The Road to Paradise: A Guide to Car Rental from Rio de Janeiro to Búzios

The coastal resort town of Búzios is one of the most sought-after destinations in Brazil, especially for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro. While there are multiple ways to get to Búzios from Rio, renting a car offers the convenience, flexibility, and the freedom to explore the picturesque landscapes in and around both cities. If you’re considering this option, here’s a comprehensive guide on how car rental works from Rio de Janeiro to Búzios.

Where to Rent a Car

Airport Locations

Both Galeão International Airport (GIG) and Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) in Rio have several car rental agencies, including international brands like Hertz, Avis, and Budget, as well as local providers.

Downtown Locations

You can also find car rental agencies scattered throughout the city, particularly in tourist-heavy areas like Copacabana and Ipanema.

Booking Process

Online Reservations

Most agencies allow you to make a reservation online. This is often the most convenient way to compare prices, check availability, and secure a vehicle in advance. A great way to get a good deal is to compare prices from different agencies on platforms like Expedia.

Walk-in Rentals

You can also walk into a rental agency to book a car, although availability may be limited, especially during peak seasons.


You’ll typically need a valid driver’s license and an International Driving Permit if your license is not from Brasil, passport, and a physical credit card for security deposit purposes.

Costs and Payment

Rental Charges

Daily rental costs can range from around BRL 100 to BRL 300, depending on the vehicle type and the rental agency.

Additional Costs

Be aware of potential extra costs like insurance, GPS rental, and toll charges. Most agencies offer optional insurance packages that can add BRL 20-50 per day to your costs. If possible take a car that has a sticker for the tolls, so you can use the automated toll stations “cobrança de pedágio” without having to wait in line with the car.

Payment Methods

Most agencies accept credit cards, and some may also take debit cards or cash. A security deposit is generally required.

The Drive to Búzios

The drive from Rio de Janeiro to Búzios is approximately 170 kilometers and takes around 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.


The most straightforward route is via the BR-101 highway, also known as the Rio-Santos highway and after the Via Lagos (RJ-124). It is a very easy and convenient drive. Follow the directions to “Niterói” and you will cross the 14km long “Rio-Niterói bridge. It is the second largest bridge in Latin America and you usually can spot it already from the airplane. Then keep on driving to “Região dos Lagos”, which is the regions name. After you will find a sign “Cabo Frio” and finally “Búzios”.

Scenic Spots

Along the way, you’ll pass through several scenic spots like São Gonçalo, the Serra do Mar mountains and other towns around Búzios, providing excellent opportunities for short stops and photos.

Toll Charges

Expect to encounter a few toll booths along the way, with tolls averaging around BRL 10-15.

Tips and Precautions

Check Vehicle Condition

Always inspect the car for any pre-existing damage and make sure all features are functioning properly before leaving the agency. Otherwise you might be charged for it when you give the car back.

Plan Your Return

Confirm the drop-off location and timing in advance, especially if you plan to return the car in Búzios instead of Rio de Janeiro.

Know the Rules

Brazil drives on the right-hand side of the road. Make sure you’re familiar with the local driving laws and speed limits. Also read our article about how parking in Búzios works before you arrive.


Renting a car to travel from Rio de Janeiro to Búzios offers a blend of convenience and adventure, allowing you to explore at your own pace. From choosing the right vehicle to understanding the associated costs and navigating the route, being well-informed will help make your journey as smooth as possible. So, fasten your seat belts and get ready for a memorable road trip through some of Brazil’s most captivating landscapes.

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