As mentioned earlier, über is a safe way to get around in Rio, especially since you can pay with your foreign credit card and the rates are usually lower than the normal taxis. However be aware of the dynamic fare and when it reaches a certain point it becomes cheaper to get a normal Taxi. Great bonus with über is that if you invite someone to use it they get RS20 off their first ride.
Its generally not advised for foreigners to take a taxi straight from the street in Rio de Janeiro, especially if you don’t speak Portuguese and know the city well. The great thing about taxi apps is that you don’t have to speak Portuguese to order your taxi. I recommend 99taxis, as this one allows you to use any foreign credit card. Other apps such as “Resolveai” also work great.
A bit more expensive taxis, but are said to be highly trustworthy. You may need someone to call the central for you if you don’t speak Portuguese.
We advise you as a non-Portuguese speaking tourist not to take he normal city buses while in Rio. Unless it is an easy route like the bus that goes to the Sugar Loaf Mountain, the drivers are not really used to tourists at all. Moreover if you are used to taking buses in Europe you are in for a crazy ride that sometimes will remind you more of a roller coaster than a transportation vehicle. As a European or North American you can afford the cheap taxis or über in Rio as the exchange rate is very much in your favor. A taxi or a über will generally cost you less than a metro ticket in Berlin or London. If you do take a bus anyway, make sure you have some small change on you as drivers usually are reluctant to give you change for more than a 20 real. If you are living in Rio I advice you to get a monthly card called RioCard, it works more or less like the Oyster card and you can use it both on metro and on the bus. You can get this card in "Poupa Tempo" right above the metro station General Osorio by the "Rua Teixeira de Melo" exit.
Metro is a great way to travel in Rio and especially if you are going from Zona Sul (south zone) to downtown. An extra plus is that you can beat the heavy traffic. However avoid the rush hours if you can, as it can get quite crowded. Note that on weekdays there are special wagons for women only between 5pm and 8pm and no men are allowed in on this time span. Remember to buy the refill card(not the single ticket) the first time you buy a ticket, so that you can just top-up at the machines, you will save a lot of time not having to stand in the line each time you take the metro.
If you are travelling to another city in Brazil you have to take that bus from them main bus station called Rodoviaria Novo Rio. A tip is to use the Clickbus site to pay for your ticket as buying directly from the bus companies online would require a Brazilian credit card.