Nearly three-dozen airlines regularly serve Rio, but most flights from North America stop first in São Paulo. Several international carriers offer Rio–São Paulo flights.
All international flights and most domestic flights arrive and depart from the Aeroporto Internacional Antônio Carlos Jobim, also known as Galeão (GIG). The airport is about 45 minutes northwest of the beach area and most of Rio's hotels. Aeroporto Santos Dumont (SDU), 20 minutes from the beaches and within walking distance of Centro, is served by the Rio–São Paulo air shuttle and a few air-taxi firms.
Aeroporto Internacional Antônio Carlos Jobim (Av. 20 de Janeiro s/n, Ilha do Governador, Rio de Janeiro, 21942–900. 021/3398–2288. www.aeroportogaleao.net.)
Aeroporto Santos Dumont (Praça Senador Salgado Filho s/n, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, 20021–340. 021/3814–7262. www.aeroportosantosdumont.net.)
Most visitors arrive at Rio International Airport, about a 40-minute car ride from the tourist destinations. The speediest way to reach Centro and the Zona Sul is to take a taxi. Prices are steep, however. Expect to pay up to R$90 to reach Copacabana, and slightly more to Ipanema and Leblon. There are taxi booths in front of the airport, and passengers pay a set fare in advance, though drivers may charge extra if you have lots of luggage. Also trustworthy are the white radio taxis parked in the same areas; these metered vehicles cost an average of 20% less than the airport taxis. Three taxi firms are Transcoopass, Cootramo, and Coopertramo.
Comfortable, air-conditioned buses run by Real (marked Real Premium) park curbside outside the arrivals lounge; there is plenty of luggage storage space, and staff will safely stow your luggage beneath the bus. The buses (R$12) make the hour-long trip from Galeão to the Zona Sul, following the beachfront drives and stopping at major hotels along the way. If your hotel is inland, the driver will let you off at the nearest corner. Buses operate from 5:30 am to 11:45 pm.