Get ready for August 2016 when the world gathers to watch the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Now the question is, where will you be watching the Olympic Games? In your living room with some friends, at work, or better yet in Rio de Janeiro! If you are lucky enough to attend the Olympics, you’ll want to keep reading our 10 insider travel tips on how to best prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
1. Plan Your Trip Ahead of Time – 2016 Rio Olympics
Getting in and out of the city is easy as long as you don’t leave the day after the closing ceremony. We recommend visiting some other nearby cities before or after the games. Do your research ahead of time and plan a city tour to see Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. If you don’t have time to plan your trip, no problem! Our Travel Consultants can arrange your tours, transfers, guides, hotels, and any other details you need to make your trip run smoothly. But hurry, hotels are filling up, contact us soon to get started!
- Botanical Gardens: In the middle of the city, there is a marvelous garden with incredible botany, art, and aesthetics, sure to make your visit worthwhile.
- Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil: Enjoy strolling through local and international exhibitions and watch live performances at the cultural center.
- Copacabana Beach: Relax and watch surfers catch those winter swells at one of the most famous beaches in Brazil.
- Ipanema Beach: Sip on fresh coconut water at the beach. If you’re looking for souvenirs, you can shop along the promenade.
- Maracana Stadium: This football stadium is home to Rio’s four Soccer teams.
- Pedra Bonita: As Rio’s most beautiful spots, this hidden gem has an incredible view of the city.
- Sugarloaf Mountain: Take a cable car to the peak of the mountain to get a 360-degree view of the city.
- Tijuca Atlantic Rainforest: As the largest urban rainforest in the world, Tijuca is a great place to hike, bike, and hang glide.
- Museum of Tomorrow: The building alone is a sight to see, but spend a few hours inside and admire the forward thinking museum exemplifying a new sustainable world.
2. Language – 2016 Rio Olympics
In Brazil, the national language is Portuguese, NOT Spanish. There are some English speakers, but it’s important to learn some of the basic words and phrases before heading there.
- Hello: Olá
- Excuse me: Com licença
- Yes: Sim
- No: Não
- Please: Por Favor
- Thank you: Obrigado
- Can you help me?: Você pode me ajudar?
- Do you speak English?:Você fala inglês?
- How much?: Quanto?
3. Weather – 2016 Rio Olympics
It might be the Summer Olympics, but it will still be winter in Brazil with temperatures in the mid 60 – 70°F and (15 – 21°C). Expect some showers and opt for layers, but pack light so you can shop in Rio.
4. Visa Waiver Program – 2016 Rio Olympics
From June 1st to September 18th, citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan will be able to enter Brazil without a visa. These citizens can travel throughout Brazil for up to 90 days. That means there’s no hassle making an appointment with the Brazilian consulate, and Americans will save $160 USD!
5. Safety – 2016 Rio Olympics
Thanks to the Olympics, Brazil has made safety a priority for its visitors. During the games, there will be a substantial increase in the number of police officers, but it is still important to take safety precautions to ensure a safe and fun trip. Use your common sense, be aware, and travel with a friend. Brazilians are friendly, kind, generous, and fun-loving people. Here are some safety tips to take into consideration before going to any foreign country:
- Travel in a group: Whether you are heading to a local bar or that cafe down the street, bring a friend to feel comfortable and to share memorable moments together.
- Dress like a local: Want to wear that new Rolex watch or Kate Spade purse? Think again. It is better to blend in with the crowd than stand out. So leave all of your flashy and expensive items at home, it’s better just to dress casual and comfortable.
- Never leave your belongings unattended and stay alert!
- Know who to contact in case of an emergency. Here are some important phone numbers to keep on hand:
- 55: Calling Code
- 21: City Code
- 193: Fire Department
- 192: Ambulance
- 190: Police
6. Print two copies of your Passport – 2016 Rio Olympics
Wherever you are traveling, it is important to have at least two copies of your passport in case something ever happens to the original. Keep a copy with you and leave the other copy in your luggage at the hotel.
