Don’t be intimidated by Rio’s large size and sprawling neighborhoods. The neighborhoods that you are likely to visit on your medical tourism vacation are all pretty close to each other, making getting around relatively uncomplicated.
The easiest way to get around Rio is by subway. Trains operate from dawn to midnight from Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, trains are available from 7 am to 11 am. Most of the neighborhoods are serviced by the subway, except Ipanema. Tickets can be purchased from a vending machine or a ticket booth. If you’re in town for medical tourism during Carnival or other major national holidays, be sure to check subway schedules in advance since opening hours and routes sometimes change to handle the increased traffic.
The bus system in Rio is quite efficient. There are plenty of buses and most of them take the main roads which makes it easier for you to keep track of which part of the city you’re driving by. Some buses have names of major attractions and areas displayed prominently on the front. All buses will have the route number and the destination of the bus displayed. Board your bus from the front and exit from the rear. It’s common practice to flag a bus down – simply wave your hand in front of a bus to hop on.
Buses become less busy in the evenings and may not be as safe as they are during the daytime. If you're traveling during off peak hours or if you have a far distance to go, consider opting for a taxi. For a more comfortable ride, call for a radio taxi. They are a little more expensive, but they offer convenience, air conditioning, and accountability.
Driving in Rio is not really advised during a standard medical tourism vacation. The strain of your medical procedure will only be compounded by the traffic, the crowds, and the lack of respect for traffic rules.