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When visiting Brazil with my family, I was happy to discover that there is indeed Uber in Brazil. It was a great tool to help take out the language barrier and ensure we were going to the correct destination.

Uber has been operating in Brazil since 2014. Over 100 cities in Brazil currently have Uber services, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Fortaleza, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, and many more. 

When traveling in Brazil, Uber can be an easy and convenient way to get around as you order a ride on your phone and pay for it directly through the app. With over 22 million people using Uber in Brazil, we rarely had to wait an extended period of time for an Uber driver since it’s such a popular method of transportation. 

In this post, we will detail Uber in Brazil as well as other transportation options. 

Is there Uber in São Paulo?

Yes, there is Uber in São Paulo. São Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world, with over 12 million people. Since the city is so large and heavily populated, transportation can be intimidating, especially for first-time visitors. Uber makes for an easy and convenient way to travel around the city. The one thing to remember is that São Paulo is a huge city with lots of hotels and tourism, so there can be very congested traffic, making the ride take longer.

Is there Uber in Rio de Janeiro?

This Uber ride was about $2.50 USD

Uber is also available in Rio de Janeiro. Using Uber in Rio de Janeiro is a safe and cost-effective way to get around the city, to and from your Rio hotel, or visit various sites and attractions in Rio. Using Uber is also incredibly convenient when visiting Rio’s famous beaches, as they are not within walking distance of the city center, where many hotels are located. Uber in Rio de Janeiro is readily available and reliable, so it is a great transportation option.

Is Uber safe in Brazil?

Uber is a safe method of transportation to use in Brazil. In fact, ordering an Uber is generally much safer than walking or using the metro in large cities, especially at night or if you are traveling solo. Uber also tends to be safer than taxis, as payment is made through the app, so it is less likely you can be scammed into paying extra.

Safety Tips for Using Uber in Brazil

Uber has implemented a number of safety measures over the years to ensure the safety of riders, however here are some tips to making sure you have a safe ride while using Uber in Brazil’s largest and safest cities as well as the rest of South America:

  • While waiting outside for your ride, keep any valuables, such as your phone and wallet, out of sight. This is especially important if you are taking a ride late at night.
  • Always check the license plate before getting in the car. The Uber app will show the car’s license plate number, so before entering the car, ensure that the plate number matches the car you get into. 
  • If traveling alone, text a family member or friend when you leave and arrive at your destination. Or use the Uber feature where you can share your trip status with up to 5 contacts.
  • Keep the Uber app open during your ride. If needed, you can press an emergency button in the app to contact local authorities during the ride.

Airport Transportation in Brazil

Airplane departing Rio airport over Guanabara Bay

Uber is one of the easiest methods to get from the airport to your destination in Brazil. Most of Brazil’s airports have Uber services. At most airports, you can even request a ride up to 30 days in advance on the Uber app.

Other transportation options include booking a private transfer service, taxi, or public transportation. Public transportation will always be the cheapest option, but it won’t take you directly to your hotel like an Uber or taxi service will.

Taxis vs. Uber in Brazil: Which One is Better?

Taxis are readily available throughout Brazil, especially in the larger cities around the country and Northeast Brazil. However, there are a few things to know before taking a taxi or an Uber.

Language Barriers

Most taxi and Uber drivers speak Portuguese. While some may speak English, most do not. If you plan to take a taxi, having your destination written down on a piece of paper may be easier to help with a language barrier. For Uber, you select your destination in the app when ordering the ride.

Cost: Is Uber Cheaper than Taxis in Brazil?

Cost can vary depending on the city, time of year, and time of day. This is especially true for Uber as they charge surge pricing during peak times like holidays or rush hours. In general, Ubers are around the same price or even less than taxis, but again it can vary.

However, another thing to consider is that with Uber is that you will always know the price when ordering the ride, which isn’t true for taxis.

Taxi Scams

Taxi scams happen in Brazil, as in other big cities worldwide. Most commonly, this is when a taxi driver charges more than they should for a fare by claiming the meter is broken or demanding more money at the end of the ride. 

To avoid taxi scams, always take a registered taxi by either calling and ordering it over the phone or going to the official taxi line at places like the airport. Ensure the meter works when you get in the taxi; if not, take a different taxi.

Other Rideshare Apps in Brazil

Uber is Brazil’s most popular rideshare app, with millions of riders yearly. However, a few other rideshare apps are available in most major cities, including Cabify (formerly EasyTaxi) and 99Taxi. These other rideshare apps work in a similar way to Uber. 

Public Transportation in Brazil

Brazil has extensive public transportation systems, especially within the cities. Below are some of the most common public transportation options.

Buses

Brazil has an extensive network of buses, including both inter-city bus networks and bus networks between cities. Buses are the most common public transportation option to travel to and from different cities and towns. 

All major cities and towns have at least one bus station, called a Rodoviária. As a traveler, you can buy your bus ticket directly at the bus station or online through international third-party websites.

Buses in Brazil are generally in good condition, and most have air conditioning making the ride more comfortable. Bus routes can be quite long, but it is a cheap way to get around in Brazil. Buses on popular routes such as São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro run frequently, sometimes several times an hour.

