If you are looking for a more long-term position, there are a few steps you need to follow. Firstly, make sure you have your working visa in order. You'll probably want to start the application process well before you arrive in Brazil. As the economy is fairly large, you can begin by applying online or sending your resume on corporate web sites. You will get called to an interview or two, and the rest is up to you.
Those with a working visa who are simply looking for a simple job to cover a few drinks on the weekend may find working at a restaurant or in the soccer industry to be quite fun and rewarding. These jobs may not provide you with a lavish lifestyle, but they'll keep the lights on.
Internet and Mobile Operators
Brazil as a whole suffers from a lack of landline infrastructure. The result is a poor traditional telephone service that has been sufficiently filled with excellent mobile service providers. Thus, any of the four major providers which you choose will offer excellent service and a reliable connection throughout the city.
The most popular service provider is Vivo. Vivo has the widest LTE and mobile internet coverage in the country, with a range of services that extend to more than just mobile services. The company also provides broadband internet, telephone lines and television subscriptions. As a result, their service is professional and a good choice for any traveller.
TIM is the second largest mobile service provider in Brazil. Like Vivo, TIM is a fairly large organization and their pre-paid offering seems to be their most popular service. Customers benefit greatly from flexibility and a somewhat cheaper offering, but the speed of internet is dramatically slower than Vivo, for example.
Claro is the third largest mobile service provider in the country. It offers similar products to that of TIM, but due to the lack of infrastructure in certain areas, the internet is not always as quick or readily available. However, the city of Rio has no issue with the network, and it is a fine choice for anyone. If you are looking to go more remote, then perhaps Vivo is a better choice.
Oi is a network that mainly offers attractive pre-paid plans. Although they only started in 2008, the company has seen tremendous success ever since their coverage gained popularity in São Paulo. After that, they gained nation-wide coverage and made their presence felt in the pre-paid industry.
In order to access these networks, you simply need to purchase a sim card and plug it into your phone. Alternatively, you can purchase a data plan and use the sim inside a hotspot device; just make sure that you are connected at all times. Places to purchase sims include local stores, supermarkets and electronic goods outlets.
Gambling and Casinos
Rio is a bustling city that is famed for its festivities, beaches and enticing pastimes. However, if you are looking for a place to gamble or place a few bets, then Rio is not the best location for you. Gambling is illegal in Rio and the consequences are fairly harsh, so avoid getting yourself involved in the industry.
Should you still want to participate, there are a few ways to circumvent the law. As anyone will tell you, football is a religion in all of Brazil. As a result, bets are constantly flowing around the world's most popular game. Most of these bets are amongst a private group, so finding such people is your best option. On a slightly riskier note, you can take gambling to the web. There are plenty of sites for you to access if you are really bent on gambling. The laws concerning such acts have changed on many occasions, so it's best to find out before you engage in any form of online gaming. Be safe and don't do anything risky.
Weed and Drugs
When it comes to drugs, Brazil is really in the centre of the world's eye. Most of the drugs are either home-grown or produced in Colombia and transported through the smuggling of powerful gangs.
Most drugs such as weed and cocaine are sold commonly on the streets of favelas and certain parts of town. These are somewhat cheap - weed for example sells at around R$5 per gram. Do not approach someone on the street randomly; you don't know how dangerous they are or if they'll rip you off. Instead, approach a local and ask him/her to buy you a hit instead.
Cocaine is also commonly available in Rio. In Brazil, it is as common as sand. However, much like weed, you will only find poor strains of the drug available on the street. In order to purchase better varieties, you will need a contact or two; however this comes with certain complications.
Weed and cocaine form the two most common drugs in Brazil. As a result, they are easily purchased. If, however, you are looking for something else, you will need a local contact to source it for you. Everything is available - it's just a matter of finding the right people.
When getting involved in drugs, there are two things you want to keep in mind. The first involves the law. If you are caught in possession, the laws are more of a nuisance than anything else; you will probably face a period of education about drugs and some community service. Secondly, the drug industry is closely controlled by some of the world's most powerful gangs, two of the largest being the PCC and the Comandos. Be careful not to get too involved in the industry or to go into certain areas of the favelas. Here, one would find large-scale violence and gang-related crime.
Health, Fitness, Gyms and Massage
The Brazilian fitness industry is flourishing. It is second in the world, only behind the United States, regarding the amount of gyms in operation. The desire to be out and about and to enjoy one's body on the picturesque beaches of Rio is definitely a dynamic factor in the land of Brazil. So, if you are looking for a good workout - or a place to meet some fit girls - there are four main gyms you need to try.
- BioRitmo/SmartFit - the largest gym franchise in the country, this chain provides customers with state-of-the-art gym equipment at affordable prices. As it is the most popular option, you probably want to try the closest branch to you. You can work up a sweat at a reasonable cost - and perhaps meet a few cute girls along the way.
- Bodytech - a gym that caters more to those seeking a fitness club rather than just a simple hardcore gym. If you are into racquet sports and more social activities that are still active, this is definitely the place for you. Who knows - it could even be the location for a fitness date...
- Cia Athletica - this is one of the oldest gyms in Brazil, a favourite of the people for more than thirty years. It is nothing more than a basic gym. You'll get the same old workout at a reasonable price, but it's definitely a good option if you find one near you.
- Runner - Although this franchise is mostly concentrated in the São Paulo region, there is a reason why this gym has been so successful in Rio for over thirty years. Moreover, it is making a breakthrough in Rio - it is modern and fun, definitely worth a try.
STDs and HIV
Like most developing nations, Brazil also faces the struggle with HIV and AIDS. Although the disease is more common in poorer areas where sexual education and the dangers of STDs is not nearly as common, there are still several risk factors for visitors. As a national stance, the country has not illegalized prostitution, meaning that the diseases and viruses are often carried by sex workers. As a result, HIV and STDs are often spread in this way. The government has sought to remove this as a factor in the industry by providing workers with condoms and education on the importance of hygiene.
If you meet a girl in a club or any other location, it is important to use a condom. Before having sex, you should have at least a few on hand. Buying condoms is easy; they're available everywhere and it's cheap thanks to government subsidies. Also, girls from poorer areas are more likely to have an STD; she might not even be aware herself.
If, for some reason, you have unprotected sex, you can visit one of the local clinics for a check-up. If they detect the presence of a harmful virus, they will give you anti-retro viral drugs. These drugs are your best chance if you have come into contact with an STD and they're FREE!
While some safety issues may panic you and also make you question whether to go or not to Rio, most visitors to the city have a great time with no incidents.
Still, Rio can be dangerous. As a traveler, even if you don't leave the "Zona Sul" (which includes Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea, Jardim Botânico, Flamengo, Laranjeiras, Botafogo, Urca) or Western Suburbs (Barra, Recreio), you may experience a palpable tension over security.
Generally, tourists (also called "gringos," which is not derogatory but means "outsiders") and teenagers are considered "easy" targets for criminals. Day-to-day living has also been affected by this. For example, regular banks all have fortress style security doors and armed security men. Rio can be a dangerous city and it is wise to use common sense whatever you are doing. However, as mentioned above, most of the visitors will have a great time in Rio!