Rio de Janeiro is one of the most attractive Brazilian cities for tourists. Millions of travellers, both nationals and foreigners, visit the city every year. And they arrive at one of its two airports: either Santos Dumont (SDU), which is used exclusively for domestic flights, or Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (GIG), also known by its original name Galeão International Airport, that serves international flights.
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You can get to the city centre from Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, which is located 12 miles to the north in Ilha do Governador ("Governor's Island"), inexpensively by using public transportation. You should be aware, though, that this option is rather limited and you'll need to make connections. Ordinary bus lines 924 and 925 will take you as far as the neighbourhood of Ilha do Governador, not very far away from the airport, and 915 will take you to Bonsucesso, just off the bridge from Ilha do Governador. From those terminals you will probably need to take some other kind of transportation to your accommodations.
The second alternative would be to travel on one of the executive bus services of Real Auto Ônibus. Locals call them "frescâo", which means "fresh ones", since they have air conditioning. The company operates four different services. Line 2018 can take you from the airport to the Central Bus Station, down-town, Santos Dumont airport to end at the Alvorada Bus Terminal. Line 2918 follows a similar but more direct route to Alvorada Bus Terminal. Line 2101 is an express service between the international and domestic airports. Line 2145 is a normal service that takes passengers from the international airport to the central Bus Station, down-town and ends in the Santos Dumont Airport.
Another way to travel to the city centre is on a taxi cab. There are two types of taxis you can take from the airport to the city: yellow, which are ordinary taxis and blue, executive ones. Their fares vary, but you can book either one at the arrival hall, where each company has a stall. Their fares are fixed and need to be paid in advance.
Yellow taxis can also be taken without booking them at the company's stall. Leaving the arrivals hall behind, you should see other passengers forming lines to board yellow cabs. The main difference with the ones you can book on the hall is that they tend to be less expensive, since they operate based on the distance travelled, and can be paid on arrival.
The airport's transfer companies, or shuttles, are yet another way to get down town. Bare in mind that shuttle companies tend to work exclusively with certain hotels in the city. You can check if the place you are staying at has this kind of service on the webpage Shuttles Rio.
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