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Car rental in Sao Paulo/ Rio

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Woodbridge, New...
posts: 9
reviews: 13
Car rental in Sao Paulo/ Rio

We are planning a trip to Rio de Janeiro and are considering whether to rent a car for our stay.

We will be flying into Sao Paolo and have a choice between flying on a shuttle to Rio or renting a car.

In most countries we enjoy driving around and exploring the countryside but am concerned that Rio might be more difficult as we don't speak portuguese and are concerned about safety. We are comfortable with manual transmission and using maps.

We would drive to Rio, then use the car to explore the city and environs on the days we're not lazing on the beach. Any advice? Any experience?

Rio de Janeiro, RJ...
posts: 83
reviews: 2
1. Re: Car rental in Sao Paulo/ Rio

Dear TA Friend.

The road from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro is one of the best roads in Brazil.

But both Rio and Sao Paulo are very particular and difficult to drive in and out, Rio is easier because we have the ocean, that gives you a great orientation but in Sao Paulo is very difficult to drive around.

For safety reasons I don���t recommend you make this trip by car, unless you come to Rio with a person that knows the road.

If you have any questions, you will find a link to my personal page at:


Best regards.

Luciano Sampaio

Rio Vip Tour

Woodbridge, New...
posts: 9
reviews: 13
2. Re: Car rental in Sao Paulo/ Rio

Thanks for the info on the driving situation. We found a flight to Rio so we won't have to worry about that drive.

We're coming to Rio on the first weekend of April... starting to get so excited! We did get an International Driver's permit for Richard in case we decide to take a drive one day we're there, but will scope out the situation before we make that decision.

Anyway.. thanks for your response!


posts: 259
reviews: 13
3. Re: Car rental in Sao Paulo/ Rio

I just came back from Brazil the other day. A few of us did the drive from Sao Paolo to Rio. The drive was not worth it! It's about 5 hours drive plus add another 3-4 hours for traffic and this is just going to Rio. There is alot of traffic in Sao Paolo and Rio. There's also no rules for driving. A few of us ended up flying back to Sao Paolo from Rio because we did not want to waste anytime anymore. The street signs are also not user friendly. You will literally lose 2 days. You can't drive at night as you will get car jacked. Sao Paolo is known for that. Our driver, who lives in Sao Paolo, knew what streets he had to avoid for this. Next, you will need to find and pay for parking. You also will hope that no one steals your car. You are better off buying a roundtrip airfare for about $125 USD (expedia.ca - Varig, Tam, Gol Airlines). It's an hour flight and guarantees your safety and saves time for travel. If you want to see sights, take day tours from your Rio Hotel to Petropolis city or to one of the exotic islands. I highly recommend going to Angra as well as Buzios islands. There is so much more to see in Rio than Sao Paolo. Try to spend more time in Rio.

Brazil is an amazing country to visit but you always have to watch your surroundings and the people you talk to. If you do not know anyone from there, get advice from your hotel agents. They will ensure your safety. We stayed in Majestic Rio Mar, which is a 3.5-4 star hotel and about $100/night. They have plenty of affordable day tours (Sugar Loaf $30 USD, Corcovado $30, Soccer Match $25, Petropolis City $30, etc...). I hope this helps. Enjoy Brazil!!!