Posted April 29th, 2012, 06:15 PM
Last edited by Fattony; April 29th, 2012 at 06:22 PM
@Fattony and OP--
As explained above, there are no parades on Tuesday. So leaving the larger luggage at the "guarda volumes" at the intown Santos Dumont airport and staying overnight Tuesday out of Rio to tour in Petropolis would be an option, since it's only a short (1 hour) bus ride away. The friends could get back into the city, pick up the left luggage, take the shuttle bus from Santos Dumont to GIG, all in good time for an international flight home (which are usually at night) on Wednesday.
Niteroi is a very pleasant "neighborhood" of the city of Rio (really a separate city, but close enough to be a neighborhood and closer to the center than some actual Rio neighborhoods). Many residents commute into Rio every day for work (think Staten Island and Manhattan, for example). The ferry runs every 15 minutes (starts very very early in the morning and runs until quite late at night), a lovely ride with great views back to Rio, from Praca XV which is a couple of minutes walk from Santos Dumont airport. There are also buses that run regularly over the bridge and the option of a taxi. There are couple of basic hotels within blocks of the dock, and others not too far. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g3...ro-Hotels.html
Niteroi has some great beaches to visit, like Itacoatiara, an interesting fish market for lunch, and also the famous Neimeyer designed MAC "space ship" art museum.
If they can get a place for one night, parade or not, they'll be doing well. Petropolis a more pleasant alternative to Rio, IMHO, but if the hotel in Nitteroi is close to the ferry, fine. In any location, availability and rates will determine a lot. I didn't think that the parades in the Samboadrome would be the only reason to go into Rio from, say, Petropolis at night. But if they've already see Rio's nightlife by then or don't care about missing it that night (may prefer a quiet night), no problem.
If you can walk from Praca XIV to Santos Dumong airport (to pick up checked bags and then head to GIG) in a couple of minutes, you're in much better shape than I am (not that that says much). When I took the interesting tour at Ilha Fiscal, near Praça XV on a Saturday afternoon, and the guides advised me against walking to the nearest Metro stop (I still did it and survived, sticking to the busier streets). Anyway, beggars can't be choosers, so OP's friends would be wise to explore all options for that one night's hotel. The hotel in the airport would not be very interesting (and the pousada in the airport's basement definitely a place to avoid, my wife advised me based on her experience).