Travel and Safety in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil. Located on the South Atlantic cost, Rio is famous for its breathtaking landscape, its laid-back beach culture, and its annual carnival. The “Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea” has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Tourist Information Contacts

Tourist Police
In English and Portuguese
Tel: +55 (21) 2334 6802 or +55 (21) 2332 2924

Alô Rio
In English and Portuguese
Tel: +55 (21) 2542-8080 / 2542-8004 / 0800-7071808
From Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm.

International Airport Antônio Carlos Jobim (Galeão)
Address: Av. 20 de Janeiro – Ilha do Governador
Tel: +55 (21) 3398-4527 / 3398-4526 / 2288-2155

National Airport Santos Dumont
Address: Praça Senador Salgado Filho – Centro
Tel: +55 (21) 3814-7070

Security at the Venue

Due to a violent gun crime near the congress venue, the World Sleep congress will further increase its 24-hour security services out of an abundance of caution. World Sleep is also working with the local authorities to provide additional security for the area around the Windsor. The safety of the World Sleep community is our top priority. Please review our safety recommendations and follow them closely.

While inside the venue, the World Sleep congress will uphold a strict badge policy. All attendees must receive a badge when they enter the venue and ensure their badge is visible at all times while in the venue. Additional security has also been arranged within the Windsor Expo Center (the location of congress sessions). Please be mindful of the badge requirement and other safety protocols to make World Sleep 2023 in Rio a safe and enjoyable environment.

Safety while Touring Rio

Rio de Janeiro is a city of over 12 million people and and tourists should take common-sense precautions when traveling within it, especially outside of the convention center and its immediate vicinity. It it necessary to take precautions while walking in crowded areas or staying on the beach. It is generally recommend to keep valuable items (jewelry, expensive watches, etc.), passports, and additional cash in the hotel’s safe.

Security Tips

✔ If you travel in the city, know where you are going ahead of time. There are dangerous areas of the city that should be avoided and it is not always obvious, and safety could vary greatly from one neighborhood to the next.
✔ Avoid travelling alone and, if possible, take local friends with you while walking the streets, especially at night. We strongly recommend returning to the congress venue or your hotel by 11pm.
✔ It is advisable to avoid unnecessary flaunting of valuable and expensive items in crowded areas. Don’t carry valuable items like cameras, branded watches, or multiple credit cards.
✔ At night, it is not wise to travel by public transportation. A safer option is to call a taxi, and areas like subway stations should be avoided.
✔ Do not leave any luggage unattended in crowded areas and famous tourist areas.
✔ For security reasons, it is good to withdraw money from ATMs located inside buildings, banks or shopping centers.
✔ It is always safer to visit city centres and famous tourist attractions in the daytime, and dangerous areas should be avoided at night.
✔ Be mindful of pickpockets and bag snatchers. Be wary of distractions while walking.


Spring is the most agreeable season in Rio. With less humidity in the air, the sunny days are especially bright. This is when you get the prettiest pictures from overlooks like the Sugarloaf and Corcovado hills. It is a wonderful time to visit the Tijuca Forst, Botanical Gardens, and the Flamengo Park. Expect temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit).


There are R$200, R$100, R$50, R$20, R$10, R$5 and R$2 bills, featuring assorted images of Brazilian fauna. The real is divided into 100 centavos. Credit and debit cards are very popular in Rio, and it will avoid the hassle of carrying (too much) cash around. Visa, MasterCard, AmEx and Diners are the most widely accepted, probably in this order. Cards are great to pay your hotel bill and most restaurants.

Don’t forget to enable your debit or credit card for use abroad!

Foreign Exchange to Razilian Reais (BRL)

It’s recommended to look for a currency exchange house in Galeão International Airport:

Get Money Câmbio
Terminal 1 – 1st floor – Arrivals

Safra Câmbio
Terminal 1 – 1st floor
Terminal 2 – 1st floor
Terminal 2 – 3rd floor

Terminal 1 – 3rd floor

Rio de Janeiro Districts

Zona Sul
The South Zone is made up of Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema, as well as the districts along Flamengo Beach. Contains some of the more upscale neighborhoods and many of the major tourist sites, such as the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and Sugarloaf and Corcovado Mountains.

Includes Lapa and Santa Teresa. The city’s financial and business center also has many historic buildings from its early days, such as the Municipal Theatre, National Library, National Museum of Fine Arts, Tiradentes Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral and Pedro Ernesto Palace.

Zona Norte
The North Zone includes the Maracanã stadium, Quinta da Boa Vista Park with the city’s zoo, the National Observatory and more.

