The bus station in Rio isn't in the nicest part of the city, so I took Lonely Planet's advice and got a taxi. The taxi fares are fixed and are displayed on the wall. I was going to Botafogo which cost R$40. This didn't stop the taxi driver from somewhat half heartedly trying to charge me R$45.
Botafogo is a relatively safe, up market area. There is a beach, but it's in the bay and the water's polluted, so swimming isn't recommended there. However, there is a metro station and it's an easy journey to Ipanema Beach and the more famous Copacabana Beach.
I also got the metro into the centre and checked out some of the historic buildings and parks.
In Botafogo itself, there were plenty of restaurants and bars. Having not liked most of the Brazilian cities, I quite liked Rio. The main reason being that the worst neighbourhoods are nowhere near the centre. Everywhere I went to felt reasonably safe.
It was also a short walk to the cable car that goes to the top of Sugarloaf mountain. It was relatively quiet on a Thursday, but going on the size of the barriers outside, I think there are probably huge queues at the weekend.