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My wife and I are travelling to Brazil and have planned to spend several days in Rio, several in Petropolis, and several in Teresopolis. I'm having a hard time finding bus resources online. From our travel books, it looks like buses operate from Rio de Janeiro to Petropolis, from Petropolis to Teresopolis, and from Teresopolis to Rio de Janeiro, however I've been unable to locate other details other than where the central bus terminal in Rio is located.

Are any English websites available that list the times and dates available, or would it be better to plan to rent a car in Rio?

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You can use Rome2Rio to search for itineraries between each city. For example it seems you have various bus options from Rio to Petropolis, either by bus or combining bus and train. The screenshot below shows the bus option:

R2R 1

The Teresopolis to Rio journey seems a bit more complicated, requiring bus changes in either Nitero, Petropolis, or a combination of bus and train.

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Rio has more than one bus terminal, the one that seem to be the major is Novo Rio. From their site you can search for buses to Petropolis and see their timetable. Unfortunately, the site is available only in Portuguese. I searched for other sites and found this one, which has an english version, but it redirects to a different site. Strange is, in this last site I could not find buses that are available in the Novo Rio site.

Back to Novo Rio site, I tried to buy a ticket, it redirected me to the bus company site, but when I tried to buy the ticket it showed an error!

Bottom line is (at least seems to be) not easy to find a site to buy online tickets, specially in English, but at least you can search and find the times and dates.

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A car obviously gives you much more flexibility. And though local public transport in Brazil is pretty decent if not awesome, it is not very usable for users who don't speak Portuguese. In fact, in my experience, the most common way for Brazilians to find their way around using local public transport in a city they are not familiar with is to ask around. Good luck with that if you don't speak the language. On the other hand, big Brazilian cities tend to suffer from very busy roads, which might not be to your enjoyment.

A good place to search for bus routes is Plataforma10. This site's interface is available in English. However, also in my experience, for somewhat less common routes, Plataforma10 doesn't always return results.

Rome2Rio, as was pointed out by @joernan, is also a good place to look for connections. But... I've found that, at least for South American connections, they don't always carry the latest information. (For example, they claim that Util travels between Rio and Petropolis, but Util's website does not support that claim.)

However, also through Rome2Rio, Guiche does travel between the two and buying tickets online might be possible. Their site is in Portuguese, but a booking process is pretty much the same in every language. Keep in mind, though, that some Brazilian bus companies only sell tickets online to users who have a CPF, which is somewhat similar to a Brazilian Social Security Number. You can always buy a ticket in person without a CPF. And, the bus station from which your desired connection leaves will always (well, almost always) have an office of the company you want to travel with.

Then, there's BuscaOnibus, which also has an interface in English. At least in this case (Rio to Petropolis is what I checked), they seem to be exhaustive.

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