Many prospective customers ask why I don’t provide the typical airport transfer service. The reason is simple. I can’t provide a high level of service on a cost effective basis as compared to the many good alternatives such as radio taxis. Besides, I am tour guide, so my focus is on providing guiding services around Rio de Janeiro.
Many of the Rio hotels are in Copacabana or Ipanema neighborhoods which are just a 30-minute (non-rush hour) drive from the Rio de Janeiro International Airport. Therefore, I recommend you to take what we refer to as a radio dispatched taxi for the approximately 16-mile (24-kilometer) trip. Taking a radio taxi at Rio de Janeiro airport has no hassle and there are three good companies offering the service:
These companies have booths just outside the luggage claim area in both terminals at Rio de Janeiro airport. Taking a radio taxi from any of these companies is your best choice to get to your hotel.
As soon as you leave the luggage claim area at Rio de Janeiro airport you will come across the two or three clerks in booths calling out to get your attention, ‘taxi, taxi, taxi!’. This is the right place to buy your ticket for the radio taxi ride. Don’t be alarmed, these clerks are usually nice women just trying to get your attention so you don’t go to their competitors. Chose the vendor you want. No one is offended. Many of the clerks have some multi-lingual capabilities. The radio taxis offer a fixed price ticket to your destination (R$ 85 or roughly 50 USD to Ipanema/Copacabana area). You pay in advance in cash (USD, Euros or Reais), by debit or creditcard (VISA, Master or Amex). [You don’t need to tip the driver, but of course a few Reais will be very appreciated.] [warning: pricing may not be updated].
If for some highly unlikely reason the clerks are not in their booths, you may be approached by a taxi driver offering his services. As long as you can read any of these taxi companies names on his shirt you are in the right hands. If you are paying by credit card you should ideally pay in advance at the booth because in the taxi there is no credit card machine. All the taxi driver can do is to pass you card number over the phone to the taxi company.
Another reasonable option is to use a regular taxi company such as Aerocoop. The taxis are yellow, charge on the meter and are roughly 40% cheaper than the radio taxis mentioned above. The one inconvenience with Aerocoop is that it does not have a booth inside the airport. To take an Aerocoop taxi, walk outside the airport terminal and approach one of the yellow taxis parked outside. Any vehicle written Aerocoop on the bodywork will do.
In my opinion, most customers prefer the fixed price, but somewhat more expensive, service provided by the radio taxis.