7. Stay hydrated – 2016 Rio Olympics
Expect crowds during the Olympics and always have a bottle of water with you. It is better to buy bottled water, travel with a SteriPen or a UV water purifier, than to drink Brazil’s water from its tap.
8. Money – 2016 Rio Olympics
For Americans, the US Dollar is stronger than the Brazil Real. Two years ago, it was 1 USD to 1.5 BRL, and today it is upwards of 1 USD to 3 BRL. That’s a 50% savings with those traveling with the US Dollar! Keep a small amount of cash with you as most places accept cards. If you need to go to an ATM, visit a shopping center or gas station, but avoid ATMs at night. Keep the rest of your cash in the safe back at your hotel.
9. Transportation – 2016 Rio Olympics
Rio Metro The metro system is the most convenient way to get around. It is clean, fast, and safe. Purchase a cartão pré-pago, prepaid card (minimum R$5), from a kiosk at any metro station and add money to it at any kiosk. There are also free subway maps available at the ticket booths.
Bus Buses are cheap, starting at R$3.20, but they tend to be very crowded. The new BRS (Bus Rapid System) goes to Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, and Barra. There are also express buses, called “Onibus Expreso”, that have limited stops but cover a larger distance in less time, depending on traffic. These prices start at R$4.35. Rio also offers Executive Busses called Frescao. This is a more upscale bus only available during the week. It is a little more expensive, starting at R$3.50, but it is easy and safe to use.
Taxi The taxi system in Rio is a fast and safe way to get around town. No one tips taxi drivers, but it is normal that they round up the fare. Download apps like 99Taxis or Easy Taxi to get a Cab. You can also ask your hotel reception to call you a cab. At night, we advise that you to take a taxi than public transportation. The flat rate is around R$5.20 plus R$2.50 per kilometer.
Bicycle There is also a public bike-sharing program with over 60 rental stations throughout the city called SAMBA. It is a fast and easy way to get around town and exercise.
Boat Take a ferry to visit the different islands in the bay. The ferry departs every 20 minutes and ticket prices start at R$5. This is an easy way to get out of the city.
Uber Yes, Uber is in Rio de Janeiro but wait times could be long during the Rio Olympics. The base fare is R$2.00 with R$0.15 per minute and R$1.40 per KM. Also, keep an eye out for those hidden peak fares.
10. Zika – 2016 Rio Olympics
Many South Americans now understand how and what to do to minimize the risk of Zika and how to avoid the breeding of these mosquitos. Here are some precautions you can take:
- Avoid improper sanitation and waste deposits, like slums since they hang around standing water.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents with DEET, lemon eucalyptus, picaridin, or para-menthane-diol.
- Wear long sleeves and pants with light-colored clothing since they are attracted to darker colors.
- Stay in hotels with air conditioning and keep the windows closed.
- Avoid using scented skin care products.
Take a look at our featured tours to combine the 2016 Rio Olympics with the rest of Brazil:
- Brazil Adventure Tour & Atlantic Rainforest Hiking Trip: Combine waterfall rappelling, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, white water rafting, and hiking for an unforgettable adventure!
- Rio de Janiero & the Amazon Rainforest: Combine two of the most popular destinations into one epic tour!
- Pantanal Wetlands & Rio de Janeiro: The Pantanal is a wildlife sanctuary filled with howler monkeys, jaguars, giant river otters and more. Explore this natural wonder and finish off with a tour of Rio de Janeiro.
- Rio de Janiero and Buzios Beaches Tour: Visit secluded beaches, bars, and surf for the perfect summer vacation.
- Rio de Janiero & The Route of Gold Tour: The Gold Rush in Brazil transformed the country. This tour takes you on an unforgettable journey through the Atlantic Rainforest, mining towns, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and colonial seaports.