Buses are also an option from Brazil to other countries such as Argentina, Peru, or Bolivia. 

Flights

Flying is the best method of transportation for long distances in Brazil. Brazil is a large country, so flights allow people to travel much quicker between cities than by bus or driving. For example, the popular travel route of São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro would take at least 6 hours by car or bus (and can take longer with traffic) but is only a quick 1-hour flight.

During our time in Brazil visiting Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro, we flew from city to city to maximize our time. 

Some commonly used airlines in Brazil include GOL Airlines and LATAM Airlines. For budget-friendly flights, Azul is a popular budget airline. In fact, we used all three airlines during our trip, and honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference between them.
 

Metro System

In the larger cities of Brazil, there is also a metro system. The metro is a budget-friendly travel method in larger cities like São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. You can purchase a ticket directly from the metro station to utilize the metro system.

One benefit of using the metro is that it avoids the congested car traffic that is common in the city center, allowing you to get to your destination quicker at certain times of the day. 

However, if using the metro, always keep watch of your belongings and surroundings. Most major cities around the world frequently have pickpockets and thieves that operate in metros and subways, which also happens in cities in Brazil.

Amazon River Boats

The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest. The Amazon Rainforest is located in the northwestern part of Brazil and spans an area of 2.587 million mi². The Amazon Rainforest is a very remote area and does not have many roads. Instead, wooden riverboats are typically used as local transport.

One way to get around the rainforest as a traveler is to take an Amazon Rainforest Riverboat Cruise designed for tourists. Several different cruises, including luxury cruises, go through the Amazon. Most of these cruises will depart from the Brazilian city of Manaus.

Driving in Brazil

Depending on your Brazil itinerary, you may decide to rent a car in Brazil. Here are a few things to know about driving and renting a car in Brazil.

Rules of the Road

There are several driving rules that you should know before renting a car in Brazil, including the following:

  • Drive on the right side of the road and pass on the left.
  • Speed limits are enforced and are typically 40-60km/h in cities and 100-110km/h on highways.
  • There is a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving. The legal limit is lower than in most other countries, at 0.02% BAC.
  • Foreign driver’s licenses in Brazil are recognized when only driving in the country for up to 6 months and with a Portuguese translation. Otherwise, getting an Inter-American Driving Permit is best, which is similar to the International Driving Permit.

👉 Check rental car availability and rates 👈

Car Theft

There is a risk of car theft and carjacking in Brazil. This is especially true in major cities like São Paulo. It is always a good idea to monitor your surroundings, especially at night at less busy intersections or side roads. It is also a good idea to have car rental insurance.

Road conditions in Brazil

Road conditions in Brazil vary depending on location. There are highways, especially in the southern part of the country, that are in good condition. However, there are also many unpaved and unkept roads across the country that would be very difficult to drive. This is especially true the further north you go in Brazil, as that area has fewer roads and highways.

Traffic

Traffic in major Brazilian cities is very chaotic and congested. If you plan to only stay in large cities like São Paulo, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro, or Brasília, then it might make more sense to use public transportation to avoid the traffic issues. Especially for first-time visitors, driving in the traffic could be extremely difficult.

Parking

Parking can be another issue in the bigger cities in Brazil, and so in this case, it may be more convenient to travel via public transport or Uber to avoid parking fees or having to locate parking.

Should you Rent a Car in Brazil?

Renting a car in Brazil depends on a number of factors, such as your itinerary, experience driving, budget, and how comfortable you feel driving in Brazil. 

If you decide not to rent a car in Brazil, there are still plenty of ways to get around. Taking Uber or public transport are great options in the cities. Flying is typically the best option to go between cities, but buses are also usually available.

If you plan to do day trips, you may find that booking a guided tour through Viator is a great option rather than driving yourself to some of Brazil’s famous sites and attractions. Guided tours are a great way to visit Brazil because it allows you to focus on visiting the sites and enjoying your trip rather than driving or figuring out transportation.

Popular Brazil Day Tours:
✔️ Rio Full Day Tour: Christ the Reedemer, Sugarloaf, Marcana, Seleron Stairs ✔️

✔️ Sao Paulo Full Day Tour: 20+ Sights ✔️

✔️ Florianopolis City Tour: Open Top, Whole Island Tour ✔️

In Conclusion: Should you use Uber in Brazil?

Uber is an excellent method of transportation in Brazil. Uber is commonly used throughout the country by millions of people. Uber rides tend to be readily available and are a budget-friendly way to get around the cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Fortaleza, and more.

Uber is also considered to be a safe way to travel. Using Uber is especially a good idea when traveling at night, as it takes you directly to your destination and can be safer than walking or taking the metro after dark.

There are many different modes of transportation throughout Brazil, including flights, buses, taxis, and more. For getting between cities, flights are the best option, or buses if you are on a strict budget. However, once in the cities, Uber, taxis, or the metro are standard travel methods. Overall, Uber is a safe and reliable way to travel in both Central America and South America.

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