Zona Oeste
The West Zone is a rapidly growing suburban area including primarily the districts of Jacarepaguá and Barra da Tijuca, popular for its beaches. Most of the Olympics in 2016 were hosted there.

Buying a SIM Card in Brazil

Brazilian SIM card usually costs between R$20-30 in local currency.

If you need data service when you arrive in Rio de Janeiro, go directly to a Vivo or Claro store holding your passport and make sure you leave the store with the service activated. You can also buy with resellers, including kiosks, lottery, newsstand and pharmacies.

Plug Adapter

Remember to bring a universal plug adapter for your electronics. Brazil has 110v and 220v voltages, and many different sockets: 2-pin, 3-pin, flat etc., so it’s important to be prepared. The most common outlets and plugs:


Regarding transportation, our suggestion is that you pre-book ground transportation or take a taxi using your corporate credit card or cash (you can trade dollars for reais at the airport).

When you arrive at the International Airport, you’ll see that there are taxi stands where one can prepay the ride on a special taxi / ‘taxi especial’ (they are blue, not yellow). It costs around R$100. Special taxis are comfortable and air conditioned, they are equipped with radios, so drivers always know the fastest way to reach your destination. Find more information about taxis at Galeão International Airport (GIG) on the airport website here: https://www.riogaleao.com/passageiros/page/taxis-e-aplicativos

It is important for you to know that taxis in Rio de Janeiro have taximeters by law. The taxis that belong to a Cooperative are the ones to take. They have set prices and always use the taximeter.

The standard taxi is the ever-present yellow taxi and they are in great supply.

Throughout the city, there are numerous taxi stands where taxis queue to await passengers (there is one in front of FGV). These stands are reliable. These taxi stands also exist at or near to most hotels as well. They are less expensive than special taxis.

Metrô Rio (underground / subway)

Metrô Rio seems to be the best option of transport if you want to walk around Rio de Janeiro: clean, safe, and inexpensive. In order to make your journey through the city easier, Metrô Rio offers several types of integrations/extensions. You may want to buy a pre-paid card that will never expire and that gives you discount on tickets to cultural activities. Find out more at www.metrorio.com.br. Metrô Rio works from Monday to Saturday from 5 am to mid-night. On Sunday and Holidays, it works from 7am to 11pm.


There is a high number and frequency of lines running through the city. Most display their destination on the front windscreen and run throughout the city. We do not recommend city bus travel without careful planning ahead of time. For the adventurous, it is worth asking your hotel or hostel employees how to navigate the system or which routes to take to arrive at specific locations. Services operate 24 hours but by night buses are more scarce. Buses start at R$3.40, but some buses with air conditioning charge higher fares. The fare is paid in cash to a controller or the driver inside the bus, by passing through a roulette. Some residents and students have a digital card for free pass. Buses only stop if someone wants to board, so always let the driver know when you want to get on or off. You pay as soon as you get on the bus, so have your money ready. Each ride has to be paid for individually; there are no multiple tickets available. Except for minibuses, all buses now have two doors: passengers get in through the front door and get off through the back. Bus stops in the South Zone are often equipped with a shelter and a bench, but sometimes, far from tourist areas, they are less obvious and have no signs at all – you might have to ask.

Most popular lines for tourists are 583 and 584 (from Copacabana and Ipanema to Corcovado railway station), as well as 464 and 435 (from Copacabana to Maracanã Stadium).

Buses 511 (Ataulfo de Paiva) and 512 (Bartholomeu Mitre) are also popular as they take you to Urca neighborhood, where there is a station to take the cable car up the Sugar Loaf mountain. Typically bus drivers and controllers won’t understand any foreign language. If you can’t speak Portuguese at all, use a map and/or an app.


Generally, tipping is not compulsory and also not expected from the local people. Hotel or restaurant bills include service charges (around 10%). Additional tips can be given to appreciate excellent service or to round up the bill to a whole number. Also, it is not obligatory to give tips to taxi drivers. However, taxi drivers round up the fare as a tip for their services. Special or radio taxis do not use typical taximeters and always charge more than the original amount.

Useful Phrases

Hello: Olá
Good morning: Bom dia
Good evening: Boa noite
Good night: Boa noite
Excuse me: Com licença
Yes: Sim
No: Não
Please: Por Favor
Sorry: Desculpe
Thank you: Obrigado
Welcome: Bem-vindo

Important Phone Numbers

Country calling code: +55
City code: 21
Fire: 193
Ambulance: 192
Police: 190