I found the metro very easy to navigate. Be aware the metro schedule differs between the weekdays and weekend and the buses don’t run as late as the trains. It didn’t cause us many problems because Uber is located throughout the city and was very affordable. The best part about transportation in Rio is the ability to move throughout the city without the use of a car. That being said the buses and metro don’t always run on schedule. There were many days it took a long time to get a bus and days the metro stopped for extended periods of time or skipped stops completely resulting in many Olympic spectators and volunteers arriving late to venues. Try to get on a bus and the metro but have a backup plan in case one or both is delayed.
My husband and I read many articles regarding the safety concerns in Rio. We were prepared for pickpocketing, mugging, etc. but didn’t come across any issues. This could have been due to police officers on every corner of the city during the Olympics so be cautious when visiting outside of the Olympic timeframe.
As you know the lack of ticket sales primarily resulted from Zika virus. Many of our family and friends were concerned about us going to Rio due to the virus. The Olympics were held during Rio’s winter and we didn’t see, nor get bit by, one mosquito during the two weeks we were there. So if you want to visit Rio during their winter months GO!
The two main beach locations are in Copacabana and Ipanema. Ipanema is considered a nicer area of town but Copacabana is more accessible by metro. You’ll enjoy soft sand and plenty of sunshine no matter which beach you choose to visit.
If you’re looking for an upscale part of town for shopping, dining, and more beach options be sure to stroll through Leblon. It’s a very safe area of town and if you’re in search of a really nice place to eat with amazing seafood, meat options, and wine selection while in Leblon I would highly recommend Giuseppe Grill.
Overall Rio is a city filled with sunshine and a relaxed atmosphere. We found the culture appealing as the city caters to women with children, people with disabilities and the elderly nearly everywhere you go (metro, grocery stores, ticket lines, etc.). With the current exchange rate a vacation in Rio is definitely an affordable opportunity to experience the Brazilian culture!