Scam City: Rio de Janeiro Edition


The Airport Taxi Scam

When you first enter a foreign country in Latin/South America, you will be pestered by third party taxi companies. Never get into an unauthorized taxi. There are regular taxis and then there are radio taxis. Regular taxis are run on meters and radio taxis are fixed prices.

Introduction to Rio de Janeiro
American Airlines MIA-GIG 767-300 Business Class
Sheraton Rio Hotel and Resort Review
The Sights and Sounds of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro
The Sights and Sounds of Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro
The Sights and Sounds of Centro Rio de Janeiro
The Sights and Sounds of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro
The Sights and Sounds of Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro
The Sights and Sounds of Leblon in Rio de Janeiro
The Sights and Sounds of the Rocinha Favelas in Rio de Janeiro
The Sights and Sounds of the Rocinha Favela Children in Rio de Janeiro
The Sights and Sounds of the Rocinha Favela Economy in Rio de Janeiro
Is Rio de Janeiro Brazil Safe for Tourists?
Scam City: Rio de Janeiro Edition
The Various Eats in Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Galeao International Airport American Airlines Admiral’s Club
American Airlines GIG-MIA (Rio de Janeiro to Miami) 767-300 Business Class

One of the biggest scams in Rio de Janeiro is the taxi drivers. I took a taxi from GIG (Galeao) International airport to Cosme Vehlo, where the base of the Christ the Redeemer Corvocado tram is located.

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I mapped it on Google and it said that it would take 31 minutes by car. If you look closely, there are two routes. Lo and behold, he takes me to the other route where there is a huge one way tunnel and U-turn has to be made which makes the trip even longer. I got scammed and was out 92 Reals ~$42.17 USD. The trip should have been around ~$25-$30 USD for a 24km ~ 14 mile trip.


I’m not sure how to avoid this taxi scam of long hauling when I clearly don’t speak Portuguese and I’m immediately labeled as a gringo once I step into a taxi. Needless to stay, I showed him the routes on the map after we went through the tunnel and did not tip him. Airport taxi scams are just the worst and sometimes you have to deal with it. I just absolutely hate getting scammed and will take a bus to the city next time. I took taxis when I was in Rio for short hauls and they were absolutely fine. Just be wary about the airport taxis.

The Beach Coconut Scam

There are coconut vendors all over the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. They all have different prices ranging from R$2.00 – R$4.00. You should be aware of the ones that don’t have a price displayed. I have been quoted as much as R$6.00 for a coconut. Needless to say, I got one and got scammed. Not only did I get scammed by the price, he gave me a little coconut with a small amount of coconut water! Lesson learned, pick your coconut instead of them choosing for you.

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The Beach Distraction Scam

When you’re renting one of those beach chairs, be sure to look out for your belongings. The scammers work in groups of two or more. Often, one will come up to you and make small talk to distract you while the other person swipes your belongings under your beach chair or around it. It happens really fast and I have heard horror stories. This happens a lot on the beach to locals and tourists, so please watch out and guard your belongings really tight.

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About the Author

Points Summary
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1 Comment on "Scam City: Rio de Janeiro Edition"

  1. Good stuff, thanks for sharing!

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