Ships dock at the main cruise ship terminal Pier Maua located close to downtown Rio de Janeiro. It is approximately a 20-minute taxi ride to Copacabana. Also the area is now served by the VLT CARIOCA, a brand new tram system connecting the port to other parts of the city centre
The port of Rio de Janeiro has undergone a major renovation for the 2016 Olympic Games. Work began in 2010 it’s the major infrastructure works of the city over the past 30 years. There are food trucks, a new square and yes, there are new atractions in the area, just a few steps from the pier:
The "Museum of Tomorrow"(Museu do Amanhã in portuguese) a must see for the building itself (a Santiago Calatrava project)
The "MAR" - Museum of Art of Rio".
The "AQUARIO", or Aquarium of Rio.
The brand new RioStar, a 88 meters high ferris wheel, similar to the London Eye. It is open from 10AM to 06PM daily. Fee is about 13 USD.
Printable map to take along.
Check here for festivals and events in Rio de Janeiro when you are in port.
Please note: To enter Brazil check for visa requirements.
Watch a destination video.
A sight that every visitor to Rio de Janeiro should not miss is Corcovado. The statue of Jesus Christ was constructed by the Catholic Church and sits some 2,200 feet above sea level and can be seen from just about every vantage point throughout the city. If you want to you can visit the monument (just take a taxi), but it can be very crowded. Buy your tickets in advance.
Pão de Açúcar - the Sugar Loaf mountains (one taller, the other shorter), Brazil's top landmark, with an aerial tramway to the top; unmissable. A ticket up is R$ 35. The buses number 591 and 592 and the subway buses bring you to the base station.
Beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema are a must, you will never forget it.
The central part of Rio de Janeiro where the major sights are located is very walkable. Taxis are also readily available. While Rio has an excellent public transportation system (buses and metro), it can be difficult to figure out. The metro extends along Copacabana beach and includes Ipanema.
It's easy to use the tram from the cruise terminal Pier Maua. You buy a Rio card for each person from a machine on the platform. It takes cash and debit cards (no mention of credit cards). There is a R$ 3 'deposit' charge for the card. It says it is possible to get a refund, It may require a visit to a manned Metro station (not hugely helpful when you are back at the cruise terminal). So top up in small amounts and then if you 'lose' R$ 10 or so, it's not a big deal. For a guide as to how much to top up, in December 2018 the Tram fares were R$ 3.80 and the Metro fares were R$ 4.50. You validate your card on the Tram on devices just by the Tram door (many inspectors!). Your fare is deducted for the Tram, if you then link into the Metro system another fare will be deducted as you go through turnstile gates down to the platforms. When using the Metro, make sure you choose a turnstile gate that has the Rio Card sign - not all of them do.
First time visitors might want to opt for an organized tour.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here.
The streets of Copacabana and Ipanema Beach are lined with stores. It is in general safe to walk around in these two areas and if you use common sense. Other areas of Rio are often not so safe.
There are many cafes which offer free WiFi for customers around the city, especially around Copacabana and Ipanema.
Basic hours for most stores and businesses are from 9am to 6pm, with an extended lunch hour from around noon to 2pm.
Many museums are closed on monday.
Holidays in Brazil
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