By Laura Siqueira, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Being in Rio with a desire to move around the city and take in as much of the scenery as possible, one quickly notices that taxis can get expensive, and other public transportation can seem limited and time consuming. For the adventurers with the nerve (or experience riding motorcycles on city roads), a new option of daily scooter rentals has been gaining ground.
A scooter makes it easier to visit a more distant beach, go back to the hotel in the rush hour, park closer to the tourist attractions and even get to know some hidden and charming spots in town. For someone new to the city, a GPS is helpful and sometimes can be rented together with the scooter.
To supply this growing market, many companies have specialized in renting scooters, with wide range of brands, models and prices. Goya Mesquintela, of Rio Rent, works with Brava Scooters models and have clients that pay R$200 for a daily rate.
“The most wanted ones are the 50cc scooters, because they don’t have license plate and cannot be fined. Also, don’t need a license,” says Mr. Mesquintela. He also states that all scooters rented in the company can only be ridden at Zona Sul (Zona Sul), where the major tourist attractions are, and pleenty of exciting places to go. “They want to go to the beaches and escape from traffic. Usually, they rent for one to three days”, explains Mesquintela.
Another company that offers the service is EasyScooteRio, situated in the heart of Copacabana. There are two different models available for rent: Auguri SS50 and Auguri SR150. To rent the first one, it’s necessary to be over eighteen years-old and hold a Brazilian ID or a passport, but for the second, it is also required to have a driver’s license for operating a motorcycle. The daily rate for the two models are R$130 and R$140, respectively, but clients may also rent for shorter periods as 6 or 12 hours.
If riding a scooter alone doesn’t seems to be much fun, joining a tour can be a solution. At Happy Moto they operate different types of routes including the most beautiful and famous locations in Rio.
“Normally, people at the tour are younger, but at the end, we have all ages attending, from 20 to 50 years-old. And the Christ the Redeemer statue (Cristo Redentor) is always the place everybody wants to go,” says Lisette Rodriguez. One of the most popular is the Imperial Tour, visiting Tiradentes Palace, Paço Imperial, Outeiro da Glória’s Church, Monastery of São Bento and many others important places to Rio’s history.
In comparison to the price of bus and subway tickets, the cost to rent a scooter is much higher, but the speed, flexibility and fun can be well worth it. Not to mention a cab from Ipanema to Santa Teresa may cost around R$40, so it can be more economical if visiting multiple locations throughout the city in the same day.
However, most of these prices listed above are not too much more then renting a car in Rio, at least the base models. Yet if parking is a concern, or sitting in Rio’s legendary rush hour traffic is intolerable, then the scooter may be just the ticket to get around the Cidade Maravilhosa with a certain style.